Thursday, April 26, 2012

Are You really a Patriot if You Buy American?

The Truth about Buying American: Does ot do any Good?


Though I actually believe in free trade, every time I see someone believing to be a “Good American” drive by in a Hundai, it makes me want to yell at them, “buy American, you traitor,’ but would I speaking the truth? Are people who buy Korean cars, Japanese stereos and Chinese toys bad Americans?

Well, I did some investigating, to not only put my mind at ease, but also so I would know if I should spread the Buy American, or keep my moth shut. 

The article, "Buy American" Sounds Patriotic, But The Protectionist Policy Could Start A Trade War, by Gary Shapiro, President & CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, pointed at everything wrong with the Buy American concept. However, it approached the Buy American concept primarily from a government policy angle.

I agree with Gary that if the United States would make it policy, or even politically or economically beneficial to buy American, that other countries might retaliate and do the same to us, causing the whole policy approach to backfire.

Obama recently went as far as to introduce a nearly 700-page stimulus text that includes a short clause called "Buy American" and provides that all iron, steel and manufactured goods used in stimulus-funded projects be produced in America. What true American patriot would dare speak out against it?

Indeed, there are those who say that it would be a good thing to turn our country inward and halt trading opportunities. In fact, a growing number of Americans believe we should worry about ourselves and “to hell” with the rest of the world.

However, we know what happens when the United States makes a conscious step toward protectionism, ratcheting up tariffs and closing its borders to the outside world. If we wanted to move in that direction, we should have done it right after World War 2. Our economy is just too complex o attempts something like this without moving our society back 50 years.

A nonpartisan think tank, The Peterson Institute for International Economics, estimated that though a few thousand jobs would be created by "Buy American" as many as 65,000 jobs could be lost if other countries put similar laws in place.

The United States has been a global economic leader for quite some time. We have managed this status through ideas, imagination and innovation. We have cultivated this through complex international relationships and friendships.

The consequences of protectionism would be far more damaging to America than critics of free trade realize. Most of our trade deficits are because of our own policies. 

Protectionism is a two-way street and would injure many American companies without bringing back large numbers of factory jobs—heck, half of the profits for US companies listed on the S&P 500 index are earned overseas. 

American labor has always competed effectively against low-wage foreign competition in the past. Germany, for example, has higher manufacturing wages than those in the United States today, yet it has a very favorable trade balance. Obviously there are other factors responsible for American job losses beside China’s lower wages.

Most people don’t consider the fact that, most of the manufacturing in China is done for American companies, which gain most of the profits. For example, the Apple iPhone adds $2 billion to the trade deficit with China, although it is entirely designed and owned by Americans and is made of parts imported from Europe and other Asian nations. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, “Not Really Made in China,” China’s actual input is only $6.50 out of the $178 wholesale cost! The actual trade deficit with China is actually only about half of what the statistics show.

This applies to many other imports as well, like sneakers, for example. A pair of Nike shoes may cost $3 to make, which goes to China. The rest of the retail price is accounted for by advertising, shipping, design, raw materials, and profits, most of which revert to Americans. 

No, we cannot make it official policy to Buy American any more than we can make it a tax break. We must make Buy American a voluntary decision of well-meaning, patriotic Americans.

Apparently most  Americans are thinking about our country, as a recent survey found that 61% of Americans would be more likely to purchase a product if it was marketed as having been “Made in America.” However, the problem with this is, not only are most American made products more expensive that products made in China, Korea or Mexico, but they are becoming ever harder to find.

When was the last time you tried to buy a pair of socks made in the United States? You’re going to have a hard time finding any. Most socks are now from Vietnam and China. 

Of course, you could join the "How Americans Can Buy American" email list today and have the October 2010 edition of the American-made Retail E-guide emailed to you for FREE. The American-made Retail E-guide features over 2,500 American-made products from over a dozen popular retail stores like Dillard’s, Home Depot, TJ Maxx, and Costco.

How Americans Can Buy American is mentioned in President Bill Clinton’s new book Back to Work: Why We Need a Smart Government for a Strong Economy on page 182 describing 46 ways to “create jobs and increase growth.” His comments are as follows:
Promote affordable opportunities to "buy American." Roger Simmermaker, an electronics technician from Orlando, Florida, is the author of How Americans Can Buy American. It contains more than sixteen thousand products and services made in the United States and includes a special list of a thousand union-made products. Simmermaker also offers Americans a free e-guide to more than twenty-five hundred products available in popular retail outlets like Dillard’s, Home Depot, and Costco.
There are many other Buy American clubs, groups and societies throughout the US these days, so even if it might make life a little more difficult and more expensive, you could be a Good American and Buy American if you wanted to. 

Personally, I believe, if you can at all afford it, you should be buying products Made in America, even if its more expensive and even if it hurts a little. Not if it's going to break you, but otherwise, it's what it means to be American. It's what it means, belonging to  a society. Everybody must do their part. Everybody must sacrifice.

Its all a matter of priorities.

What do you think? Would you be willing to look harder and pay more for products made in America?

Written By: Tom Retterbush
Email: tomretterbush@gmail.com


How Americans Can Buy American
While many have argued passionately that it is time to put America and Americans first, Roger Simmermaker, in How Americans Can Buy American, shows us how. His book is a patriot's guide to shopping. How Americans Can Buy American is a book from which both union and non-union working Americans can benefit. Applying the principles in this book will help save the American middle class by protecting middle-class jobs that pay good wages. Get How Americans can Buy American directly from Amazon, HERE


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