Posted: March 19, 2020 by Kelly Murphy-Redd
American Independence Should Be Economic Development Priority

Similar to how the 911 attacks showed us the inadequacies of screening for terrorists, especially on airplanes, the Coronavirus Pandemic shows weaknesses in our preparedness to combat other threats.

I’m not talking about blame, panic and unreasonable, hysterical political attacks. I refer to our dependence on foreign countries for our basic needs.

Scott Gottlieb, a physician and the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner in the Trump administration, cited the following statistics in testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs:

“95 percent of U.S. imports of ibuprofen, 91 percent of U.S. imports of hydrocortisone, 70 percent of U.S. imports of acetaminophen, 40 to 45 percent of U.S. imports of penicillin, and 40 percent of U.S. imports of heparin, according to the Commerce Department. In total, 80 percent of the U.S. supply of antibiotics are made in China.”

If this were not enough of a concern, the safety of what comes from China is in question. It was recently reported that the medical supply firm Cardinal Health recalled 2.9 million surgical gowns “cross- contaminated” at a plant in China. There were shortages of the blood pressure drug recently, due to tainted active ingredients at another Chinese plant.

Were you aware that China and Taiwan make most of the world’s face masks? Even those made elsewhere have some component parts that are Chinese-sourced.

The United States of America needs to make its own stuff. I know that sounds simplistic but we need to figure it out and do it. We have a proud history of manufacturing and we need to build our manufacturing base.

We have the capacity, talent, and ability to achieve energy independence. In addition to this, we need to make sure we achieve health independence.

As citizens, we can help make a difference. We need to pay attention to what we buy. We need to tell our leaders we want to buy American. We need to ask ourselves the question, “Are we willing to pay more for safer, basic-need products so we are never held hostage by enemy foreign powers”? In times like these we probably give a resounding YES!  But we get very complacent and have short memories.

The website provides numerous lists of products made in the United States. It’s a start. We need to support companies that are part of this effort.

We don’t need to hoard supplies. Here in our area, we are advised to keep a hurricane kit ready. Everyone else can learn from that and keep an emergency kit. But obviously panic doesn’t help anyone.

Economic development organizations do work to encourage and facilitate manufacturing in their communities. These organizations can also rally citizens to help tell elected officials we have to make more in America and not be threatened by our enemies. Our economic health and our individual health depends on solving this problem.

We should not let this moment pass into history and keep on doing the same old thing. Let some good come out of this situation. We can be stronger for it and help to insure a better future.