"Renaissance Thinking About the Issues of Our Day"
Remember this warning from Presidential candidate Ross Perot in 1992 about what "Free Trade" will lead to?
... you don't care about anything but making money, there will be a giant sucking sound going south.
Hear that giant sucking sound - or is being drowned out by the noisy debt-ceiling debate?
General Electric announced yesterday that they're moving their x-ray business's headquarters OUT of the US and INTO China.
Three years ago China instituted a national single-payer health-care system covering every person in the country, and thus their healthcare market is growing rapidly - and GE wants to get in that game.
I guess here in the United States where basic healthcare is becoming less and less available to people - the x-ray business isn’t so profitable anymore.
The ironic thing is - GE’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt is moonlighting as the head of President Obama’s job creation council - he’s the guy in charge of trying to figure out how to create more jobs in the United States while his day job is as a CEO who’s boxing up his company and shipping it overseas to hire more foreign workers.
So now that the headquarters is moving to China - expect the factories and the workers to follow suit.
As one unnamed CEO told business columnist Chrystia Freeland earlier this year in her article “The Rise of the New Global Elite”:
If the transformation of the world economy lifts four people in China and India out of poverty and into the middle class, and meanwhile means one American drops out of the middle class, that’s not such a bad trade.
And CEOs are making that trade-off every day in America.
So instead of manufacturing our medical equipment in the US - now we can just import it from foreign nations - hiring foreign workers - producing foreign profits.
But this isn’t anything new.
X-Ray machines will just be the latest of the things that we don’t manufacture in the United States anymore.
As a report by the AFL-CIO and the organization “Working America” uncovered - huge chunks of our once-vibrant manufacturing sector have been handed over to foreign business tycoons to sell back to the United States.
Consider some of these statistics:
93% of household furniture - look around your house - 93% of household furniture is manufactured outside the United States.
But back in 1997 - before George W. Bush came into office - only 23% of household furniture had to be imported… again - today its 93%!
That’s why if you walk around your house - you likely won’t find one thing Made in the USA with the stamp on it - not one thing that put an American to work - not one thing that gave an American a paycheck to buy stuff in the United States and then go out and spend that money, stimulating our economy.
Then there’s this... 92% of all paper products in the United States now have to be imported from overseas - because we don’t make them in America anymore.
When it comes to medicinals and botanicals - 85% of what we use in the United States comes from somewhere else in the world. In 1997 - that number was only 49%.
All of which, by the way, is rather startling given that the argument for Medicare Part D not being able to import drugs was, you can't trust those drugs from outside the country, when 85% of them right now are coming from outside the country.
What about plastic and rubber industrial machinery - do we build that stuff in the US anymore?.
77% of the plastic and rubber machinery in our nation had to be imported from overseas.
And as far as high-tech stuff like electric computers - we rely on the rest of the world to sell 65% of it back to us.
Back in 1997 - just 1997 - that number was just 13%. We invented the transistor. We invented the integrated circuit. We invented television. We invented radio. We invented computers. We don't make any of this stuff any more.
We are no longer self-sufficient - we’ve become slaves to transnational corporations who pulled this off with the gimmick of so-called Free Trade.
Behind each one of these fleeing industries is a CEO like Jeffrey Immelt who took the cash - and sold out his nation - in exchange for cheap labor to maximize his and his stockholder's paychecks.
These guys aren’t the "job creators" that Republicans would like you to believe - they're the JOB MOVERS who - thanks to so-called Global Free Trade - are busy snatching up American jobs and MOVING them all around the world - out of the reach of hard-working, honest Americans.
And Jeffrey Immelt is not alone.
There's other so-called "job creators" who are busy creating jobs - not here in America - but overseas.
Like Al Dunlap - the former CEO of Scott Paper who bragged in a 2006 interview with PBS:
I had a corporation where every person stood the chance of losing their job... I got rid of 35% of the people.
No wonder we rely on the rest of the world to supply 92% of our paper products.
Then there's Frederick Henderson - the former CEO of General Motors. Between 2008 and 2010 he laid off 175,000 people.
Noticed lately how many imported cars there are on the road? By the way - you won't find American-made cars, or not very many of them, anyway, on the roads in South Korea, Germany, or Japan - they protect their domestic auto markets.
There's bailed-out CitiGroup CEO Vikram Pandit who laid off 75,000 US workers - all the while opening up more and more banks overseas so that now CitiGroup has more banks around the world than any other US bank.
33,000 Hewlett-Packard workers were shown the door by former CEO Mark Hurd.
Try to find a "Made In USA" label on HP products after Carly Fiorina and Hurd's terrible reigns of outsourcing.
And there's James Owens - the former CEO of Caterpillar - who - in a rush to open up more factories in emerging foreign markets - gave nearly 28,000 US workers at his company the pink slip.
All of these CEOs - all of them are the millionaires and billionaires that Republicans say we need to coddle with tax cuts so they will do their magic and "create jobs".
These people don't create jobs - they MOVE jobs - or just kill them outright and brag about it.
You see, we don't have a debt crisis in America like the Republicans are screaming about - we have a jobs and manufacturing crisis.
So raise the damn debt-ceiling - and get on with addressing the real crisis in this country - the crisis created by our insane so-called Free Trade policies and treaties, and greedy corporate CEOs with way too much power.
That's The Big Picture.