It seems like it was only just yesterday that I was predicting that everybody would be protectionists soon, and then Jon Stewart brought up the subject to Warren Buffet on Tuesday (11/27/2012).
Earlier in the show (at 2:17 here), Stewart did a piece on the horrific sweatshop fire in Bangladesh. So, that’s why it was on his mind when he was interviewing Buffet. At 3:45 into the video below, Stewart says:
“This idea that, because in Bangladesh and China they accept working conditions that Americans would not consider optimal that you can’t ask for anything anymore because, hey man, we’ll just send our stuff over there. And I understand that but there has to be some sense of domestic policy that keeps that in there. Yes?”
In case you can’t decipher Stewart’s mumbling, he was asking Buffet if we should adopt protectionist policies to prevent offshoring and global labor arbitrage. Buffet didn’t say anything in response, but he did nod and grunt in ascent. So, did Warren Buffett endorse protectionism? Take a look:
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Warren Buffett & Carol Loomis Pt. 2|
I think he did, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Buffet to do anything. The fact is that our vast Asian gulag “supply chain” isn’t going anywhere until another Abraham Lincoln comes along and smashes it. How would he stop young Asian girls from being locked into burning sweatshops? First, you slap on a tariff high enough to bring the factories back to the USA. Then you unionize them, and enforce workplace safety laws. Problem solved. Again. We actually already did that back in the 1930s.
Will Buffett ever go back on Stewart’s show? Maybe not. I doubt if he appreciates being hit with that question. After all, the first thing they teach you in Main Stream Media school is that one does not raise the topic of sweatshops in polite company. I guess Jon Stewart missed that class. Good for him.