FrankUSA comments

Posted in: Fixing American 'dumbocracy' See in context

It's sad that I have to come to JT to read this commentary. Searching the web shows that no well-known American news outlets picked up on this. This very same topic has been discussed countless times in America, except it's only done in Policy circles. The discussions I have witness seem to come to similar conclusions, albeit less blunt. Unfortunately most do not believe there is a solution. Add in today's 15-sec flashpoint sensationalizing media, there is not much hope for change any time soon. Thank goodness that you (the commenters) are proving that there is still intelligent discussions out there. Unlike the average American, you are reading information not spoon-fed by the biased and hyped up American media. Good for you.

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Posted in: China overtakes Japan in 2nd quarter as world's No. 2 economy See in context

Wow, I thought this thread has died down. But it's livier than ever.

There is not much to glow here for the Chinese. $5.4 trillion GDP estimates for the year only amongst to 10% of Japan's on a per capita basis. However the China bashing isn't realistic either. When you have that much GDP it means a lot of people are depending on China to make a living, including many Japanese and Americans. If China tanks, it would hurt the world over. The hyped 2012 apocalyse may not be that far off if that happens.

@sfjp330 - US trade protectionism is possible, but it would not only hurt China, but the US as well. China is not as vulnerable to trade as most would believe. Read the Economist's Jan 2008 issue in the link below and you would know what I mean. As for currency adjustment, China has learned the lesson from Japan. After Japan was forced by America and the Europeans to appreciate its currency in the 80s/90s, Japan's economy hasn't been the same. The Chinese studies history pretty closely. I am not holding my breath for it to go free floating anytime in the next 2 years. Otherwise I would be all in Chinese yuan. As for inflation, it happens quite a bit, especially in food. With the wealth gap between the rich and poor so substantial, the government is really caught in a rock and hard place. Allowing substantial inflation would mean a lot of unhappy poor and pensioners. The CCP right now is all about stability. It's highly unlikely that they are going to let this get out of hand.

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~kathrynd/ChinaExports.Jan08.pdf

As for those who think China will fall soon, it is not impossible, but in my opinion the chance is smaller today than it was last year. By some estimates 30% of housing are speculative investments. The latest government policies seems to have contolled the prices somewhat as the developers are now moving into the second tier cities instead. People forget how big China is. The second tier cities' prices are only 30-50% of those in large cities. With the new high speed trains it takes may be 35 -40 minutes to go from Shanghai to a neighboring city. Better commute than many in America or Japan. Another thing is that renting is so much cheaper than buying. It costs around $200 USD a month for a $100k apartment (small one in a middle class Shanghai neighborhood). So many of those investments become rentals to take pressure off the housing shortages (make no mistake, there are a lot of shortage in the big cities as the Chinese likes to own properties). Therefore, although the housing bubble is not out of the question, it's not looking as dire as it was last year. As for labor unrest, foxconn recently moved a majority of its operations inland. 1.3 billion people, they can find some place where labor is malleable. This advantage will last for at least another 20 years before the one child policy starting to really hurt. I expect other manufacturers to follow and this would promote the development of the much poor inland areas. I always wondered where the next wave of growth for China would be. I believe this is it.

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Posted in: American Airlines to charge for front-row seats See in context

Although I hate the new fee centric approaches by the airlines, I am resigned to the fact that the industry has come into the realization that this is the only way to make money. If one does a little research he will find that the Airline industry is one of the very few industries that have negative rates of return over the entire history of the industry and are still around. Which means although some years they make money, but they lose more in other years. I chuckle every time someone starts a new airline because they have a 'new' model of delivery. Since we all need airlines I am resigned to paying a little more for better service.

Also, like someone said before me, I would choose Asian airlines over American ones any day. The senority rule system in the American airline industry has degraded service to the lowest level possible. I once was woken up by the oversized butt of the head flight attendent over a transpacific flight. Her girth was wider than the isle. I was just flabbergasted at the sight. I can't imagine the Asian flight attendants would have this problem. ;)

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Posted in: China overtakes Japan in 2nd quarter as world's No. 2 economy See in context

@ neogreenjapan - "Japan has a higher standard of living than USA. And unlike USA, Japan is not bankrupt. United States has a $127 trillion debt which is close to 10 times their $14 trillion GDP."

You may want to recheck that number. It's $13.3 trillion USD at the moment and that's large enough! It's a terrible number for the average US citizen to bear, but it's still at around 100% of GDP while Japan is at 200% GDP. Just to be clear I am not proud of this number (ONLY 100% of GDP) at all -- it's an indication how poorly my country is being managed. But 200% is just mind blowing.

I for one hope China has a $100 trillion GDP so everyone can sell products to the consumers and make lots of $. Then we can all pay our debts down!

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Posted in: White House: U.S. on track to end Iraq combat role on Aug 31 See in context

@ medievaltimes - Anybody know the monetary cost of the Iraq war?

The direct cost of the Iraq + Afhan war is currently running at 1 trillion USD and counting. Aproximate 700 billion for Iraq. The current best esimate is that the 2 wars will eventually cost the taxpaers 1.5 trillion. Including indirect costs, more respected estimates say it would be 3 trillion or more. As a taxpayer I can only say this feels like going in for a prostate exam and the doctor says bend over...except this is done by the politicians with much fatter fingers instead of the doctor.

I am not sure I can pay much more, but judging by the comments in some U.S. news forums my fellow Americans love to pay the bills for more weapons and more wars. I sure hope they make more than I do and pay more taxes than I do. Somehow I doubt it though.

The following is a link to a war cost counter. And there are plenty of national deficit counters out there too. One is attached.

http://costofwar.com/ http://www.usdebtclock.org/

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