Waiting for the guys at Fred Meyer to load a kitchen dinette into my Chevy Blazer, I roamed the warehouse. Every box, from floor to ceiling, had been imported. Made in China.
Americans don’t make things any more. We pay other countries to make it for us.
Check your kitchen appliances. Your home furnishings—those pillows you got for nearly nothing at Target, the candle holders from Pier One, that funky lamp at Home Depot you couldn’t resist. The lawn mower, bird feeders—one candidate this week embarrassingly discovered the tee-shirts he’s hawking in his campaign are imported.
It’s not our fault, really. We‘re Americans. We like a bargain. Who doesn’t? That’s why we shop at Wal-Mart, Target, and Shopko for coffee grinders, wide screen TVs, flip-flops and board shorts. All this stuff is cheaper than if it were made in American factories by American workers who rightly insist on fair wages and working conditions.
Still, I feel a little guilty, somewhat to blame for the state of the economy. Consider the current nine percent unemployment. Consider American manufacturing jobs are at their lowest levels since NBC first introduced the fanning peacock at the beginning of Bonanza and other TV shows aired in color (that we watched on an American-made TV).
Consider that China is considered the new economic super power.
If I had the capital—and the guts, I’d start up a company, in some city where factories have been shut down. I’d hire those laid-off people, and then we’d make stuff: toasters, coffee tables, board shorts. And then we’d challenge Americans to buy our stuff, even though it would probably cost more to cover wages, health and other benefits, union dues.
So tell me. Would you pay more for American-made products if you knew it helped the economy?
By the way, I checked. My new kitchen dinette? Made in Vietnam.