In his Feb. 27 guest column Frank Lea said: “The condition of this county is not good. Practically all of our governmental leaders-elected and otherwise- spend a good deal of their time rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”
While this is true, our local government is not responsible for the sinking of our “economic” Titanic.
Lea wrote: “Over the past decade, this county has shed more jobs than have been created. We have lost blue chip industries that provided good wages and benefits while giving back to our community.”
While annexing the Abbott Laboratories plant into Laurinburg’s city limits, subjecting the company to increased taxation, obviously contributed to losing that exemplary employer, we lost other industries, the textile industry in particular, due to absurd changes in federal trade laws.
Free trade cannot exist with a country having nothing to trade, save cheap labor for U.S. jobs, limited if any regulation for U.S. workplace safety, and limited if any taxation on sweatshop operations and facilities. Could foreign workers laboring in slave-like conditions for pennies-on-the-dollar wages purchase exported U.S. goods, if there were any? Can displaced U.S. workers purchase U.S. goods manufactured in foreign countries, especially since prices remained constant or escalated, rather than decreased as free trade advocates told us they would?
Did moving our nation’s industries to third-world countries benefit anyone but those exploiting cheap foreign labor and U.S. markets simultaneously? Do U.S. manufacturers see U.S. workers as indirect if not direct consumers of goods produced? Sure, that original move creates tremendous profit, as they eliminate the competition of U.S. manufacturers who remain loyal to our nation and their workers. But what happens when neither displaced American workers nor cheap foreign laborers can afford the goods produced?
Robert C. Currie Jr.