Thursday, March 20, 2008

Corporations Fail to Serve – Part 4

In prior posts I discussed the issue of exporting American jobs overseas, and buying Chinese-made goods. The question is, what can we do about it?

I recognize it is a global economy and I am not an isolationist, but we as a country must be prudent and watch out for our own interests. Obama and Hillary are attacking each other over NAFTA, but NAFTA is nothing. The real problem is what I discussed in my earlier posts. As usual, the politicians obsess over trivial matters and fail to address the real issues.

There is little we can do, because the forces driving these trends are powerful: Wal-Mart and the powerful multinational corporations. We have an impotent Congress who can’t seem to address any of the serious issues facing this country, such as dependence on foreign oil, the looming social security crisis, air pollution, and the unfavorable balance of trade. Presidential candidates talk about “change” but they’ll do nothing of substance once they get elected (just like every other candidate). They are all talk and no action, because they won’t go against the entrenched special interests. Once elected, their main job is not to accomplish anything of substance, but to remain in office.

Nevertheless, there are a few things you and I can do that might help the situation:

(a) We can boycott Wal-Mart, and write to them and tell them why we won’t shop in their stores. If enough people write and they see their sales levels affected, they just might do something.

(b) We can try to buy American-made goods if we can find them (which is next to impossible), even if they cost more. We can also try to boycott Chinese-made goods, although that can be difficult as well. Look before you buy, to see where something is made. With clothing there is usually a choice.

(c) We can write to our Congressman and our Senators, and state our concerns. It probably won’t do much good, because they are in the pockets of the special interests. But if they get enough mail, they might begin to act, especially if they see their jobs in jeopardy.

(d) Write to the toy companies, IBM, and the Poughkeepsie Journal, expressing your displeasure at their policies (see my earlier posts). Feel free to print out and enclose my posts in your letters.

(e) Chrysler Corporation is planning to import a Chinese-made car. Don’t buy it, even if it is reasonably priced. Can you imagine the quality of that thing? It’ll probably make the Yugo look good in comparison! Fortunately cars are still some of the few products that are at least assembled in the US (many foreign brands are assembled here although they source their components world-wide). Don’t buy foreign-made cars, especially from China!

(f) We should encourage our county, state and federal legislators to pass laws encouraging employment growth by companies. Some states view companies as unending sources of tax revenues, then wonder why they cut back or leave the state. Some states so regulate companies or so favor employees in their labor laws that there is no incentive on the part of a company to stay in that state. I don’t know how it would work, but we should also encourage our legislators to penalize companies who export jobs, and tax imports to bring them closer to being on a par with the cost of US-made goods. I know we have to be careful about tariffs but there has to be some kind of balance.

(g) Pray for our country, because we are going down so many wrong paths. We are sowing the seeds of our own decline and we’re too fat, dumb, and happy to realize it.

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