It’s time to stop buying goods from China

There’s a poster I’ve seen for years which shows someone with a noose tied lightly around his neck, standing before and watering a still-small tree labeled “communism.” I mention that because image because it’s not only our political class that’s sold out to China. We have too. Cheap Chinese products are every bit as much a drug as fentanyl is and we need to kick the habit before we hang ourselves with the monster tree we kept watering.

I will almost invariably go for the cheapest product available. Over the years, though, I learned that many of the Chinese-made goods I bought were costing me a lot of money because they were so cheaply made that they were instantly useless. I am not alone in this discovery.

In 2010, when the American media was still allowed to criticize China, CBS published an article summing up the problems with Chinese-made goods:

My house is full of crap that was made in China. (Hint: I'm not using the term "crap" as a synonym for "stuff".) My house is pretty typical in that way. The entire United States is flooded with low-quality, poorly-manufactured crap made in China. And it often has a U.S. brand name slapped on it.

Not everything that's made in China is crap. Their top-of-the-line semiconductor fabrication plants are the best in the world, for instance. But that's because every computer chip must be tested thoroughly or it won't work at all. For most stuff -- toys, medicine, consumer electronics, kitchen gear, tools, etc., etc., etc. -- what comes out of China is cheap, in both senses of the word.

Over the past two years, I've gone through 3 cameras, all made in China. Each one broke after about three or four months of light use. I've also had three computers with Chinese-made fans in them, all of which have turned into loud whining electronic whistles. I have an entire collection of Chinese-built vacuum-insulated containers where the vacuum broke within a week of purchase. I could go on, but you get the point.

Someone I met who worked on the newly built eastern portion of the San Francisco Bay Bridge confided to me that, early in the process, they bought steel plates from Japan that were perfect. The metal was of excellent quality, and the predrilled holes were exactly where they should have been.

Then, they switched to steel plates from China. These cracked easily and none of the pre-drilled holes lined up. He assured me the bridge was safe, but I’ve always wondered. And please note that, thanks to mega-companies and our politicians selling us out, no company in America was able to supply the needed plates.

China’s also in the death business. Its pet food killed our dogs. Its anti-viral masks were useless. Its fentanyl kills the Midwesterners whose quality jobs vanished into China’s deadly sweatshop and slave labor camps. And its major factories – often building the technology we love -- kill the Chinese people and ooze toxins throughout the world.

Rich leftists hated Walmart because its so-not-classy stores allowed ordinary Americans to have the same type of luxuries that filled the leftists’ homes. The leftists would have done better to tell Americans the truth: Walmart, by partnering with China to sell cheap and cheaply-made goods to working people, killed ordinary American jobs. Think of that poster I mentioned: By buying Chinese-made bargains at Walmart, we destroyed ourselves.

I totally understand that people with limited money need to buy whatever is cheapest and there’s no shame in going to Walmart if that’s what your budget allows. All patriots, though, should try to buy fewer things. Wealthy or not, you’ll save money if you decide you don’t need that Chinese made gadget or decoration.

And if you do have the wherewithal to buy America, for God’s sake, do so. That’s my New Year’s resolution: I’m going to buy American. And if America doesn’t make it, I’ll try to buy it from anywhere else. For example, when I bought my new laptop after my computer died, I made very sure to buy it from a Taiwanese company.

In the original (good) Ghostbusters, the heroes were told that they would be choosing “the form of the destructor.” In their case, Ray managed to dream up the “Stay Puft” marshmallow man. (And no, I won’t link to the YouTube clip. That’s also feeding the beast.) We Americans inadvertently dreamed up China, which too many of us remembered as a backward Third World country. It’s not anymore. It’s a dangerous geopolitical rival and we must stop funding it.

Clearly, I’m feeling militant today. I’m a middle-aged woman who hopes never to find herself in a physical battle. However, we fight in our own ways. In this case, each of us can do battle against China by starving it of the money we’ve so willingly sent its way. If you can, buy American. If you can’t, try to buy from anywhere else but China. And if China’s the only option, ask yourself if you really need whatever it is you’re about to buy.

IMAGE: Made in China label by Bill Bradford, adapted by Andrea Widburg. CC BY 2.0.