Dollar or Sense?

Time magazine, in an article about the growing success of dollar stores (“The Buck Stops Here,” Dec.20, 2010) makes it clear that everyone loves a bargain. But there is a hidden cost that few Americans think about. How is it we can buy so much that only costs a dollar? Because so many of our manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas—largely because of free trade and corporate tax benefits—to places where workers struggle with miniscule wages and lax labor and environmental laws.

With our jobs disappearing and wages declining, Americans are understandably attracted to cheap prices. But it’s a vicious cycle. Unless we make some  major changes in our laws to keep jobs here and our wages stable, those dollar price tags will become even more enticing. Consumers will continue to seek the cheapest prices, while businesses will continue looking for the cheapest wages. It’s a race to the bottom and most of us will be losers. Those cheap Dollar Store and Walmart prices cost a lot more than the typical shopper realizes.


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2 Responses to Dollar or Sense?

  1. Hugo N. Gerstl says:

    Kudos to Arlen Grossman!

    I have followed Mr. Grossman’s rational, articulate comments, both a a columnist and letter writer, for several years. Contrary to most pundits on both sides of the aisle – or on both sides of a question – Mr. Grossman gets you to think – particularly about the implications above the hyperbole and below the surface. He is a serious – and welcome – antidote to the FoxNews types – credible, competent, and, unlike the “smarties” who denigrate conservatives – Stephanie Miller, Bill Maher, Rachel what’s-her-name, and the like – Grossman speaks quietly – and carries a thinking person’s “big stick.”
    Hugo N. Gerstl, Carmel, California

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