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Editorial July 19, 2012  RSS feed

EDITORIAL

Watching a seasoned politician maniplate the truth is like watching an actor give a performance worthy of an Oscar.

One by one, prominent figures in Washington took their turns this past week lambasting reports that since 1998, American Olympic athletes have worn ceremonial outfits that were manufactured in places overseas.

It took the politicians 14 years to realize this cold, hard truth. At that rate, it should take these same grandstanders about 50 years to realize that the unemployment rate is ridiculously high and the national deficit is out of control.

Anyway, a show of righteous indignation was in full throttle last week when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid almost burst a vessel when he found out that the newest outfits being worn by U.S. Olympic athletes, designed by Ralph Lauren, were manufactured in China.

“I am so upset,” charged Reid at a news conference. “I think the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again.”

Not to be outdone, House Minority Leader and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that she’s proud of the nation’s Olympic athletes, but “they should be wearing uniforms that are made in America.”

Getting his name into the fray, current House Speaker John Boehner said of the Olympic committee, “You’d think they’d know better.”

All this coming from politicians who have served in both the House and the Senate for a long time and obviously turned a blind eye as thousands of textile jobs and other positions were shipped overseas to places like China.

All that Reid, Pelosi and Boehner had to do was take off their own clothes and look at the labels on their suits, shirts, blouses, shoes and ties. We wonder if they realized or cared that their own clothes likely weren’t “made in the U.S.A.” either.

On top of it, the Olympics are privately funded. Where the uniforms are made and by whom is no business of American politicians. If the politicians had been watching the store over the past few decades instead of fooling around with tariff laws that made outsourcing so attractive, the clothing industry would have remained in America.

Just take a look back at the knitwear and textile industry in the Ridgewood/Glendale area before 1975. At that time, the local mills produced over 75 percent of the sweaters and knitwear sold in the U.S. There were approximately 600 mills operating in the area, employing almost 20,000 people and generating over $675 million in sales.

Had this industry not been destroyed, they could easily have produced the Olympic sportswear in question today.

Senator Reid has been in politics since 1968, Congresswoman Pelosi since 1976 and Speaker Boehner since 1985. They all knew the game. They didn’t care that American jobs went away until now, and only because it gets them back in the news in an election year.

Their phony outrage is shameless and disgusting.