Happiness Is A Warm Gun
U.S. Takes Gold in Arms Olympics
In this gold-medal tally of firsts, there can be no question that things that go bang in the night are our proudest products.
No one makes more of them or sells them more effectively than we do.
When it comes to the sorts of firsts that once went with a classic
civilian manufacturing base, however, gold medals are in short supply.
To take an example:
Not First in Automobiles:
Once, Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford ruled the domestic and global
roost, setting the standard for the automotive industry. Not any more.
In 2006, the U.S. imported almost $150 billion more in vehicles and
auto parts than it sent abroad. Automotive analyst Joe Barker told the
Boston Globe, "it's a very tough environment" for the so-called Detroit
Three. "In times of softening demand, consumers typically will look to
brands that they trust and rely on. Consumers trust and rely on
Not Even First in Bulk Goods:
The Department of Commerce recently announced total March exports of
$126.2 billion and total imports of $190.1 billion, resulting in a
goods and services deficit of $63.9 billion. This is a $6 billion
increase over February.
But why be gloomy? Stick with arms sales and it's dawn in America every
day of the year. Sometimes, the weapons industry pretends that it's
like any other trade -- especially when it's pushing our congressional
representatives (as it always does) for fewer restrictions and
regulations. But don't be fooled. Arms aren't automobiles or
refrigerators. They're sui generis; they are the way the USA can always
be number one -- and everyone wants them. The odds that, in your
lifetime, there will ever be a $128 billion trade deficit in weapons
are essentially nil.
Arms are our real gold-medal event.
First in Sales of Surface-to-Air Missiles:
Between 2001 and 2005, the United States delivered 2,099 surface-to-air
missiles to nations in the developing world, 20% more than Russia, the
next largest supplier.
First in Sales of Military Ships:
During that same period, the U.S. sent 10 "major surface combatants"
like aircraft carriers and destroyers to developing nations.
Collectively, the four major European weapons producers shipped
thirteen. (And we were first in the anti-ship missiles that go along
with such ships, with nearly double (338) the exports of the next
largest supplier Russia (180).