Is buying "proudly made in USA" and proudly paying US taxes becoming a social concern to Americans?
The economic crisis has shown Americans the importance of jobs and job growth. Has this crisis changed the buying habits of Americans?
Do you actively seek out gasoline stations that are incorporated and headquartered in the US both operationally and financially? Does it matter to you if your chocolate or your moisture cream or Ugg shoes contribute to the US debt?
If not, what will change American consumer behavior? Will we always be a consumers of only what is "sold" to us?
"buying american" is a stupid idea. Here's why.
If you were required to produce everything that you were to consume and enjoy -- grow your own food, educate your own children, make your own clothes, make your own everything -- then you would likely be dirt poor and hate life.
So, what people have done (thanks to the power of increased production) is to trade with one another. I'll grow the food, you turn it into something we both want to eat, and he'll make our clothes.
Restricting yourself to only trading with 1/20th the population of the world is only punishing yourself. If someone can make a necktie in another "country" (what the hell is a country anyway?) for cheaper, then by NOT buying it you only hurt yourself.
I completely and totally disagree with "buying American is stupid." The are many reasons to purchase an item. If one of those personal reasons is because it is made in America then so be it. The personal individual reasons for a purchase are mitigated by all the millions of other transactions by millions of individuals.
If one truly believes in a free market all reasons are personal and sufficient to guarantee the market will work properly. If you want people to act the way you want them to than seek to teach, inform and lead. Merely dismissing reasons as "stupid" is counterproductive.
The problem is when the "state" seeks to compel people to purchase a specific way. Using regulations, restriction, tax rebates, or any iteration there of - like cash for clunkers - also distorts the market and creates further difficulties.
Evan, what do you suggest the rest of The USA do for employment? We all cant work for the US govt,Goldman Sachs or day trade for a living.I have been increasingly happy to see "Made in the USA" on products I have bought for projects lately. Why, because every product I have purchased means that an American has a job with the company that manufactured that product. The USA was doing much better when we were a manufacturing economy.I'm not advocating a 100% protectionist policy but as a country we should try and create jobs for our neighbors by buying American made products .I have been using local merchants to buy materials for const. projects instead of the big box stores. Doing this not only saves me time but the yard people,cashiers and owners are my neighbors and the products seem made better than the imported products.The current state of the US dollar is not helping any of us either.
Ok, so your argument is this:
"We need full employment. Thus, we should make everything in the economy cost more, a LOT more. That way, everyone will have jobs!"
This is a nonsense argument. Sure, you'll have a job, but you won't be able to buy anything.
You want full employment? Here you go: Blow up every car in the US.
That'll create full employment... but life will suck. Horribly.
Employment isn't what we want, we want cheap goods that everyone can afford. Would you rather have everything cost a penny, or have everyone work?
I think you are taking the baby out with the bath water with your argument. America is screwed on so many levels but to have an unemployment rate of about 3 or4 % is such a bad thing? Is china manipulating it's currency? Do the lax environmental and labor laws in other countries really put us and them on a level playing field? Will the price of oil all of a sudden make imports more expensive anyway?
China's manipulation of currency only hurts China. Quit listening to the Keynesian idiots like Krugman.
If Chinese people have to buy things with a weakened money, then that means that they can't buy as much with what they produce. It means that they make stuff, and we can buy it.
Ta-da. They work like slaves and we get the reward.
surely if all your American widget makers are unemployed they can't afford to buy foreign made widgets.
Furthermore they don't contribute to tax revenues, forcing taxes up for those who are in work and indirectly sponsoring the cost of those foreign imports.
John, this same scenario is being played out in the UK. We have lost great swathes of our manufacturing capability over the last two decades or so. I understand Evan's point of view regarding the Free Market versus Protectionism. The main problem for the Western Nations is our relatively high cost of living. We're not competing on a level playing field.
Hi Amanda, I'm not arguing free market v protectionism though.
I'm mainly pointing out that the apparently cheaper foreign goods aren't quite so cheap when you take into account the higher taxes that end up being paid by those still in work.
I wouldn't disagree with that. The more people end up unemployed, the more the taxpayer ends up paying out. It's a vicious circle.
Personally, I prefer to buy British where I can. Unfortunately there is very little opportunity to buy anything made in the UK these days. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm hoping that industry will eventually re-establish itself here as transportation costs increase.
John, you know better than to try to argue that "people should have jobs so that they can pay taxes".
C'mon. you know me better than that.
John, you're focusing on the seen instead of the unseen. I highly recommend reading some Bastiat.
If we force Americans to have jobs making stuff that shouldn't cost so much, then they can only sell to other Americans. The American producers would only be able to sell in the US. But on top of that, everything would cost more.
Sure, they'd have jobs, but everyone would -- the same in your scenario -- not be able to buy things because it would cost too much.
Unfortunately you see this as some sort of "infinity loop": if you don't have money, you can't buy things, but if you can't buy things, then others can't have money -- thus we all will die without government.
This is nonsense. For whatever reason, every other discipline recognizes these "infinity traps" as evidence of a flaw in their theory. But not Mainstream economists.
The Austrians logically point out that the US can't produce the widget in question competitively, then there is another type of widget that they can produce better and cheaper, and thus we could easily pay for the China widget with the money that we make producing the America widget.
This is a MUCH better alternative to the "let's make the China widget illegal" solution that you propose.
PS: I already know I haven't convinced you.
But I've already argued in the past that America can't compete on some levels, that they should look to Germany who still have an excellent engineering base, not making two penny widgets but making brand names that everybody wants, at any price.
And I don't hold with this argument about not being able to compete. The UK steel industry is now wholly owned by an Indian company and highly profitable, making steel in the UK with well paid UK labour.
And were on earth have I ever proposed "lets make the Chinese widget illegal"?
making it illegal is similar to making it cost too much - same basic principle: use a military to make one person wealthy at the expense of another.
Also, what's this 'the Americans" and "the Germans" crap?
We're all just people, and we should be allowed to trade freely with one another.
"German engineering" is just stylized racism.
What! It's racism now to say that a country has got its act together, doesn't have half the social problems of another country and has a healthy export market!
I'm not arguing for protectionism and price tariffs.
Racism can be both positive and negative. By calling one "race" (the germans) awesome, you are inadvertently insulting another "Race".
Anyway, my point was simply that this entire "buy american" nonsense is nothing more than masked racism. I wasn't trying to imply that you were any more racist than another individual who felt the same way.
If you choose to exclude someone else into your trading based entirely on where they were born, then that's racism. It's always hilarious to hear liberals demand an end to racism, but then demand that everyone "buy local".
So comparisons are not allowed. That pretty much puts these forums out of use doesn't it, as most of the discussion is based on comparison.
I don't say to base your decision to buy purely on where they are born, use other pragmatic ideals, why buy beans from Kenya when you can buy locally produced beans at the same price?
Hey, I'd love to buy American-made stuff. The problem is we don't bloody make anything I want to buy anymore.
Well, that's not entirely true; there are exceptions. There's a bunch of local farmers I buy food from, for example. And so on.
But for stuff like TVs and clothing, where are the American manufacturers? Gone.
If we only bought American oil, we'd be hiking to work.
Mag-lite flashlights are made in the US, and they're awesome. But really, how many flashlights does one guy need?
I disagree with the oil statement. I believe if we produced more oil and bought only Amican oil our prices would drop. Do Middle Eastern oil ricj companies pay 4 dollar a gallon gas? No, its pennies on the dollar. Why, because the do not need anyone else to buy oil from.
But what would you do when you had got through the aprox six months supply that the US has?
"I believe if we produced more oil and bought only Amican oil our prices would drop." That would be true if we were able to produce more oil than we use. I don't think we can.
Middle-Eastern oil exporters have cheap gas because they produce more than they use. We import about 3/4 of the oil we use, even though we are number three in oil production, according to the Washington Post. (Only Russia and Saudi Arabia produce more oil than the US, but nobody uses more.)
If we could somehow quadruple our oil production, we'd be able to buy American and not change our habits. If we were to reduce our consumption, we could buy American and keep our money at home. We lack the resources to do the one, and we lack the political will to do the other.
"Made in America" does not mean that a citizen is performing a job. It is very possible that the tag is added at the prison complex where the article was manufactured.
Prison labor is increasing everyday, prisoners will work for pennies.
Even manufacturers in Mexico have been transferring their businesses to U.S prisons!
I try to buy local as much as possible. Everything else, I try to buy national, however, the cars... I don't trust American cars. I've had bad luck with them.
We also need to consider how the Federal Reserve has devalued the US dollar. Adjusted for inflation an item costing 20 dollars now in 2011 would cost 115 dollars.I know we now make more money than in 1970 but have we kept up with the rate of inflation? I don't think so.
We all would starve if we had to depend on American made products to feed us. Thank god for Mexico, were a big portion of our veggies and produce comes from.
We would all go without toys, cell phones, clothing, etc.... if all we had was American made products. There aren't any worth buying these days, which would be affordable to purchase. Labor unions have all but destroyed American manufacturing. It's a real disgrace.
It's funny how German trade unions haven't destroyed German manufacturing isn't it?
Can't speak on that subject. But has it?
Well, no. Manufacturing is strong in Germany, they'll build you anything from a car to a ship.
They export plenty and have strong trade unions.
They still make some great cars, pens, precision tools, electronics, and especially beer.
Please stop with the blaming unions. I belong to bricklayers 5 NY and I need to ask you, When was the last time that the owner of the company was pacing in front of you at your breakfast break trying to get you to stop eating and go back to work? We get 15 mins, for breakfast and 30 for lunch no exceptions. You do not want to work like we do .We eat where we work so that means sand and crap blowing around and you all probably know about ,Porta- Sans. As far as the farmers,,what are they paying the migrants and are the obeying US labor laws? I'm sorry but want to know the facts,just hearing "The sky is falling" won't cut it ,I've heard it before.
Exxons quarterly profit was 11 billion
Why not get off fossil fuel?
We have enuf natural gas in the USA to last us the next 100 yrs...and it's "green!"
Why not convert transportation to that?
Why? It's simple: Oil is much too profitable to even consider a conversion.
Taxation has caused industry to move out of the states.
We have become a "service" nation.
China will, most likely, become the economic leader of the world within the next 10 yrs.
These yrs may be the precursors of the end of American domination.
Many companies have left the USA because of union pressure.
Is that out of necessity or greed? Why were we able to function in the 50s,60s and 70s but not now?
... we are functioning... just ... fine...?
Just a quick reminder: we didn't have half of the amazing gadgets that exist today in the 50s. And those gadgets that DID exist back then have been substantially improved since the 50s.
Is the quality of your life measured by the amount of "Amazing gadgets" you have. We went to work, raised families and bought cars and homes with products made in USA, what happened since then that makes not possible now?
Actually my mother in laws malibu has a bunch of problems also. No 1. defective head gasket, who is responsible for that an ENGINEER, that's right a white collar 4 years of college cant do any wrong guy,not the UAW guy.Every car manufacturer has recalls. No2. problem lack of rust proofing or paint around gas filler neck that is causing a MIL light or check engine code for emissions system from leaking fuel vapors due to rust holes in filler neck. Responsible party GM management and again ENGINEERS, cars are painted by robotic arms and computer. Actually look at current conditions, Ford is on top and parts from Japan are severely limited. All I want to know is how can we help the US economy and put people that want to work back to work.The American dream is a nightmare right now ,How can we fix that? Our children depend on us.
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