What Obama can do to Create Jobs

By Joel D. Joseph

Mr. President, you won’t create any jobs by going to India or to Korea. Every trade agreement that we have entered into with a developing nation has caused what Ross Perot called “… that great sucking sound”. That sucking sound is the sound of American jobs leaving the country. NAFTA has cost us hundreds of thousand of good-paying jobs. Opening up trade with China has cost us millions of manufacturing jobs.

Army and Navy Exchanges

The President has the power as Commander in Chief and head of the executive branch to create jobs without Congressional approval. Few people realize that the US military, through the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), is one of the largest retailers in the world. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which is an agency of the Department of Defense, operates 1,423 retail stores on US military bases around the world, employing 50,000 people and serving 10 million customers. In 2008 AAFES had annual sales of $8.8 billion. The Navy also operates 460 PXs, known as Nexcom, with $2.5 billion in annual sales for 2008.

The shocking fact is that these US government-owned stores look like Wal-Marts, with most of their products imported from China and other countries. The clothing, including AAFES in-house brands Royal Manor, Ponytails and Passports, are all imported from sweatshops located in China, Jordan, Bangladesh and Central America. Workers at these sweatshops are paid as little as 19 cents an hour to toil 60 plus hours a week.

With the stroke of a pen, by executive order, the President can order the Army, Air Force and Naval Exchanges to buy only American-made goods. This act would improve the US balance of payments by $5 billion at a minimum while creating more than 100,000 new jobs.

National Parks Stores

Most T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs and souvenirs sold at our US national parks are imported. As the owner of these stores, the National Parks Service can require that these vendors sell only products that are made in the USA. Who wants a Yosemite sweatshirt that is made in Bangladesh? The President can direct the National Parks Service to buy American-made products for sale at stores located on US government property.

General Motors

Mr. President, you saved General Motors. As a result, the United States government owns 61% of GM. As a thank you, General Motors has moved production of the Cadillac SRX Sports Utility Vehicle to Mexico, and has started making Buick Regals in Germany. President Obama has the power to appoint GM directors who will require the General Motors cars sold in the United States are made in the United States.


Mr. President, invite America’s top manufacturers, designers and opinion-makers to the White House. Invite Apple’s Steve Jobs, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. Ask them, pressure them, and embarrass them into making some of their products in the United States. Ask the First Lady to invite the designers at J. Crew and her other favorite companies. She can have influence as well.

Mr. President, you have the power and the tools to create, all by yourself, millions of jobs in the United States with no additional cost to the taxpayers.

Joel D. Joseph is chairman of the Made in the USA Foundation (email chairman@madeusafdn.org) or write 9935 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212; phone 310 MADE-USA.

From The Progressive Populist, December 15, 2010


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