I love reporting good news about members of our extended American family who are going back to work making products for you and I. Well I have some of that news to report today. Following through on its “Invested in America” theme, last week the Whirlpool Corporation dedicated its new $120 million manufacturing facility in Cleveland. Whirlpool Chairman and CEO Jeff Fettig was not initially sold on the idea of siting the new factory in Ohio, but based on the backing of the community in the Cleveland Area he and his management team decided that building the plant in Cleveland was the best decision for Whirlpool’s employees, customers and shareholders. Fettig called the new plant the “greatest appliance factory in the world.”
I applaud Whirlpool for making this investment in its American employees. Now we need to show our appreciation to Whirlpool by buying Whirlpool appliances produced at this new plant. When you are shopping for appliances and Whirlpool is the American brand you decide on, tell the salesperson and the shop manager that you are buying this specific model of Whirlpool range, dryer or washer because it is Made in America. Point out to them that if the Whirlpool product was made in Mexico or China, you would not be buying it.
I came across these skillets last week and was absolutely amazed. A very talented artist in Madison, Wisconsin, Alisa Toninato, has created the entire contiguous United States out of cast iron skillets. Sadly Alaska and Hawaii are yet to be crafted by Alisa. Only two states appear to have two handles: Texas and California. I think the most difficult skillet to cook with might be Michigan. And there sure are quite a few square skillets in the Midwest. Washington would be a fairly square skillet but we were saved by the Olympic Peninsula.
And now the ugly. Despite continual admonitions from so-called experts that we should be celebrating our most important international relationship with China, recent trade results show that our trade deficit with the Middle Kingdom continues to rise. In January, we ran a trade deficit of $52.6 billion, the biggest gap since October 2008. Imports rose 2.1 percent to a record $233.4 billion. Exports were up a smaller 1.4 percent to $180.8 billion. Exports to Europe fell 7.5 percent. Our trade deficit with our Chinese trade partners jumped 12.5 percent to $26 billion, representing half of our total trade deficit with the entire world. As you know, our trade deficit with China last year hit a record $295.5 billion, the highest deficit ever recorded with a single country.
So what is a fella to do when confronted with trade numbers like this? Do what the guys at Forbes.com do. Repeat the following phrase: No relationship in this century is more important to America than the one with China! No relationship in this century is more important to America than the one with China! No relationship in this century is more important to America than the one with China! There, don’t you feel better?