It wasn’t until I finished reading Jonathan Fahey’s piece for the Associated Press of a new drilling method opening vast oil fields in the US that I discovered more evidence of how wrong many Americans are of China.
North Americans that blame China for lost jobs react from “ignorance” and “anger” — not facts.
Most are incapable of understanding the complexity of America’s suffering economy and are unwilling to sacrifice so the US can compete globally in manufacturing.
Unable and/or unwilling to understand, these people need a scapegoat so politicians running for office give them one — China.
The clue came when Fahey wrote, “At today’s oil prices of roughly $90 per barrel, slashing imports that much would save the U.S. $175 billion a year. Last year, when oil averaged $78 per barrel, the U.S. sent $260 billion overseas for crude, accounting for nearly half the country’s $500 billion trade deficit.”
What happens in China is not the reason for lost US jobs.
In fact, most of what China earns in global trade from exports is spent in other nations such as Australia, Pakistan, Brazil, Myanmar and South Africa until Chinese exports and imports are about even.
That $260 billion the US spent for imported oil that added to the deficit revealed the truth. Many in the US are unwilling to sacrifice for the good of the country.
However, as the Amy Chua Tiger Mother debate reveals, the real culprit of the trade deficit in the US is illiteracy caused by the average parent focused on the child’s daily fun instead of his or her education and the work it takes to earn it.
Begin to Read.com says, “Many of the USA ills are directly related to illiteracy.” Then the site provides a few statistics to make its point.
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” – Ray Bradbury
- Literacy is learned. Parents who cannot read or write pass along illiteracy. (Did you notice there was no mention of teachers getting the blame? As long as parents blame someone or something else, illiteracy in the US will not improve.)
- One child in four in the US grows up not knowing how to read.
- Forty-three percent of adults at Level 1 literacy skills live in poverty compared to only 4% of those at Level 5
- Three of four food stamp recipients perform in the lowest two literacy levels
- Ninety percent of welfare recipients are high school dropouts—according to NumberOf.net, there are about 50 million Americans collecting some form of welfare.
- Over 70% of the more than two million inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.
According to literacy fast facts from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), literacy is defined as “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”
Studies say that about 13% of the adult population was at or above proficient in literacy. Since there are about 230 million adults in America that means only 30 million are proficient.
A CBS report on The Future of Jobs in America said, “Education has to be the final part of the strategy for job growth.”
Illiteracy is America’s “real” culprit and it is not the fault of China or America’s teachers. It is the fault of parents and middle-class Americans unwilling to sacrifice by changing spending and lifestyle habits.
Until most Americans face the facts, nothing is going to change. It is only going to get worse until there is no one left to blame but the face in the mirror. By then, it may be too late.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.
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