Well, it's that time of the year, back here in the North East. Too cold to get out in the garden. So the perfect time to work around the house.
Now there's an old-fashioned kitchen clock that I've been meaning to hang. So now's the time.
It needs to be supported underneath by a small bracket, that could be seen. So I wanted something a little special. Not your ordinary stamped-out bracket, made in some nondescript plant. I wanted something handcrafted, preferably made here in the USA.
SO I started shopping at the local hardware stores, nothing. The big-box home improvement stores, nada. Finally even went to a blacksmith, down the road. He's out of business.
At last, I was able to locate just what I wanted on Amazon. With the warning that I need to hurry as only 3 are left.
This all underscores a significant issue that we have in this country. America doesn't make anything anymore.
Oh sure, we make automobiles, build houses, and do other big things. But much of our most popular retail items, things like iPhones and Nike Sneakers are made overseas.
And small manufactured items, like my bracket for my clock. They're gone entirely. These little tiny one and two-man shops are becoming as rare as rare can be. The bracket that I wanted was made by a blacksmith. Talk about another time and place.
But America's inability to make things are starting to appear in the big economic numbers. In the reports that we see every day. And buried in all the hubbub about the Federal Reserve, there was also released a little-noted report on our “Goods Trade Balance.”
Now we're all familiar with the Balance of Trade. That's a summary of all of the international economic activity in the country. It includes services provided to people and businesses overseas. In fact, service is a large part of our trade.
However, the Goods Trade Balance only looks at the goods we exchange with other countries. The things we make and sell to them, and vice versa.
And the story that the Goods Trade Balance tells is not a good one.
For the first time in our history, this nation had a Goods Trade Balance for 2021 of a Negative Trillion Dollars. Far and away from the worst performance for American Manufacturing ever.
Think of it, these are all items that we could or would not make ourselves. Items like my little shelf bracket, that we must look to others to manufacture. Creating jobs and wealth overseas. And denying work to American labor. Income to American shop owners.
And while this trend has been building for years. Suddenly in 2021, the bottom fell out of American Manufacturing.
The reason was that these small businesses were, by and large, “non-essential.” Shut down in a vain effort to slow the spread of the Covid Virus. Manufacturing shops were on the shortlist to be closed!
In all the stimulus that Washington handed out so generously, small manufacturing shops were essentially ignored. Far less than one percent of the Biden Stimulus Packages, Trump was more generous, less than 1% of Biden's stimulus went to small businesses of any kind.
And now, as the yearly numbers are starting to be reported, we're seeing the result. America must now go out to the world, to purchase the trillion dollars of goods, that we don't make at home.
For American Manufacturing, the economic policies surrounding the Covid Lockdown have been the single most destructive in our nation's history.
I hope you can see that our economy is about 5% below where it needs to be to come into balance. And most of that is because we lack the manufacturing power needed. And that's the cause of last year's trillion-dollar shortfall in our Goods Trade Balance.