“I went to a dealership last weekend to check out an All-American muscle car, but it didn’t turn out to be all-American at all. As listed on the window sticker, the domestic content was only 55 percent. The transmission, one of the most important components on the vehicle – especially for a performance machine – was manufactured in China. On the same day, I dropped into a hardware store to pick up a box of nails, and they were all made in the People’s Republic, too. After a long day of trying to avoid purchasing products made by the communist Chinese, I settled down at home to eat a refreshing fruit cup. When I flipped the plastic container over to check out the nutritional information, there it was in black and white and all capital letters: PRODUCT OF CHINA.. The reds had invaded my refrigerator.”
People like Decker and Pat Buchanan think, as he says, “America is making less all the time.” He couldn’t be more wrong. According to Federal Reserve statistics, U.S. manufacturing output is more than double what it was 35 years ago. Thanks to technology, fewer Americans have to work manufacturing jobs, but that’s a sign of prosperity. Poor countries must manufacture everything themselves because their main resource is labor, not education or technology. The fact that we don’t have to make plastic cups and nails should be celebrated, not lamented.
Americans are second-to-none in areas like education, health care, and financial services. Yet, manufacturing alarmists like Buchanan think that these services are less valuable than physical products like auto parts. But value is decided by the market, and good education, financial advice or medical services are more valuable to Americans than plastic containers from China. Forcing them to think otherwise isn’t just bad economics. It’s bad morals.