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Archive for January, 2010

I was thinking about what the US government could do to protect further erosion of and improve American industry.  I dislike tariffs on some accounts because they are antagonistic, may violate WTO agreements, and may backfire against use with counter-tariffs.  I came up with what I think may be a better idea.

I recently read a blog post that Walmart in China boasts that it sources 95% of its goods sold in its Chinese stores locally.  Well isn’t that swell?  They should even boast to their Chinese buddies that they source 95% of their American stores’ products from China as well!  This got me thinking…  How about legislating a requirement for all retailers in the US that they carry a minimum percentage of inventory that is made in USA.  It could be phased in to give retailers and manufacturers time to adjust.  It would also be an immediate boost to American manufacturers.  We would see an immediate benefit to our economy.

I’m not sure what the right percentage is.  50%?  40%?  Would it be on total value of inventory or total number of items?  Should certain retailers be exempt (probably not).   I would take issue with anyone suggesting that stores that specialize in imported goods be exempt, such as Gucci.  Who cares about them anyway?  All they are is a trade deficit funnel!  I wouldn’t worry about that.  The details could be worked out and I don’t have the conceit that I know exactly what is best, but I do believe in the concept.  I’ve called both my senators about it already.

What do you all think?  Please weigh in!

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I just bought a Ford Focus SE ’08.  It was used, had 25,000 miles on it and was listed on Yahoo Autos for $10000.  I researched in advance and found that the Focus is currently assembled in Michigan.  It was also a great value since it has a great sound system and has Sync which lets you use your car audio as a bluetooth phone, as well as controlling your ipod/iphone through the car’s controls.  So it’s pretty cool.

The other reason I got it was because I wanted to buy a car rather than finance it for a change.  When you finance a car, you pay lots of interest (unless you get 0% interest) to the bank.  The bank owns your car, not you, until you pay it off.  Leasing can be even worse.  It was a great feeling to just write a check and walk away with the car.  I think that this recession has taught us that we carry too much consumer debt.  It felt good to decrease mine.  Adam Smith says in Wealth of Nations, that the purpose of lines of credit is to provide merchants with ready money to answer occasional demands for payment.  Rather than keeping a part of their capital in cash, merchants can use the line of credit as a back-up to allow themselves to use all of their capital as circulating capital.  He goes on to say that banks should never finance the lion’s share of any project, as they will be left holding the bag by unscrupulous or incompetent financial adventurers.   Hmmm, sound familiar, doesn’t it?  But I digress…

I’ve been driving the car for a couple of weeks, and I’m quite pleased!

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fe/2008_Ford_Focus_SE_sedan.jpg

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We just ordered a sofa from the Sofa Company (thesofaco.com). They have several stores in the LA area and specialize in customizable sofas, made to order. I had shopped online first (on google shopping, with the keywords “made in usa sofa sleeper”) and the prices ranged from $600 on the low end to $1200 and up. However, except at the high end, there were few options. Shipping was also extra and could be quite pricey. We had bought a sofa from the Sofa Company several years ago and it had held up well, so we decided to check them out again.

They have a spacious showroom and the selection of styles, materials and dimensions was endless. We decided on a sofa sleeper pictured below.With the special blue-beige fabric, faux-down cushions, sleeper, extra pillows, tax, and delivery, it came to roughly $1450.  Considering the quality of construction, all-USA-made materials and construction, and the excellent styling, we were satisfied with the price.  Sure, you could get some Chinese-made couch for $500 and it will be made of worse materials, will possibly have toxic chemicals, will help the Chinese people but not ours, and we would have no recourse if there were a defect with it.  The couch comes with a 1 year warranty, but you can buy a lifetime one for only $29 more.  I’ll post an update when we get the couch delivered!

Update:

We’ve had the couch for several months now and are very pleased with the quality and design.  So far, so good!

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