Time was that you could walk into any store in America and find that most product labels read “Made in America.” No more.
Made in America or China?
Last July I picked up a flag at our local dollar store and was about to buy it. Then my husband asked me to look at the label to see where it was made. To my great surprise it read “Made in China.” I put the flag down and walked over to another store. The flags there all came from Annin, an American company that has made flags since 1847. I bought those instead.
Today it may take some effort to find products made in the United States. But it’s an effort worth making. We all complain about the trade deficit – especially with China. Yet we do little to correct that deficit. Shoppers usually focus more on value for money. They won’t read the label to find out where the product came from. But what is really the higher value? Is the higher value a product that is cheaper, but costs America its prosperity? Or is it a product made in America, that might cost a little more but keeps an American on the job and not on the dole? Diane Sawyer (ABC News) stated on a recent Bill O’Reilly show that for every $3.33 we spend on an American-made product, we save or create an American job. With the unemployment rate up to 9.1%, can we really afford the cheaper product?
Cars made in America or Japan?
The American car industry is the prize example. While competition is a good thing, foreign cars originally began to outsell American cars based on cost alone. Nowadays, we collectively believe that foreign cars are better made than American cars. That might have been true a decade or two ago. But the competition did what competition usually does – forced American car makers to improve their quality. A perfect example is the Chevy Cruz Eco. It sells for $19,800 and gets 42 miles per gallon on the highways. We wanted better, more-efficient cars, and we got them.
If you’re thinking “Government Motors” – no way. The vast majority of now-laid-off General Motor employees did not work for the government. And if you’re thinking that Toyota has American-based factories, remember this: the profits that Toyota makes, go back to Japan. You may think you’re getting a better deal when you buy a foreign product. But I urge you to think again. The cost may be higher than you think. Just consider what the escalating unemployment rate costs you in taxes, and how it contributes to the nation’s deficit. America may have a spending problem, but it also has a income-producing problem. We can solve a great part of that problem simply by buying American made goods.
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Made in America no more
Maytag is a case of good business going bad. Founded in 1893 in Newton, Iowa, the company became the largest feeder manufacturer in the world by 1902. In 1907 the company began producing what would become its signature product: washing machines. (“Not all Maytag repairmen are this lonely, but we’re trying.”) During WWII, Maytag stopped making washing machines and re-tooled to produce war materiel. Should America be involved in another world war, Companies like Toyota, Honda, or Samsung are not likely to do what Maytag did.
But the American success story of Maytag doesn’t end on a noble note. In September of 2004, it moved to Reynosa, Mexico and took its jobs with it. 1600 employees in the Galesburg, Illinois plant alone lost their jobs. The unions couldn’t stop the controlling company, The Woods Foundation, from facilitating the move. As a matter of interest, at that time Mr. Barack Obama and Mr. William Ayers were on the board of The Woods Foundation.
On a smaller scale but just as devastating to is 300 employees, is the case of Vise Grip. In 1924 blacksmith Bill Peterson invented the ingenious tool. In September 2008, 300 workers in Lincoln, Nebraska lost their jobs when this All-American company moved to China.
Made in America once more
As with school choice, the solution to the trade deficit does not necessarily lie with the government and the government only. We the People can change our nation’s red ink to black ink by simply taking time to read labels and preferring goods made in America whenever possible. Resources are available to make this easier. (And more where these came from, and more to come.) Should we do this, we will surely see an increase in the employment rate and not the unemployment rate, and see American companies return to American soil. After all, it won’t do these companies any good to produce cheaper goods if no one buys them.
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