THE BLOG
04/26/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Can Chinese Condoms Stimulate the Economy?

Earlier this week a story came across the wires that gave new meaning to the word "protectionism."

The U.S. Agency for International Development, which has dispersed 10 billion U.S.-made condoms in poor countries around the world, announced that they will be switching to cheaper Chinese condoms. The move will cost 300 American jobs at a time when the government is spending trillions to stem record-breaking job loss.

Is it just me or is the switch to cheap Chinese condoms the anti-stimulus?

The agency had given assurances over the years that they would buy American whenever possible, but when Congress dropped "buy American language" in a recent appropriations bill the agency decided to whack the Alabama factory that made the condoms and their 300 workers.

Now poor countries that are trying to prevent the spread of disease will receive cheap condoms made in a country that can't seem to produce non-toxic toys or milk. And I thought we were trying to reestablish our reputation abroad.

When it comes to our place in the global order this story may seem insignificant, but sacrificing American jobs for cheap foreign goods is where the rubber meets the road in our unfair trade policy. And this story is a perfect metaphor for how time and again, the American worker has gotten the shaft.