Outsourcing to China is a losing proposition Commentary

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:27 pm

Outsourcing to China is a losing proposition

Commentary, by Jerald Skoff, for SBT

During my short association with SAMNow, an organization devoted to saving American manufacturing, I have been privileged to factual information that never makes the mainstream media.
This information gives the true picture of what is happening to our country because of the many poorly thought-out free trade agreements, especially with respect to China. America is starting to wake up to some of this information.
I and SAMNow strongly sense that we are only kidding ourselves by thinking that for the long term we can survive by becoming more competitive with China. Without a drastic change in US government policies regarding free trade and the World Trade Organization (WTO), manufacturing will never have a chance to make a comeback here.
China refuses to allow its currency to float as stipulated as a member of the WTO. It also continues to tap into its virtually unlimited workforce, demanding high output, long hours (10-hour days and seven-day workweeks), poor wages ($.30 to .55 per hour) and yet continue to suppress the rights of its people.
I am appalled when manufacturers that I have interviewed say that they were forced out of business because the multi-national companies put an extreme amount of pressure on supplier prices. The multi-national company threatened the supplier by saying they would go off shore or to China for their needs if competitive offshore pricing could not be provided by the American company.
The facts that fall on the table are that, in many instances, the US manufacturer cannot even buy raw materials for what a finished delivered product from China costs.
I am sure if a US company could pay US workers $.40 per hour with no benefits, have our currency valued 40% less and have our government fully subsidize raw materials, we could be competitive on a worldwide basis.
Fair trade will work for the United States. However, free trade (as it is interpreted now) will not.
We are constantly told that we need to be more competitive, more productive and more innovative to survive the global environment. I applaud those companies that take those steps.
However, be prepared for a short-term run. A possible fix is out there. However, our Congress and Senate, with a few exceptions, don’t admit, recognize or are ill-informed regarding the problem that our nation faces.
They have not considered the long-term consequences that the loss of manufacturing jobs and business will have on our children, grandchildren, educational system and, ultimately, our national security.
How do we defend ourselves when the technology and products for defense are being created by a country that disagrees with the US position?
SAMNow is a national grassroots movement representing these concerns of American employees and American businesses. We are employees and business owners who vote, and we will be heard.
SAMNow is very unsettled about the loss of all areas of manufacturing to non-domestic sources that is causing a rapid decline in the economic condition of the United States.
Our goal is to bring awareness to, educate and activate our politicians into making responsible legislation for a fair US trade policy by joining together the voters of this nation for this common and national cause.
Although the entire SAMNow group is made up of volunteering individuals with no ties or affiliations to any political party, trade union or other trade organizations or associations, SAMNow chapters have been formed in 18 states.
SAMNow is the people’s voice. SAMNow keeps its pulse on the center of this controversy and publishes the truth on its Web site at www.samnow.org.
The general public sees the problem and identifies with it, yet feels helpless to do anything about it. Our politicians are poorly informed, and most of them are out of touch with the reality of the situation.
The national news media, being controlled by the large multi-nationals, do not report it and appear to be doing nothing about it. Casual and unreliable information is being reported that cause many to believe that the problem will go away once the economy improves.
Force-fed statistics and information are not supported by what is actually happening.
The threat we face today from China is much different, more complex and serious than those presented by Japan, Mexico or other foreign countries in the past.
The demise of the American manufacturer will assuredly lead to the elimination of the United States as a world power and, possibly, allow us to slip to Third World status.
The United States is in serious trouble as a nation. The bombs are going off daily all around us, but few hear them. We must come to the realization that we are in a bigger war than protecting our citizens against terrorism.
The battlefront is actually our economic homeland, where protecting and defending jobs in the manufacturing sectors and national security should be given top priority by every US citizen.

Jerald Skoff is the founder and owner of Badger Metal Tech Inc., Menomonee Falls. He also is the co-founder of the Wisconsin chapter and the national webmaster for SAMNow (www.samnow.org).

Oct. 3, 2003 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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