Tuesday, November 09, 2010



You may remember way back in May, four Democratic senators called on the Obama administration to halt spending on a renewable energy program in the economic stimulus package until rules were in place to assure that the projects use predominantly American labor and materials.

They were made aware that 1.5 billion of the stimulus package, slated for wind-energy projects had gone to foreign companies. Their reason? It undercut the whole purpose of the stimulus program.

The senators introduced legislation that would require that stimulus funds go only to clean-energy projects that rely on materials manufactured in the United States and create a majority of jobs here.

Fast forward to today. The stimulus package, like it or not, was passed. Some say too much, others, not enough. But the question comes to mind almost every holiday season, what are we doing to help our own economy? Do our actions have an impact on the job situation here in America? I say YES, they do.

We are so programed to buy the cheapest crap available to satiate our shallow means regardless of where it came from and who slaved over the manufacturing process. Like the recent expose' on how our iPhones are made. Sad really.

I harp on this issue annually. Pointing out that the big box stores are not America's friends. When 98% of what's inside is from overseas with toxic materials and government subsidized tariffs we do an injustice to ourselves, our workers and our national pride.

This shopping season remember these simple points I found on another site, if you want to help the job situation: 

1. Purchase locally. Buy from a store in your neighborhood or downtown. You will know the owner or manager. Easy enough to ask. Most will be glad to help. 

The products you need may not be 100% made in the states, and these days, few are. But America's promotion of Free Trade has worked too well. American made products are often higher in cost because our companies carry an unfair burden of taxes compared to many other nations. Still, the store is American. At the very least buy your foreign products from an American business.

2. Buy from Americans in your state. States have carried heavy losses in losing business to "free trade". When a national business moves, the offices and plant are often spread around several areas. Pockets of unemployment are left behind. Jobs are needed. 

States have major businesses still hard at work. One is agricultural. Farmers and ranchers do not move easily. Produce or meat is American-made. The local grocery will have the products. 

3. Buy national.  Shopping around may be necessary to find what is "Made in the U.S.A." Unfortunately national products may be expensive. Do what some cities are doing and exercise a preference. Buy American unless it is a certain percentage over the foreign product. Buy American but do not collapse your pocketbook. 

4. Use the Internet. Search for American products and services. A simple search will produce many pages. Search for "Made in the U.S.A." 

I only visit this issue once a year because it's painful to repeat. I've taken trips to the big stores to read labels and have come home depressed that 5% [at the most] was "Made in USA". 
Walmart, Target, BedBath&Beyond and others offer little choice in American made merchandise. 

If you want to know what you can do to help...read the labels and think about what you're buying. You have only to look at yourself and what's on the shelf to understand where the jobs went.


Anonymous said...

I set out to find American made tools at Home Depot. Not an easy task.
I thought Cobalt tools were US Made. I was wrong. We cant even make wrenches? WTF?

Anonymous said...

Try finding a Kingston resident contractor who gets Kingston construction contracts - no boat no contract.

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time finding American Flags made in America to sell in my store. And the ones I can find, people won't buy because they are too expensive.