March 24, 2009

The Complexity Bubble:
It Keeps Growing and Growing...

Live free or die, my ***:
Ban on Feet-Nibbling Fish Leaves Nail Salons on the Hook
Mr. Ho's Import From China Caught On, But Some State Pedicure Inspectors Object
The U.S. Agency for International Development distributes condoms overseas. It is switching from American-made condoms to offshore ones:
"Of course, we considered how many U.S. jobs would be affected by this move,” said a USAID official who spoke on the condition that he would not be named. But he said the reasons for the change included lower prices (2 cents versus more than 5 cents for U.S.-made condoms) and the fact that Congress dropped “buy American language” in a recent appropriations bill.
I'm all for free trade, but I wonder why Congress dropped the buy American language during a serious recession[1].
[1] Note the scare headline: "U.S. to buy Chinese condoms, ending Alabama jobs." In the text:
In a move expected to cost 300 American jobs, the government is switching to cheaper off-shore condoms, including some made in China. [emphasis mine]
In fairness, there's this from the USAID spokesman:
Besides, he said, the sole U.S. supplier — an Alabama company called Alatech — had previous delivery problems under the program. (p)It's clear that Alatech's problems over the years, which apparently have been resolved, may have driven U.S. officials to seek much less expensive foreign-made condoms in the first place.

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