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Friday, June 20, 2008

Protectionism Only Protects Politicians

It is hard to understand why Western nations seem so reluctant to let the money they spend in foreign nations flow back into their countries. These efforts are foolish and short-sighted at best. At worst they could increase the already massive economic meltdown and exodus of major business operations in so-called rich nations.

One must only wonder what the hidden reasons are for this new wave of protectionism.

Stodgy German politicians are once again worried about foreigners meddling in Germany's business activity. Maybe this is because many years ago Germany decided to sell the government agency that prints their money, passports, and identification cards. That agency was known as the Bundesdruckerei.

Not long after that sale, the new German money printers went bankrupt. That would be the equivalent of the U.S. government selling the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and then watching the new dollar printers go bankrupt. Considering the outrageous amount of U.S. debt carried by individuals, federal, and state governments, this too shall probably come to pass.

U.S. Capitol 19914

U.S. Congress blocked the purchase of U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World in 2006. However they recently looked the other way when Middle Eastern funds came to the rescue of Citigroup earlier this year. Australian investors bought the rights to operate the Pennsylvania Turnpike just a month ago.

Politicians must have other motives than national security for blocking foreign takeovers.

For more than a decade politicians seemed unconcerned about who owned any organization, anywhere. Years ago the U.S. government sold the U.S. Enrichment Agency to Lockheed Corporation. U.S. Enrichment Corp. controls the flow of plutonium to nuclear reactors all over the world. So far that sale seems to have turned out OK. God knows what a mistake there would cause.

Maybe the U.S. government should privatize the security and transport of U.S. nuclear weapons. The Air Force and Pentagon appear unable to safely do that or any other important job. The nose cones of some weapons ended up in Taiwan while the actual warheads themselves ended up getting flown around the country by mistake. Military officials recently admitted they really have no idea where many critical nuclear weapons parts are or where they may have been.

WalMart does a better job of keeping track of the toilet paper it sells.

In the end governments all over the world will discover they cannot function without the knowledge and money of private firms worldwide. Private prisons, schools, roads, and airports represent just the beginning of this activity. Private armies like Blackwater already replace the functions of government troops in many strategic places.

The Jolly Flatboatmen 19774

Politicians in Germany, the U.S., and other places should take a step back and look at the bigger picture. They must allow money that has left their citizen's pockets and flowed into Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) in China, the Middle East, Norway, and other places to wash back onto their shores. There simply are few other sources of wealth that large available to patch up the mistakes of corrupt politicians and their cronies everywhere. Politicians are probably more worried about who will be left to buy them lunch or provide their campaigns with money in exchange for votes.

Links:

Financial Times article
Washington Post article
U.S. Enrichment Corp.
WalMart Logistics

Note: The author currently holds no investments in any of the publicly-traded firms mentioned in this article.

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