The article begins by asking the question:
At a time when the federal government is spending billions of stimulus dollars to stem the tide of U.S. layoffs, should that same government put even more Americans out of work by buying cheaper foreign products?The answer implied by the rest of the article is, "No."
Wrong. Not only is the answer wrong. That's not even the right question.
The American jobs in question here are making condoms for AIDS prevention programs in developing nations. Believe it or not, there are places on this planet where AIDS is not something you deal with by taking some wildly expensive drugs; it is something you die from, painfully, alone and ostracized by the community (but possibly not before trying some of the local folk cures which tend to do more to spread the virus than cure it). These are places where it is a non-trivial accomplishment to get to adulthood HIV-negative, places where preventing HIV spread saves lives. Not jobs. Lives. Human lives.
The question we should be asking is how many people have died in years past because we insisted on using a more expensive (and, buried down in paragraph 8 of the article, less reliable) supplier? How many human lives is an American job worth?
Sure, the lives saved are not your own, or your neighbor's, or anyone on this continent. They are the lives of anonymous people in developing nations. Human decency doesn't put food on the table when you've lost your job. Still, there is something about human decency that suggests we ought to value life over a job.