retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting piece by columnist Jerry Heaster in the Kansas City Star suggesting that the nation's long-term financial problems may be caused by "economic hypocrisy" - Americans who buy inexpensive foreign products, then complain that jobs are moving overseas.

Prosperity, he suggests, is a "myth fueled by America's mass self-delusion that you can live life on the cheap and still enjoy a well-paying job."

Heaster writes, "Companies downsize and do everything possible to restrain labor costs because it accomplishes two goals: One, it helps in the eternal quest to keep product and service prices as low as possible at retail and thus remain competitive; two, if restraining outgo enhances income, the corporate stock price is bid up by investors who like the improving profits picture.

As we all know, there are two things Americans prize above all else: low consumer prices and high stock prices. Americans, however, also like high wages and salaries, which is an end often at odds with low consumer prices and high stock prices."

There is, Heaster writes, one basic question: "Do Americans sincerely believe they can forever immunize themselves from the consequences of a low price world they've created?"
KC's View:
Americans may believe it.

But they're wrong.