18 August 2007
Et tu E-Z-Bake?
I wasn't too surprised when I heard, a few weeks ago, that Sesame Street toys made in China were being recalled. Leading this particular recall were Big Bird and Elmo toys. I always thought that Big Bird was pretty clean cut, but Elmo's a different story. I always KNEW that there was something sinister about him.
All that red fur and googly eyes, and that little voice. I knew HE was a bad dude, I knew HE was just the kind of toy to try to harm our kids. Him and his CRAYONS and his little goldfish... pleeeease.
But the Easy Bake oven recall came out of left field.
Well, actually none of this should surprise me and a big part of me is happy its happening. These incredible recalls; fish, dog food, cat food, toothpaste, toys this week, toys last week, toys the week before last, toys next week - its shameful. Shameful and disgusting. But NOT shameful and disgusting because of anything the Chinese have done. No, it's shameful that WE have so much of our economy, our products, and our welfare resting squarely in another country's hands!!!
I came to a scary conclusion a few years ago... one morning I was lying in the floor playing with a bunch of toy trucks with my son and I happened to notice that the one I had was made in China. For no particular reason I checked another one and it to was made in China. A third was made in Taiwan, two more in China, two more in Taiwan. I got so caught up in this reality check that I ended up spending the better part of an hour trying to find anything in my home, toys or otherwise, that was made in the good old U.S. of A. When all was said and done I'd have to say that less than 10% of the things I checked were made in this country.
Even in my wildest imagination I thought that maybe 30 or 40 percent might be made in America. But I was way off base. This is the fact that I'm so shamed and bothered by. The politicians of this country have so much against China. Its the classic case of smile in your face and stab you in the back, yet while China and the US are smiling at each other - we are importing hundreds of billions of dollars in materials and goods from them each and every year. Yet deep down we don't trust them. And while trust is a big issue, there is an even bigger problem that has me scratching my head.
Why in the world aren't we Americans making our own toothpaste? Why aren't we Americans growing and producing our own fish and fruits? Why aren't we making and painting our own toys for OUR kids? Why?
Have you read your orange juice bottle?
"made with oranges grown in China, Chile, Brazil..."
Have you looked inside of you sneakers?
"made in Taiwan..."
Have you looked on the bottom of your laptop or keyboard?
"Japan no doubt..."
Why aren't WE in America stepping up and making our own merchandise?
Let me be real for a moment, I know its all about money, everything is. American importers want to use the cheaper Chinese labor and China wants the business. I'm all for international trade and international commerce, and I understand that the United States needs to be a big part of that. But must we COMPLETELY sell ourselves? I honestly doubt that millions of little Chinese and Taiwanese boys and girls are crawling around on the floor playing with toy cars and toy trucks, and little airplanes and dolls made in America. I doubt it seriously.
Honestly, it's that same "let somebody else do it" mentality that is fueling so much of the immigration problem we have in this country. If I hear one more politician say, the illegal immigrant population does the jobs that American's are unwilling to do - I'll scream. The truthful statement is "Illegal Immigrants will do the jobs that Americans are unwilling to do for slave wages." When it comes to Asian manufacturing for American importing the statement is "Chinese will manufacture the goods that Americans are unwilling to do for slave wages." And, nobody should HAVE to do ANYTHING for a slave wage. It is this type of shameful financial treatment of lower tier employees that creates a multi-generational poverty among working class people.
It's disgusting. Multi-billion dollar companies refuse to shave a small portion off of their profit line by hiring the men and women, the mothers and fathers that will buy their products - to make their products. These importers want their toys, and snacks and products sold in Detroit, Washington DC, Boise, Tampa, Cleveland, Sacramento, Boston, Miami, Denver and all of these kinds of places, but they are not willing to hire the people that live in these cities to make these same products at a decent salary. And we're telling them, "It's okay."
"Sure, it's okay to not hire me, an American, to build a product that is intended for American stores and American citizens. I'm not upset. There's NOTHING you can do to create jobs for Americans that ARE willing to work, but can't find a job that pays enough to buy food and healthcare. It's okay. I know your profit is very important to you and I wouldn't want to interfere with your profit. So please, give me that Elmo with the lead painted eyes, the truck with those loose little magnets, and the Easy Bake oven that gives off those deadly fumes... my two-year-old will love them."