"Buy American" is Protectionism

. Saturday, January 31

Not three sips out of my first cup of coffee of the day and already my blood is boiling. As much as we'd all like to "Buy American" to support ourselves, did you know that our illustrious government has signed trade agreements that actually prohibit buying American products over imports?

This little pearl of wisdom is in the news today under the auspice of protectionism. Obama's stimulus plan includes "buy American" provisions that include US made iron, steel and manufactured products over imports. Canada and the European Union "will not stand idly by" if these measures are passed.

It seems that the arguments for buying US products for infrastructure improvements will create jobs here, something that is sorely needed and the loss of which is blamed on Bush's trade policies, of course. The argument against states that buying American at this time goes wholly against the "global economy" and the fear is that other countries would also implement protectionist measures. As it stands right now, the bill under consideration states, "none of the funds from the stimulus may be used for a project unless all of the iron, steel and manufactured goods used in the projects are produced in the United States." Obama, playing it close to the vest, has yet to speak on any trade issues.

Well folks, if we don't pull out of the crisis, the rest of the world won't anyway. Sure, everyone is struggling the world over, and the world is looking to the US to save the day. But, if the US doesn't save itself, it won't do much good for the rest of the world, and I'd much rather not have the US weaken itself to save the world and open the door for an overthrow of power. Let's just say that this ol' girl ain't ever gonna wear no damned burka!

It seems to me that it would be logical to take this opportunity to rebuild the system from the ground up. If every locale became as self-sufficient as possible, then the global economy could be rebuilt based on need first, then desire last. That sure would uncomplicate a ton of issues and tensions worldwide, and eliminate dealing with peoples with abhorrent practices just because they produce something (oil) that we depend on to operate when we could have been self-sufficient all along and remained strong in the world's eye.

That dependence on imported oil caused this crisis to begin with, bringing the US to its knees with soaring crude prices. With the US on its knees, the rest of the world buckled, including the Middle East. That kind of power needs to be eliminated, which can be done by not depending on imported products to fulfill necessary needs. There's no excuse in leaving our underbelly so exposed and vulnerable to domination like this.

Once again, I am so dissatisfied with the US government that operates solely for the purpose of protecting business instead of people.


ER Burn The Fat said...

Your post makes so much sense!

If we would just become energy independent, including wind, solar, coal, nuclear, and oil (all of the above), that would go a long way.

Then as you say, strengthen the local economies.

But het, this would take too much control away from the federal government and put it back in the hands of the people.

Robin said...

A protectionist policy will only make things worse not better. Here in Canada our government is being pressured to lobby the US government for exemption. Obama is visiting us in a few weeks time and I'm sure part of the discussion will center on this. At the same time, with Obama's intention to concentrate on Afghanistan with regard to fighting terrorism, I'm sure he will bring up the fact that Canada has indicated our intention to pull out of Afghanistan in 2011.

Theresa Komor said...

Burn, I tend to think that the control is in the hands of big business, with the government acting as the central voice (a puppet) of that control. Same thing, really. As long as the dollar is the only priority, people will never matter.

Robin, it's hard to say at this point all the factors playing into any sort of decision to be made about economic recovery. If this were 40 years ago, a war declared would mean blow the offending country off the map, then go in a rebuild and developing a larger consumer market base in the process. For some reason, war no longer means that, it's lacking in any definitive lines and is actually without an identified enemy.

What is glaringly obvious is that the Middle East holds the reins by controlling the selling price of a barrel of oil, and that means that the US is neutered. Worldwide, that is not a good thing, and that includes Canada.

Capitalism has programmed the average citizen to be isolationist, though they like to call it individualism. Capitalists find it easier to control the available workforce that isn't talking to each other and figuring out how they are all exploited and raped on a daily basis. This isolationism is what shapes our culture and our loyalty to our country. Obama now has to struggle for the ever determining popular opinion right now, and that will play a large part in any decisions he makes.

Right now, until tensions are eliminated, there is no room to work on or build a global economy. We should have been at that point 20 years ago, but we aren't. With the economic collapse, it's time to start over and do it right. And, that means it will be tough for every country as we all rebuild, not just Canada, nor is Canada immune to the results of the collapse.

The Hawg! said...

I've been waiting for protectionism to rear its ugly head. Gee, looks like we're in for some fun.

Theresa Komor said...

Yeah, no kidding. I wish all these boys would learn how to play well together! The idiocy is driving me nuts!

The Commentator said...

I always thought protectionism was about using a condom.