51% of products sold in the U.S. must be made in America

By C. Fernando Lumba

Based on the tens of thousands of comments this blog has received over the past 18 months, the blog post that has really struck a chord in most readers’ hearts is post number 3 out of 18:  ”A Proposed New American Doctrine.”

Most of the readers can’t seem to get enough of the ideas advanced in the post. Many have commented that it’s about time someone starts to speak for Americans who have seen their jobs shipped to China and other countries, who would fight for them and not be swept by the vortex of the intellectual current that assumes that the loss of manufacturing to China principally is predestined in American history.

The greedy among us claim that the flight of manufacturing to China and third-world countries is necessary because of the inevitability of a globalized economy.

We say that’s a lot of hot air!  What we mean to say is that it’s a lot of the stuff that accompanies hot air.  What we mean to say is that it’s baloney!

Nobody has the right to destroy manufacturing industries in the name of profit.  And the American multinationals have done just that.  Partly in pursuit of profit, and partly because they wanted to “punish” unionized labor in America, American multinationals packed up their gear and headed for China, Bangladesh, Mexico and other underdeveloped and developing countries.

To hell with American workers, they seemed to say, let them eat cake.  Yes, the American multinationals sounded very much like Marie Antoinette, who said that the dirt-poor and starving French people should just eat cake because there was a shortage of wheat in the years and months leading up to the French Revolution.  You know what happened to Marie Antoinette.

We do not advocate another French-style revolution or the beheading of America’s Marie Antoinettes.  What we advocate is a revolution in the minds and hearts of Americans.

These jobs that we are shipping to China and overseas are the jobs that our children and grandchildren would otherwise have.  And the multinationals don’t see anything wrong in that?

Obviously not.  In Steve Jobs autobiography, “Jobs,” he justified his choice of China as the country where Apple products would be made.  He wrote that China has many more engineers than the U.S.  That may be so.  We are not arguing with him on this point.  But why make everything in China?

Why can’t Apple make some of the products that hit the American market inside America?  We’re not asking for every single Apple product to hit the American market be made in America.  We’re only asking for 51%.

The effect will be more expensive Apple products in America.  So be it. Americans will be able to pay for the more expensive products because Americans will have better-paying manufacturing jobs, not jobs at McDonald’s and Walmart.

Not consistent with economic theories of most efficient use of capital? Maybe.  But who made those economic theories anyway?  Were they handed to us by an economic Moses who got the commandments in economic theory from someone up in the mountain?

The fact is, all these economic theories are man-made, which means they can be wrong.  The most efficient use of capital and resources is not achieved through the manufacture of the cheapest products.  For who would buy those cheap products if the markets have no buying power? They may be cheap, but if our young people have no jobs or have jobs that pay less than $10 an hour, they cannot afford to buy those products.

We need good jobs in America to maintain the buying power that we have. Currently Americans can buy up to 5 trillion dollars worth of goods and services each year.  If our young people do not find good jobs or become permanently or long-term unemployed or can find only McDonald’s and Walmart jobs, Americans will not be able to buy the super gadgets: the flying cars, the robots that do housework, etc. and the pace of economic activity will eventually slow down.

Americans, Europeans, Australians, Canadians, etc. must be protected and not endangered because they are the ones who will buy the high-tech products that are surely to be built in China and other Asian countries.

The first salvo in this battle to save the American economy and its workers is our proposal to adopt a new American doctrine.  And that doctrine states that all major manufacturers who wish to continue selling in America or to start selling here must make 51% of such products right here in America.

We will give those companies (foreign and multinational) five, seven or ten years, depending on the complexity of their manufacturing operations, to set up factories here.

We expect that the Europeans, as well as Australians and Canadians will follow our lead and install their own version of the American 51% doctrine. Even the smaller countries in Asia and South America and the progressive countries in Africa, will follow America’s lead and formulate a doctrine similar to America’s.

The result will be the return of some manufacturing to the industrialized world and the location of factories all over the globe, including in Africa.

This will lead to an equitable distribution of wealth all over the world, away from the Chinese and Indians and Koreans and into the coffers of countries like Uganda, Paraguay, Greece, Portugal, etc.

China will still likely emerge as the biggest economy in the world, but its ascent will be gradual and not sudden and destabilizing, which is what is happening now.

The U.S. will continue to be a strong country with a robust economy and whose people – the young people of today – will have good careers and fulfilling lives.

Who says the decline and fall of the U.S. is inevitable?  Only those who are willing to sacrifice the American economy in their pursuit of even greater wealth.

(To my readers: If you wish to send me a note, you may do so by emailing me at lumbacesar@gmail.com.)