Bruce Vandiver’s view of how the U.S. economy works (Your Views, Wednesday) is too limited. We are involved all over the world because we need foreign markets in which to sell our goods. In spring 2011, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was on cable news saying that we need to export 95 percent of what we produce in this country in order to maintain our economy.
This need to invest abroad is evidenced in a recent headline in The Wall Street Journal, “The Final Frontier: Firms flock to newly opened Myanmar” (Nov. 12). Just three examples of the many things that we sell abroad are KFC, cars and porn (the U.S. is the largest exporter of porn in the world, according to a 2009 BBC documentary). The sale of these products abroad supports our lifestyles at home: lattes, ballgames, Thanksgiving dinners, etc.
Without these foreign markets, there would not be sufficient funds to finance much of this or the “army of government doctors and nurses” who inhabit Vandiver’s ideal world. And who says that doctors and nurses necessarily want to work for the government?
It appears that Vandiver believes in a top-down, government-managed economy, rather than a free market economy in which producers and consumers work out the valuation of goods and services among themselves. Health care and education are two examples of institutions in which costs have skyrocketed because of extensive involvement on the part of the federal government.
As a Republican, I am neither throwing a tantrum nor pointing fingers. I am trying to think things through. As a Christian, I am concerned not only about some of what we sell abroad, but also the fact that we have not cared what kind of oppression exists in the countries where we sell our goods and services. It appears that all that has mattered to us is that we are able to establish markets abroad.
So, the fingers appear to be pointing at us, U.S. citizens, and the treasure garnered abroad which supplies the companies that pay the salaries that support our lifestyles.
One of the many lessons contained in the story of the garden of Eden is that we human beings cannot be in the real world and be innocent at the same time. The Apostle Paul said it best, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).”
This is the common ground on which all of us, left and right, stand.