51 ~ 49
… imagine a world in which 51% of all products sold in Wal-Mart were made in the USA
Eric LaMont Gregory
The decision to locate a business in one community or another is based upon a number of factors, and local communities entrust to their elected officials to work out the details. All negotiations are a matter of give and take.
The terms under which Wal-Mart, for example, settles into a community are highly favourable. One might say uniquely so.
When times are good, low unemployment, and the largely part time workers at Wal-Mart have a second full-time wage earner in the same family who can include the medical insurance-less part time worker on their company’s insurance plan, communities have medical costs which are borne elsewhere.
That time is not now. With many full-time wage earners out of work and therefore with
out medical insurance these costs are now borne by the local community. With many full-time wage earners out of work other support services such as housing, food assistance, and income itself is borne by local communities.
At one time it was a matter of pride to own that American made product from GE, Westinghouse, RCA, May Tag, and Schwinn, but these have been replaced by outwardly cheaper products from China primarily, in the case of Wal-Mart.
The allure of the cheaper and therefore more profitable Chinese product is when examined under the economic microscope more myth than reality.
Ceramic tiles made in China land in the USA at a cost of just over five dollars. The American manufacturer can deliver them at a cost of five dollars.
And, we do not have to pay the higher tax bill because we have to cover the medical, housing, food and income costs of the displaced American worker because another American tile factory has shut down.
An economic analysis that does not include all costs is fiction, not sound fiscal management.
These decisions are not made in Washington, or in our state capital, but in our local communities.
Now, imagine a world in which 51% of all products sold in Wal-Mart were made in the USA, or more correctly within the North American Free Trade Association, since by agreement made in the USA now includes Canada and Mexico, not withstanding the complication introduced by the maquiladores.
The argument that this would make goods sold in Wal-Mart cost more is a false one, or at least an over simplification.
It also would mean that the American worker would rather not pay a cent more or less here or there and be employed, than to save a cent more or less here or there on goods that he cannot afford because he is unemployed.
The American people will do what is necessary to have jobs and make their own decisions, rather than not have jobs and make no decisions at all.
Wal-Mart and other companies equally placed - it is time to re-negotiate and 51% - 49% is a excellent place to start.
For details of all USA trade agreements including NAFTA and with China see:
Office of the United States Trade Representative