U.S. vulnerable to natural, terrorist disaster damage due to offshoring manufacturing abroad
Washington, July 25 (ANI): An increasing reliance on imports, in addition to the fraying of the nation's power grid, highways and rail lines, has left the United States more vulnerable to damage from natural disasters and terrorist attacks, according to a report.
According to The Washington Post, the report, which the former homeland security secretary Tom Ridge shared with homeland security officials, warns that the offshoring of U.S. factories meant that recovering from a disaster will be more difficult for the country because so many critical supplies would have to come from overseas.
"We are a country at risk because we've ignored the gradual erosion of our manufacturing basis," he said in an interview, adding: "We've ignored the need to rebuild the nation's infrastructure."
Citing the aftermath of disasters, such as the Hurricane Katrina and the September 11, 2001, attacks, the report added that the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing could have 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," Scott Paul, director of the Alliance for Manufacturing, which sponsored the report by Ridge and Robert B. Stephan, who was an assistant secretary of homeland security from 2005 to 2008, said.
Paul said, for example, that half of the world's steel comes from China.
The United States already applies "Buy America" provisions to some spending, particularly in defense and highways and trains.
Last year, of $374 billion in defense spending, $24 billion, or 6.4 percent, went to foreign entities, according to the department's report to Congress in May.
More than half of the $24 billion, however, was spent on fuel, construction and subsistence - not manufactured goods, it said.
Although it might seem logical to protect "important" industries, it is difficult to select just what sectors are most important, University of Virginia professor Philip Levy, who was a senior trade economist at the Council of Economic Advisers during the George W. Bush administration, said. (ANI)
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