‘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.