In light of the long-awaited Thursday night’s MLB Field of Dreams Game in Dyersville, Iowa, it is time to acknowledge the obvious … “If you build it, China will manufacture the items the teams and fans want.”
This should not be new that China is manufacturing our sporting goods to anyone who ever picked up a Minnesota Twins souvenir ball … but it seems that it is news to First District Congressman Jim Hagedorn.
In case you did not read Congressman Hagedorn’s statement regarding the closure of Miken Sports in Caledonia MN costing the loss of 70 jobs, he apparently did not know that since 1983, almost everything you need to play America’s national pastime (and other sports) are now made in China — from cleats to batting helmets (as well as soccer and footballs.)
“I am incredibly disappointed that Miken Sports intends to shut-down most operations at its Caledonia plant and move jobs to China,” said Congressman Hagedorn. “Miken has been a part of Caledonia’s community for over 20 years. This decision will result in significant job and wealth losses in southeast Minnesota. Moreover, moving production to communist China is incompatible with Major League Baseball’s position as an American sports league. Baseball has long been considered America’s national pastime, and Caledonia has been proud to be associated with the production of MLB helmets and baseball bats.”
Huh ! America imports $69.5 million worth of baseballs and softballs from China annually (plus other sport items) … yet Congressman Hagedorn thinks that for 2023, that Major League Baseball is now “moving production to communist China” ???
So why now ? Trump tariffs. Yep, when Donald Trump said “trade wars are good, and easy to win” that caused a harsh reaction from Rawlings who feared his 25% tariff would result in price increases on sports equipment and gear that will have to be passed onto those consumers. Rawlings warned that higher prices would result in less revenues and thus they would decrease its investment on items such as U.S. research and development and job losses would be inevitable.
The company argued that “We have made significant investments in molds, tools, and dies in China and have invested in a trained staff. Moving production out of China would be too great a cost for our company to bear.”
Yes … America does still produce some products … did you know that the Rawlings Adirondack (which owns Miken) recently held a jobs fair in Dolgeville New York … and that some of the work that was done in the Caledonia facility is going to a Rawlings plant in Missouri. But those facts including that production of sporting goods in China has been going on for decades and that according to published reports, America imports $6.94 BILLION of sporting goods from other countries, does not provide the narrative that Congressman Hagedorn wants to present.
Think about it … hasn’t the Republican mantra been that government should stay out the “free market” … if a company wants to move production from Minnesota to Missouri or China, is the company’s decision and politicians should not interfere.
Congressman Hagedorn’s press release references “communist China” is a savvy political move which would not be used if the products were made in other countries that Rawlings listed in their letter to the Trump Administration – Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan and Costa Rica.
Trump’s saber rattling would make any company re-evalute it’s supply chain … and this is now going to impact the roughly 70 workers in Minnesota’s First District … leaving the corporation with a lower headcount at just over 600.
Congressman Hagedorn’s press release is simple playing the “Blame Game” … instead of doing what an elected Representative would do … sponsor H R 1785 No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act. The bill would level the playing field for American workers and small businesses by making sure multinational corporations pay the same tax rate on profits earned aboard as they do in the United States.
Further, this would end the tax incentives created by the 2017 tax giveaway bill to send jobs and profits overseas … but Blaming Trump is not something Jim Hagedorn has ever done.