Coronavirus has given us good reason to be scared. Global pandemics are movie plots, but with cases rising, fear is growing. Stores are being overrun as people stock up on supplies. Government officials have suggested "social distancing," including skipping events, concerts and airplanes. “Above all, don’t get on a cruise ship,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, advised people more vulnerable to infection.
That scared me, and I wasn’t even going on a cruise.
Panic is psychological, and facts don’t always rein in the psyche. One fact to prove it: In 2009, H1N1, or “swine flu,” killed more than 12,000 Americans.
Were you stocking up on dry goods back then? No. But you still don’t feel any better, right?
Here’s another fact. This winter, an estimated 31 million Americans had the “regular” flu, with roughly 300,000 hospitalized and 12,000 dying. Did you hoard toilet paper? No. But you are now, right?
Facts don’t always assuage panic. You know there’s no monster under the bed, but after watching a horror movie, sometimes you still look.
“The fear of the coronavirus is likely to be as or more destructive than the virus itself,” former presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted. But there is something else we should fear. That's how much American political leaders have surrendered our sovereignty in the name of economic globalism. In the age of coronavirus, globalism could be the real killer.
More than 90 percent of our medical supplies, antibiotics and vaccines are manufactured in China. During last year’s trade negotiations with China, a Chinese official suggested using their position of medical dominance as leverage. Afraid of coronavirus? You should be more afraid of China cutting off our supply of penicillin because they could in an instant.
We already know we outsourced our manufacturing to China. Apple proudly describes its products as "designed in California, manufactured in China." In a manufacturing shutdown inspired by coronavirus, a lack of new products will hurt the economy, sure. But it’s going to really hurt when we can’t get ibuprofen, or worse, anesthesia medicine.
So worrying is America’s dependence on the Chinese medical industry that Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., introduced legislation to return much of it to domestic production. “America first” isn’t just a rallying cry. It’s now a national health emergency.
No one intended to put America’s health at risk by outsourcing to China. They did it because it was cheaper. But globalism can only work when our international partners follow the same standards and practices as we do. However, it’s exactly because other countries do not follow these practices that companies move there. Hygiene, lunch breaks, paid time off, hard hats, sensitivity training all cost money. Fair wages and safety cost money. And in the age of climate change, protecting the Earth from pollution and contamination costs money. So companies moved jobs from America’s heartland to mainland China, Rust Belt workers be damned.
Tom Steyer, the billionaire, eco-warrior and former presidential candidate knew this. Energy investments made up a portion of the hedge fund he founded. Did the green activist think coal companies in China were better stewards of the earth than coal companies in West Virginia? No, but they were more profitable, Earth be damned.
Steyer’s presidential candidacy was a marvel of un-American hypocrisy. A man who invested in fossil fuels in foreign countries ran on a platform of banning them here in America.
Luckily for Americans, we can’t outsource our fossil fuels to China. Our vast supply of coal, oil and gas is found right here in America. That is a blessing for us and a foil to the globalism enthusiasts. Fossil fuels are global commodities, and international players can try to manipulate the prices. Russia and Saudi Arabia, their respective economies being reliant on energy market dominance, are in a battle to bankrupt each other by manipulating oil prices. America will suffer the consequences – again oil is a global commodity.
But we won’t have a supply shortage. The days of the Arab oil embargo America suffered in the 1970s are long over. In this industry, there are no supply chain fears. There are factory shut-down fears. There are no embargo fears.
For decades, America watched as globalism masquerading as the “free market” outsourced jobs and industries to our adversaries. It is frightening that China controls our medical supply chain. But, like our energy, it does not have to be this way. We can produce everything in America. We can eschew globalism for a renewed call, like Hawley’s legislation, to make our medical supplies and drugs domestically.
President Trump’s “energy dominance” agenda will help America get through the coronavirus fallout. Using domestic oil, gas and coal to produce our own energy and electricity, we can rebuild every sector of the economy by bringing products and jobs back from overseas. Then America will truly be great again.