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The Olympics and the US Army

Shades of the US Army. Horrors! The word got out that Ralph Lauren’s US Opening Ceremony outfits for the upcoming Olympics were, gasp, manufactured in China. Well, the company promised that the outfits for the 2014 Olympics would be American made—this after members of Congress on both sides of the aisle threatened to burn the uniforms.

Ralph Lauren released this statement: For more than 45 years Ralph Lauren has built a brand that embodies the best of American quality and design rooted in the rich heritage of our country. We are honored to continue our longstanding relationship with the US Olympic Committee in the 2014 Olympic Games by serving as an Official Outfitter of the US Olympic and Paralympic teams. Ralph Lauren promises to lead the conversation within our industry and our government to address the issue to increase manufacturing in the United States. We have committed to producing the Opening and Closing Ceremony Team USA uniforms in the US that will be worn for the 2014 Olympic Games.

US Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun also released a statement saying that they take seriously about the Olympic Team’s Opening and Closing Ceremonies uniforms. With athletes having already arrived in London, and the apparel distribution process beginning this weekend, they are not able to make a change for London. With 406 athletes, changing the outfits would be a logistical nightmare, but this should put it to bed for now.

So, now we’re going to have American made clothes for our athletes—which will create jobs for Americans. And, given that our nation is, like totally broke, it’s going to cost us more to do so. We’ll likely borrow the money for this additional purchase from, well, China—and pay them interest.

Did anyone notice that each year the US imports about $3 million worth of US flags made in, you guessed it, China.

The one issue that hasn’t been addressed is that the outfit for this year’s Olympians looks, well, stupid. The French style berets are really bad. I’ll bet we could raise enough money to buy 406 baseball hats and air-freight them over there.

Does this remind anyone of the time about 12 years ago when the US Army came up with the really dumb idea of putting all our soldiers in berets? Then we found out that all the berets were coming from, you got it, China! So they were re-ordered. Sound familiar? And if you talk to the troops these days, as I do, they all hate the beret. No two look alike, the thing can’t be put on with one hand, etc., etc. How about we ban all berets and concentrate on looking like, well, Americans.

If they want less out-sourcing, erect tariffs, or alternatively, lower US wage levels. We can`t have higher wages with open borders and expect corporate patriotism (an overly-used word) to account for local manufacture—and I’m not one of those fancy economists.

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