ABC News Buy America Program is Naive and Off Base
ABC’s Made In America's series is naive, puerile, and vision-less.
First, the thesis is flawed. What is the point? Merely, to prove that with major effort, the producers can furnish a house, a student dorm, or whatever, with American made stuff? Don’t they grasp the difference between manufacturing output and manufacturing jobs?
American manufacturing is healthy--since 1975, output more than doubled, but with a sharp productivity increase that lowered employment by 31%.
ABC looks at the reduced jobs' number, and concludes naively that manufacturing is declining! While we should not rejoice when people lose their jobs, we must cheer productivity increases. That’s what drives American competitiveness!
Surely, America should have a goal of improving productivity, which means fewer jobs for the same output. Instead of trying to get corporations to employ people, business should be encouraged to grow its manufacturing base faster than its productivity rise.
American manufacturing has become more sophisticated and switched it’s focus to higher-end manufacturing. That's why it is more difficult to find made in America items like clothing, toys, and many consumer items. Clearly, ABC’s series is off base and has not identified the correct issue. Until they do, their series is merely a reality show that will appeal to emotions, but with little real value.
Small point, but worth considering: What is made in America? What percentage of American content in a finished product constitutes made in America?
Second and crucial, America needs the rest of the world to sell its products. Besides, it needs to buy stuff from abroad. The US Department of Commerce, announced on September 8 that total July exports were $178.0 billion and imports $222.8 billion, resulting in a goods and services deficit of $44.8 billion. Though this is a large trade deficit, the two-way flow is significant.Continued on the next page