What gets cashed in (or robbed) for that debt if we default on some global IOU?[/quote]
While I don't espouse off shoring manufacturing, please know the difference between a "trade deficit" and a "debt". The former is simply a number reflecting the difference in dollars into the country verses out on products. Ie, China ships us more than we ship to them---in products that is. We ship them more US dollars---they ships us less Chinese Yen. I personnaly don't get off on trade deficits. I believe they are more about politics and something to measure and show your side (Elephant or Donkey) is doing something better or worse than the other side.
Devil's advocate: Why the racism with forign companies? If you purchase German skis from Germans and the same ski (assuming it is just as good or better which it will likely be because the cheaper labor costs can be used for better engineering, materials and some profit taking) from Chinese, what is the difference to the American economy? You are not buying American any way you look at it.
The way I look at this....more Americans are making more dollars on these German/Chinese skis than the Germans/Chinese are making on them. Just look at your proform on this ski. I have been to many a ski shop were Volkl 5 stars were sold out of the rack by January at $1100 a pr. Some instructors got them proform for under 700.00. Looks like everyone is winning. With China making them, I might get my new pair for less.
It is the same people who cry "buy American" or "protect my union job", "salary" "medical benefits" "etc" that are filling up the parking lots at Walmart. "Buy American" also starts in your mountain's cafeteria---it costs a lot to run a mountain, food sales help cover these costs. To me, if you pack a lunch or complain about high food prices at yours---its just like shopping at Walmart. Expect the best but want to pay the least.
Personal note: I pack my lunch some days and pay higher prices others...I guess I sit on the fence, but I alway buy my beer at the mountain bar. Even though it is $2.00 a pt cheaper 4 miles down the road. No discount either
Here is an idea---next time someone wants to give you a discount on a pair of American made skis---say NO and pay full price. The idea is we need to pay as much as we can afford in order to keep that American/German etc. ski company in business in their homeland. I also think we should check gas prices around all the countries in the world and pay the gas attendant the highest amount. This way, gas prices will go up, more US companies will find it profitable to drill in US lands for US oil and we can all use US oil in our US made cars. Oops---we don't want companies drilling for oil in US forest land. Lets let the Mid-East ruin their wetlands/deserts/forests.
I am off my soap box, I guess we all have a different level of when we should and should not import goods.