Monday, October 11, 2010

We the People....part 2

“Blumenthal also demanded to know why McMahon didn’t create jobs in the United States instead of having W.W.E. action figures made in China. This was the moment when McMahon really should have promised a study. Instead, she claimed that the United States does not 'have the kind of policies in place here that are conducive to manufacturing,' citing, among other things, 'high labor costs,' which could not have been much of a comfort to the state’s workers.” 

Connecticut on the Ropes
The New York Times
Published: October 6, 2010

Wanna know what I wanna know? I wanna know what jobs they’re gonna train people for after they’re laid off their jobs.

© 2010, Steven G. Artley, ARTLEY CARTOONS.
I have this theory: if you don’t manufacture anything, you have no employment in the blue collar sector and all those people that had manufacturing jobs are now unemployed and can’t afford much more than groceries to feed themselves and the kids, but the kids still have to go to school so they go to Walmart to buy cheap stuff that’s manufactured off-shore, mostly in China, thereby sending their unemployment dollars NOT to an American factory that pays American workers but to a Chinese factory that under-prices and therefore costs more Americans their jobs so that those Americans are now sending their unemployment dollars to China which in turn causes more US factories to close….and on and on ad nauseum. And then, to add insult to injury, we reward companies that off-shore their manufacturing with tax breaks.

If I wasn’t such a Little-Miss-Sunshine optimistic sort, I might think that this is a global conspiracy to bring down the US. Pity that Ian Fleming isn’t alive to write this, and Lord knows, he would’ve done it justice and then some. He could’ve called it THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN WONTON. 

There are all these campaign ads promising new jobs and retraining, but I keep saying, “show me the factory!” I think we have enough burger flippers and besides, there’s no future in flipping burgers if no one has any income, disposable or otherwise, to spend on fast food with no nutritional value.

So now, you have no income, no money, but you still have mouths to feed, so you purchase inexpensive food that you can extend relatively cheaply: lots of pasta, potatoes, that sort of thing.  REAL juice seems expensive so you turn to “juice drinks,” soda, and flavored water. It’s easy. It’s cheap. And it’s much less effort than cleaning and preparing fresh fruits and vegetables. You and the kids just keep getting bigger and bigger because you’re just eating more and more over-refined sodium laden, nutritionally empty processed foods.

In the old days, poor people were always skinny; now they are obese.  Shall we talk about the diabetic testing supplies and medication you’re gonna need even though your health insurance has run out and there’s no state or federal safety net for you, not to mention your kids because as a nation we cannot afford to provide basic medical care for our most vulnerable citizens?

Tax revenues are down because people aren’t paying income tax on money they don’t earn. The government has to make substantial cuts…social services, street repair, snow-plowing...pick a service any service. And the cuts come on the backs of the poor and middle class…all of whom are in jeopardy of losing even more jobs BECAUSE WE DON’T MANUFACTURE ANYTHING HERE.

There is an ongoing debate in this house and I have no idea if there is even an answer. If foreign-owned company opens a factory here, hires American workers and puts paychecks in American dollars into their pockets, banks, and tax rolls, isn’t that better for the country than outsourcing? 

So while I’m ranting away, I would pose the following question: 
  • If FORD manufactures and assembles a car in off shore in another country, and markets that car here, in the US, is it an American car?  
  • If TOYOTA or VW or any foreign auto maker assembles cars for sale in one of its many US assembly plants, does that constitute an American car?
 Or am I just being Pollyanna again?

Please send in your votes/comments/criticisms/witticisms to thewifelyperson or enter them as a comment. I will present the results in the next blog.

The Wifely Person's Tip o’ the Week
Thinking about shopping at Walmart?
You, too, can support Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo’s free room and board in his Chinese prison cell


  1. Both are foreign cars in my book.
    You skirted the issues of the role of unions.
    Great post. Keep writing and asking the tough questions.
    linda brodsky

  2. Ah, the unions; but that's another issue. One can still be an American worker and _not_ be in a union. I still think the initial question has to be answered on its own before taking up that part. IMHO.

  3. I wish I had answers, Susan.

    Excellent post and insights.

    My daughter's friend is in a bad home situation and the family relies upon the 22 year old for her income. She wants to go to school, but that costs a lot. She can't get a better job w/o going to school. No health ins means not getting well taken care of which means missing work etc.

    We all feel for her and for others in similar situations

  4. Loved your tip of the week...

    Regarding your question, I have always "bought American" when it comes to my auto choice. However, I am currently contemplating buying a GM vehicle that I believe is actually made in Germany. As you like to say, "Oy!"

    Yes, manufacturing jobs have left the U.S. and they are very unlikely to return -- ever! Our economy does at times suffer the consequences, but it is a fact of life and this country has in many ways learned to adapt to this change.

    By the way, high unemployment was prevalent during economic downturns even when manufacturing was in its heydey.

  5.'s a GM car....but it's build in Europe by European workers getting paid in Euros. That doesn't do much for American workers. Therefore, which is the American car?

    Judging by the comments and the emails, no one wants to answer that question! I find that amazing!

  6. If Walmart sells products manufactured in China, they do not get stamped "Made in America". I'm not sure why you think it would be any different for GM?

    Clearly, autos manufactured overseas are for foreign-made; any assembled in the U.S. have "value-added" in America and should at least get partial credit.