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Not with a bang, but a whimper

Santa Maria

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As I was dressing this morning, I noticed all my clothing was “Made in China.” Americans used to wear “Made in the USA” clothing and drive American cars almost exclusively.

I fear America’s huge trade imbalance with much of the world is a condition that potentially may destroy America as a world power nation. If that would happen, the death of America would not be because of either political party, nor would it be caused by who is sitting in the president’s chair. That type of blame is fuzzy, politically self serving, and ultimately silly.

If a great nation must die, let it die heroically. America as we have known it probably would not die heroically; instead, it would slowly die economically. We would be driven to our graveyard in our Hondas, our Subarus, and our Toyotas. In its national coffin, America would be decked out in “Made in China” finery.

How did this potential situation come about, and who is responsible? Well, it happened gradually over several generations. And we, the American consumer, are chiefly responsible.

America’s weak labor union movement, too, has played a role. When is the last time we heard a union official protest the loss of American work to other countries? Have there been boycotts of “Made in China” goods by union members? A high percentage of American jobs have emigrated overseas. As a result of those lost jobs, American trade union membership is down by roughly two-thirds from what it was in the 1950s, from roughly 35 percent of our work force to about 10 percent of our workers today. Our national unemployment rate also is about 10 percent, more than double what it should be.

There is enough blame to shared by a variety of persons and groups. But ultimately we American consumers and our short-sighted marketplace choices are to be blamed.

-- Steve Riehle - Santa Maria

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