|Making products in the US is not inherently bad or good. There are advantages and disadvantages to outsourcing. The best indicator of where to produce a product is clearly economic analysis done by the company itself.|
January 17, 2017
On Monday night, “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe joined Tucker Carlson on Fox News to discuss Ford’s and Chrysler’s respective plans to reinvest in U.S. manufacturing. Rowe, who is a proponent of technical and skilled jobs, told Carlson, “Get a skill that’s in demand, that’s really in demand, that can’t be outsourced. Plumbers, steamfitters, pipefitters, carpenters, mechanics, those men and women right now … can pretty much write their own ticket”. Rowe is right about skilled jobs. According to the Manhattan Institute, there are around a half-million U.S. skilled jobs that aren’t being filled. Millennials are spending their time in the college safe spaces instead of doing the ‘dirty jobs’ which can pay well.
However, when Rowe talked about making things in the U.S. he got it wrong. “There’s just something … larger at work here,” Rowe said. “It has to do with our identity, it has to do with what it feels like when we’re actually making things as a country.” This ‘be American, buy American’ attitude has been prevalent in the U.S. for some time, however, making everything at home isn’t always the best route.
Take, for example, our cell phones. By outsourcing full production to China, our phones cost hundreds of dollars, not thousands. By having a low price, the phone companies attract more consumers and bring in more revenue. The jobs that would have been taken away by outsourcing are more than made up by the U.S. based jobs in research and development, retail, sales, customer service, repairs, and any of the other jobs in the technology fields. After all, the biggest job creator in the past several decades has been the U.S. service industry, not manufacturing. If we built our phones and tablets in Los Angeles, there would be far fewer highly skilled and creative jobs available in Silicon Valley.
By importing parts, components, and raw materials cheaply from abroad, companies are able to invest that savings in higher skilled and higher paying jobs here at home.
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