Archive for Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Letter: Price point

November 14, 2012


To the editor:

I recently bought an elegant pair of pants in a Lawrence shop for $39.99. I liked them so much that I put them on without looking where they were made. I checked this on returning home and found they were produced in Swaziland.

This is a small African kingdom in eastern South Africa. According to, about 75 percent of the population works in subsistence agriculture for less than $1.25 per day. Some grow marijuana, which they sell in South Africa. The region has been suffering from a disastrous HIV epidemic and its people have a life expectancy of 32 years.

I wonder how much this pair of pants cost the distributor whose name appears on them as the producer? This is, in fact, a large corporation whose key executives are not accessible to the public, at least not on its home page. Is this the kind of corporation whose tax cuts the GOP wants to preserve?


jafs 1 year, 5 months ago


Things worked quite well economically in the '50's (not socially of course, for women, black folks, etc.). Employers treated employees well, with good benefits, including defined benefit pension plans. People often stayed at a company for a long time. One income could support a family with children, including owning a house. Everybody did well, from the top to the bottom.

Why couldn't that happen now?

CEO salaries have shot from 30-50x average salaries to 300-500x those, for one thing. Employers have cut back on wages and benefits, stagnating the ones in the middle at the same time. Outsourcing has lost tons of jobs to other countries.

Think about it - now it takes two incomes, and even folks with those are struggling, lots of foreclosures, bankruptcies, etc. But, the CEO's are laughing all the way to the bank, and the companies themselves are continuing to make high profits.

Corporate bankruptcy is called "restructuring", and affects the workers, but not those at the top.

Seems pretty clear to me that greed and the maximizing of profits to the exclusion of other concerns is what's caused the decline.


bearded_gnome 1 year, 5 months ago

typical vapid shallow thinking. probably voted for obama thiking he'll make the economy get better too, ROTFL!

actually in world histoy capitalism has lisfted the poor out of poverty more than any other system. not your desired socialism.

here in america, soon to be properly spelled amerika, the poor live very well precisely because of capitalism. it's capitalism that's paid the taxes that built the roads, taught the kids paid th armies, ensured the safe food, etc. etc. etc.

after a while, other people's money runs out, the system collapses. you can't keep raising taxes.

oh and, you want to change things for real Anna, you go to that southeastern african coutry and try to change things. see how far you get.

now under obama our freedoms are being eroded but we're still doing better than they are.


Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 5 months ago

If you all want living wages and U.S.A. made only manufactured products, you better be willing to triple the cost of goods you purchase.


Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 5 months ago


Change the tax laws and what do you think those "elegant" pants will cost you next year?


Blessed4x 1 year, 5 months ago

...and yet this took place under a Democraticly held White House and Senate. I'm quite certain that once you realized all of this, you immediately returned the pants and told the store that you would not be shopping there anymore, right? Right? I'm assuming you didn't just immediately run home in your foreign made car to your house built by a crew of illegals and sit down on your Chinese made chair to fire up your Taiwan made computer to complain on the LJ World forums? RIght? Or did you just stick your new, cute pants in the closet and ponder when you'd be able to wear them on a night out with the girls.


rockchalk1977 1 year, 5 months ago

Ms. Cienciala, maybe you should risk your own capital and start a pants factory right here in the USA. Don't forget to pay your employees a "living wage", offer medical dental and eye care benefits, a matching 401k retirement plan, holiday pay, vacation pay, sick pay and parental leave. In addition, you will have to pay for workman's compensation insurance, unemployment insurance and match social security and medicare payroll tax deductions. Don't forget the EPA, OSHA and the DOL will probably come knocking on your door at some point and fine you for something they feel is illegal. Eventually your employees will want to join a union and demand lifetime healthcare, pensions and set new work rules with 6 breaks per day. Now... how much would you have to charge for that elegant pair of pants to simply break even?


dinoman 1 year, 5 months ago

The real deal is this... we as a nation are a non productive nation. Now before anybody gets riled up, let me clarify that statement. In the twenties thirties and forties, we as a nation could produce almost any item, be it shoes clothes toys appliances cars, almost anything as cheep or as good as any nation or country in the world. When WW2 got finished the economy of a lot of countries suffered. We as a contry started helping out many other countries, by starting factories that could produce day to day items to help their own people. Now fifty years later we as a nation dont produce the day to day items because in our helping other countries, we ceased to help ourselves. They the other countries have prospered and although their workers are paid very little by our standards are well paid or taken care of by there standards. We as a country have nobody to blame but ourselves. They the other countries are just making a better mouse trap and given the opportunity if it was possible we as a country would do the same...And again this entire statement is based on generalities not absolutes.... there are those countries that do not follow this pattern but as a mass they do... Oh and also when you by American Made.. products just how much is actually made entirely in the good old USA and just how much is Assembled in the USA and how much is made by a US company in a foreign country.... Thats The Real Picture. thx


beatrice 1 year, 5 months ago

Actually, it raises a resonable question, despite the build up. Is this the type of company for which the GOP wants to provide tax breaks?

People may not like the rest of the observation, but the question itself is one worth asking. Are we better off when we give big tax breaks to companies that manufacture goods outside of our country? Is it the type of thing Democrats in office also support? It doesn't have to be pointedly against the GOP.


Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 5 months ago

This is an excellent letter and one that should sear the conscience of any decent person. Those who live in the shelter are very, very lucky compared to how some have to live. Do some serious research into countries where there are no "entitlements" and take a hard look at how those people live. Believe me I am grateful for everything I have and know that it is a blessing that there are people who are kind and will help others in need. The world is a big place and the US cannot change conditions in other countries. Is it too much to ask that Americans educate themselves and at least have some awareness of what is going on?


FlintlockRifle 1 year, 5 months ago

Anna, did you get your full refund back when you took them back to the store????


skinny 1 year, 5 months ago

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

You know what is odd?

They do not have a WELFARE system in Japan! Becuase they all go to school and work!!


Abdu Omar 1 year, 5 months ago

Yes. The Republicans are looking at changing their ways, but the protection of rich, white men will be hard to break.


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