The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

by winemama

What are your thoughts on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Both Donald Trump and Hilary appear to be against it.

TPP: What is it and why does it matter?

“It involves 12 countries: the US, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru.

The pact aims to deepen economic ties between these nations, slashing tariffs and fostering trade to boost growth.

Member countries are also hoping to foster a closer relationship on economic policies and regulation.

The agreement could create a new single market something like that of the EU.”


Trans-Pacific Partnership Supporters Pin Hopes on Lame-Duck Vote

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93 thoughts on “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

  1. Well, talking completely through my hat here, I guess I’ve drunk enough of the Economist Kool-Aid that I think free trade is good overall. But if we’ve learned anything from the Brexit vote and the popularity of Donald Trump, we need to listen to the working class people who have lost so much and are rising up. We need protections of some kind for our workers. We can’t keep saying, “Oh well, too bad you didn’t go to MIT and major in electrical engineering.”

  2. I tend to agree with RMS, including the talking through my hat part. My employer has off-shored core middle-class jobs in finance, accounting, and IT to some of the countries listed. I resent it, think the quality of work is much poorer and feel tremendous empathy for my co-workers who were affected. BUT, I do not think all of their jobs would still be here if the company had not decided to offshore. In order for a company to continue as a going concern it has to be able to compete on costs with similar companies based in lower wage countries. If they had stubbornly stuck to the prior structure, the company would surely have gone under. Many more of us would be out of work. So I don’t know what the right answer is, but it seems to me that the horse is already out of the barn.

  3. In order for a company to continue as a going concern it has to be able to compete on costs with similar companies based in lower wage countries.

    Trump would argue that we should add 45% tarrffs on goods (and services?) so the company doesn’t have to compete on cost against those based in low wage countries.

  4. Agree with RMS and MBT.

    Somehow, in all my years of reading about cars, I had never learned about the “chicken tax” until it came up in a discussion this weekend. No wonder the domestic automakers are so good at selling pickups:

    The chicken tax is a 25% tariff on potato starch, dextrin, brandy, and light trucks imposed in 1963 by the United States under President Lyndon B. Johnson in response to tariffs placed by France and West Germany on importation of U.S. chicken.

    And then in a 21st Century globalized twist of irony:

    As an unintended consequence several importers of light trucks have circumvented the tariff via loopholes—including Ford (ostensibly a company that the tax was designed to protect), which imports the Transit Connect light trucks as “passenger vehicles” to the U.S. from Turkey and immediately strips and shreds portions of their interiors, such as installed rear seats, in a warehouse outside Baltimore.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_tax

    More interesting reading in how it does keep (and even import) manufacturing in the U.S.:

    The U.S. Customs Service changed vehicle classifications in 1989, automatically relegating two-door SUVs to light truck status.[4] Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Suzuki (through a joint venture with GM), and Honda Motor Co. eventually built assembly plants in the U.S. and Canada in response to the tariff.[1]

    From 2001 to 2006, cargo van versions of the Mercedes and Dodge Sprinter were manufactured in assembly kit form in Düsseldorf, Germany, and shipped to a factory in Gaffney, South Carolina, for final assembly with a proportion of locally sourced parts complementing the imported components.[17] The cargo versions would have been subject to the tax if imported as complete units, thus the importation in knocked-down (KD) kit form for US assembly.[18]

    Ford imported all of its first generation Transit Connect models as passenger vehicles by including rear windows, rear seats, and rear seatbelts.[1] The vehicles are exported from Turkey on cargo ships owned by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL), arrive in Baltimore, and are converted back into light trucks at WWL’s Vehicle Services Americas Inc. facility by replacing rear windows with metal panels and removing the rear seats and seatbelts.[1] The removed parts are not shipped back to Turkey for reuse, but shredded and recycled in Ohio.[1] The process exploits the loophole in the customs definition of a light truck: as cargo does not need seats with seat belts or rear windows, presence of those items automatically qualifies the vehicle as a passenger vehicle and exempts the vehicle from light truck status. The process costs Ford hundreds of dollars per van but saves thousands in taxes.[1] Chrysler has announced it will introduce the Ram ProMaster City, an Americanised version of the Fiat Doblò, in 2015 — building the vehicle at the Tofaş plant in Turkey, importing only passenger configurations and subsequently converting cargo configurations.[19]

    In 2009, Mahindra & Mahindra Limited announced it would export pickup trucks from India in complete knock-down (CKD) kit form, again to circumvent the chicken tax.[5] CKDs are complete vehicles that can be assembled in the U.S. from kits of parts shipped in crates.[5][20] The export plans were later cancelled.

    Light trucks manufactured in Mexico and Canada, such as the Ram series of trucks manufactured in Saltillo, Mexico, are not subject to the chicken tax under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

    On the other hand, perhaps it would be slightly better overall, on average, if there were no light truck tariffs, if we didn’t waste resources shredding seats and smashing windows, and we could all buy pickups from Turkey and Mexio at the lowest possible prices. Hard to say.

  5. “Trump would argue that we should add 45% tarrffs on goods”
    I think the resulting price surges would make this politically unpalatable. People like their cheap clothing from Target and Kohls

  6. Milo,

    Trump’s proposal would be 45% tariffs on everything: finished goods, knock-down kits, etc.

  7. I think the resulting price surges would make this politically unpalatable.

    Maybe common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

  8. Where can I find data re (any) company’s profit percentages from US market versus global market?

  9. “Trump’s proposal would be 45% tariffs on everything: finished goods, knock-down kits, etc.”

    You certainly can’t accuse him of timidity.

    But it’s perhaps a little hard to imagine why such drastic measures are required when unemployment is at 4.9%. Underemployment, I suppose, but then again, that’s alleviated by the cheap clothes at Target and Kohl’s.

  10. But it’s perhaps a little hard to imagine why such drastic measures are required when unemployment is at 4.9%.

    According to Mr. Trump the unemployment rate could be as high as 42%. Far be it for me to doubt the Republican Presidential Nominee.

    “The number isn’t reflective,” he said. “I’ve seen numbers of 24 percent — I actually saw a number of 42 percent unemployment. Forty-two percent.” He continued, “5.3 percent unemployment — that is the biggest joke there is in this country. … The unemployment rate is probably 20 percent, but I will tell you, you have some great economists that will tell you it’s a 30, 32. And the highest I’ve heard so far is 42 percent.”

  11. Rhett – An interesting counterpoint:

    Thinking back to the lead up to the industrial revolution, Ludwig von Mises wrote in his classic book Socialism that women and children weren’t working in factories because the owners were bent on exploitation; rather they worked in them because factory productivity back in the 18th century was so low. The most able-bodied shunned factory work.

    But as technology eventually drove output in factories much higher, women and children no longer rated work in them. Even better, women and children didn’t need to work. So productive were factory workers per man hour that a father could work for a wage that made it possible for women and children to stay home. A falling rate of labor-force participation during the industrial revolution was a sign of prosperity.

    Looking at the family farm of over a century ago in the same way, the tractor and other machinery like it rates as one of the biggest job destroyers in history. Precisely because tractors made it possible for one individual to do the work of many, there was no longer a need for every member of the family to work from dusk ‘til dawn. Instead, kids could be kids, and mothers could be mothers. “Unemployment” is a feature of an economically advanced society, not a bug.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntamny/2016/07/10/ignore-the-unemployment-pundits-low-labor-force-participation-is-the-goal/#60e5c76d3e06

  12. Counterpoint to what? The idea that cheap goods from Mexico and China have drive the unemployment rate to 42%?

  13. Counterpoint to Trump’s comments, while noting that Trump is certainly not the only one to complain that a low unemployment rate is masking a low labor force participation rate. That guy is arguing that we should be thrilled about a low labor force participation rate, and he makes some good points.

  14. I am generally in favor of reducing tariffs and trade barriers. I am both an importer and exporter, so lower barriers are clearly in my interest.

    However, while free trade is generally good for country as a whole, there are inevitably losers. NAFTA shifted a lot of high labor produce production south of the border. RMS is right that there needs to be some safety net for those who are displaced. But, I don’t think it is productive to have an unending safety net. Life deals everyone problems, and you do have to play the hand your dealt. That can mean moving for work,taking a job that isn’t wonderful or any of the myriad sacrifices and compromise adults have to make.

  15. Life deals everyone problems, and you do have to play the hand your dealt. </I.

    Which includes voting for someone who promises 45% tariffs.

    From what I've read, globalization has been great for those at the top and a net negative for those in the middle and at the bottom. So, while overall we're better off the average voter is actually worse off. Or, at least that's how a significant percentage of voters perceive it.

  16. I mostly agree with MBT. In addition to worker protections, safety (design for earthquakes, worker safety, product safety, etc.), environmental compliance and respect for intellectual property (royalties are paid, patents are researched, etc.) are higher yet IMHO worthwhile costs of doing business in the U.S.

  17. I think a lot of people would give up cheap t-shirts from Target to have a decent job. I agree with Rhett–we (UMC) get the benefits in terms of cheaper goods and services. The middle class (or what used to be the middle class) gets job losses, plant closings, etc.

  18. Trump couldn’t do what he claims if he tried. The question is whether political parties can work together well enough to make reasonable, economically viable compromises on worker safety, corporate taxation, public health care, environmental regulation (including carbon tax, if applicable) and tariffs. I wish we had a congressional budget office approach, not a partisan approach.

    Our party system has seemed dysfunctional as long as I’ve been voting. I’m not holding my breath that the election of either candidate will change things.

  19. houston said
    “I think a lot of people would give up cheap t-shirts from Target to have a decent job. ”

    The problem is that the prices would go up much faster than the jobs would appear. That would be very difficult to explain. And price hikes would be very hard on those on fixed incomes – the elderly – and they votes

  20. And price hikes would be very hard on those on fixed incomes

    SS adjusts for inflation. If prices surged so would SS checks.

  21. It doesn’t adjust quickly or well. When food prices started going up a couple of years ago, a lot of retired people were screaming because SS wasn’t be adjusted.

  22. When food prices started going up a couple of years ago, a lot of retired people were screaming because SS wasn’t be adjusted.

    That doesn’t mean they were correct. But, you do raise a valid point in that the young (who tend not to vote) would likely do better under Trump’s policies than the elderly (who tend to vote).

  23. The problem is that the prices would go up much faster than the jobs would appear.

    I think many voters would be OK with that as they care more about relative status than they do about price levels. 45% tariffs and the deportation of 11 million immigrants would tend to increase the status of low skills citizens at the expense of the affluent, foreign workers and the newly deported. So, while lower skilled voters might not benefit in absolute economic terms they would be better off in terms of relative status than they were before.

  24. When food prices started going up a couple of years ago, a lot of retired people were screaming because SS wasn’t be adjusted.

    I think that’s at least partly due to the market basket of goods used to measure inflation / provide COLA to e.g. SS. What’s used is the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which I would argue contains all kinds of things your typical SS-dependent senior may not have heard of much less use, or consume/purchase in much different proportions that the weighted CPI-W. For those dependent on SS, food and medical care IMO would be much higher than the average, but other things like wireless phone and monthly rent/mortgage could well be much lower. So they felt the increase of food prices more that the index did.

  25. the effects of such tariffs on exports.

    They would fall. But, America’s exports tend to be things extremely high up on the value add scale such that most of the jobs that result are for the highly paid and highly skilled. With the fall in high value add exports, the lot of the highly skilled would fall and the lot of the low skilled would rise*.

    * How true all that is I don’t know. I would assume that rather than higher paid low skill Americans doing the work, we’d just use robots. As such, those at the bottom would still be f*cked…as it were.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/meet-the-new-generation-of-robots-for-manufacturing-1433300884

  26. I agree with the above comments, RMS, free trade is generally good, but we need to think about unintended consequences

  27. Rhett, we export a lot of food. If the EU slaps high tariffs on wheat, there would be pain

  28. Also, vehicles are one of our top exports. I know a lot of the low level assembly happens overseas, but there are still a lot of people employed in this country by vehicle factories. If other countries put tariffs on our vehicles, it would hurt the people working in those factories.

    We also, believe it or not, export a lot of oil. Last I checked, there were a lot of relatively low skilled workers in the oil industry

  29. “We also, believe it or not, export a lot of oil.”

    and natural gas, both via pipeline and LNG tankers.

  30. In addition to worker protections, safety (design for earthquakes, worker safety, product safety, etc.), environmental compliance and respect for intellectual property (royalties are paid, patents are researched, etc.) are higher yet IMHO worthwhile costs of doing business in the U.S.

    WCE, I’m surprised you say this. Based on your previous comments, I’d think you’d be opposed to government regulations and would prefer to let the free market handle things. You said the other day how opposed to unions you are, yet they are the primary reason that there are regulations to promote worker safety.

  31. Mooshi,

    “And the U.S. is still a big importer of foreign-made cars and SUVs. The U.S. auto trade deficit was about $109.4 billion last year.”

  32. Right, but there’s still a lot going out. As for natural gas, we’re a year away…

    In most of these cases, natural gas is the dominant U.S. energy export, while crude oil and liquid fuels continue to be imported. In all cases, the United States transitions from a net importer of natural gas to a net exporter in 2017. These natural gas exports are mostly sent by pipeline to Mexico or in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to other countries.

  33. Rhett, your comment is consistent with my theory that the availability of low wage workers, many of whom may be in the country illegally, has suppressed the development of mechanized farm equipment.

    Similarly, increases in minimum wages for fast food workers will stimulate the automation of that industry.

    It’s going to get harder for HS kids to get jobs, and that’s IMO a negative consequence.

  34. I would add that Trump’s position, as near as one can understand it, is that 45% tariffs would only be applied to countries with vast lower wage levels, environmental and labor protections or those engaging in unfair trade practices. Trade with Canada the EU etc. would be largely unaffected.

  35. That’ll be great for China, which is dying to export even more to countries like Vietnam and Bangladesh

  36. That’ll be great for China, which is dying to export even more to countries like Vietnam and Bangladesh

    US Exports to Vietnam $5 billion – Imports $24.6 billion.
    US Exports to Bangladesh $712 million – Imports $5.4 billion.

    Which is exactly Mr. Trump’s point.

  37. Do y’all think we lost a certain edge when we sent most of the manufacturing overseas ? if we need to reverse this, will future factories be manned by robots any way, so does it really matter ?

  38. Do y’all think we lost a certain edge when we sent most of the manufacturing overseas ?

    We didn’t send it overseas we just automated it.

  39. Denver Dad, I’m not opposed to unions, I just think federal protections for strikers, etc, went too far and that rules like open/closed shop and mandatory union membership encouraged the creation of contracts that aren’t sustainable.

    My issue with government regulation is that it’s so inflexible. I would be a lot more supportive of federal regulations if we could agree on a viable sunset/adjust/renew approach.

    As another example, if environmental regulations on particulate and sulfur dioxide were more reasonable, similar to what’s in Europe, Volkswagen might not have gamed the emissions tests and diesel engines in passenger cars would be more widely available. It isn’t clear to me why our environmental rules essentially forbid diesel engines for passenger cars.

  40. As another example, if environmental regulations on particulate and sulfur dioxide were more reasonable, similar to what’s in Europe, Volkswagen might not have gamed the emissions tests and diesel engines in passenger cars would be more widely available.

    It’s nitrogen oxides not sulfur dioxide that’s at issue in the VW scandal. Second, VW is currently recalling 8.5 million cars in Europe where it also cheated on emissions.

    http://autoweek.com/article/vw-diesel-scandal/vw-diesel-recall-europe-goes-ahead-us-fix-uncertain

  41. Rhett, I stand corrected. And I agree with your point about cheating in Europe. The point I was trying to make is that the effects of regulations (like a bureaucratic decision to favor gasoline over diesel engines) are not often openly discussed. I assume companies employ lobbyists to shape regulations in their favor, but I don’t really understand how, and probably most people don’t.

  42. The point I was trying to make is that the effects of regulations (like a bureaucratic decision to favor gasoline over diesel engines) are not often openly discussed.

    Few issues on the internet have been discussed more than the lack of brown, diesel, manual wagons in the US market. Every conceivable aspect of the issue has been discussed online ad nauseam.

  43. It’s ironic how smug Nye is about the Ark guy and his lack of regard for Science, while Nye remains unquestioningly convinced of the human contributions to climate change.

  44. It’s ironic that skimming through these comments made a libertarianish totebagger who had been thinking free trade was maybe not such a good idea sometimes swing back to supporting TPP.

  45. So far, I can’t get the items from Amazon Prime Day to add to my cart. It just spins and then says “add to cart failed”. Phooey.

  46. any other nerds think “prime” day should happen on a prime number, not 12?

  47. @Rocky: this is my Annoyed with Amazon day. A few weeks ago, we got DD a new suitcase for her trip. She loved it, I loved it, so I went online to buy myself one for our trip (it’s one of those “spinner” ones — my current is a rolling duffel that falls over when you try to stand it upright). It’s now $25 more than when we bought it all of 2 weeks ago. So I wait until Prime Day — nope, no deals. Deals on 8000 *other* suitcases, but not this one. Meanwhile, this one is allegedly on sale, marked down from $120 to $80. But I got it for $60 two weeks ago! Now I am so pissed at a 33% price increase in 2 weeks that I refuse to buy it on general principles.

    On the plus side, DD is now in France. Whole new level of Mommy Letting Go, sending your kid off on an intercontinental flight without you — I’m afraid of flying so spent the evening fighting off all sorts of bad visions (the mental version of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing “lalalalala, I can’t hear you”). But she is on the ground now, so so far, so good.

  48. glad she arrived safely lfb, I always worry when family fly (I know, I know)

  49. this one is allegedly on sale, marked down from $120 to $80.

    The retailer built a reputation and hit $100 billion in annual revenue by offering deals. The first thing a potential customer saw was a bargain: how much an item was reduced from its list price.

    Now, in many cases, Amazon has dropped any mention of a list price. There is just one price. Take it or leave it.

    The new approach comes as discounts both online and offline have become the subject of dozens of consumer lawsuits for being much less than they seem.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/04/business/amazon-is-quietly-eliminating-list-prices.html

  50. winemama,

    I had exactly the same reaction. It should have been yesterday. Or tomorrow.

    Trying to decide between Chromebook and a Windows cheap laptop for emails, Web surfing, keeping up with the Totebag, working on documents, etc for travel. I have an iPad but want a real keyboard/no touchscreen for this device. Any thoughts?

  51. @Rhett — yeah, I saw that. Which is partly why I am annoyed: I am (partially) convinced that their algorithm has decided “hey, she liked this and bought it — let’s see if she’ll pay $20 more for another one!”

  52. I have a Chromebook. It’s quick, but it does have limitations. For one thing, many people have a hard time getting it to connect to printers. (My friends had a long, shared rant about this on Facebook the other week.) I do a lot of stuff with keystrokes, and the keystrokes are different from the standard Windows keystrokes, so that’s annoying. Honestly, I’d go with a cheap Windows machine.

  53. LfB, can you boot up a different browser, clear cache, and see if it still offers you the same price? Or post the item so we can try and see what prices we get for it?

  54. I am staying away from Prime Day because there is nothing I *need* at present and it will cause me to spend. I am on a spending diet this summer. No new nothing.

  55. lfb – what’s the brand and model #. I’m curious what it thinks I might be willing to pay for it.

    I’m in a decent mood about Amazon recently because I realized that instead of replacing the refrigerator water filter with the $40 GE model at Home Depot (no generic available), the $12 knock-off on Amazon works just as well.

  56. RMS,
    That is very helpful. Especially considering our history of leading parallel lives. Thanks!

  57. I get $30 off a $150 purchase with my Amazon card for Prime Day, so that is why I’m looking at cheap laptops today. Otherwise, I am with Louise. Trying to spend less, though spending more has almost gotten us a free Companion ticket on Southwest so it does have a silver lining.

  58. You all probably know about camelcamelcamel for checking Amazon prices.
    http://camelcamelcamel.com/

    I’ve been very happy with an earlier version of this Windows based tablet. The screen detaches, and I use it for Kindle reading, also. It’s very easy to take for traveling. https://www.amazon.com/Transformer-T100HA-C4-GR-10-1-Inch-Touchscreen-Quad-Core/dp/B014854RGK/ref=dp_ob_title_ce

    Probably the only time I DON’T worry about my kids when they’re away is during the times they’re actually on a plane or train . . .

  59. “I am staying away from Prime Day because there is nothing I *need* at present and it will cause me to spend. I am on a spending diet this summer. No new nothing.”

    I am trying not to buy any thing right now, but I did pick up some face serum from Estee Lauder that I had run out of (gift with purchase!) and a few books for DS (the $5 Kohls cares Salina Yoon books) this summer

  60. I’m saving myself for the Nordstrom Anniversary sale.

    Due to this blog, I have been debating the Instapot which is always going on sale on Amazon (including today), but so far I am making do without it. I really have too many kitchen gadgets, and I think it’d rather splurge on the sous vide stick. Maybe for Xmas.

    I did not know about he camel site!

  61. OK, see if this works — if not, it’s an American Tourister Ilite Xtreme Spinner in the “Capri Breeze” color — 25https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LI72MZU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1. Now I’m interested in whether y’all get the same prices, or whether it’s just too much Big Brother paranoia on my side. :-)

  62. CoC – my research organization is looking for a laptop/tablet thing for our registration desk at meetings. Does this Asus have a headphone jack? Do you use MS Office on it? Do you like typing on it? Is there anything you don’t like about it?

    Prime – I do not have prime, but am watching a few deals. DS needs a car seat, and if I can get one for 20% off or more, it’s a better deal than offered in the store right now. I’m also looking for a wagon for DS… I think I found one and it’s a Prime deal… so I’m waiting to see how good it really is.

  63. $82 for me.

    I just ordered more of the packing cubes that Houston suggested. I ordered one set last month for myself and liked them so much I just ordered 2 more. They are 30% off today and would make a great Christmas present for travelers in your lives.

  64. $82 for me as well.

    I just got a deal on a canopy for $43 off. Then I bought some books on DD’S wishlist for her birthday to get up to $150 so I could get the $30 off with the amazon credit card.

  65. Hmm, wonder why Milo is so special. :-) But thanks, good to know it’s not all some evil plot. . . .

    FWIW, we got the Schake (??) packing cubes for DD, and they are *awesome* — she packed tops in one, bottoms in another, her concert uniform in another, etc., so she at least has the ability to unpack and repack easily (whether she keeps it up is up to her — my job is solely to provide the tools). And the best thing was how well the sizing worked. We got two sets of cubes, one that was something like 14x10x4, and another that was like 14x5x4. Turns out the suitcase was something like 18″ wide and 10″ tall, so we were able to stack the larger cubes vertically, which left a 4×10 gap along the edge of the suitcase that fit the smaller cubes stacked two-deep. Most efficient packing ever.

    Which is, again, why I am tempted to replicate that for myself — I will have DS’s stuff as well as my own due to rental car trunk limits, so I like the idea of having our stuff in different colored cubes that stack so nicely and make use of all of the space. Maybe I need to get over the $20. :-)

  66. “CoC – my research organization is looking for a laptop/tablet thing for our registration desk at meetings. Does this Asus have a headphone jack? Do you use MS Office on it? Do you like typing on it? Is there anything you don’t like about it?”

    Rhode –
    Yes, the Asus tablet has a headphone jack. I use MS Office, mostly Word, and it works fine. Typing is fine, responsiveness similar to my regular laptop. When I detach the screen I can also use the onscreen keyboard.
    Maybe the only things I have not liked: I could not find a sleek cover that wouldn’t add bulk to the compact size, so I’ve just gone without one. It came with Windows 8 and I have yet to upgrade to 10. I am not crazy about the tiles on the homescreen, but I mainly just directly click to the Chrome tile and it behaves like my laptop with Windows 7. I don’t even remember how I set that up, so I may not be explaining it very well. Some of these things are more problems with my limited tech knowledge than with the unit.

    Remember, the number of Windows apps is very limited compared to Apple and Android. That wasn’t important to me.

  67. Scarlett, I was looking for something similar for DS for this summer so he could work on his college apps (he had to turn in his school laptop for the summer). We had decided on getting him a refurbished chromebook, since he would be using Google docs (and thus not need MS office) and would use it mostly at home or at school, where he would have WiFi.

    We ended up finding an old Windows machine we could borrow for the summer and not buying anything, but we saw some for less than $100.

    OTOH, if I were getting something for myself for travel, I’d probably get a Windows laptop to be able to work offline. But if your cell plan includes hotspot use, or you normally get pocket WiFi when you travel, that logic won’t apply, and the higher cost of a Windows laptop (don’t forget the possible cost of MS Office or similar) might tip you towards a chromebook.

  68. Mooshi, what did your DH end up getting for his job? I’m thinking a chromebook might make the most sense for that particular use.

  69. Rhett, me:Asia::you:Europe, and I think 10 days is a good length. Longer than that and some down time is required to keep it from becoming a slog.

    Keep in mind that this comes from my perspective as more of a traveler than a vacationer.

    I can also see that getting shorter as I get older. I think once we get to the point where our vacation schedule is not dictated by school calendars, we will take longer trips with more down time, but at times when prices are lower.

  70. I don’t think of a Westin as a mid-level hotel. I think more Hampton Inn or La Quinta as mid-level. Westin is a splurge for us, albeit one we’ve taken more than once.

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