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America’s Made in China Problem

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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 12: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) (L) speaks as Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) (R) listens during a news conference July 12, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Senate Democratic leadership held a news conference to discuss the Senate’s upcoming vote on the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 12: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) (L) speaks as Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) (R) listens during a news conference July 12, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Senate Democratic leadership held a news conference to discuss the Senate’s upcoming vote on the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

The uproar over the revelation that the 2012 U.S. Olympic uniforms were made in China has brought into focus a problem that every American must consider soon.

I found the reactions from certain members of Congress the most interesting since they have the front row seat to seeing exactly how many manufactured products sold in the United States are manufactured in China and in other countries.

The way the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reacted, you would have thought that he had no idea about any of our tax, tariff and other laws that have sent manufacturing overseas. The way Senator Reid reacted, it appeared that he expected the manufacture of the U.S. Olympic uniforms should somehow inexplicably break the trend of every other area of manufactured goods sold in the United States.

I can’t imagine that Sen. Reid or any of his Congressional colleagues have shopped at a big box store recently. But if any of them have, they would not have been surprised that the uniforms for our Olympians were made overseas, simply because just about everything else is.

If Americans are as incensed as some of the higher political profile figures have been on this issue, not only is the anger ironic, but it is also a sign that as a country, we have yet to accept our current reality.

If our fellow countrymen are angry about this issue, then why are so many of us okay with so many other materials in our lives being manufactured in other countries?

It seems we are picking and choosing very select times to be outraged. Frankly, I’d be happy to have all of our Olympic uniforms created, manufactured and printed in China forever more in trade for everything else we buy being made in this country.

That’s why the outrage is misplaced. As a country, we are somehow incensed that a few hundred uniforms were manufactured in China, but we have no problem walking into any large store in America and buying countless products all made overseas.

And we’re not just talking about computers or small electronics. We’re talking about clothing, tools, pet toys, pet treats, and just about any knick knack that you pick up are all almost exclusively made abroad.

If you doubt me, try to play this game at your local big box store. Find an aisle, any aisle, and go down and try to find a product made in the US of A. If you find more than 10% of the goods in the aisle are made here, then you win! Proceed to the next aisle.

If you win two aisles in a row, you are not in a big store, trust me.

My point is this. High profile members of our Congress and many of our fellow citizens are angry that a few hundred uniforms that represent the United States on the global stage are made in China. Yet, as a country, we are perfectly satisfied living with and buying products of all shapes and sizes that are made in China that represent something far greater. What we buy represents our lives, and what we stand for. It appears at this point, we stand for the least expensive materials sold at the lowest possible price, regardless of who is making or selling the product.

A few athletic uniforms made in China may create a sense of irony and even some anger, but the amount of real goods that we buy everyday that are made in China pose a far greater sense of irony and a far bigger problem. About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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