China is buying the U.S. one American company at a time
Our Buy American Mention of the Week!
by Roger Simmermaker
April 8, 2016
What's the best way for a country like China to exert its influence over the U.S. economy? Acquire American-owned companies like Chinese-owned Haier just did when they purchased General Electric's (GE) appliance business for $5.4 billion.
So much for American independence and authentic Independence Day celebrations on July 4th. America can no longer claim to be an independent nation when our manufacturing base is under foreign ownership or foreign control. After all, ownership equals control, and control equals sovereignty. We lose our sovereignty as a nation when foreign companies buy our land, factories, and companies.
How so? Because the more Chinese and other foreign companies establish ownership of American assets, plants and factories, the more they have the right to demand how our U.S economy is run, because how it is run affects them, too.
So since GE's appliance business (not the entire company) is now under foreign ownership and therefore foreign control, what options are left for patriotic American consumers who want to keep profits, jobs, and tax revenue within the borders of the United States?
Whirlpool just happens to be the only remaining major American-owned appliance company in the United States, and we need to support them with our consumer dollars when we shop for appliances. Whirlpool owns such popular brands as Maytag, Amana, KitchenAid, and Jenn-Air.
The only type of consumer appliance that Whirlpool does not make in America (and virtually no appliance company makes in America) is the consumer microwave oven (Amana makes commercial microwaves in the USA). I have an American-made microwave oven from a company called Dacor. I did pay (and you would too) a significant amount of money above and beyond your traditional microwave oven (like Whirlpool), but I look at it not as an extra cost, but rather an investment in America.
Whirlpool has eight manufacturing plants in the Unites States:
- Freezers are made in Ottawa, Ohio.
- Ranges are made in Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Dishwashers are made in Findlay, Ohio
- Washers are made in Clyde, Ohio
- Dryers are made in Marion, Ohio
- Refrigerators are made in Amana, Iowa.
- Portables are made in Greenville, Ohio.
- Cooking products are made in Cleveland, Tennessee (a 400,000 sq. ft. distribution center and one million sq. ft. manufacturing plant, which is the world's largest premium cooking manufacturing plant).
Whirlpool employs 15,000 manufacturing workers in the U.S. and 22,000 American employees overall.
Chairman and CEO Jeff Fettig joined Whirlpool in 1981 as an operations associate and worked his way up the Whirlpool ranks over the years. It's great to know that when you buy Whirlpool products (like I do) that the CEO of the company actually cares about the country where his company is based, which is evident when he said "Our U.S. presence is, and always will be, the foundation of our global enterprise. We are very confident in the future of U.S. manufacturing and proud to have more U.S. manufacturing employees than all of our major competitors combined."
It is one thing for a corporate CEO to talk the patriotic talk, but Jeff Fettig's company walks the patriotic walk, which is evident by their nine domestic factories.
Another example that shows evidence that Whirlpool is patriotic-minded company is the fact that the company recently (December 2015) asked the federal government to impose tariffs on clothes washers made in China by South Korean-owned Samsung and LG. Whirlpool didn't close American factories to move to China to join their foreign-owned and foreign-made competition. They made a bold statement that they want to stay in the USA and get tariff protection so they don't have to put their American workers in unemployment lines.
Three years ago, Whirlpool asked our government to slap tariffs on other companies (LG and Samsung included) that they perceived were selling appliances below the cost of production in the USA from Mexico (a practice called dumping - which is illegal). Our government concluded Whirlpool was right, and imposed import tariffs as high as 72.4 percent.
The Whirlpool refrigerator I bought in 2008 (which is still running of course) has a sticker with this information proudly affixed inside next to an American flag logo: Whirlpool World Class appliances built with American Pride. Employing more U.S. workers than any other major appliance maker. Designed, Engineered & Assembled in the USA.
Chinese-owned Haier does produce some appliances in the USA, but all profits accrue to Chinese owners, Chinese investors, and Chinese stockholders. Taxes on those profits are paid to the Chinese Treasury. The point is even if a given product is made in the USA, we still send profits and tax revenue to the country that owns the brand.
It's ironic that Chinese-owned Haier is buying GE's appliance business at least partly with money that used to be ours. Many Americans have purchased Haier products, often not knowing and maybe not even caring who owned the company or where it was based. Now Haier is buying a popular American brand name with the money we sent them, and all future profits from the selling of GE appliances will accrue to China. More wealth gets siphoned out of the country, and we become poorer as a nation because of it.
Every purchase produces paychecks for someone. Let's make sure our purchases produce paychecks for American workers (employed by American-based companies) and not workers in foreign countries who pay no taxes to America.