State Rep. Neal Goodman's proposal to support Pennsylvania-made products by placing a "Made in PA" logo on goods made or processed should have the support of every citizen and legislator.
Chris Parker's article that appeared in Monday's TIMES NEWS listed a number of items made in the Keystone State which many of us have taken for granted, from Sylvania light bulbs and Crayola crayons to Martin guitars and Blue Mountain Candles.
Trends in the overall global economy, however, are disconcerting. For the first time last year, China became the world's biggest trader in goods, overtaking the U.S. and finishing the year with record trade figures.
We were shocked to learn that a number of iconic American products aren't even made in this country anymore and are assembled and produced by cheap labor places like Taiwan and Indonesia. Even Hershey Candy, once an all-American product, moved some of its production to Monterey, Mexico in 2008.
Steel industry jobs in this country have fallen victim to cheap labor. The steel and other products used to make our railroads, once a boon to the economy of our region, are no longer made in the U.S. Henry Ford would be surprised today to know that a percentage of the Ford Motor Company cars are made in Mexico.
Japan and China now dominate the production of electronics. It was estimated that over one billion cell phones were in use in 2009, but none were made in the U.S. The iPad, an American invention, is already being made in China, along with the iPhone.
Foreign imports also dominate the sports industry. Products include Adidas (Thailand), Converse (Indonesia), and Nike (Indonesia and Malaysia). Even Rawlings baseballs are now made in Costa Rica.
Many of the products of our youth are also now produced in China, including Huffy bicycles, Mattel and Fisher-Price toys (including Barbie), and Radio Flyer wagons.
There are some other ironic twists to this sad litany. Monopoly, the iconic board game that trumpets the golden years of American capitalism and railroad building, is manufactured in East Asia.
And finally there's Hasbro's G.I. Joe. The Real American Hero's toy isn't even made in the country it's designed to protect. Our legendary toy veteran is now made in Asia!
By Jim Zbick