The true scandal of the origin of the American team’s uniforms goes deeper than to and through the proverbial figurative hole “all the way down to China.” It is said that “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions,” and so it may be said, and it may be sad, that the road to unions may have originally been well intentioned, even though it has led to the Hellish situation whereby even the symbols of American patriotism – the American uniforms at the Olympics, and before that American flags waved on the Fourth of July – were made in China. The fact that unions have gone too far is well documented, so that the pendulum has swung full cycle from previous abuses by management to current abuses by many unions, in ways it is unnecessary to articulate again.
What is most striking about the current brouhaha about the uniforms is not so much that they were made in China, and not so much that this is not the first time. What I found most striking is the attitude of many of the liberals in Congress, typified by the statement by New York’s Senator Gillibrand, as quoted by the Associated Press yesterday, that “There is no compelling reason why all of the uniforms cannot be made here on U.S. soil at the same price, at better quality.” This statement is a microcosm of what is wrong with the thinking of many liberals in general.
Unfortunately, it is obvious that there IS a compelling reason – though not a pleasant one, and many would say not a justified one—why uniforms were not made here on U.S. soil; unions have often rendered our goods not competitive, even with the savings of tariffs and international shipping costs. A living wage for a full day’s work is reasonable, but featherbedding whereby people are paid for not working and receive benefits after they stop working when they are fully capable of continuing to work are examples of what render American manufacturing not competitive in the international marketplace.
Contrary to what Senator Gillibrand declared, there also IS a compelling reason why uniforms cannot be produced in America at the same price as foreign competitors. It is true that part of the reason is that America has protective regulations in place, which are good, when they apply to such issues as safety, but another reason is that many regulations are unnecessary and counterproductive, and compel American companies to price themselves out of the market in a vain attempt to turn a profit. They cannot have it both ways. They cannot comply with all regulations and still turn a profit. Protectionism in the long term, combined with excessive regulations, does not necessarily protect the American worker, but rather the foreign worker, since it does not go to the root of the problem but encourages American unions to abuse the system and to get away with doing so up to a point, but that breaking point is inevitable, and eventually foreign goods become competitive even with the extra costs of taxes, tariffs, and shipping.
Contrary to what Senator Gillibrand declared, there also IS a compelling reason why uniforms cannot be produced on American soil at the same price, AT BETTER QUALITY. The reason is the same as the one articulated in the previous paragraph. Abuses by liberal American regulating governments and counterproductive American unions have rendered American manufacturing no longer competitive in many industries.
The most insidious aspect of the above quotation of Senator Gillibrand is that it shows how out of touch she is, like her fellow liberals, and how delusional she is, like her fellow liberals, that she does not even realize that she cannot have her cake and eat it too. Unions cannot make demands that render their employers no longer competitive, and expect their employers to stay in business. The bigger picture is that America as a whole cannot breed counterproductive and bloated unions and regulations, and expect to be solvent, to balance its budget, and to reduce its bloated national debt.
Tomorrow is Bastille Day, commemorating the storming and destruction of the repressive government prison in Paris, highlighting the French Revolution. The Queen at that time was Marie Antoinette, most famous for having responded to the complaint that workers did not have enough bread by stating “Let them eat cake” (although the actual story isn’t quite as simplistic as the popular legend). The problem with the unions in America and the liberal politicians in Washington is that instead of encouraging the labor force to be efficient and fair, the powers that be – and that seek to retain their powers in the next election and beyond – disingenuously encourage their union members to demand cake – excessive benefits—when by doing so they render businesses unsustainable, and deprive themselves and all Americans of the opportunity to eat bread and have more breadwinners in the work place.
We all know what happened to Marie Antoinette, quite literally. Her proposed solution did not work, and led to her being prevented from eating cake OR bread. In our more civilized times, people with unworkable and counterproductive ideas simply get swept out of power. The time to take out the broom from the dustbin of history is fast approaching, and to use it on Election Day.
Aaron Reichel is a New York attorney whose writings have been widely published and republished, some in the U.S. Congressional Record. His most notable book remains Fahrenheit 9-12 – Rebuttal to Fahrenheit 9/11.
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