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What's behind the 'outrage' over Chinese-made US Olympics uniforms?

US Sen. Harry Reid (D) of Nevada suggests that Americans pile up the Chinese-made Team USA uniforms and burn them. But how much does China really 'dominate' the US economy?

By Scott BaldaufStaff writer / July 13, 2012

This product image shows US Olympic athletes, from left, swimmer Ryan Lochte, decathlete Bryan Clay, rower Giuseppe Lanzone, and soccer player Heather Mitts modeling the official Team USA Uniforms.

Ralph Lauren/AP


With congressional leaders threatening to gather up all of the Ralph Lauren-designed, Chinese-made US Olympic uniforms and give them the Joan of Arc treatment, I think it’s fair to say that we have officially entered the silly season.

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Here’s a list of headlines in some of our finer newspapers and TV news channels.

Outrage, fury, shame... and US Olympic uniforms. It's a wonder we can all bear to face the day. 

It is perhaps unfair to point out the gap between the outrage exhibited to US Olympic team uniforms on one hand, and the lack of outrage over, say, the continuing civil war in Syria, the European economic crisis, or the growing drought in the African Sahel region.

Let us be clear: Ralph Lauren’s choice of hats for the US Olympics team is atrocious. But the debate over “made in China” is really a debate over US jobs and the collapse of American manufacturing.

In America, where the overall jobless rate remains around 8 percent, and where youth unemployment rates may go as high as 70 percent, this is a serious issue.

Not so long ago, ABC News asked people in New York’s Grand Central Station terminal how many of their clothing items were made in the US. Actually, they asked those passengers to take off clothes that were not made in the US. The result, ABC News memorably said, was “eye-popping.”


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