BEIJING: In a further blow to U.S. manufacturing, China today announced it will produce American babies at one-tenth the cost of its U.S. counterparts.
Chinese officials say the newborns will ship this summer and come in a variety of sizes and colors to reflect the U.S. population. The cost of bearing a child in America varies, but is estimated to be at least $3,000. By comparison, the Chinese model will retail for $299, about the cost of a 32GB iPod Touch.
Chinese companies refuse to divulge the manufacturing process – citing trade secrets – but insist the babies will be constructed of quality materials and be indistinguishable from domestically produced children.
“You will not see a difference with our babies,” said Li Chen Yeo, spokesman for Gu Chi Gu, Ltd. of Changsha. “They will be genetically engineered to resemble the average American child — beautiful, adorable, and innocent at first, and then, eventually, large, attention-challenged, and bad at math.”
Several conservative groups expressed anger at the news that retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target planned to sell the babies, warning that consumers will see it as “un-American.” A Wal-Mart spokesman, however, said he expects any backlash to be offset by low, low prices. Opponents, however, say price should not be the issue. “These Chinese-made babies may be cheaper, but at what cost?” said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. “They could be coated with lead paint. They could be laced with melamine.” “They could be put on layaway for as little as $59.95,” countered Target spokeswoman Angela Crossen. “We’re taking pre-orders now.” The announcement comes at a time when U.S. manufacturing had been showing signs of life after more than a decade of decline.
This development could be the death knell for an entire industry, said Evan Birnbaum, an economist for the American Enterprise Institute.
“Maybe American manufacturers should just give up,” Birnbaum said. “We already buy toys, pet food, chemicals, and computers from China, and now this. Honestly, is there anything we won’t buy from China?”
“Hold on, let me check our inventory,” said Wal-Mart’s spokesman Chad Laramie. “Um… no.”
The babies are expected to be sold under a variety of labels, including Wee Wangs, Chinewborns, WU-S-A Babies, and Little Bundles of Choy. Courtesy SatireWire
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