Sunday, August 14, 2011

America First, Revisited

Perhaps I did not word that last post as clearly as I had intended, which often is my mistake. I also don't want to come across as angry, as I'm not. It's just that this isn't meant to be some grueling hardship I am proposing. What I was trying to say was that I thought it would be a good thing, and maybe even fun and educational, to watch what we buy and just try to make an effort to buy things made here in America. I did not say that I thought we should refrain from ever buying anything foreign or that had even the smallest little iota of foreign material, labor etc. in it for all of eternity. The article said, if every American spent just $64 more than normal on USA made items this year, it would create something like 200,000 new jobs! It does not say, if Americans wouldn't buy anything that came from another country ever, it would create these jobs. Look, I just think there is more made here than what we have been led to believe and that if we made a little effort to seek these things out we could maybe help some fellow American keep a job, or maybe even hire another one. And, it is simply not THAT hard to find American products. Yes, I realize that there are virtually NO computers, TV's (and God knows we got to have those!) or other electronics that are made here. And I realize that of the stuff made here, much of it has foreign components or ingredients. I mean, Jeez Louise, where do you think I think the cocoa beans come from in Hershey's chocolate? I realize all of this but I'll tell you this: when those people from Cullman county (next door to my county) made that mattress set I bought last spring, even with some foreign fabric, they were damn happy to have that job and get that paycheck that week rather than some Chinese getting it. And the same for the people at the Lodge factory in Tennessee where I buy my cookware and at Pyrex, Anchor-Hocking, Maytag, Whirlpool, Weber, KitchenAid (mixers only), Maglite, New Balance, Wahl, Meyers, Nordic Ware, Franklin, Oreck, Viking, ShopVac, Ford and on and on. I mean, crap people, it was just an idea to be a little more aware of where our stuff comes from. I'll say this too, after doing a little research I was astounded to see how much is still produced here and how many new factories are opening up here producing American goods, even some an amazing 100% American! I believe most people would be surprised to see what is made here also, if we would just look around instead of straight down the tunnel in front of us. We have let the media and just general opinion at large tell us that the United States does not manufacture anything anymore. It's an urban legend! According to one set of statistics I read, we are still the largest manufacturing economy in the world. Clothes, furniture, cookware, cleaning products, shoes, jewelry, dinnerware, glassware, health products, sheets and pillows and the lists go on. And yes, we still produce raw materials such as steel, copper, oil, chemicals and minerals, aluminum, cotton etc. etc. as well as paper, textiles, bricks, wood, and on and on and on. For years we all made the assumption that if a product had an American label on it, it was made here. Then we realized that wasn't true anymore and that many corporations had moved overseas. Now, I believe we had the same erroneous idea that nothing is made here anymore (so why even look) when there are hundreds of companies that never sold out and have remained loyal to the people here. I just think we should support those companies. If you think that's stupid, or too much trouble, or that Americans make crap or you just don't give a flyin' rat's ass, then don't do it. But then, don't sigh and complain about why so many people are unemployed right now. And yes, I know that of the unemployed, many of them would die before they would take a manufacturing job (or whine that the Hispanics have taken them all) but many would be glad to have it and do go after them. My company built a manufacturing plant for Honda (yes, I know they are Japanese) in a town not far from here. Not only did it give us construction workers jobs for years, it has made an enormous difference to those people of that small town. They have jobs paying well over $20/ hour, where as before they worked at menial jobs for much less. I've talked to some of those people; they are VERY happy to have that job.
With very little effort I found several websites that are more than happy to give you lists of American products and companies, such as American Made Products, Made Here In America, and Still Made In America. These are only a few, there were many more.
I don't have a problem with trading with other countries. I mean, I love my Bosch and Makita tools; they're wonderful. The Honda plant is another example of a type of trading. It works good! Heck, even though my clay comes from North Carolina, some of the minerals I use for glazes and such are mined in England or Africa. Oops! shouldn't have said that, now I'm not an American producer of goods. Oh well, when someone buys pottery from me that money sure does go to buy my groceries or whatever and I don't send it to China. All I'm saying is that if I can buy a set of glasses from an American company, that employs Americans, even if the silica to make the glass comes from Africa, I had rather do that than to buy a set of cheap glasses where everything comes from China. Yes, I am disgusted with our world policies right now. Yes, I'm disgusted to see we have become like Rome in that war is our main product. Yes, I know we are a hated nation world wide. But I am proud I'm American because I know we, the people, are not like our government right now. I love my country and I want to help my fellow citizens and support them and maybe, just maybe by doing that we can change the way things are going for us in some way. Am I stupid and delusional? Probably. I've been called worse I assure you. But at least I can say I tried to do something. As one of my readers said, "maybe we should think of the whole of our country as local". I like that.
Now, am I going to do without a new pair of welding gloves if I can't find any made here? No! That would be stupid (and I'm not so stupid as to burn my hands up!) I'm also not going to do without guacamole if I can help it or run around in public with no underwear. But if I can't find an American made table runner that I wanted for fall, then maybe I could do without it or better yet, make one myself from American fabric!!! Hey, I'm from the south, we got cotton out the ying-yang!


HermitJim said...

Good points and very well said, my friend!

I think that most of us knew what you were talking about! Some folks are just hard headed, though!

Thanks for the post!

Curmudgeon said...

I probably didn't think about it much. I have the tendancy to go from one extreme to the other there is no middle. Yoda wasn't 100 % right. "There is no try. Do or do not.". Do come from try more often than not. I appreciate you. Which reminds me. Send that addy when you get time.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Sista!
I've been a blue collar worker my entire life and I've always tried my best to buy American. I just shook my head when all the big box stores started opening and dominating the market.
The problem with most Americans is they WANT and DEMAND cheap goods.
American made products can't compete, because #1- We pay our workers a decent wage, or try to.
But as long as we keep demanding cheap goods imports will always win out over American Made.
Just recently our ceiling fan in the kitchen went out - after 30 years (american made:)
How many people can say that the imports you buy nowadays last that long? Our landfills are full of that cheap crap that has about a 4 to 5 year lifespan.
All you have to do is take it apart to see how cheaply it's made, compared to the old American made products that are still going strong!

edifice rex said...

Hey Jim! thanks man! well, I'm not saying anybody is being hardheaded, I just think maybe the idea was just getting way too complicated.

Hey Dan! yes, I will send that shipping estimate soon. I'm sorry I've fallen behind on that. Been having some issues with going back to work and had me distracted.

Hey V! Amen Sista back atcha!! American made products are still great! You are damn right about that! Just another reason to buy 'em!

Jane in Maine said...

New Balance are made in Maine. Thanks for including them on your list!

Ed said...

My comments weren't at you personally Annie (I'm sure you know that) nor the concept of Buy American which I think is a good idea for the reasons you stated. I was just responding from the point of view that I've seen so many who say phrases like that, which they often times say smugly, and have absolutely no idea how much they are still supporting foreign economies when they buy something with a Made in the USA badge on it. As someone in manufacturing and who places a Made in the USA badge on my machines, I certainly see the irony.

edifice rex said...

Hey Jane! sure thing! I was happy to find this out as I often buy NB.

Hey Ed! yeah, I know! I was just being a smart ass about my pottery. ;)
I understand what you mean about the 100% American made. If you trace anything back far enough you are going to find something foreign. My pottery as an example. In a perfect world we would be able to make everything here but I just think we have to work with what we have and maybe we can get back to more of it originating here. I wanted to include much of that info in another post anyway because I was so shocked myself to see what we do make here. I had assumed, like a lot of people, that it was much less. I think we should educate ourselves about what is really going on here and who the companies are that are at least trying to keep jobs here.

fishy said...

Good for you!
You are right, if more Americans would stand up to be counted it would be a tremendous boost. We ARE still the largest manufacturing nation on Earth. We surely will forfeit if we follow the media pipers.

Jenn said...

I love it when you stand up. Very good piece full of info I can use!

I knew I liked Lodge's prices, but I did not know they were a US manufacturer (anytime I see anything with a reasonable price tag, I assume it's foreign made. Yep. You are talkin' to ME!)

Thank you!

edifice rex said...

Hey Fishy! thanks for the support!

Hey Jenn! Thanks and you're welcome! Now, the plain cast iron pieces are made here but keep in mind the enameled ware Lodge is made in China!

Swamp Dog said...

I agree 100% with your post. It is almost identical to a post on my blog back in June. If you go and Google made in the USA you can find lots of things made here. As a matter of fact I intend on ordering a pair of Pointer brand overalls made in Tennessee. If you have time, visit my blog at