‘We’re as mad as hell, and we’re not going to take this anymore,” comes from the 1976 movie, Network. I feel this way about China’s refusal to provide vital information as to the source and spread of the coronavirus and I hope that my fellow Americans agree.

It is time for us to rally as we did in World War II against our current enemy. In addition to the coronavirus issue, one should recognize China’s military actions in the South China Sea and their theft of intellectual properties.

Whether or not the virus was created in a laboratory or came from a market, it is clear Wuhan, China was the origin of the coronavirus. Understand, my anger is not because China was the source of the virus, but their continued coverup, which has resulted in over a quarter of a million deaths around the world.

In addition to potential governmental legislation, I believe another avenue to penalize China rests with each of us.

It needs to be recognized that historically, our country was a world leader in manufacturing; however, over time we have let China and other countries surpass us. In 1960, foreign goods made up just 8 percent of Americans’ purchases, but today nearly 60 percent of everything we buy is made overseas. Make no mistake all this has resulted in the loss of good jobs.

When shopping, often China is the only source for an item; however, in many cases we could locate an alternative product manufactured elsewhere. China has benefited from our desire to purchase the lowest cost product, which in some cases are manufactured in forced labor factories.

I am asking everyone to limit as much as possible their purchases from China, sending a strong message to them that their behavior is unacceptable. For my part, I recently made three relevant purchases. One item I purchased was manufactured in China being unable to locate any similar product manufactured elsewhere.

For the other two items, I had to pay more than for a Chinese product; however, I was delighted that in a small way, I did not feed the pockets of the Chinese Communist Party. One made in the United States and another product came from Switzerland.

I was able to reduce my China purchases by two-thirds and the products purchased were of far better quality. If we limited our purchases for goods manufactured in China, companies would be forced to move their manufacturing to locations outside of China.

Many products, under the right circumstances, could be cost effectively produced in the United States. To create the necessary business environment, one needs to understand the reasons U.S. companies moved their production overseas.

Wages and benefits, operational costs, and the incentives that other countries have offered to entice companies to either set up facilities in their country or to use their contract houses are major factors. Environmental and other regulations add to the cost structure of manufacturing companies.

If the federal government stepped up and provided the necessary incentives for companies to invest in automated equipment and other necessary items to competitively produce goods economically in this country, our country could revitalize our great manufacturing capability. We need to recognize that other countries are providing significant incentives and resources and that we are in a competitive global economy.

Many will complain that this would be a give-away to big business, but I believe the taxes generated by high paying jobs would offset these losses. Manufacturing job salaries are far higher than those of the service industry.

The days when large facilities hired thousands of people on production lines will not come back. The newly created jobs would rely more on automated equipment and skilled workers, resulting in far higher wages.

I would welcome a time when purchasing consumer goods, we could see the proud tag “Made In America” again displayed. Also, by bringing back manufacturing to the United States, we would eliminate the situation where we, as a country, are relying on foreign countries for vital products or materials such as medical and defense related items. Most importantly, we could not be held hostage by any country that was not friendly to our interests.

Please consider what China has put us through and the resulting deaths of so many. Paying a little more for goods or products manufactured outside of China would be a great first step in bringing back manufacturing to our great country. China’s loss of revenue that would result would send a clear message around the world that we will not tolerate their deceitful behavior.

Doug Kaplan writes from the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain and can be reached at Doug.Kaplan@comcast.net.

(56) comments

MD1756

Kaplan writes "Wages and benefits, operational costs, and the incentives that other countries have offered to entice companies to either set up facilities in their country or to use their contract houses are major factors. Environmental and other regulations add to the cost structure of manufacturing companies." in which a minor factor, environmental costs, are included, but he misses a major factor, taxes. If a company moves production to another country because of environmental costs it just shows they are irresponsible and don't want to be responsible for their actions of contaminating air, water and property that they do not own. They can avoid huge amounts of taxes by moving operations out of the country and only have to pay taxes if the income is brought back into this country. If you want to bring back manufacturing, Congress should change the tax laws (and they did not do so when the Republicans controlled the House). Before giving financial incentives to corporations to bring back manufacturing how about eliminating a major financial incentive they were given to move operations out of the country in the first place? All it takes is an act of Congress.

shiftless88

Let's be clear; nothing China did led to all these deaths in the US. No, that is pretty much on our President to pretended that nothing was wrong and therefore did not take necessary steps like other leaders. Remember; capitalism is why nothing is made here anymore. Profits above everything. US companies have been screwing the worker for years and the conservatives have been ecstatic about it. All of a sudden NOW they are concerned? Don't blame me if I am skeptical. Next thing you know they will want subsidies to bring businesses back. You know, like socialism.

MD1756

The president has his faults but he did ban travel from China early on despite a few of the democrats calling him racist or xenophobic. I don't recall any of them coming out and actually supporting the travel ban in its early stages. In fact the democrats tried passing the "No Ban Act" (aka H.R. 2214) which includes "The bill also imposes limitations on such restrictions, such as requiring the President, State Department, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to (1) only issue a restriction when required to address a compelling government interest, and (2) narrowly tailor the suspension to use the least restrictive means to achieve such an interest. Before imposing a restriction, the State Department and DHS shall consult with Congress. The State Department and DHS shall report to Congress about the restriction within 48 hours of the restriction's imposition. If such a report is not made, the restriction shall immediately terminate." thus potentially adding red tape to impose restrictions in a reaction to a virus.

BTW, avoiding taxes is a big factor in moving manufacturing overseas since companies aren't taxed on the profit until they bring the profits back into the U.S., which many do not do directly.

bosco

Be American, Buy American.

Greg F

Be whatever you want to be as this is the American way....you can even be a complete a**hole if you want.....that seems to be popular these days. You can even forget where your ancestors were either kicked out from or came here because they wanted opportunities.

bosco

You must really lead a miserable existence in order to find fault with everything and everybody. I feel sorry for you, sometimes.[ninja]

DickD

China steals trade secrets, refuses to honor patents and the major corporations help them. Who is worse, the major corporations or the large corporations that Trump and the Republicans gave large tax breaks to.

Greg F

You don't think US companies do the same? Are you naive or just in denial?

jschmersahl

I basically agree with the writer Anyone mad as hell about China’s secrecy about corona virus, lax environmental regulations , low wages , poor worker protections should seek out alternative products – notwithstanding an added cost -if they can . A movement starts with Individual action. I would go on to say this need not be confined to China and the virus cover-up / delay . Economic decisions local and global are often based on the cold laws of economics; within the regulatory framework our leaders have fashioned. Perhaps it is time to interject more human and environmentally sustainable values into both.

gary4books

Certainly something to consider. We can do better.

Greg F

Lax environmental regulations...like...say...a certain president wants by dismantling EPA and hiring fossil fuel CEOs and lobbyists in key positions that should be protecting the environment, but are doing the opposite?

MD1756

This may be a fine pooint, but the Chinese don't have as much a problem with lax environmental regulations as they do a lax enforcement of those regulations. The following is a link to the Library of Congress with information on China's Environmental Laws (but doesn't discuss enforcement of those laws: see - https://www.loc.gov/law/help/air-pollution/china.php). A BBC article provides more information about enforcement: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-35351597

A quote about the laws and enforcement from the BBC article is ""In many situations, industry discharges pollutants without meeting standards. And very often they are not penalised by the enforcement officers. "The law drafters today are doing a much better job than I did. The environmental laws today are more aggressive: [more] detailed, accurate, and comprehensive than the law I wrote. "Enforcement is still not good enough. It is slightly better, but it's still far from where it should be.""

Dwasserba

Are ee fogetting how many American companies relocated to China. Anti-China sentiments encourage low-awareness people to target/victimize Asian Americans. Some that have been here long before Caucasians.

veritas

So, we should continue to be exploited by our current economic relationships with China just so we don't encourage "low-awareness people" (the ones Hillary labeled "deplorables") to harbor distasteful sentiments about Asian Americans?

threecents

A lot of deplorables want those extremely low-paying manufacturing jobs to come to the US and be $20/hour jobs.

Greg F

How many deplorables would work jobs that immigrants are taking now? Picking fruit or veggies or anything that is in that arena? When is the last time you ever saw a teen want to take a farm job in the summer for some extra cash and experience at something?

veritas

So $20/hr is a bad thing?

MD1756

Greg F, blame our safety net and the farmers/companies unwilling to pay higher wages and the consumers unwilling to pay higher prices. Can you blame others who at least some are following the law, for filling in the void if farmers and companies won't pay a higher wage but import their workers (legally or illegally) because they are willing to accept those conditions because it may be an improvement over their conditions at home? Blame the companies and consumers.

Greg F

Deplorables wasn't quite appropriate. I'd have found a far worse label...it is a well earned badge for them.

veritas

Constantly looking down one's nose results in a bufoonish countenance.

beyoungjr

The notion of getting our manufacturing out of China is a goal worth pursuing but the result may not have to be complete to achieve a desired outcome. Furthermore, exiting China with critical manufacturing does not have to mean that it must come strictly to the U.S.

Our neighbors to the north and especially to the south should be partnered to us to a greater extent that ever before. The stability of better economies to the south would yield even greater benefits than simply pulling away from China.

Folks can keep touting "global economy" and finding excuses to stick with China. Folks can keep using "TRUMP" and politics to drive their opinions on the subject. None of this will change the absolute fact that China is our greatest foe and will continue to be far beyond the sight of leaders in this decade.

Only America, North & South, can achieve the stability and security that our critical manufacturing needs require. Europe and other players simply look to us for our aid and spending, which we also must reign in.

gary4books

"Greatest foe?" Only if that is what we want. I want friends in the world. They cost much less than another land war in Asia.

MD1756

[thumbup]

MD1756

We do need to make them play by the rules though and they cheat much more than many others do including us (although a number of our greedy corporations must shoulder some blame too).

threecents

Russia is obviously by far our greatest foe, and they have been trying to destabilize western countries since the cold war. China should be our friend, as our economies - which are both strong - depend on each other. They own so many American dollars that they could easily destroy our economy, and they depend on American trade, so we could also destroy their economy. We have a good interdependence. Of course it is far from perfect, but be careful what you wish for.

gary4books

Three - clear and logical and correct. [thumbup][thumbup]

Piedmontgardener

While I absolutely agree that manufacturing of vital medical items and other items of national strategic interest should be encouraged (and subsidized if necessary) to return to the U.S. so we never have a situation where 50 states/institutions/citizens are competing against each other for PPE or a similar necessity, the idea that we will reshore a global economy is a fantasy.

China's a bad actor in so many ways. I agree with that, absolutely, especially in the recent move to accelerate its power in Hong Kong. However, I refuse to buy the current spin offering out of the Trump re-election campaign that this is all China's fault. Too many other countries handled their initial infection of virus with thoughtful, science based reality, instead we had a delayed, fractured and quite honestly disgraceful response.

Labor costs in the U.S. for reshoring industry will never reverse a global economy. See that money in your 401(k)? If you want to reshore, then cut a check to the U.S. Treasury for half of it, because that's what this spin piece really costs.

threecents

PG[thumbup]

MD1756

We don't need to subsidize it, we just need to rewrite the tax laws (and neither the Republicans nor Democrats have done so) to end the not paying taxes on profits until the dollars are brought back to the U.S. They just encourages the companies to have more overseas divisions and use the profits to expand those operations over operations within the U.S.

gary4books

Technology does not stand still. We were smart (or lucky) to move these jobs to China (and Vietnam and Korea and other places) before they were automated. If we want to have a base of manufacturing in the future, it will be robots and automated processes. But why bother? It may be for essential products we want our own sources and resources. Other than that, just spread the work and share the wealth.

Hollowed Ground

This letter is a very well written novel. First, we did not "let" China take over manufacturing. We chose to allow it to do so because it lowers our costs and makes our products more competitive. That in turn allows us to lower wages and dispense with unions and benefits, the goal of all businesses. IF we do as the writer suggests, investing heavily in new plants, expensive automation and highly skilled workers, it would cost a fortune and kill off our own businesses. Why on earth would any business, any business at all, want to spend huge amounts of money on infrastructure and training to create high-wage jobs just to make a part here that can be bought overseas for 1/50th the cost? Who would buy the finished product? No one. Makes no sense.

tonyc51

Until Americans are ready to pay the price to manufacture in the US companies will continue to build the products elsewhere. So is the reason that companies manufacture other than in the USA, the company's fault or the individual who complain about where the manufacturing is done, but will not pay the cost to manufacture here? To me it is an obvious answer.

joelp77440

Sorry this is not 1980, the global market is much, much more diverse. Look at the labels of your favorite products. They are not just made in China, but Mexico, India, Poland, etc. Your favorite American made car's parts are from all around the world and assembled in Mexico (Dodge Ram, Ford Fusion, Chevy Blazer). The foreign car you would never buy (Toyota Corolla) may have been entirely built in America. The "us vs. them" argument is no longer relevant and hasn't been for 20 years. To bring back the types of jobs you are talking about, the government and private business must partner together to reduce jobs from leaving or encourage new ones to come back. Tax offsets and other incentives are the key to bringing those jobs back. Tariffs and xenophobia will not.

msmith6276

[thumbup][thumbup]

sevenstones1000

China should never, ever be permitted to manufacture pharmaceuticals or medical supplies or equipment for the US. This is a national security issue.

BTW, I hope Trump is relegated to the trash bin of nightmares past in November. But no other country should be able to hold the US hostage for meds and equipment ever again.

Hollowed Ground

Actually it is a money issue, not national security at all.

Reader1954

And yes, of course, it is all about the money. So until a business can make it here cheaper than overseas it will continue so it is up the us consumers to try to only buy American made

bosco

Good letter, Doug Kaplan. Nothing wrong with America First, other than being called racists by the pro-China, anit-Trump bots here. [ninja]

hayduke2

Come on bosco... Grow up...

threecents

Bosco is just a button pusher, hoping to get reactions.

bosco

Like when Doctor Fed Up GregF called me out as a racist because I asked if any bicycles are made in the US anymore?

bosco May 10, 2020 7:08am Any bikes built in the US anymore? Not interested in anything from China. Their previous export was enough.

Greg F May 10, 2020 7:33am

Keep up the racism...you’re good at it

But Doctor Fed Up GregF never responded to my request to explain how my comment was racist.

Right out of the left's playbook, cry racism when all else fails.

https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/continuing_coverage/coronavirus/bicycle-shops-see-surge-in-demand-as-inventory-comes-up-short/article_d85b2d4f-ffbc-5bd6-8ae3-f7b6435c4740.html

threecents

Yah, Bosco. You deliberately pushed his buttons because you wanted him to overreact. That's your history in this forum.

bosco

Sorry threecents, but I was not directing my bicycle question toward Doctor Fed Up GregF. HE jumped at the chance to cry racist and then never gave an explanation why he considered the comment racist. I didn't push his button, he was looking for a chance to cry racist. Most anytime I post something, he jumps in with his contrarian claims. That's HIS history on this forum.

And I still don't want a bicycle from China.[lol][ninja]

gabrielshorn2013

Alas, not even Trek bicycles (Waterloo IA) are manufactured in the US anymore. My Trek was.

gabrielshorn2013

Here's a list bosco. They're all a tad pricey.

https://www.usalovelist.com/american-made-bikes-trikes-high-performance-ultimate-source-list/

Reader1954

Unfortunatly it will take time before it will be easy to find something "Made in America" . People say that now but will be back to buying the cheaper as soon as they can. Unless the U.S. starts taxing products from overseas more to make it more expensive it is not going to happen. I also would be willing to pay more it the money stays in the U.S. Companies should take this as a wake up call and start advertising their products are made here - if they can.

Greg F

“What China has put us through?” No, what trump has put us through. From ignoring and trashing Obama’s 69 page pandemic plan and dismantling the pandemic team, to calling coronavirus a democratic hoax, ignoring facts and scientists, he has exacerbated what would have arrived worldwide regardless of walls. Origin of the virus was not man made...it’s from bats and there are no. Orders that could stop it. Painting China as the enemy when the cause of spread can be heavily tied to one man here and his bleach-injecting followers is the key.

bosco

Doctor Fed Up GregF, I would be interested to learn what actions you would have taken in regards to the coronavirus based on information available at the time and starting with January 14th when the World Health Organization declared that there was no chance of human-to-human transmission of the virus and there were no deaths in the U.S. until February. Not Monday morning quaterbacking about what you think Trump did wrong, but what you would do. [ninja][smile]

Hollowed Ground

You really must turn Faux News off. That is just a Trump dreamed up fantasy, a post-disaster attempt to, as usual, cast off blame. WHO seriously warned about transmission in January and before. Get informed.

bosco

You must watch a lot of Fox News to be so knowledgible about their programming. Maybe you missed this tweet from the WHO:

World Health Organization (WHO)

@WHO

Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #ChinaFlag of China.

And, when you are able to tear yourself away from Fox, here is a timeline of the virus from CNN:

https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/06/health/wuhan-coronavirus-timeline-fast-facts/index.html

threecents

GregF was not president and did not have access to professionals to advise him. Trump still gives himself excellent grades for his responses - which have been mostly awful. There is still a severe N95 mask shortage, and hydroxychloroquine is just one of a 100 things that should disqualify Trump from being elected.

bosco

And yet, it seems at every turn Doctor Fed Up GregF is an expert on all phases of the virus, it's consequences, and the actions of others in a active role or as a citizen on lockdown. He also denigrates anyone who offers a question or different opinion than his regarding the virus. It's easy to look back and be a critic on every move the government has made. He should take a look at the CNN timeline and, with the information then available, tell us what he would have done differently.

threecents

The main thing he did differently was vote for a qualified presidential candidate.

fjulia

Ignores that the Boards of Directors of these American manufactorers pay more attention to their investors than American consumers. No way will they lose profit by paying the wages and benefits to American workers. The jobs are overseas because they make bigger profits. The almighty dollar as god.

AdamLB

Absolutely.. that's the real reason goods aren't made in the US. Companies just want toake as much as possible. Not give it to workers.

DickD

Yeah and low wages is what happens when you outsource all of your manufacturing. If we are ever in a war with China, we will be hurting bad for being able to produce war goods.

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