reese China-MadeSat Jan 10 14:21:10 200418.104.22.168
http://reese.king-online.com/Reese_20040107/index.php China-Made If you want to know why America has lost so many jobs, look aroundyour house at all the stuff that is made in China. I bought an American-brand razor - made in China; anAmerican-brand computer - made in China. Even my Confederate coffee mug,for heaven's sakes, is made in China. Of course, Americans know how to make ceramic coffee mugs,appliances, computers and whatever. But what they won't do is make thosethings for 59 cents a day and no benefits. The use of what amounts toslave labor in foreign countries accomplishes two goals for the powersthat be in this country. One, it increases the profits of thecorporations, and two, it disguises the fact that the American dollarhas been drastically devalued by years of inflation. What the powers that be have done is in effect create ahallucinatory drug concocted of cheap imports and ideology to make theAmerican people think that they are more prosperous than they reallyare. People who are officially classified as "discouraged" are notcounted as unemployed, though they are; highly qualified people forcedto work part time or in low-paid service jobs are considered employed.But if you added up the "discouraged" and the underemployed, you'd findthat the real unemployment rate in America is closer to 9 percent thanto the official 5.9 percent, according to a recent article in the LosAngeles Times. And this trend is growing, not shrinking. When the old ideological arguments between free trade andprotectionism originated, the multinational corporation didn't exist inits present form. Today, a lot of what is called "trade" is actuallyjust intracorporate transfers. When an American-based corporation closes its American plant andhires Chinese to manufacture its products, those products, when theycome into the United States, do not constitute trade in the old sense ofthat word. They are not Chinese products. They are American productsthat were simply manufactured overseas. And the purpose of today'sso-called free trade is to make sure that these corporations don't haveto pay tariffs on these foreign-made but American-owned goods. Therefore, the old arguments about free trade versus protectionismno longer apply, though God knows ideologues never let the facts get inthe way of their ideology. We are not, for the most part, tradingAmerican-made goods for foreign-owned goods. Many underdevelopedcountries like China have few products to export - except cheap labor.Unless the present trend is reversed, America will continue to bleedmanufacturing and high-tech jobs to cheap-labor countries. If you thinkAmerica's corporate leaders today give a hoot or a damn about theAmerican people or America, think again. Many of these corporations haveeven changed their names to disguise their American origins. Theirloyalty is to the cash flow and their own shamefully high, undeservedcut of it. Multinational corporations feel as if they are a power untothemselves, and most of their executives feel no loyalty to the countrywhere their headquarters happen to be. At the newspaper where I used towork, we had visits from the CEOs of two major multinationalcorporations. I tell you the truth - they arrived with a largerentourage and more security than the assistant attorney general of theUnited States, who drove himself and walked in unaccompanied, like anordinary human being. Several good Americans have tried to organize "Buy American"campaigns, but that is increasingly hard to do. I deliberately chose anAmerican-brand computer, only to discover when I unpacked it that it hadbeen made in China. This is a problem created by the federal government, which atfirst sacrificed American jobs as part of its Cold War strategy and isnow in the tight grip of multinational corporations. It can only besolved by a political revolution - that is, by electing men and womenwho recognize that free trade and American jobs have become mutuallyexclusive. The only way to stop the export of American jobs is to taxthe heck out of the practice. It's being done for economic reasons.Congress must apply an economic reason to stop it. © 2003 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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