I hesitate to write this letter for fear that it will be wrongly interpreted as anti-American or unpatriotic. However, I feel compelled to write because I think that the "Buy American" argument makes us feel good and resonates with our patriotic sympathies but doesn't do justice to the debate I've read in your newspaper recently.
The arguments for "Buy American" and even the Oct. 6 column by Doug Fraser ("UAW retirees earned their legacy") are long on emotion and nostalgia, but they lack a proper historical perspective to provide much-needed balance.
In 1939, some of the largest, most advanced economies in the world set upon innocent others with a ferocity the world had never seen before or since. The only nation to escape economically unbloodied was ours.
Our cities weren't leveled; we didn't have millions of refugees needing food, shelter or health care, and our economic base was untouched by occupation or destruction.
We are a benevolent people and a benevolent victor, and we rebuilt much of Europe and Asia and in the process made ourselves a rich nation.
That boom continued for more than two generations, but it was inevitable that the advantage we enjoyed in 1945 would eventually play itself out, and the rebuilt economies would one day be our competitors.
That day arrived much longer ago than we'd like to think, but it is here, and manufacturing jobs with expectations of current wages and benefits are out of step with the rest of the world and will continue to disappear.
Capital is efficient and will seek locations where the labor component of the product is low.
So I think the nostalgia for the old days hurts us rather than helps us and deflects our focus away from the future.
Our future is very bright: it's just different from the world of our parents and grandparents.
The people next door who go to work each day are productive and are making a contribution; it's just that fewer and fewer people will be carrying lunch buckets or punching time cards.
The fact that they drive a foreign car or a car made here without union labor shouldn't call their patriotism into question.