Indonesia Doesn’t Have Enough People?

A while back, when Chinese workers were striking for higher wages, CNBC had an expert on to discuss the event. Where could the multinationals move their sweatshops to maintain maximum profitability? During the course of the conversation, Indonesia came up, and the expert said that the nation didn’t have enough people.

I thought: “That’s weird. As I recall, Indonesia has a rather large number of people, nowhere near as many as China, of course, but still up there.”

So, I concluded that the supply of workers must be very, very huge to meet the demand of China’s massive industrial base while keeping wages down.

But now I think that it is more than just simple supply and demand. It also has to do with working conditions. A Foxconn executive said that their monthly turnover rate is 5%. So, with one million workers, they are burning through 50,000 workers a month.

With the punitive working conditions required to make profits under the harsh demands from Silicon Valley to keep costs down, a vast pool of downtrodden peasants is required.

How many cities in the world could accommodate Foxconn? How many cities have 600,000 people to churn-and-burn through each year? Not many, I suspect.

So maybe Indonesia really doesn’t have enough people to keep the sweatshops churning out obscene profits – even if it is the fourth most-populous nation in the world. (China, India, and the USA, are the top three.)

And I think this also can explain why immigration into the USA was run at a record rate straight through the Great Recession, unlike during the Great Depression when immigration was shut down.

They are building up our population in preparation for bringing the Foxconn sweatshop model here.

See also:
Immigration Armageddon.
There’s a Sweatshop in Your Future.
Here Come the Shanty Towns.
List of nations by population.

American Gulag

I’m glad to see the burst of news stories about Asian sweatshops. Maybe it’s just a campaign to deflect blame for the high unemployment rate on behalf of President Obama. If so, I’m not so sure that it’s a good strategy. I mean, what did Obama really do to bring jobs home, or put an end to sweatshop production?

In any case, what these stories leave out is that the working conditions in the American Gulag (a.k.a. Asian supply chain) are no accident. The global trading system was EXPLICITLY designed to facilitate “military style” sweatshops where hapless third-world peasants are burned to a crisp in easily avoidable industrial accidents.

The fact is that the multinationals architected the World Trade Organization (WTO) to deliberately have no rules about working conditions or wages.

That’s what happens when corporate lobbyists are allowed to write legislation. It comes out all fascist-y.

So, keep that in mind when you read stories like this one. Companies like Apple wouldn’t be experiencing a good-or-evil dilemma in a properly-constructed global trading system.

On a related topic, I haven’t heard any Republicans advocating the elimination of the minimum-wage laws recently. Maybe I turned them back when I wrote: “There’s a Sweatshop in Your Future.” Prospects for bringing the Gulag to the USA seem to have dimmed.

At least for now.

Jon Stewart Enters the Matrix

Very few people get what I’m talking about. After all, subjects like global labor arbitrage, and the yuan-dollar currency peg are arcane and complicated. However, when a person finally does get it, they exhibit a panic reaction. You can see what I’m talking about at 5:13 into this video when John Stewart vents some panic:

Why does this happen? You see, we Americans go around thinking that we are citizens of the most powerful sovereign nation on earth. So when a “citizen” realizes that he is just a pleb living in a conquered, and colonized, province of a global sweatshop empire, you can’t blame him for feeling a little panicky.

Taking the red pill is no fun.

No fun at all.

Welcome to the matrix, Mr. Stewart.

Food-Stamp Growth by President

I have added two new charts to my food-stamps page showing the breakdown by presidential administrations (click to enlarge):

Food-Stamps-Presidents

Food-Stamps-Presidents-Totals

Sorry Democrats, but last night on MSNBC, Al Sharpton said that more people were added to the food-stamps program by Bush 41 than by Obama, so I felt compelled to reply to that blatant lie. Of course, Newt Gingrich acts like everybody on food stamps is black. But that is literally impossible. We have 46.2 million people on food stamps, but the African-American population of the USA is only 37.7 million! There’s got to be some white people in there too, no?

This is all a moot point though. In the bad old days of “protectionism”, the food-stamp rolls would expand during recessions, and recede during recoveries. But here in our fabulous, futuristic, free-trade utopia, poverty just grows and grows. Is it a coincidence that the food-stamp rocket blasted-off shortly after China was admitted to the World Trade Organization? I don’t think so:

Not only was the launch of the food-stamp rocket a tri-partisan project, but so is the rocket’s continued flight. Newt Gingrich was one of the chief rocket scientists, President Obama rubber-stamped more free-trade laws, and Ron Paul’s libertarians provide the moronic ideology.

Narco NAFTA

I want to repeal the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to bring home all the factories and jobs that were sucked down to Mexico. But it might also be a good way to defuse the Mexican drug wars.

The day that NAFTA went into effect, January 1, 1994, the Zapatista Army launched its revolution on the Mexican government in Chiapas. It didn’t take the Mexican army very long to defeat the Zapatistas, but that wasn’t the end of it because the Zapatista were right.

The Zapatistas knew that NAFTA would allow American agricultural exports to flood the country and wipe out Mexico’s small farmers. And so they did.

What did those betrayed farmers do? Many became NAFTA refugees and flooded into the USA, but some turned to growing alternative crops. Drug crops.

Today, Mexico is the #2 producer of opium in the world after Afghanistan, and is wracked with drug violence.

When the British repealed their Corn Laws, and wiped out their farmers, they had a plan. They had factories ready to exploit the new source of cheap, desperate labor. Sure, it was an evil plan, but it was better than no plan at all.

Thanks to NAFTA, Mexico now has chaos, and we have 46.2 million people on food stamps.

Another “triumph” of libertarian ideology.

Perry Out – Another Defeat for Globalism

Only a few days ago, Rick Perry was trying to explain to South Carolina voters that the USA has not lost jobs to China because of cheap labor. Now Perry has followed in the footsteps of John “Ambassador from China” Huntsman, and withdrawn from the race.

Maybe voters don’t like having their intelligence insulted.

Imagine that.

Mitt Romney has been talking tough on China and immigration and if that is the winning formula, then President Obama needs to “pivot”.

Exporting millions of jobs, importing millions of immigrants, and piling up millions of Americans on food stamps is not a sustainable system. It will crash and burn.

Maybe this is the year; maybe it isn’t. But if it is, and Obama continues on being the point-man for the globalist plutocracy, then he just might lose.

Of course, all is not lost for Obama. He is the president after all. So while Mitt Romney can say things, Obama can do things. Instead of bowing to China, the president can get in their face on numerous legitimate issues such as the yuan-dollar currency peg. And instead of continuing to preside over the highest tidal wave of immigration in American history, he could call for a moratorium until we are able to reduce the food-stamp rolls to non-Apocalyptic levels.

Even John Huntsman started talking about the need for “tough negotiations” with China before he was shown the door.

Note to Obama: Sovereignty is a good thing; look into it.

See my immigration charts here.
See my food-stamp charts here.
See my offshoring charts here.

Top Investing Websites – Update #3

The list now has a permanent home on this page.

Since the last update, I have added 22 more websites. And yes, there will be more – lots more. The world crawls with investing advice. And as far as I can tell, almost all of the websites are operated by men.

It’s like in grade school: when the teacher asks a question, the girls who don’t know the answer keep their hands down. But the boys who don’t know the answer still raise their hands. “Me! Me! Me!” they shout. And when the teacher calls on one, he tries to BS her.

Nevertheless, Linda Bradford Raschke makes her debut on the list at #71. If you know of more ladies with investing websites, please post a comment.

Note to ladies: Get busy, or Newt Gingrich will berate you for being genetically inferior, take away your foods stamps, and make mop floors at an elementary school!

Websites added in this update:
The Motley Fool
Marketwatch
The Disciplined Investor
Afraid To Trade
Alpha Trends
Contrary Investor
Stock Tiger
Shark Investing
Doug Short
T3 Live
Minyanville
Market Anthropology
Stone Street Advisors
Joe Terranova
Louis Navellier
Linda Bradford Raschke
Ken Fisher
Trade Monster
Phil’s Stockworld
Morningstar
Fidelity
Graham Summers

Siri as Big Sister

Here is a clip from the January 16, 2012 episode of The Daily Show:

Ironic, no? Especially considering Apple’s legendary Superbowl commercial from 1984:

At the beginning of the above inspiring commercial, you hear Big Brother saying: “Pure ideology.” That’s doubly ironic because, make no mistake, today’s multinational corporations follow a rigid ideology: globalization. And like it or not, it is a fascist ideology. Globalists hold that decisions about what goods and workers may cross national borders should only be made by corporations, and not by the elected representatives of the people.

That’s fascist. Deal with it.

China Bites Off $375 Billion Chunk of US Economy

Libertarian economist Walter Williams jumped for joy when a Federal Reserve Bank study found that imports from China amount to “only” 2.5% of US GDP. Finally! Some solid evidence that our libertarian open-borders policy wasn’t destroying America!

But should libertarians and other globalists really be breaking out the champagne? I don’t think so. While 2.5% of GDP sounds pretty small, remember that our GDP is rather gigantic at $15 trillion. So, the Chinese bite amounts to $375 billion.

What does that translate into jobs-wise? Hard to say, but let’s calculate a rough estimate. In 2010, Walmart’s US sales were $258 billion. So, we can say that China has bitten off about 1.5 Walmarts. And since Walmart has 1.4 million employees in the USA, we arrive at a rough estimate of 2.1 million jobs lost to Chinese imports.

That’s not small potatoes.

Do we have 2.1 million jobs to burn? Not hardly. Would President Obama like to have those 2.1 million jobs in his pocket as he seeks re-election? He sure would.

And of course, when I rant about China, I am only using it as an example of our larger policy of free-trade with low-wage nations. So, countries like Mexico and India would have to be added in. Not only that, but the Fed’s calculation doesn’t consider collateral damage.

What happens to local businesses when you pick up the 250,000-strong US shoe industry and move it China? Do we only lose 250,000 jobs? Of course not. Just imagine all the restaurants, dog-groomers, and accountants who no longer have those 250,000 shoemakers as customers. The Fed report did not consider that, but the truth is that imports of sweatshop goods and services have cost the USA several million jobs.

Is it a coincidence that strong US economic growth is a thing of the past, and rapid Chinese growth is now the standard?.

Is it a coincidence that “jobless recoveries” began shortly after the gates were thrown open to cheap imports?

Is it a coincidence that the number of Americans on food stamps has nearly tripled since China was admitted to the World Trade Organization?

I don’t think so.

People like to blame Alan Greenspan for keeping interest rates too low, blowing up the housing bubble, and destroying the financial system. But I hold that Greenspan kept his foot on the gas peddle too long because he was unknowingly trying to fight the massive tide of offshoring. The real root cause is the libertarian, free-trade dystopia that was constructed at the end of the last century.

When you look at a product stamped with “Made in China” on a Walmart shelf, you are really looking at the tombstone of an entire American industry. See this story for how China targets small American manufacturing companies. Ironically, if an American company fights back against the mafia-style tactics of the Chinese, they are attacked by American retailers too. You see, retailers want those cheap Chinese products on their shelves, and actively try to destroy American producers.

Of course, American exporters are selling to China. Back in the day, the globalists used to argue that those new exports would create enough new jobs to offset the jobs lost. But that has been completely debunked. Not even Larry Kudlow will make that argument now!

History will prove my view correct. Wait and see. The USA topped-out when we brought China into the WTO. Short of trade-reform, it’s all downhill from here.

Note: China was admitted to the WTO in December of 2001. However, nations like Mexico and India were admitted earlier. See the list here.

Note: The Fed study linked above was conducted in response to the charge that the Fed’s QE2 policy would create inflation in the USA. The Chinese peg the yuan to the dollar, so they had to print huge amounts of currency to maintain the peg. That caused inflation in China, and the prospect of it propagating to the USA via higher-priced imports. I’m not saying that the Fed’s study is flawed. However, it is important to consider the context. The study would likely have not been done if the Fed didn’t feel the need to justify QE2. So, they did have an axe to grind.

Note: I was a supporter of QE2, and took much delight in the squealing of the Chinese, and their globalist fifth column here in the USA.

Ambassador from China Gets a Beating

The former ambassador to China, John Huntsman, who acted more like he was the ambassador from China was kicked out of the Republican presidential primary race today. Voters didn’t buy his “everything is cool with China” line of BS.

Good for them.

But that won’t stop Rick Perry and Rick Santorum from following in Huntsman’s footsteps. Both of those fools are saying that jobs haven’t moved to China because of cheap labor, but rather because of the heavy-handed regulations imposed by Democrats that have chased manufacturing out of the country.

Will that line of BS work any better than Huntsman’s BS? No, it won’t, and both Perry and Santorum know it. You see, that message is not aimed at voters. It is aimed at corporate donors. Translation: “Look at me! I’m protecting your massive sweatshop profits. I’m your boy. Send me money!”

When Americans spend their unemployment checks and food-stamp credits at Walmart, where everything on the shelves is stamped “Made in China”, they know what the problem is. And any politician that tries to convince them otherwise just looks like a damn fool.

Mitt Romney has the hardest line on China, and he is winning. Is that a coincidence? I don’t know, but if it were the decisive issue, the main-stream media would not inform you of the fact. The MSM works to cover up the true nature of globalization on behalf of the plutocracy.

President Obama has done nothing about China. As a matter of fact, he rubber-stamped even more Republican free-trade treaties. So, if offshoring jobs turns out to be a pivotal issue in November, Obama may be vulnerable. What could his defense possibly be? He had four years. He did nothing. He could attack Romney for offshoring jobs at Bain Capital, but that’s small potatoes compared to what has occurred on the national level – Obama’s beat.

Of course, Obama is already taking action with his “in-sourcing” initiative. But will it be too little, too late? After all, in November, everything at Walmart will still say “Made in China”.

CNBC Banned Words

Yesterday’s shameless whitewashing of the Apple sweatshop story made plain what CNBC really is: an infomercial for multinationals.

Banned words:
Global labor arbitrage
Maquiladora
Sweatshop
Sweatshop wages
Project Lean
Saipan
Giant sucking sound
Offshoring
Record immigration
Food stamps

Sometimes these subjects are brought up by guests on CNBC. But then Larry Kudlow immediately begins to shout and changes the subject – just doing his job protecting the romanticized “Gone With the Wind” version of the global economy – putting a happy face on the destruction of the American middle class.

If you pay attention, you will see that whenever the subject of sweatshop wages comes up in the mainstream media, no actual wage numbers will be mentioned. For example, one of the staples of propaganda is the story that goes: “Oh my god! Oh my god! Wages have soared 20% in China! Companies are moving plants back to the USA!” But they never tell you that those wages have gone from $1 per hour to $1.20 per hour. Right? Because if they did that, then people like me would start doing some calculations. See this WSJ article as an example.

Keep up the good work CNBC! America will be in ruins any day now!

The Podcast that Made Apple Sweat

Apple was forced to release its list of suppliers today, and I think a genius named Mike Daisey is responsible. On January 6th, a PBS station aired his podcast about his trip to China to interview sweatshop workers. This spellbinding podcast is an hour long, so make sure you are ready to listen to it all, because once you start, you won’t be able to turn it off. Go to this page and click the red “Play” button.

CNBC tried to spin the news by saying it was a great resource for finding Apple supplier’s to invest in! Not exactly what I would call hard-hitting journalism. They didn’t even use the word “sweatshop” in any of their stories. In CNBC-land, sweatshops are just “facilities”.

While this story is about Apple, it is unfair to single them out. All multinationals are guilty of this. Nevertheless, Apple could be vulnerable. How hard could it be to make an Android tablet in the USA, and market it under a “No Sweat” brand? Could “sweatshop consciousness” be the next “environmental consciousness”? Could the “No Sweat” pad be the next Prius?

Now that would be something.

Zero Hedge Ignores Food Stamp Data – Again

Zero Hedge failed to “report” on the food-stamp data last week. See if you can guess why.

If your guess is that the data did not fit ZH’s “impending Armageddon” thesis, then you get a gold star on your paper. Tell your Mom that I said it was OK. If you’re a girl, you can have some glitter too. Go nuts. If you think that Zero Hedge is trying to give you an objective view of reality so that you may make intelligent investment decisions, then tell your Dad to get the belt because you need some sense beaten into you.

The food-stamp rolls declined by a small number in the latest data. See the third chart on this page. This is only the second month that the rolls have declined since the Great Recession began.

Maybe this is a turning point, maybe not. I don’t know. But what I do know is that within the next two days “Tyler Durden” will write a post sneering at the 43,535 decrease.

Sneering. That’s his thing.

Kudlow Goes Berserk

In the video below, you can see Larry Kudlow go berserk on columnist Tim Carney:

Is Kudlow really a “Man of the People” as he so vociferously proclaims? Not hardly. Sure, Kudlow wrote a column supporting the Keystone Pipeline project because it will create blue-collar jobs, but that was obviously a polemic aimed at President Obama.

The fact is that you can see Kudlow shouting “UNIONS ARE DESTROYING AMERICA” almost every day on CNBC. Never mind that union membership (9%) in the private sector is lower than it has been in 80 years, Kudlow won’t rest until it is 0%.

But that’s not all. Kudlow supports the two pincers that are wrecking blue-collar America: mass immigration, and free-trade with low-wage nations which has sucked thousands of factories out of the USA. Kudlow also defends the yuan-dollar currency peg that Beijing has imposed on the USA, which turbo-charges H. Ross Perot’s “giant sucking sound.”

Those three policies are the very pistons in the Engine of Plutocracy that transfers trillions of dollars from middle-class workers to plutocrats, and have caused poverty to explode across the USA.

This dust-up with Tim Carney began when Kudlow went after Rick Santorum’s proposal to make manufacturing tax-exempt. And Carney certainly has a point about Kudlow opposing tax breaks that benefit the “small people”. However, it’s really a non-issue. When it comes time to do the calculations about how much money will be saved when moving a plant from Iowa to Mexico, taxes are just a rounding error. A 0% tax-rate is nothing when you replace $23 per-hour American workers with $2 per-hour Mexicans.

But when Kudlow was shouting at Santorum on this issue, Santorum came back and said that supporting manufacturing was important for national defense. And Kudlow scoffed. I spent about a half-hour fighting with CNBC.com’s horrible search function, but couldn’t find the video. But make no mistake, Kudlow scoffed at the idea that manufacturing is important for making war. This is ironic when you consider that Kudlow is a raving warmonger, currently campaigning to spend the proceeds of the Iraqi peace dividend on a new war with Iran.

A lot of the blue-collar types that Kudlow claims to champion were killed and maimed in Iraq because we didn’t have the manufacturing capacity to make the special super-strong steel needed to harden Humvees against IEDs. And in the conquest of Libya, our French and British allies couldn’t maintain the tempo because they also lacked manufacturing capacity.

Is it really a good idea to turn over all heavy industry to China and Mexico? Kudlow doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.

Kudlow also claims to be a Reagan Republican, but contrary to his image, Reagan didn’t actually invade any countries (not counting Grenada). And while Reagan entered the White House as a free-trader, that ideology went right out the window when he saw Japanese auto imports wiping out American jobs on a mass scale. (That’s what Pat Buchanan sez, and he was there, as was Kudlow.)

Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986, which put sanctions on employers for hiring illegals. And the 1985 Plaza Accord slapped down the Japanese’s cheap currency, just as we should be doing with the Chinese today, over Kudlow’s protestations.

Kudlow holds anti-Reagan positions on these four top issues: free trade, mass immigration, yuan-dollar policy, and starting wars.

Come on Kudlow! Enough of the BS! It’s time for you to come out of the closet as the raging plutocrat that you really are!

Top Investing Websites – Update #2

Update: The list of top investing websites now has a permanent home on this page. Please go there to see the latest Alexa rankings.

Here is an update to the list of top investing websites as compiled by my Rank-O-Matic app. I have added 19 new sites – denoted with an asterisk after their name. I found a few more, but their Alexa ranks were so low that I decided not to add them. I like having Larry Kudlow as the anchor (ha, ha) of this list. He’s great at SHOUTING ON CNBC!!!, but apparently couldn’t write his way out of a paper bag. Take that Kudlow!

Note: SPYderCrusher debuts with his new site, already above Kudlow.

Note: I outrank The “World Famous” Gartman Letter, of which I am not “subscribed of”.

Note: I have added Niall Ferguson because it pleases me to out-rank famous people. While he is an historian, he does specialize in economic and financial history, so one can make a case for his inclusion.

Kardashian Bashing

Kardashian clothes and shoes are made in sweatshops? Who knew? I’m shocked! Shocked!

But is it really fair to single-out the Kardashians? I mean, this is America after all. Our top national goal is to have as many products made in sweatshops as possible. Why else would we have trade treaties that don’t require minimum-wage laws in exporting countries?

Speaking of which, here are two CNBC bubble-heads, Jane Wells and Carl Quintanilla having a chuckle over California’s proposed anti-sweatshop law (at 2:15 into the video). Wells is outraged and says in an exasperated tone:

“Large retailers have to prove their stuff isn’t made using child slave labor.”

Really Jane? Are you sure that you want to defend child slave labor? I mean, sure, the vast majority of Americans do approve of child slave labor, but most don’t come right out and say it, right?

Goodbye Brock

It turns out that being a freakish human specimen is not enough to survive in the UFC. After a humiliating defeat to Alistair Overeem, Brock Lesnar announced his retirement from mixed-martial arts (MMA) last week.

Not everybody is cut out to be a fighter. After all, not very many people like getting punched in the face. And if you don’t truly love to brawl, the UFC is not the place for you. Even if you are the personification of the Hulk.

Brock Lesnar was a world-class collegiate wrestler, but there is no striking in wrestling. A pure wrestler does not discover how he will react to getting kicked and punched by an elite kick-boxer. Lesnar didn’t seem to like it very much.

But is the love of brawling something that can be learned? I don’t know, but if Lesnar wanted to make a comeback, that’s what he should focus on. He should get training partners like Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar and spar as intensely as possible.

And of course, there are MMA skills, of which wrestling is only but one. Lesnar had only eight MMA fights. He retired a rookie. There is no doubt that he could make vast improvements in his game if he stuck with it. He is only 34 years old, after all, and his diverticulitis is fixed.

When you consider how little MMA experience Lesnar had, it’s astonishing how quickly he became the UFC heavyweight champion. And he had two successful title defenses. That might be the most amazing feat in martial-arts history.

Lesnar looked incredibly nervous as he walked in for the Overeem fight. He knew he was going to lose. Nevertheless, Overeem was bleeding right off the bat. I think Lesnar opened him up with a jab. So, even in defeat, Lesnar showed a spark of brilliance there.

Overeem has 62 MMA and kick-boxing fights – almost eight times the experience as Lesnar. That matters.

I think that if Lesnar wants to rescind his retirement decision, he could have a long and lucrative career in MMA. But the level of competition in the UFC is so high that not even the Hulk can expect it to be easy.