In the news today, there is a report that Robert Kraft and the Boston Patriots organization has flown a private jet over to China to buy a load of desperately needed medical face masks. The report also says that the Boston Patriots are donating about $2 million towards the cost of these face masks.
I am increasingly thinking that much of the critically needed medical equipment and supplies such as ventilators are not made here in the U.S. I think the shortages and our inability to ramp up to meet the needs demonstrate this. Clearly, China has been able to make these supplies as the Patriots flight shows. I suspect that most of the needed medical supplies and medications are originating from China today.
Now, I am not a globalist in the sense of trade as it has developed in the last 30-40 years. I have been strongly opposed to tax and other policy that has enabled as well as encouraged American industry to out source their manufacturing to other parts of the world. It is supposed to be ok to do this in search of cheaper labor and fewer regulations, especially, environmental regulations. Americans need to see that on most days, the people of Beijing need to wear face masks because the air is unsafe to breath, and this is not due to any virus.
Trump has been reluctant to use the War Powers Act to push American industry to dedicate production to the much needed medical supplies during this crisis. I think the reluctance is because this reveals that we do not make any of these items here to begin with. There is no existing industry to ramp up. Notice, the automobile industry is being pushed to make the desperately needed ventilators. Ford and GM are hardly medical supply companies.
I hope Americans have their eyes open during this crisis. There is much to pay attention to right now besides just trying to stay safe. We have allowed our captains of industry to organize and depend on off-shore supply chains that can be very fragile as we are seeing now. In the process, we have gutted the American manufacturing base, and decimated the middle class as well as organized labor.
I believe in free trade, but not when it relocates the means of production overseas. I have no problem with buying raw materials and items we cannot manufacture here, but I do not support the kind of free trade that has come to dominate our economy in the last 40+ years.
It will come as no surprise that I voted for Ross Perrot for these very reasons. I did not just come to this point of view. I have held it for a long time. I have tried to buy American made automobiles as much as possible, sticking with Jeeps as they are “mostly” made in the U.S., not entirely, but a higher percentage than any other American car. I admit to a buying a couple of foreign cars in my lifetime, a Toyota and a Subaru, both mistakes in my opinion.
I have watched our tax and trade policy since the time of Reagan favor this economy and concentration of wealth at the top. I have been opposed to this all along, and I still am. To add insult to injury, Putin is sending a plane load of needed medical supplies to the U.S. right now. He already has sent the same to Italy. Apparently, this resulted from a phone conversation Trump had with Putin this past Monday. I think, this pretty much sums up about 40 years of bad government and policy.