Election time is here, and blame has been rising like mist off the pond on a cold morning. This country seems like it is splitting in two, or three or more pieces.
The spirits of the founding fathers are conjured up to cast an evil spell on the others, on the idiots whom we fear are winning. Meanwhile, the economy, and the unemployment rate, are moving like a slug.
We should remember one of the founding fathers' famous mantras: united we stand, divided we fall. This economy is a good place to try the idea again. Politicians are blaming each other for the problems we face, and we, the people, blame the politicians, who seem to be in gridlock. Solutions seem to be hiding someplace.
However, we really don't need to look far to find responsibility. That great sage, Pogo, said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us!" We, the consumers, chose the cheap prices of imported consumer goods. Through our power of the purse, we bought foreign goods and helped drive American-made out of existence.
Now we have much less choice. Go to the store shelves and we see "Made in China" everywhere, with a few things made elsewhere, even less made in the USA. It was great in the short-term; we just weren't very farsighted. We didn't all see that it was: "Pay now or pay later." Now we are paying later and with interest because we're borrowing the money from China to purchase their goods.
World trade is good. Nations that depend on one another as trading partners are, hopefully, less likely to be too unfriendly with each other. But Democrats and Republicans agree (seriously!) that some nations cheat on agreements that made world trade more feasible, and especially that China artificially manipulates its currency to make its exports cheaper to consumers like us. And, we go right along with China's leaders, buying with no thought for all the long-term consequences. Look at it this way: we are in cahoots with the communists, with a country that controls its currency, and its people, in ways our government cannot.
Our politicians are afraid to confront China too forcefully and with good reason. If they spark a trade war, we all lose.
Here is one possible choice, which most of the people that I talk with seem to understand: "Wanna create jobs? Buy American-made!" It might cost more in the short term. We the people can make a difference, if we are united enough.
Buy American-made every time you can. When you have no choice, voice your concerns to the retailers; tell them that you would pay something more for a product made in the USA. There is a name for this: "patriotism." But be nice to retailers because they're stuck in the middle and have only been meeting what the consumers' (our) demands have been: cheaper prices.
If you can, when there is no choice but China, go without. My going-to-town shoes are coming apart, and they are a reminder to me of my determination (there is always duct tape). For now I will not buy shoes that are made in China.
The business minds in this country can hear us if we are loud enough. Let that demand trickle up to them. It is their role to supply a product where there is a demand, and if they can make a profit doing so, they are happy to. Making products in the U.S. puts Americans to work making those products.
This is not a movement against the Chinese people, only their rulers' policies.
Exit strategy: after China floats its currency in a way that a consensus of Democrats and Republican politicians agree is fair (complies with World Trade Organization agreements), then buy Chinese again when you choose to.
We don't need all the American people to do this, and they won't. Some have their money invested in ways that depend on China continuing to dominate our markets, some don't know what is going on, some are just watching TV, some deny their role in all this, some just don't care, and so forth. We only need enough players to make a loud enough noise to tip the scales a little, enough people to choose American-made products to support the workers who make them. Give it a try. I have had some very positive responses from local retailers, including going to great lengths to find me American-made products.
If you choose to use the power that your purses and wallets have, then: to the extent that you can, and until China abides by WTO agreements by letting its currency "float":
• Buy American-made if you have a choice.
• Avoid Chinese-made.
• Go without, if necessary for now, rather than buy Chinese-made.
• Tell retailers you want to buy American- made products.
• Tell others why you are doing this.
United we stand, divided we can blame the politicians.