As the U.S. economy seeks to secure some sense of stability, more American assets are falling into the eager, acquisitive hands of Chinese-controlled companies.
Chinese-owned Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery finalized a deal to buy GM's Hummer brand last October. Chinese-owned Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. is close to finalizing a deal to buy Ford's Volvo brand. China-based Zhongding Sealing Parts Co., Ltd. acquired the assets of Michigan Rubber Products, Inc. last November. And now, a Chinese artist will sculpt Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when his memorial is constructed using Chinese granite. Memorial building blocks supplied from a communist country would seem inconsistent with the three themes of accompanying the MLK Jr. Statue: justice, democracy, and hope.
The new Chinese owner of Hummer will locate its U.S. subsidiary in Michigan only after the state offered over $20 million in tax credits while the new Chinese-owned company has committed a substantially-less $9.4 million for the new facility. One might wonder how much longer America's economy can stand allowing states to offer competing tax giveaways to foreign companies (Tennessee and South Carolina also submitted bids) in an attempt to get our own economy on stable footing.
The substance goes far beyond the symbolism implied in these Chinese buyouts of American companies and brands. When U.S. companies are acquired by foreign owners under the positive guise of so-called foreign investment, it's not just about American jobs; it's about American independence.
We can no longer claim to be an independent nation if our manufacturing base is under foreign ownership and foreign control. Sure, American workers will be paid for their labor, but the profits will accrue to foreign companies in foreign lands, and the taxes paid on those profits will be paid to foreign treasuries. Remember that the next time you wonder why there isn't enough tax revenue to go around for a healthier health care system, a stronger national defense, a safer NASA Space Program, better public schools, or well-equipped public hospitals, public colleges, public libraries, fire departments and police departments.
Back in the 1990s, Economist Pat Choate, who was Ross Perot's VP candidate in 1996, estimated that we lose at least $30 billion every year simply because we support foreign companies instead of American companies. I would venture to make an educated guess that the $30 billion figure of over a decade ago is much higher today. Plus, my own research shows that according to the Internal Revenue Service, American-owned companies pay twice as many taxes to the U.S. Treasury compared to foreign-owned companies.
If we stopped unknowingly supporting foreign-owned companies when there is a comparable American brand available, we could send twice the revenue to the U.S. Treasury to pay for the things "We the People" have demanded from the use of our tax dollars without spending an extra dime. What patriotic American would be against that?
Well, if you count yourself as a patriotic American, you may not have much choice as a consumer in the example of Chinese granite being used for the MLK Jr. Memorial, but you can make a choice concerning examples like these:
- Clorox is American owned. Lysol is owned by the British.
- Irish Spring is American owned. Jergens is owned by the Japanese.
- 0Grey Poupon (mustard) sounds like it might be foreign, but it's actually American owned. French's mustard isn't French. It's owned by the British.
- Prego is American owned. Ragu is owned by Unilever (a joint venture between England and The Netherlands).
- Kraft is American owned. Hellmann's/Best Foods is owned by Unilever.
- Arizona Tea is American owned. Lipton is owned by Unilever.
- Aquafina (bottled water) is American owned. Dannon is owned by the French.
- Super 8 motels are American owned. Motel 6 is French owned.
- Racetrac stores are American owned. 7-Eleven is Japanese owned.
- Swiss Miss is American owned. Carnation is owned by the Swiss.
Confused? Foreign companies will almost always list the address of their U.S. subsidiary on the package. This tricks us into thinking we are buying an American product when in fact we are not.
Curious? Next time you're in the store, look at a can of Lysol spray. It says it's made in the USA by Reckitt Benckiser, Inc. of Parsippany, NJ. But the New Jersey address is merely the U.S. subsidiary location of the ultimate parent company in England. Even if a product is made in the USA, the ownership of the company determines where the profits go, where the taxes are paid, and which national economy benefits. Foreign companies simply rent out American labor, and then take the profits back home with them to reward foreign owners, investors, and shareholders.
It's not enough anymore to make it in the USA. We have to own the companies; we have to own the factories; and we have to own the productive capital in the factories. American workers should report to American owners and not distant, foreign owners. Do we want to own our own companies and our own country, or simply be sources of rented labor for the profits of foreign-owned companies? The best way to propel American prosperity is to take ownership of the American economy by support American-owned companies that make their products in the USA.
It's as easy as American apple pie. Get your copy of "How Americans Can Buy American" and get thousands of examples like the ones listed above. You can even download the first two chapters for free here and get a special offer for the full e-book, print edition, or both. Then you'll be armed with the right information to keep your money right here in the USA. And isn't that where it should be?
Roger Simmermaker is the author of How Americans Can Buy American: The Power of Consumer Patriotism. He also writes "Buy American Mention of the Week" articles for his website www.howtobuyamerican.com and is a member of the Machinists Union and National Writers Union. Roger has been a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, has been quoted in the USA Today, Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report among many other publications, and is now a weekly contributor to WorldNetDaily.