Consider An Embargo On World Imports
By James Donahue
In reading all of the reports of global plans
for heading off fears of a world-wide depression we noticed that someone in Washington . . . it may have been President Bush
. . . has assured us that the U.S. would not stop imports of goods from overseas.
We thought that was an odd thing to have
said. But the comment also got us thinking about the impact such an act by our government might have. And it struck us that
a federal embargo on imports might just be what our nation needs to fix a lot of things that have gone wrong.
We are thinking of a stoppage of ALL goods
from other countries, even the things manufactured by U.S. companies that moved to Mexico, China, Indonesia and other places
to exploit poverty stricken areas that supply cheap non-union labor.
Along with this embargo our government should
prohibit all financial dealings that make it possible for big spenders to launder their money in foreign banks. Most of all,
there must be a prohibition against the United States borrowing any more money from other countries, or selling government-owned
lands, buildings and bridges owners abroad.
We also suggest shutting down our wars in
other lands and bringing our troops home to reinforce the blockade of our ports, major airports and borders, to make sure
nothing sneaks into a black market.
Here is what we think would happen.
American stores will quickly run out of imported
items. Since most of the stuff we think we must have to make our lives more enjoyable . . . new televisions, computers, stereos,
cell phones, cameras, sewing machines, shoes, clothes and Japanese and European manufactured automobiles . . .will be suddenly
unavailable, we will be forced to use the old things we already have or go without. You might be amazed at the things that
will suddenly become unavailable.
Is that a bad thing? Indeed, going without
certain food items like coffee, bananas, dates and spices will be a severe sacrifice for many of us, but it won’t kill
us. American farmers still produce enough food to feed our people. And if people overseas get hungry enough, they will probably
allow us to export excess foods.
Another critical loss would be oil. We would
be forced to scale down our use of oil produced at home, pay extremely high prices for fuel, and get serious in our research
to find alternative energy sources to heat our homes and get to work.
Placing our troops at the borders and in
our ports and airports where overseas flights land would not only solve the so-called immigration problem but put a quick
end to a large part of the nation’s drug trafficking . . . at least stop the import of cocaine and heroin. Of course
this would also make importing certain medicines like pain-killing drugs like morphine, manufactured from the poppy flowers
that produce heroin, a thing of the past. We would have to rely on synthetic chemicals and, we might suggest, marijuana, to
The financial benefits from such a sacrifice
would be astounding. We believe we might do a lot to help resolve the money crunch, create jobs and make the United States
an industrial and productive nation once again.
Such a blockade will make American workers
vividly conscious of how big business interests have slammed the door on them. Other than farm produce and building construction,
America no longer manufactures things. Instead we are a public service society. The jobs are mostly in restaurants, hotels,
home, automobile and appliance repair, legal and insurance services and medical. The other jobs are in government and include
schools, police and the operation of prisons and jails. These jobs run at the cost of tax dollars.
If an embargo such as we have described would
go into effect, the door will be wide open in America for the small entrepreneur to go into business making the things we
want and need. The art of manufacturing good shoes and clothes has been all but lost. But Americans are enterprising and we
can learn. Many of our older women who learned as children how to sew, bake good bread, make rugs and hand-sew quilts from
rags and darn socks are still around to teach the younger people.
We believe it wouldn’t take very long
before thriving new business enterprises would be popping up all over the country, and America would be manufacturing things
once more. Enterprising people with good ideas for starting manufacturing shops to meet the demands of Americans would be
rushing here from all over the world to fill the void.
Why would this help resolve the American
economic crisis? We see something like this stabilizing the economy by quickly erasing the national debt and putting value
back in the dollar. Instead of pouring borrowed money into meaningless and deadly wars to bolster big business interest already
located overseas, we keep our money at home to use for education, rebuilding our roads, bridges and crumbling infrastructure.
There would be money for a great socialized
health program for everybody.
The Daily Kos recently published the following
statistics: When Jimmy Carter was president the national debt was $660 billion. During his four-year term it increased $337
billion. We thought that was pretty high.
Then Republican Ronald Reagan got in office
for eight years. The debt was raised by $1.6 trillion. Try to count to a trillion and see how long it takes. Try to imagine
such a number. Who would have thought it possible that we would ever need such a number for counting a national debt? Astronomers
invented it to calculate distances between stars and galaxies.
Not to be outdone, the next president, George
H. W. Bush added another $1.6 trillion during the four years he was in office. The same amount of increased debt but he did
it in half the time.
Democrat Bill Clinton saw another increase
in the debt of $1.5 trillion during the eight years he sat in the oval office.
But George W. Bush has topped them all. The
debt has been raised yet another $4.5 trillion since he took office in 2001, and his term isn’t quite over at the time
of this writing.
The Kos article noted that the nation now
is saddled with a debt of $9.5 trillion, of which $7.7 trillion was added during Republican administrations. At this rate
we are headed for a destructive financial melt-down.
National debt is the amount of money the
United States owes other nations for past services and purchases of goods and services. This means that the commercial outflow
of manufactured items from America is not keeping up with the imports we get from overseas. And it goes without saying that
most of this debt is for oil and gas imports.
The higher the debt, the more the dollar
depreciates in value. And when that happens, the U.S. Treasury finds itself printing more paper to meet demand. And as more
paper goes into circulation, the less it buys. That is called inflation. It is a Catch-22 of sorts.
Thus we say the solution to this problem
is to just shut off the spigot. Stop buying imports. Start manufacturing quality stuff that people in other lands will want
to buy from us, and then sell it to them.
It might also be wise to elect a new president
and a slate of legislators to get some of the corruption swept out of Washington.