Thursday, July 26, 2012

Another Argument for Onshoring

Over at Insty's place, there's this link to an article that bolsters the notion of American Onshoring.

What's American Onshoring (or Onshoring for short) you ask? It's the concept of returning our country's energy producing and manufacturing from overseas. In addition to the obvious boost to our economy that such a move would have, it's also in our interest from a national security standpoint.

As we saw during the tsunami in Japan, our dependence on foreign suppliers caused production lines here to be idled. This is unnecessary. Why not just make those parts here? Common sense tells us that the physically closer we keep our parts suppliers, the less vulnerable they are to disruptions due to natural disasters.

I've made this argument before. I'll keep on making it because it's the logical thing to do. There's just no good reason for us not to be making as many of our own products as possible. We're still the largest consumer market in the world, but we're not taking advantage of it.

Now add in the effort to recover from a terrorist attack, the idea of Onshoring takes on a new importance, as the link mentions...

An increasing reliance on imports, combined with the fraying of the nation’s power grid, highways and rail lines, leaves the United States more vulnerable to the damage of natural disasters and terrorist attacks, according to a report to be released Wednesday by former homeland security secretary Tom Ridge.

The report, which Ridge shared with homeland security officials Tuesday morning, warns that the offshoring of U.S. factories means that rebounding from a catastrophe will be more difficult because so many critical supplies would have to come from overseas.

Citing the aftermath of disasters such at Hurricane Katrina and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the report adds to the long-running debate over whether the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing has harmed the nation.

“At a time when the frequency of large-scale disasters seems to be increasing, the U.S. seems to be at an all-time low in terms of being able to supply our own critical needs,” said Scott Paul, director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which sponsored the report by Ridge and Robert B. Stephan, who was an assistant secretary of homeland security from 2005 to 2008.

Paul said, for example, that half of the world’s steel comes from China.

It's right about here that I remind y'all that the Iron Bowl, played in Birmingham, AL, got its name for a very good reason. And how about those Pittsburgh Steelers, too? I don't think that the rich natural resource of iron ore in those areas is gone. What's to prevent us from firing up the smelters and making our own steel once more?

Oh, our own government and its environmental regulations. The same ones that stop us from buying 100-watt incandescent light bulbs at the grocery store.

Never mind, then.

Oh, wait. You say that we could relax those standards? Gosh, I didn't know we could do such a thing.

Perhaps we should. Maybe, while we're at it, we could have a thorough review of all environmental standards.

Just a thought...

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