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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :
Trade Deficit
by Peary Perry

"Yesterday, the newspapers announced that the US had another record-breaking trade deficit for the previous year. If I recall correctly, we as a nation, purchased something like 600 billion dollars worth of items from other countries in 2004. As I understand it, this means these goods were manufactured in some other country and shipped to us here in the States."
Peary Perry
To: US Government
Re: Prevention of Coastal Erosion



Sirs:
This is to advise you that from time to time, often I am able to dream about ways to improve our country and itís citizens. I realize that I am not a member of any established institute of higher learning or some exclusive think tank, but I still feel my theories are valid and do need to be considered. I do not charge for these pearls of wisdom as I feel this is my duty as an American and that we all should give something back to our great nation.

Last night I had one of these insightful dreams or inspiration occurrences. Please pay attention from this point onward. This is very important.

Yesterday, the newspapers announced that the US had another record-breaking trade deficit for the previous year. If I recall correctly, we as a nation, purchased something like 600 billion dollars worth of items from other countries in 2004. As I understand it, this means these goods were manufactured in some other country and shipped to us here in the States.

Now, listen to me closely, letís assume the entire country is a big bucket surrounded by water. If I continue to pile things into this bucket, it is eventually going to sink lower and lower until finally it is even with the surrounding water and will be flooded at some point in time. Perhaps a big piece of carpet is a better example, you choose, whatever visualization method makes the most sense to you. Bear in mind that we are buying heavy things with these 600 billion dollars and then moving them from one part of our planet to the part where we live.

Visualize Japan and China getting lighter and the United States getting heavier.

Anyway, I think it is fairly obvious that if we keep importing foreign goods into this country, year after year, and adding all of that weight to our fragile landmass, it is only natural that we will ultimately sink further into the sea. This will force the entire population of the country to move to places such as Denver or Idaho. They have the space there to fit us all in, but from what Iíve read they wouldnít be too happy about having 250 million of us moving there at one time. Perhaps we could space it out over a number of years so it wouldnít be so bad. However, Iím not sure they have that many houses or Starbucks to serve our needs. They might need a few more Laundromats as well.

I ask you to recall your basic physics classes and remember that energy never goes away or mass never dies or something along those lines. This means that the total weight of other nations could eventually be shifted onto our borders and where do you think that will leave us? I donít have the answer for this since I failed most of my physics classes, but I have sent this question off to some folks at Harvard and expect an answer shortly. Once they realize the seriousness of this situation Iím certain they will want to fly me to their institution for some sort of consulting contract.

Obesity of our fellow Americans is one thing, but adding more weight to our sensitive environment due to overzealous consumerism is another story altogether. Iím surprised some of the environmental activists groups havenít seen this glaring and obvious problem.

With our shorelines receding year after year at alarming rates, I feel it is time we look at this as soon as possible. I think most of you will agree with me that unless something is done to stop this harmful practice we could all be shopping for apartments or home sites in Boise.

I feel the real story behind this is buried in national politics and this is the real reason we have not heard anything on this issue from either the Republicans or the Democrats. They just donít want to discuss this potential disaster. Reforming social security is one thing, but telling the American public they canít have a plasma television made in Japan is entirely different. Itís time the leaders of this country stood up and investigated the impending crisis before itís too late. We as a people need to realize that our continued purchases of automobiles, televisions, DVD players and toaster ovens is bad for our economy as well as being bad for those living along our nations coast line.

As I develop more scientific data on this I will keep you posted.


© Peary Perry
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com
Letters From North America
- March 23 , 2005 column
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