President Obama sits proudly at his desk in the White House, a Buy American banner providing the backdrop. Underneath that message in this political cartoon are the words that strikes at the heart of the jobs crisis in this country – Made in China.
If this president, the rest of the Democratic party and big labor haven't gotten the message, millions of Americans certainly have.
A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute estimates that in the last decade, the United States has lost some 2.8 million jobs to China. All 50 states, have been affected by job loss and labor displacement from trade with China, with Texas and California suffering the most losses.
About 1.9 million – or nearly 70 percent of the jobs lost – were in manufacturing. The computer and electronic parts industry are being hardest hit, but the jobs drain stretches deep into all areas of manufacturing.
The resason for the jobs exodus and why American companies are moving operations to China is simple. Cheaper Chinese-made goods are much more profitable. Even American companies such as Walmart can't afford to buy goods made in the U.S. when they can be produced so much cheaper in China. The Chinese are now selling four times as many goods to the U.S. as this country sends in return to China.
A manufacturing job in the U.S., including salary and benefits, may pay $50 an hour. In China a factory worker makes little more than a few hundred dollars a month. Millions of Chinese laborers have moved from rural areas to the cities to work in the brand new production facilities.
Two years after it was saved by a Washington bailout, General Motors is thriving once again with its investments – in China. A recent CBS report showed that American cars are more popular than ever in China, and our automakers sell more cars there than anywhere else in the world.
Last year, Chinese consumers bought 16.6 million cars – 5 million more than the number sold in the entire U.S., according to J.D. Power and Associates. All the cars GM sells in the U.S. are made there.
With lower production costs and sales going through the roof, China is in the driver's seat when it comes to the global economy.
In a recent debate, GOP hopeful Mitt Romney said the "Chinese are smiling all the way to the bank, taking our currency and taking our jobs and taking a lot of our future."
That's a fact haunting this president and his big union buddies every day.
By Jim Zbick