Publisher's Note: This article originally appeared in the Beaufort Observer.
Does Wal-Mart know something our EDC/Committee of 100 doesn't know?
In a completely unscientific survey recently we learned this: Most people do not understand the implications of the relative value of the American dollar compared to other international currencies. We found only one person who understood what the current Euro crisis means to the United States and what the significance of the Chinese yuan's value has for people in Beaufort County. So we set out to correct that.
We found an article by Mark Perry in the American that we feel does as good a job explaining this issue in ordinary, every day terms as we have found. Click here
to read the article.
Now, what effect does this have on Beaufort County?
Well, obviously it has an impact on how much we pay for clothes and other items at Wal-Mart, or Pecheles Toyota. But what many do not understand is that the business model will determine how wise a decision being considered by the Beaufort County Commissioners call "Project Treehouse"
will ultimately be. In that crony capitalism deal a majority of our Commissioners propose to give away $90,000, along with the City of Washington doing the same with $45,000 to try to keep about 90 textile jobs here in Beaufort County.
The reason these two stories turn on each other is simple: The chance of success of any textile venture in Beaufort County is directly related to the value of the Chinese Yuan and American trade policy. That will determine whether to "jobs" here in Beaufort County can compete with the same products that could be imported from China (or South Korea, or Vietnam for that matter).
And as the article raises, the question remains: Do we really want to save these jobs? Or would we rather be able to buy a knit shirt at Wal-Mart for $12 rather than $29.95?
And moreover, are we going to stand by and let our County Commissioners and City Council gamble $135,000 of our money voting against the Wal-Mart business model? Or to put it more precisely, how smart is it for the County Commissioners and Washington City Council to bet $90K and $45K respectively of our money on a business model that has made Wal-Mart the largest retail company in the world? Is this not like them using our money to bet on a 10 year-old lame race horse against the winner of the Kentucky Derby?
Think about it.