The Rich Get Richer, While All of Us Ingest More Lead: Globalization, Lack of Regulation, and the Race to the Bottom

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More evidence of our sloppy handling of globalization without concerted efforts at orchestrating international safety standards (yes, that would probably count as “regulation,” and it would cost some upfront money, but ultimately it could save lots of money in terms of health costs, greater trust in international trade, etc).

90,000 more Chinese-made toys recalled due to lead content

High levels of lead found in many popular, brand-name lipstick products

There is a limit to which you can cut costs without endangering human health and product safety standards.

Meanwhile, the richest 1% of US earners earned 21.2% of all income, higher than during the last tech boom, and the largest percentage since the 1920s. See these articles from the WSJ and Reuters via Yahoo:

Income-Inequality Gap Widens

Inequality’s Roots: Wall Street, Not Board Rooms

IRS says rich getting richer: report

Carelessness, cutting corners, and fighting regulations and outsourcing to companies in other countries with low safety and health standards in order to make quick profits puts money into the top 1%’s pockets while poisoning the rest of us with lead. Priceless (for the top 1%)! YAY!!!

If only the US gov’t weren’t so afraid of diplomacy and so distrustful of international bodies like the U.N. I mean, we should probably get in the game more in terms of diplomacy, especially with the EU gearing up in order to be a major consolidated economic power in competition with the U.S.

Here’s one economist’s (Dani Rodrik’s) vision of “a progressive trade agenda

Also see “Bush Vows Push On Trade, Chides Boards on Pay” which discusses US citizens’, (including some Republican Party members’) wavering views on globalization, and outlines some stunning statements from President Bush:

“We have lost our confidence in the ability to compete internationally.” Mr. Bush pledged to turn the situation around.

In yesterday’s interview, Mr. Bush said that some executive compensation is excessive, and that some corporate boards fail to ensure that shareholders know how company funds are being spent. Those practices, he said, can give rise to feelings the economy isn’t working fairly for all Americans. “Do I think some of the salaries are excessive at the top? I do,” the president said…

Excessive executive compensation “just sends a signal of unfairness, and people in America want…fairness,” Mr. Bush said, adding that he has raised the issue with both Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox.

 

I would start by increasing the US’s competitiveness by dropping federal financial aid loan rates drastically instead of shipping money off to Iraq, and making up for that loss of revenue by cutting down on certain tax cuts to .05% highest income earners.

I’d wager that more education for US students will do more for the economy than that one extra private island for the super-rich, but the super-rich would recoup anyway, this could end up resulting in profits that would make up for any tax cuts lost–a better educated and a more skillful US workforce would present great benefits that the super-rich would be able to take advantage of.

It’s not really rocket science, now is it?  Like Google–they have hugely high hiring standards and a highly educated workforce and they’re worth more than IBM, Coke, or Disney, somewhere around $180 billion or something?  They have all that brainpower, and they’re practically printing money themselves.  That’s a testament to having a highly educated workforce.

Today’s global competitiveness depends more on college-and-graduate school level education, at the very least continuing education throughout workers’ lifetimes, than in previous generations, when hardly anyone even got a BA…or at least better, more globally competitive education.

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