Kadner: Made-in-China uniforms, and the U.S. quest for gold
Phil Kadner firstname.lastname@example.org | (708) 633-6787 July 13, 2012 10:06PM
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-3rd, listens to residents Saturday at the American Legion's Robert E. Coulter Jr. Post 1941 in La Grange. | J. Geil ~ for Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 17, 2012 6:43AM
I was going to burn all the Chinese-made stuff in my closet to demonstrate just how angry I was about this Olympic Games thing.
The “thing” is that all the uniforms to be worn by U.S. athletes at this year’s Summer Olympics in London were made in China.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was so outraged that he said all those uniforms should be burned. Reid, who burns through tax money in Congress, apparently isn’t worried about the cost of replacing the uniforms.
It’s the principle of the thing, don’t you know.
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) has been trying to get our government to buy American-made stuff for years. He’s introduced bill after bill to get the government to create rules that would give American companies an edge in selling goods and services to the American government.
He’s had some success but has been met with opposition from manufacturers and politicians who worry that if we stop buying foreign-made stuff, the foreigners will stop buying our stuff.
Of course, it’s often difficult these days to separate the two things because many American companies have foreign plants, and many foreign companies employ workers in the United States.
But let’s forget all that really important stuff, like the outsourcing of jobs, and focus on Olympic uniforms.
Fox TV news people are offended by the berets that are part of the U.S. Olympic team uniform. I guess the argument is that berets were originally made in France, and real Americans wear baseball caps.
And that’s what’s really great about this country.
One minute we can be hotly debating the war in Afghanistan, national health care and Chicago’s murder rate, and the next we can be discussing Olympic uniforms, Tom Cruise’s divorce and Jennifer Lopez leaving “American Idol.”
If you read the emails or overheard conversations about these topics, I doubt you could tell which was more important.
As for the Olympic uniform thing, I guess there’s a difference between a national team wearing clothes made by a foreign country and people all across America making the choice to buy clothes made in a foreign country.
However, it does seem like the nits could be hard to pick apart if you started looking through your closets and dresser drawers.
Actually, a lot of my clothes were made in Vietnam, where we killed a lot of people to stop a takeover by communists who now make a fortune selling us things on the cheap.
As I drive the highways of America, I see cars made in other countries by people we used to hate because they were so much different than us, but that was during a long-ago war and Americans don’t hold grudges.
But the Olympics is supposed to be all about national pride, and having our athletes prance about in Chinese uniforms of red, white and blue is embarrassing.
That’s what happens, I guess, when your president uses government money to bail out car companies, Wall Street investment firms and banks and adopts all sort of other socialist schemes. You get Frenchie-type hats, Chinese uniforms and same-sex marriage laws.
But back to Lipinski’s buy-American legislation.
When I started asking experts about it a few years back, I got an earful about the international markets, how dangerous it would be to promote “nationalistic” economic policies and lessons on the history of the tariff wars.
Some economist even warned me about the dangers of angering the Chinese, who have loaned this country trillions of dollars. Talk about your communist plots ... well, not so much anymore.
A broadcaster for ABC said the merchandising of Olympic uniforms and stuff is a $1 billion industry, and that’s how much money U.S. companies could’ve made if the contract had been awarded to home-grown firms.
The problem, of course, is that those firms have to pay a living wage, health care benefits, taxes and all the other stuff that has made this nation great.
China has national health
care, no minimum-wage laws
and very few government regulations on business. It’s in a better position to offer a better deal on Olympic uniforms, and I guess you could say it is more business-friendly.
It benefits consumers in this country because we get products for lower prices, and we need the bargains because so many of us have lost our jobs due to foreign competition.
Anyway, buying American, I was told, would be un-American because it could damage this country’s economy.
Let’s cheer on our Olympic athletes, despite their foreign clothing.
They better bring home the gold because the cash is going elsewhere.