Thursday, March 3, 2022

Made in USA

POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica
Made in the USA by David Trumbull -- February 18, 2022

In the summer of 1941, as World War II was devastating Europe and Asia, America watched, and hoped -- hoped that it would not be a repeat of World War I, where we were pulled into a foreign war. Hoping is one thing, planning is another. We could not have anticipated that by December we would be forced into the global conflict, but wise heads in Washington did see that it was a question of when, not if, young American men (practically still boys) would be called upon to defend Democracy and risk life and limb in a foreign conflict we neither initiated nor sought. Recognizing the looming threat, the U.S. took a sober look at what we would need to fight the war when it came to us. The conclusion was that we needed a reliable domestic source of steel, and textiles. Congress passed an act to require domestic U.S. sourcing of uniforms. Since then, requirement for domestic sourcing of textiles for the Department of Defense has been renewed several times and, finally, made a permanent part of U.S. law, known as the "Berry Amendment" for the member of congress who proposed it, in its current form, over 60 years ago.

We now are facing a crisis. Due to COVID-19-related workforce and supply limitations, we are, for the first time since 1941, facing a situation where young women and men entering our armed services cannot be provided with uniforms. Back in December, the newspaper Stars and Stripes, reported that the sole domestic source for certain fabric for Air Force uniforms is unable to satisfy the need. That much is public, but the shortage goes beyond that, far beyond, and while I can't reveal details, I can tell you that the U.S. currently could not clothe enough warfighters were we to be forced into a major conflict.

COVID-19 has precipitated this crisis, but it is not the root cause. For the past 30 years U.S. trade policy has incentivized brands and retailers to close U.S. textile facilities and relocate offshore, mostly to China. Leaving the few domestic producers of vital military textiles with few, if any, commercial customers. A law requiring U.S. textiles in tents and uniforms is of no value if there is no remaining U.S. textile industry to supply our armed services. And we certainly do not want to fall into a situation where we are dependent on a foreign nation -- a potential foe -- as the source of military clothing and tents.

You can help! If more Americans would buy U.S.-made clothing we could help support that industrial base that we need for national defense.

Here are a few sources for Made in U.S.A. products.

For quality hats, including hats made in the U.S.A., visit these fine vendors:

For computer cases, suitcases, and other travel goods go to

For bags, other travel goods, and ball caps go to

For American-made linens go to, or, a company that makes their bed and bath linens right here in a Fall River, Massachusetts, factory.

For sneakers, pass by the Nike, probably made with slave labor in China, and go to who makes shoes in Massachusetts and Maine.

Final note, even companies that are committed to U.S. manufacturing will sometime mix imports into their catalogue, so be sure to check the country of origin of any article before making a purchase.

Tom Brady, You Are No Patriot, and I Ain’t Talking Football

POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica
Tom Brady, You Are No Patriot, and I Ain’t Talking Football

by David Trumbull -- January 21, 2022

Tom Brady has launched a new athletic clothing brand, but if you thought that might mean new jobs for American textile and apparel workers, your hopes are about to get deflated.

According to his website (which I will not name, lest I give him free publicity), "We currently make our goods between New York, Mexico, Portugal, Lithuania, Vietnam, and China." As far as any products made in New York, it is impossible to tell from his website, because, in the case of individual articles, they all lack the federally mandated disclosure of whether they are domestic or imported. Given the current interest in America-made goods, it is fair to assume that were they made in America, he'd be highlighting that. So, it looks like little, if any is actually made in New York State. The site is also not in compliance with fiber content labeling law.

It's not like these articles cannot be made in the U.S. It's athletic wear, of the same sort the U.S. Department of Defense acquires for our warfighters -- and does so using 100% American-made sourcing. Using publicly available sources I confirmed that the U.S. Department of Defense, in one year alone, 2021, acquired similar garments made in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and Puerto Rico (several manufacturers). Furthermore, nearly all, if not all, states have sheltered workshops for the blind or otherwise disabled that provide these articles. Even here in Massachusetts JA Apparel Corp, New Bedford, gets military contracts for apparel comparable to some of the Brady line.

And at his prices -- $75 for a T-Shirt and $175 for a hoodie – he certainly cannot claim that living wages paid to Americans have forced him to go off-shore. This is pure greed, and disregard for American workers, and in the cases of China and Vietnam, disregard for the rights of the workers in other nations.

According to Human Rights Watch:

"Vietnam’s human rights record remains dire in all areas. The Communist Party maintains a monopoly on political power and allows no challenge to its leadership. Basic rights, including freedom of speech, opinion, press, association, and religion, are restricted. Rights activists and bloggers face harassment, intimidation, physical assault, and imprisonment. … workers are not allowed to form independent unions. The police use torture and beatings to extract confessions. The criminal justice system lacks independence."

The same group ways of China:

"China’s one-party authoritarian state under the Chinese Communist Party systemically curbs fundamental rights. Under President Xi Jinping, in power since 2013, the government has deepened repression at home and sought to muzzle critics abroad. It has arbitrarily detained human rights defenders and lawyers, tightened control over civil society, media, and the internet, and deployed invasive mass surveillance technology. The government imposes particularly heavy-handed control in the ethnic minority regions of Xinjiang and Tibet. The government’s cultural persecution and arbitrary detention of a million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims since 2017 constitute crimes against humanity."

Brady is not the only celebrity athlete who needs to be called out. Several American professional ball players refuse to stand for the American National Anthem, because 150 years ago we tolerated slavery, yet they have multi-million-dollar promotional contracts with sneaker companies that use slave labor in the Xinjiang Region of China. I guess slavery is bad only when someone else is benefitting from it.

Few are those in professional sports who will speak up about the human rights abuses in the factories where athletic wear is produced. One of those few is Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter, who has repeatedly excoriated both the NBA and Nike for not standing up to China over human rights abuses being perpetrated by the communist country. (See

You and I don't have the platform that Enes Kanter has to call out the bad actors among apparel and footwear brands, but we have one thing -- we have our wallets. Buying sneakers? Take a look at Massachusetts-based New Balance -- they make sneakers in factories in Massachusetts and Maine.

Tom Brady has abandoned New England and has abandoned American workers, but YOU can be a PATRIOT. Look for the Made in U.S.A. label when you shop for apparel, textile articles, and footwear. Next month I’ll give you some examples of everyday articles you can buy that provide manufacturing jobs for Americans.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

President Donald J. Trump Delivers for American Workers

POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica
President Donald J. Trump Delivers for American Workers
by David Trumbull -- September 18, 2020

Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That deal would have destroyed millions of U.S. jobs. I understand why Obama pursued it. The idea was that the loss of millions of Americans jobs was an acceptable cost of linking the U.S. and Vietnam to provide an offset to China's hegemony in East Asia. I didn't believe that it would work that way, and the fact that China was rapidly building new factories in Vietnam in anticipation of TPP is evidence, at least to me, that I was right. TPP was not going to re-balance power in East Asia and those millions of American jobs would have been lost with nothing gained.

Trump vowed to re-negotiate NAFTA and there was outcry on the right and left than that was an outrageous thing. The fact is that we have renegotiated individual provisions in NAFTA hundreds of times (I wrote some of those proposals that ended up being accepted by the three nations), Trump merely set out to do a more thorough version of what we had been doing piece-meal all along. NAFTA is 25 years old, in our more recent agreements we learnt from the mistakes of NAFTA and created better agreements, Trump took the lessons learnt and went back to Canada and Mexico and got us a better agreement. Of course, the new agreement had to go to congress for approval, which it got, because it was evident to everyone that Trump got us a better deal.

The old NAFTA had problems, but nothing in comparison to the damage that China was inflicting on the U.S. When China entered the WTO at the end of 2001 it got all the benefits of membership, and while it committed to observing the disciplines of membership, it has not. Year after year the U.S. government issued a written report on the many ways that China was not living up to its WTO commitments and how that was harming the U.S. economy. And year after year the U.S. did nothing about it. Trump bypassed congress and invoked Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to unilaterally impose a 25% tariff on most goods from China.

Almost all my clients are paying that tariff. They have no choice. China's illegal trade practices have put out of business entire industries in all other countries. Almost all of these companies paying the tariff say that Trump is doing what must be done because just as all their suppliers outside of China have been put out of business by China, they believe that, without this strong action, they would be the next targeted by China for elimination. Now, during the pandemic, Trump is keeping these U.S. companies afloat by invoking the Defense Production Act.

I also have clients in the New England lobster industry who were at a disadvantage relative to Canadian lobster men because Canadian lobster enter the EU duty-free while U.S. lobster are subject to import duty. Trump got the EU to give U.S. lobster's duty-free parity with Canadian, without the U.S. making any significant trade concessions to the EU. On September 14 the Trump administration published notice of a new $527 million seafood trade relief program that will pay licensed fishermen up to $250,000 to offset sales lost due to China's tariffs on U.S. seafood.

Prior to the election I was skeptical about Trump. I liked what he said about trade, but I wasn't sure he had specific actions to put in place. As president he has far exceeded what I dreamed possible.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Hurray for Trump Rallies

POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica
Hurray for Trump Rallies
by David Trumbull -- June 19, 2020

When I was young, my family, like most American families, would gather around the television at least a few nights a week and enjoy entertainment that offered something for everyone. The marvelous variety shows -- Ed Sullivan of course the biggest shoe-- were where Americans were fist introduced to some of the rock bands whose music we still listen to six decades later. They also featured comedy, acrobatics, juggling, you name it. If you could put it on TV, it was there in an hour-long program, with the host as the center around which the entire circus revolved. In other words, they were in the 1960s what a Trump rally is in 2020.

"By the way, is there anything more fun than a Trump rally? Is there? Seriously. And we break every attendance record every single time, just about." -- Donald J. Trump.

The Trump rallies are back! For the Saturday, June 20, 2020, rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the campaign reports they received 800,000 requests for tickets. Fox News is the top cable news network in large part because it shows every Trump rally. Each Trump rally brings Fox about 5 million viewers.

It's the best TV on TV. You get music, lots of fun upbeat music, the sort of music that back in the day of network TV you would have gotten on those variety shows that filled our 23-inch screens. Some of the artists object to their music playing at Trump rallies. But as Mick Jagger found out when he tried to stop it, "You can't always get what you want." If the venue has a license to play your song, there isn't much you can do about it in most cases.

The music at Trump rallies will go on, and the crowd will go wild. There will be clapping, dancing, jumping around. I have never seen people at a political event having so much fun. Sure, at both parties' national conventions the balloons will drop when the nomination becomes official, music will play, and people will cheer, but the whole thing is so choreographed and staged that it will be a bore -- nothing like the energy at a Trump rally.

What is a TV variety show without a clown? At a Trump rally you can be sure to see some clown who waited outside in the heat or cold for many hours to get in and immediately get himself thrown out for an attempted disruption. Apparently, it never occurs to them that one voice in a backrow seat in a 20,000 person arena can't be heard, so no one will even know why you are protesting. Maybe they don't even know themselves why they are protesting. One thing is clear, the Trump supporters know why they are there. For a quarter of a century they saw America being taken away from ordinary Americans, and taken over by a small elite class that thinks the rest of us are deplorable.

Trump wants to give America back to us deplorables. And, in the process, he's giving us the greatest show on TV.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Trump Takes ACTION, not Meetings

POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica
Trump Takes ACTION, not Meetings
by David Trumbull -- February 20, 2020

"To build on our incredible economic success, one priority is paramount -- reversing decades of calamitous trade policies." -- President Donald J. Trump

President Trump is turning back the failed trade policies of past administrations that closed more than 60,000 American factories and shipped millions of jobs overseas. In the decades following NAFTA's implementation and China's accession to the WTO, America lost 1 in 4 manufacturing jobs.

No longer is America turning a blind eye towards the unfair trade policies that have harmed American companies and workers for far too long. President Trump has delivered for the American people -- negotiating new trade deals that put Americans first.

President Trump signed USMCA into law, making good on his promise to terminate NAFTA, and replace it with a much better deal for the American people.

The President confronted China's unfair trade policies head-on and imposed historic tariffs, resulting in a groundbreaking phase one trade agreement with China. This agreement will begin rebalancing our trade relations, protect American intellectual property, combat counterfeit trafficking, and expand markets for American businesses. In the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama I used to attend quarterly briefings in Washington on developments in trade. Each time, someone from the administration would present a fairly detailed report on all the illegal trade practices of China. We'd ask the administration spokesperson, "What are you doing about this?" The answer was always the same, "We had a meeting with the Chinese recently and we are planning for another meeting soon." Meetings, meetings, meetings -- that all. Trump takes action!

Almost all my clients are getting hit by Trump's 25% tariff on Chinese goods. They can't easily move their sourcing out of China, because the unfair and illegal trade practices of China have destroyed entire industries in the U.S. and elsewhere. China is now the sole source for certain raw materials and intermediate goods needed by U.S. manufacturers. New factories could be built outside of China, but that will take years. So, these U.S. manufacturers are stuck with China and a 25% tariff as the only way to operate. And you know what? Almost every one of them says that Trump took the right action. Just as China put out of business all other sources for these U.S. manufacturers to buy from, they see that they could be the next ones put out of business by China if the U.S. does not act as Trump has.

Thanks to the President’s efforts, we have signed two new trade agreements with Japan that will benefit American agricultural exports and grow our digital trade for the future. Japan will open its market to approximately $7 billion in American agricultural exports. The President’s efforts will help boost the already approximately $40 billion worth of digital trade between our two countries.

The President has renegotiated our trade deal with South Korea, providing a boost to America’s auto industry.

The President is working to negotiate even more new trade deals in the coming year.

Manufacturers around the country are adding thousands of new, high-paying jobs for American workers. Since the President’s election, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been added to the American economy. Comparatively, 20,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in the 12 months prior to the election. Blue collar workers, on average, are on track to see almost $2,500 more in annual wages.

Trump Trade Agenda Results in Blue-Collar Boom

POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica
Trump Trade Agenda Results in Blue-Collar Boom
by David Trumbull -- March 20, 2020

On February 28, 2020, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer delivered President Trump's Trade Policy Agenda and Annual Report to Congress, highlighting how the Administration’s aggressive trade actions have resulted in a "blue-collar boom" with higher wages, more jobs and a stronger economy for all.

Going forward, the report states that President Trump will continue to rebalance America's trade relationships to benefit American workers, aggressively enforce U.S. trade laws, and take prompt action in response to unfair trade practices by other nations.

The President achieved more trade successes over the last 12 months than prior administrations achieved in a typical decade. The result is a stronger economy, rising wages and more jobs -- including more manufacturing jobs.

While 15,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in the 12 months prior to President Trump's election, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been added to the American economy since then.

Real median household income is now at the highest level ever recorded. Wages are growing faster for nearly all groups, but historically disadvantaged groups are seeing the fastest growth.

Wealth inequality has finally declined, as the share of net worth held by the bottom 50 percent of households has increased while the share held by the top one percent of households has decreased.

President Trump kept his promise and confronted China over its unfair trade practices, after years of little more than talk from Washington. The enforceable and historic Phase One Agreement he signed requires major structural changes by China relating to intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agricultural standards, financial services, and currency, while maintaining leverage with significant tariffs on $370 billion worth of imports from China.

President Trump kept his promise to end NAFTA by replacing it with a far better agreement -- the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The USMCA is a 21th century agreement that will lead to fairer trade and robust economic growth in North America.

The USMCA encourages U.S. manufacturing by requiring high-wage labor content for autos; strengthens supply chains to provide new market opportunities for the U.S. textile and apparel sector; provides strong protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights; includes the strongest labor provisions of any trade agreement; expands market access for American food and agricultural products; contains the strongest disciplines on digital trade of any international agreement; and makes environmental obligations fully enforceable.

The Administration's goals for the next year include:

New trade agreements with the United Kingdom, the European Union and Kenya, which would be the United States' first free trade agreement in sub-Saharan Africa.

Enforcement of commitments by our trading partners in trade agreements, including the USMCA, the China Phase One Agreement and WTO agreements.

Limiting the WTO to its original purpose of serving as a forum for nations to negotiate trade agreements, monitor compliance with agreements, and facilitate the member-driven resolution of international trade disputes.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Trump Has Our Back

POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica
by David Trumbull
January 17, 2020

A little more than a year into Trump’s presidency I had dinner with a friend who is the pastor of a church in the Reform tradition, but who came from the Evangelical tradition. I’m a Catholic, so our combined experiences cover most of the Christian experience in American. We were talking about how clueless the media are about Trump and his appeal. My friend noted that the media doesn’t understand why Evangelicals support Trump. I responded, “I can sum it up in one word, ‘Cy’” and my friend responded with, “rus.” We were referring to Cyrus the Great, the Sixth Century B.C. king of Persia who released the Jews from their Babylonian captivity, returned them to their homeland, decreed that the temple in Jerusalem be rebuilt, and provided the money to build it. You can read the account in the Bible, in verses one though eight of the first chapter of the Book of Ezra, as well as several favorable mentions in the Book of Isaiah.

There is no record, not even a hint, that Cyrus became a worshipper of the God of the Jews. His policy of religious tolerance was applied across his empire to all religions. He took the golden temple vessels that the Babylonians had seized from the Jerusalem temple and returned them to the Jews, but there is also an account of his paying for the restoration of a Babylonia idol. In short, he seems to have understood that the best way to rule a multi-ethnic empire with many religions was to be the guarantor of freedom to any and all religions. He wasn't a Jew, but as we say, he had their back. In fact, according to the Bible, he was chosen by God.

Fast forward about 850 years to the Year of Our Lord 313. That's when the persecuted Christians in the Roman Empire gained their freedom of religion. Emperor Constantine the Great issued the Edict of Milan which, like Cyrus' policy, established freedom of religion in the Empire for all faiths. In the Eastern Church Constantine is recognized as a saint. In the Western Church he is highly revered, but not officially recognized as a saint. His personal live was hardly saintly, he had his wife and child murdered, and was otherwise cruel when he believed the situation called for cruelty. Perhaps his knowledge that governing the Empire would require ruthless acts was why he delayed Christian Baptism until he was on his deathbed (Baptism washes away all sins). During his life, Constantine was favorable to Christians, but he was not one himself and -- he had their back.

In 2012 President Obama pushed for an Obamacare mandate that if enforced in the way he wanted would have forced the closure of Catholic and many Protestant hospitals and schools. It was clearly unconstitutional, but the legal battles alone would likely have been crippling to faith institutions. In response, here in heavily Catholic Boston Cardinal O'Malley urged us to pray:

"Almighty God, Father of all nations, for freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus. We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty, the foundation of human rights, justice and the common good. Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties; by your grace may we have the courage to defend them for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land. We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness, and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, with whom you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

Many people of various religions in America believe that prayer may have been answered on November 8, 2016. Is President Trump my idea of a good example of Christian living? No. He doesn’t have to be one of us to have our back.