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A Survey Serves As Another Reminder of Buy American
The article referred to in this opinion
- When Will Economy Recover? 2014, If Ever, Survey Says - CNBC
Americans are growing increasingly doubtful about direction of the US economy, according to the latest survey from business-advisory firm AlixPartners
Springboard on WebAnswers
- Do you think this country has become to divided along political lines? - WebAnswers.com
Do you think this country has become to divided along political lines? - Now days we have the Republicans claiming that the Liberals are Communist, Marxists and all kinds of labels put on the Democrats such as Progressives. A lot of labeling and name
- We in the United States talk a lot about our problems. - WebAnswers.com
We in the United States talk a lot about our problems. - We talk and complain, but do we ever do anything about it? For example, we complain about high unemployment, but then we go out and buy foreign made goods, supporting foreign companies and coun
In a recent survey done by Alix Partners, a business-advisory firm, as reported by CNBC, an overwhelming 61 percent of Americans are not expecting to return to pre-recession spending levels for quite a long time, if at all. Certainly the most recent jobs numbers which showed an increase in the jobless rate, and severely insufficient newly added jobs doesn't help Americans to feel any more confident about the direction of the economy, and so the results of this survey aren't all that surprising to me.
Join the lackluster jobs numbers with the higher gasoline prices, and higher and higher costs to American's grocery bills and other household items, and it's easy to understand just exactly why most Americans are holding back on any discretionary spending, as well as simply feeling the pinch when it comes to their wallets for even the essential items. We're seeming to be in this prolonged period of stagnation, and when this sort of period goes on for an extended period of time, the natural progression is to feel like there's no end in sight. You get that nagging sense of negativity, and after a while you simply take to the idea that this is how things are, so we better just go ahead and get used to it.
In a way, it's actually exactly the reverse of what got us into this whole mess to begin with, isn't it? In the same way that we can't see the good days returning ahead as things continue to be negative, when times were good we couldn't see the bad days coming our way before the start of what's now being dubbed the Great Recession. To some extent that's a good thing, because if you recognize this thought, then there are certainly good days ahead that we just aren't allowing ourselves to believe. It is better to be safe than sorry, and until we see the forest for the trees, we better hunker down and just go with the flow as best we can.
Still, this whole idea of jobs numbers, and the growing sentiment of most Americans that we cannot see the end of this recession makes me wonder more about an argument that I've been ranting about for some time. Are we actually seeing a growing interest in Americans supporting American made goods? If the answer is no, then the next question is why? Because that would seem to me to be one of the wiser choices we could make as Americans to build more interest in American labor, especially in manufacturing where we've lost an untold number of jobs over the last 20 or 30 years or so. As we start going back into the stores and increasing our spending, are we going to tell these American companies that when they start hiring again, we want those jobs that our spending is going to demand to bring those goods to market? And are Americans beginning to think more about the correlation between some of the jobs situation and the effects that outsourcing to foreign labor has contributed to that circumstance, and the state of our lackluster earnings power overall? Because let's face it, Americans do not get near the same bang for their buck as they did during the robust industrial years, and we've also given up myriad benefits, which means there's even less money on the back end of our paychecks.
My big begging question going forward is not so much will we recover, because I'm certain we will, but rather will that recovery be lasting if we simply go back to the state of the way things were before the Great Recession got under way? I'm inclined to believe that if we return to what I think was clearly a false and illusionary sense of growth and prosperity, which was based entirely on access to credit and not on any real increase in earnings power of average Americans, we're in for something far worse and far more damaging than even the Great Depression was.
As I have always said, I'm not speaking entirely in terms of protectionism. I believe in the free markets as most of my fellow conservatives do, and I believe in the power of profit to encourage people to earn more and be productive. I think globalization and the idea of a robust global economy is important not only to our nation, but to the world. What I am speaking to, and what I have in the past spoken to in this argument is balance. We have to have a balance of what we produce and sell here and abroad, and what we import into our country. Otherwise the average American loses the opportunity that should be afforded to him if all the elements of a balanced system of commerce are in good working order.
But, and this is a huge but, this only works if it happens out of a natural process, and that natural process is the will of the free market. You cannot allow government to force companies to pay benefits and higher wages. You cannot allow government to force how we import and export goods in and out of the country. You cannot allow governments to find ways to artificially create the balance I'm referring to. Instead, Americans just like you and I need to be proactively engaged in that free market system, allowing supply and demand to work all on its own to dictate how things go, and who gets what and how much. Every achievement, and every realized benefit must be a product of real competition. And by the way, things we've created like NAFTA and CAFTA, and most favored nation status really aren't a help to real competition—in fact, they cripple any real possibility of American labor competing with foreign labor.
My point in all of this is that we need to make sure as Americans that we support this balance if we wish to have a lasting and smart economic recovery. There are two main ways we need to do this. Support more and more small and local businesses which contribute to most of the jobs in this country, which will put more pressure on larger companies to bring jobs home and pay workers more, and buy American made goods whenever there is an opportunity to do so, or at least buy American at least 50% of the time if that is possible to do so. By the way, perhaps it's not that easy to do now, but if demand for American made products increases, so will eventually the choices of American made goods to choose from begin to increase.
If you ever wanted to know what is truly meant by the words by the people, for the people, and of the people, it's not just about government's role, but of the role of the American people to determine on their own, the progression of their country, their governments influence, and every American's own personal prosperity. Things do not come our way out of thin air. Our success took over 200 years of blood, sweat, and sacrifice to get to the top, and being lazy and complacent now is something we simply cannot afford if we want to stay at the top...
Or, to at least recover.