Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Pandas Are "Made in China." So What Are They Doing at the Smithsonian's NATIONAL Zoo in DC?

Is there really any difference between imported Chinese pandas in a Smithsonian museum and imported Chinese souvenirs in a museum gift shop?
Last month Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) summoned the Smithsonian Museum's top officials into his office and demanded they start selling more "Made in the USA" products in Smithsonian museum gift shops.  According to ABC News:

"After the meeting with Sanders, Smithsonian officials said they would sell more American-made souvenirs and promised to devote one gift shop to American-made products. Sanders said, "It's a start." 

However, for some in Congress, it's not good enough.  Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., the top Democrat on the committee that oversees the Smithsonian, said he plans to introduce a bill that would require the Smithsonian to sell only American-made goods."

In February, ABC News featured another news story titled "At Smithsonian, Americana 'Made in China'", and reported that museums and monuments all over the nation's capital are selling gift and souvenirs, including statues of U.S. Presidents, magnets of the Washington Monument, plates, and even a Barack Obama coffee mug, that are made in China.

Don Boudreaux featured this Reason.tv video today about "Bernie Sanders' War on Chinese Bobbleheads." 

MP: Suppose in a momentary lapse into protectionist nitwitery we were to take Rep. Rahall's American-made only legislation for the Smithsonian gift shops seriously. If so, why stop there?  Why not then legislate that all of the displays, contents, artwork, artifacts, and animals at every of the 20 Smithsonian properties be "made in the USA" as well.  And require that all food served at Smithsonian Museum restaurants and cafeterias be "American made" only. In other words, why restrict the "made in the USA" policy to just the gift shop and not the entire museum?

For example, the Smithsonian's African Art Museum features only "traditional and contemporary art from the entire continent of Africa" and would have to be closed for being un-American.  It violates the "made in the USA" policy.  Likewise for the Freer Gallery of Art, which houses one of the "premier collections of Asian art."  Un-American.  The contents of the National Museum of Natural History would have to go through some serious culling of un-American exhibits that include a stuffed African elephant and exhibits of other African wildlife, exhibits on Egypt, an exhibit on Chinese orchids, etc.  Serious violations of the "made in the USA" policy.

And the Smithsonian's National Zoo probably has a higher concentration of foreign animals than any of the Smithsonian museum gift shops have foreign-made Americana.  So we'd have to start by getting rid of the Chinese pandas (pictured above), which should be considered as great a threat to Americans as Chinese-made snow domes, baseball caps and statues of Obama in the Zoo gift shop.  After all, we have brown bears and black bears that are real "American" bears and why shouldn't those be displayed instead of the Chinese pandas?  And then we would replace all of the other foreign animals with patriotic American animals and make it a real NATIONAL Zoo. Right now it's not a "national" zoo at all, it would be more accurate to call it the Smithsonian INTERNATIONAL Zoo, and that's un-American.  

Finally, the restaurants at Smithsonian museums should be forced to serve only food "made in America" - none of that un-American coffee grown in Colombia or foreign bananas from Costa Rica.

Obviously, if that all seems like nonsensical nitwitery, it is. But then so is Bernie Sanders' "War on Chinese Bobbleheads."

25 Comments:

At 4/07/2011 9:15 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I wonder if we could hire foreign mercenaries for less money than we pay U.S.-born soldiers.

What a great way to save U.S. taxpayers money--let's import soldiers! And then export them to foreign wars.

It makes sense if all we fight is foreign wars, then we should get foreigners to fight them. Maybe we could even rent them out to highest bidder, and make a profit on our American Foreign Legion.

The American Foreign Legion--the time has come!

 
At 4/07/2011 10:33 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Benjamin:

We already do that. Many Latino soldiers have earned the right to become citizens by volunteering for the U.S. military.

I seem to recall reading that the number was something like 60,000.

 
At 4/07/2011 11:37 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Many Latino soldiers have earned the right to become citizens by volunteering for the U.S. military."

Imagine that, men and women from another country willing to risk their lives for something that douche bags, like you and "Benji", take for granted. I say we rescind "Benji's" citizenship to make room for a few more of these fine men and women who understand the real value of U.S. citizenship.

 
At 4/08/2011 7:50 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

those pandas are putting deserving american black bears out of work!

stop panda immigration now!

american zoo enclosures for american animals!

 
At 4/08/2011 9:41 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

He needed a little prompting, but credit where credit's due:

"President Obama met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at the White House on Thursday to formally announce a trade deal between the two countries. ..."

"The agreement is also supported by Republicans, who vowed to hold up another trade deal with South Korea unless Obama committed to move forward on the Colombia deal.

"U.S. business supports the agreement, while organized labor opposes it ...

The Hill

 
At 4/08/2011 9:41 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Great news for Sen. Sander's Made in U.S.A. Panda campaign:

Mating season has begun at the Smithsonian National Zoo for Giant Pandas. A Free Trade agreement with China (Giant Pandas only), ensures the Made in USA Giant Pandas will be accepted in China, avoiding complex non-tariff barriers!

BTW, further good news for Sen. Sanders: my pewter souvenir shot "glass" from the Smithsonian is Made in USA (July 2010).

 
At 4/08/2011 10:32 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I would not grant foreign soldiers US citizenship--too likely they will come here to get on the dole.

Better we hire them for a set period--such as 10 years--and then send them home. Their incentive should be pay only, not benefits and pensions.

All pubic pensions are time bombs for tax[ayers, especially military pensions.

 
At 4/08/2011 10:46 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

benji-

that's typical entitled "pull up the drawbridge now that i'm inside" thinking.

i suspect you have nothing at all with which to back up that dole claim.

worse, you would sacrifice the vibrancy than immigration adds to US society and its economy to protect the broken dole system.. that's what needs to be cut.

to block immigration to save a program that has failed as badly as US welfare etc is exactly the wrong way around.

better to slash welfare so we can encourage immigration.

you also seem to be missing a really obvious fact about military service:

citizenship is a big part of the attraction and also a key driver of loyalty.

purely mercenary armies have a way of turning on you or changing sides to the highest bidder.

 
At 4/08/2011 10:51 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"All pubic pensions are time bombs for tax[ayers, especially military pensions"

especially military pensions?

they are for far fewer people and pay much less than most public sector pensions.

i agree that defined benefits pensions are a bad idea, but this idea that military ones are the big problem is baseless.

the math you laid out last time was completely incorrect. whoever produced it has no idea how to do discounted cash flow.

 
At 4/08/2011 2:11 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

[Columbian FTA] ""U.S. business supports the agreement, while organized labor opposes it ..."

What a surprise!

 
At 4/08/2011 2:17 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I would not grant foreign soldiers US citizenship--too likely they will come here to get on the dole."

Are you just trolling today, or are you serious?

Why is that any more likely than for people who are already citizens?

 
At 4/08/2011 2:48 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Morgan Frank-

We are spending $147 billion FY2011 for VA and military pensions, and those numbers are skyrocketing.

I stand by my statement: No public pensions period, military or otherwise. Employees can buy into Social Security. if they wise.

Here is little charming story for, at paxpayers expense.


Retired At 40: How Much Is A Military Pension Worth?

A few weeks ago I was reading an article in Money magazine about a couple who retired at 40. While they do live frugally in relatively low-cost St. Louis, the primary reason they were able to retire is that they each served for 20 years in the military and now receive a pension of $58,500 per year. They will receive this amount, adjusted for inflation, for the rest of their lives! On top of that, they get health coverage forever as well.

Obviously there are some extra issues involved in working in the military. National duty, risk of injury, possibly lower pay, and constant relocation, just to name a few. But let’s just focus on the financial aspects here. I knew military pensions were good, but I didn’t know they started as soon as you retired. I figured they’d kick in at 60 or 65, not right away.

Today I saw the article again and thought to myself… How much is that pension really worth? How much would a civilian job-jumper have to put away to replicate it?

Converting A Pension To A Lump Sum
A pension income is essentially what is provided by an immediate annuity. You pay a lump sum, and in return you get a constant stream of payments for the rest of your life. According to the quote estimates at ImmediateAnnuities.com, a policy that provides $58,500 of lifetime income per year starting at age 40 is worth a million dollars. This is without inflation adjustments, as I couldn’t find an instant quote for that. There are a ton of different options to these annuities, and there are tax implications to boot, so I’m just giving a ballpark number here. (You can estimate your own lump sum number by multiplying your desired income by 17.)

In addition, I can’t even properly estimate how much the lifetime of health insurance is worth, but it has to be worth at least another $100,000-$200,000. The article lists their net worth at about $500,000, but really it is the equivalent of around $1.75 million for someone with no pension. At 40 years old, well done!

 
At 4/08/2011 4:24 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I would not grant foreign soldiers US citizenship--too likely they will come here to get on the dole"...

So how long have you been leeching off the taxpayers pseudo benny?

""The Pandas Are "Made in China." So What Are They Doing at the Smithsonian's NATIONAL Zoo in DC?""...

Wasting tax dollars...

 
At 4/08/2011 5:27 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Buddy

"Great news for Sen. Sander's Made in U.S.A. Panda campaign:"

That IS good news. :-)

Everything we need to know about sanders, is that he's a politician getting a head start on his 2012 election campaign. He's pandering to what he believes is a wide segment of voters.

 
At 4/08/2011 5:32 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The Pandas Are "Made in China." So What Are They Doing at the Smithsonian's NATIONAL Zoo in DC?"..."

Waiting for citizenship papers to process...

Spying...

Showing US pandas how to copulate...

 
At 4/08/2011 6:12 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Juandos, very little, if any, tax dollars are involved in the Giant Panda research. Ten million dollars was raised from private sources to bring the Pandas to Smithsonian Zoo. Donators pay for the $400,000 dollars a year to maintian the research and breeding program. This seems like a great cause.

 
At 4/08/2011 6:45 PM, Blogger juandos said...

So Buddy R are you telling me the Smithsonian Zoo is financed by private bucks?

 
At 4/08/2011 7:46 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

"So Buddy R are you telling me the Smithsonian Zoo is financed by private bucks?

No, but the Giant Panda breeding program appears to be.

 
At 4/08/2011 8:27 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Ten million dollars was raised from private sources to bring the Pandas to Smithsonian Zoo. Donators pay for the $400,000 dollars a year to maintian the research and breeding program. This seems like a great cause."

While I don't doubt the numbers, one has to wonder why it cost so much to get them to the US. They, and several handlers could have flown first class & used limo service for a lot less than that. In fact they could have chartered their own plane for less.

As to the $400k/year, they could stay at my house for that amount, and each could have their own bedroom.

 
At 4/09/2011 5:05 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"No, but the Giant Panda breeding program appears to be"...

I wonder if those 'private bucks' covered the costs for the panda enclosures and related facilities...

Do you have any idea Buddy R?

Just curious...

$10 million... Geez! Bill Gates could've had this program done in his backyard...:-)

 
At 4/09/2011 11:07 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Juandos and Ron H, ok you two, I've had it and will not be "Pandaring" any more on this subject! (<:

 
At 4/09/2011 12:02 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"$10 million... Geez! Bill Gates could've had this program done in his backyard...:-)"

Wow! How many people do you know that own a lakefront property so big that they have to drive to the lake?

 
At 4/10/2011 8:15 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Juandos and Ron H, ok you two, I've had it and will not be "Pandaring" any more on this subject! (<:"...

Just kidding you Buddy R, just kidding...:-)

 
At 4/10/2011 8:18 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"How many people do you know that own a lakefront property so big that they have to drive to the lake"...

Well actually Ron H I do know a guy and his wife who own an island near St. Kitts and one can't even drive there...:-)

 
At 4/10/2011 6:51 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Well actually Ron H I do know a guy and his wife who own an island near St. Kitts and one can't even drive there...:-)"

Are you sure?

 

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