The last few months have sure taught me a lot. If I thought Y2K, 9/11 and the great recession changed the world, a Chinese-originated virus said, “hold my beer.”
Say what you want about the lack of response or over-response, the thing I realize is how much we need to support local business and cut our ties to foreign interests like China.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, estimated recently that almost 80 percent of antibiotics are made in China, according to an article in Reason.com. Lately local beef producers have been warning of foreign beef flooding our country from Africa and Brazil, and due to loopholes in packaging regulations voted on by our lawmakers that means the country of origin does not have to be disclosed.
Frankly, I want to know if my beef comes from Missouri or Nairobi. I will pay extra for local beef and pork, and you should too.
President Trump has been warning us about foreign actors and the raw deal we have been getting on trade for the better part of a decade. He bemoaned how our own ignorant politicians signed those deals, but most people thought it was hyperbole. Well, that chicken has come home to roost in a big way, and that clucker is named COVID-19.
We found out that supply chains and medicine should not be so closely linked to untrustworthy communist regimes. Not only is the truth in question at all times, but when it does finally come to light, it is at best delayed, as were the facts surrounding this virus.
So, what can you do? Well, for starters, shop local.
It is an over-used cliché, but we need to put our money where our mouths are daily. There is no reason to leave the area for 90 percent of our goods and services. When you look at time lost and gas burned, any savings you might see traveling out of town is lost. And that is if there is even a savings at all!
Last week, I found a local merchant who could easily beat the price of a big city banner maker. They say eggs are cheaper in the country, but banners? Turns out they are, and many other things are as well.
So many of the things we buy are made in China or oversees somewhere. We need to push back against Chinese goods, especially when there is such a trade imbalance, when their human rights record is so terrible and when their government is actively engaging in cyber warfare and stealing our technology secrets.
The redherring was Russia, Russia, Russia for the last few years and the media got us all wound up that they were the biggest threat. Turns out there was no collusion and no evidence the Russians did anything to change one vote. All the while, the Chinese have been stealing our intellectual property, flooding our markets with cheap, inferior and dangerous products and cornering the market on medicine and personal protection equipment AFTER they knew the virus was out of control and kept it quiet for months.
They say all politics is local, and I believe it. I could care less what the wackos in California do or what regulations Mayor Bloomberg imposes on his subjects in New York, but as for me and my family, we are going to buy local when at all possible. Look for USA options on products in local stores and “Just Say No” when it comes to China.
There are billions of other people on this spinning blue ball who can buy from them. I’m out.
Christian County first, Missouri second, America third and anyone-but-China as a last resort. If that makes me a nationalist, then so be it.
Jamey Honeycutt is the publisher of the Christian County Headliner News, the Bolivar Herald-Free Press, the Buffalo Reflex, the Marshfield Mail and the Cedar County Republican as part of the Phillips Media Group family of newspapers.