TUCKER CARLSON DISCOVERS AMERICAN TOURISTS ARE RICH:
After checking out, Carlson is floored by grocery prices in Russia. He said in the video that a cart of groceries that he thought would cost $400 actually cost $104.
Americans will frequently be impressed by how far their money goes in foreign countries. It’s expensive to travel abroad, but once you actually get there, a lot of stuff seems really cheap. That’s because American tourists benefit from a strong dollar, and they have high incomes by global standards. It doesn’t really tell you much about the quality of life for people who live in the foreign country.
That’s especially true the past few years. In 2022, the dollar was trading at 20-year highs relative to other currencies. It’s down slightly from that today, but it is still very strong.
The reason for this is largely higher interest rates. When the Federal Reserve raises interest rates, it increases the returns for Treasury securities. The higher returns mean more foreigners want to buy Treasury securities. But Treasury securities are sold in dollars, so foreigners demand more dollars to buy them. That raises the “price” of the dollar on international exchange markets, giving Americans more purchasing power abroad.
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Russia must be loving these videos that Carlson keeps putting out. But his amazement at the prices of Russian groceries doesn’t demonstrate Russia is doing something great. It demonstrates that Americans in foreign countries are rich.
Why don’t more Americans move to foreign countries then? First, most jobs that pay American incomes do not allow people to live in foreign countries. (For the few jobs that do allow it, some Americans have moved to Mexico City, for example, where they can buy very nice houses at Mexican prices.)
Second, most people know that what they might see on vacation is probably not representative of everyday life. And it’s just not worth it to most people to uproot their lives and live in a country that speaks a different language, uses a different alphabet, has high rates of alcoholism and suicide, lacks democratic institutions, persecutes religious minorities, and is waging a genocidal war on its neighbor — even if their income would land them in the upper class.
Tucker (who used to know better) is suffering from a case of Omnipotent Tourist Syndrome in Cyrillic:
The Omnipotent Tourist Syndrome is a disease common among Americans that is caused by arrogance, egotism and nonchalance. Carriers show a penchant for obliviously overlooking the obvious while delighting themselves at the cost of others. Delirious OTS sufferers refuse to acknowledge their malady and will argue that it is their God given right as an American to travel freely about the world with little or no conscience or consequence. OTS people frequently hide behind their Bill of Rights and Constitution. Unfortunately, there is no cure for OTS nor is there any way to ease it’s symptoms. It is a disease which, no matter how much hard data and facts are introduced into the OTS sufferer, will not ease unless said sufferer finds a compass of morality and humanity.
Flashback: When Boris Yeltsin went grocery shopping in Houston:
It was September 16, 1989 and Yeltsin, then newly elected to the new Soviet parliament and the Supreme Soviet, had just visited Johnson Space Center.
At JSC, Yeltsin visited mission control and a mock-up of a space station. According to Houston Chronicle reporter Stefanie Asin, it wasn’t all the screens, dials, and wonder at NASA that blew up his skirt, it was the unscheduled trip inside a nearby Randall’s location.
Yeltsin, then 58, “roamed the aisles of Randall’s nodding his head in amazement,” wrote Asin. He told his fellow Russians in his entourage that if their people, who often must wait in line for most goods, saw the conditions of U.S. supermarkets, “there would be a revolution.”
Related: The Full Duranty.