The U.S. debt to China is $1.07 trillion as of December 2019.

By now everyone has heard of the Coronavirus that is sweeping through the United States. Supposedly originating in Wuhan China near an open-air meat market, it is now spreading all over the world. It is said that hindsight is twenty twenty, and with good reason. We should have paid more attention when we saw on TV news that China was building new hospitals in just a matter of days to deal with this illness.

Instead, we stood idly by while the Coronavirus gained traction infecting thousands. We should have known that it was only a matter of time before it got to us since we are a highly mobile people in this 21st century.

Scientists and biologists think this virus first spread from bats to humans in China causing misery and sometimes death to all who got in its way. Coronaviruses are not new having been identified years ago, but this variation or mutation known as Covid-19 is like nothing seen before.

Medical researchers are now trying to find an antidote to stop its spread before it wipes out populations. The really bad news, if true, is that some scientists believe this virus may come back in the fall like other viruses such as the common cold. If that proves to be true, we will be extremely lucky if we survive unless a cure is found.

My neighbors have told me that they have quit watching the daily news because the increasing number of deaths posted is so disturbing.

Truly, we are all in this together and it may be a long time before we can feel safe again to be near other people. The most hellish problem is that someone may have this virus and be asymptomatic unknowingly spreading it to others. Mask wearing and avoiding large groups and staying home are, at best, only stop gap ways of dealing with this deadly unseen enemy.

A brief history of our relationship with China would seem to be in order. Although there has always been trade with China by this country, it was President Nixon who opened up China to massive trade with the United States in the early 1970’s.

You may remember the Chinese Table Tennis team touring the United States during that time. It was Nixon’s intent to help our large manufacturing concerns gain a foot hold to that huge untapped market. Today it is much more than a foothold. Every day, we see those large metal shipping containers from China being transported throughout the 50 states.

Wall Street was watching our renewed efforts to court China when Nixon was in office. They looked upon China and saw the potential for huge profits for the companies willing to build a manufacturing base there. They realized that given the constant adversarial relationship in this country between management and labor, not to mention safety regulations in place, it would be wonderful to go to China and be unrestrained with their expansion plans resulting in larger dividend payments to their stockholders.

Wall Street was not alone in watching this phenomenon. American companies certainly licked their lips in anticipation of this new source of revenue. Never mind that China was communist controlled, never mind that unsafe working conditions were the norm, and that Chinese workers made pennies on the dollar to what United States workers earned after years of struggle by their unions.

Currently computers, smart phones, tools, clothing, shoes and medications come from China, and this is far from a complete list of items we used to make for ourselves. One has to wonder just how much technology as well as intellectual property have been stolen by the Chinese. A partial list of American companies in bed with China today reads like a WHOSE WHO of Wall Street darlings. KFC, Walmart, General Motors, Microsoft, Boeing, Nike, Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, Intel and Apple are but a few of those companies.

I have heard it said that it is justified because we Americans can obtain these items far cheaper than if they were made in America. I always respond by saying that this shift in manufacturing is part of the reason for the disappearance of the American middle class while statistics show the Chinese middle class is expanding at an alarming rate.

If you have been paying attention, you know that we are so very dependent on China for virtually everything. For me it is so depressing to walk into a shoe store and find everything is made in China.

I’m proud to say that I actually have some old clothes that were made right here in the United States of America. I will hold on to them until they become rags because they remind me of a better time when we were more independent.

On a personal note, I was shocked to learn that one of my medications is made in China. I blame big Pharma for that. The medication may be safe, but what about the binding agent in that medicine? How can I be sure that it is not carcinogenic like the binding agent was found to be in Losartan, the blood pressure medication?

Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, recently sent the team plane to China and returned with Chinese ventilators that were desperately needed to keep Americans alive in our hospitals. Think about that statement. It is a sad day for America. The country responsible for this deadly illness is the one we turn to in our time of need for the ventilators.

What an incredible mess we are left to deal with. Who failed us, who is at fault? My thinking is that there is enough blame to go around. Our President initially dismissed this threat saying, “It would sweep through like the flu and then be gone.”

Now after 330,000 cases with over 8,000 deaths in our country, the President has invoked the war Powers Act and after much wrangling ordered General Motors to start building ventilators.

They have complied, but have yet to be given the go ahead to build them. It is my understanding that Ford Motor Company has already converted and may be building ventilators as this is written.

I appreciate the foresight our governor, Jim Justice, exhibited when he ordered schools closed upon learning of the Covid-19 virus.

Hopefully, because of his proactive approach, we may get fewer cases than those states that surround West Virginia.

If we do survive this pandemic, a dear lesson will have been learned. Hopefully Americans will wake up and organize a ground swell effort to demand that we bring our manufacturing home, hire Americans and once again produce for ourselves what we need in this country.

We should never again to be at the mercy of other countries to save us no matter the emergency. One can only hope and pray that this actually happens.