Friday, August 12, 2011

America First

A friend recently sent me an email about a "Buy American" challenge starting August 1st and going this whole month. Yes, I'm a little late getting the news! Now, I have tried, to some extent, to buy American products when I can but have not put a tremendous amount of effort into it. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit I have not tried harder. However, after reading the email I decided that now's the time. With things going the way they are economically and every way else there are just no excuses left, for me anyway. We harp and harp about buying local meats and produce from our local farmers (and that's great) but nobody says much about buying other American made products. A lot of people even have the gall to say you can't do it. You wouldn't have anything if you limited yourself to only American made. While it is true that these products may be harder to find, and cost a little more, they are out there. We just have to get off our lazy ass and find them. And, it's not a bad thing in my book that it would cut down on the amount of cheap crap that the majority of Americans drag into their homes every day.

Here is the gist of what the email said: (Now, I didn't see this Diane Sawyer show that is mentioned, so I don't know how much of that is true, nor some of the other statistics quoted, but I think it is a good challenge none the less).

Did y'all see Diane Sawyer's special report? They removed ALL items from a typical, middle class family's home that were not made in the USA .

There was hardly anything left besides the kitchen sink. Literally. During the special they showed truckloads of items - USA made - being brought in to replace everything and talked about how to find these items and the difference in price etc..

It was interesting that Diane 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!

FOR EXAMPLE THE "OUR FAMILY" BRAND OF THE MANDARIN ORANGES SAYS RIGHT ON THE CAN 'FROM CHINA '

I WAS SHOCKED SO FOR A FEW MORE CENTS I BOUGHT THE LIBERTY GOLD BRAND OR THE DOLE SINCE IT'S FROM CALIF.

Are we Americans as dumb as we appear --- or --- is it that we just do not think. The Chinese, knowingly and intentionally, export inferior and even toxic products and dangerous toys and goods to be sold in American markets.

70% of Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese should be suspended.

Why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges? DO IT YOURSELF, AMERICA !!

Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says 'Made in China ' or 'PRC' (and that now includes Hong Kong ), simply choose another product, or none at all. You will be amazed at how dependent you are on Chinese products, and you will be equally amazed at what you can do without.

Who needs plastic eggs to celebrate Easter? If you must have eggs, use real ones and benefit some American farmer. Easter is just an example. The point is do not wait for the government to act. Just go ahead and assume control on your own.

THINK ABOUT THIS: If 200 million Americans each refuse to buy just $20 of Chinese goods, that's a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor...fast!!

Most of the people who have been reading about this matter are planning on implementing this on Aug. 1st and continue it until Sept. 1st. That is only one month of trading losses, but it will hit the Chinese for 1/12th of the total, or 8%, of their American exports.
Remember, August 1st to Sept. 1st !!!!!! START NOW.

If we can't live without cheap Chinese goods for one month out of our lives, WE DESERVE WHAT WE GET! ( I agree!!!)


Now, I don't necessarily agree with the kinda vehement anti-Chinese sentiment expressed there. I'm not interested in "sticking it to China" or trying to cause them trouble. I just think it's about time we quit pissing and moaning about the sad state of economics etc., in this country and do something about it. How many jobs have been lost due to our manufacturing being sent overseas? And yes, I realize many of jobs were replaced with some other type but a country cannot remain secure if it doesn't have a stable infrastructure and relies so heavily on other countries, that probably don't have our best interests in mind, for tools, clothing and many other very important daily supplies.
I did a little investigating last night by looking up a number of USA made products online. There is a lot more out there than what you might think. Now, I know some people are saying, 'I can't afford to do this. USA made stuff costs a lot more'. Not necessarily and many of the companies offer free shipping. With the cost of gas these days and that most people don't live next door to a mall, are you really saving that shipping charge by driving to the shopping areas? And like I said, so what if it costs a couple dollars more? It's giving an American a job and it might just cut back on this epidemic of useless shit that floods our homes.
I thought about how this relates to Wal-Mart too and their whole prostitution ring with China but I don't know that I really want to get into that. It makes me too sick and upset. If you don't shop at Wal-Mart yo have your reasons and I don't need to convince you. If you do shop at Wal-Mart I would just ask you, do you really think that company cares about this country or do they just care about lining their own pockets? I know Wal-Mart has made some efforts to carry more USA made products but only because the people have called them on it and they will sell out whoever they have to in order to continue to rob the American public of all they can.

Anyway, I just feel that we have sat on our asses long enough. Are we going to let this country go down the shitter, even more than it has, or are we going to stand up and DO something? Even if it means giving up our cheap, plastic, worthless junk. How sad it would be if most people would choose their junk over this beautiful country.
Jack and I went to a movie yesterday and then we stopped at the pet store to get Chigger a new Frisbee (which probably wasn't made here) and I went next door to a large chain department store just to look around and see how much USA produced stuff I could find. I have to say that if we stopped importing stuff today we would at least have plenty of glassware and throw rugs. Not much else! I asked the lady at the jewelry counter if any of it was made in the US. She looked kinda funny and then she said no, she didn't think so. She thought for a moment and then she looked at me very seriously and said, 'we need to change that'. I said, "yes, we do!" We talked about it for a while and I was surprised that she was on my same line of thought but then I think lots of people are starting to get tired of this situation. I ended up buying some foot lotion and a card, both made in the US. I also found some very pretty candles and glasses. Today I looked around the house to take stock of what I have here. I'm happy to say that much of what I actually have is made here because I buy a lot of stuff from local artists and craftspeople. But, I was very unhappy to see that of my wonderful collection of books (ya'll know how I am about books) many are not printed here even though the publishers are American. What crap!! This is something I will keep in mind in the future.

So, I challenge you to join me! We sit around and wonder what can we do to help society. We wonder what we can do to help our fellow citizen. This is one, simple thing we can do. We are constantly reminded to support our troops (and rightfully so), but what about supporting ourselves!? Please don't tell me that the indomitable American spirit is dead.

16 comments:

Rita said...

I have tried to buy USA especially fruits and veggies and other food products. I'm watching more and more other products that I buy. If you find a brand name that is USA please send a comment. I just bought a Columbia jacket but I didn't check to see if it is made in USA. I'm doing that right now. Thanks! We need to get our factories back so our families can earn a living.

Deb said...

Check out Diamond Gusset Jeans. Comfortable and well made in the USA! It does take some research, which is maybe beyond the ability of the average consumer, but good American made products are out there.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Well said, Annie. We try to buy American-made whenever possible and check all labels of products from toiletries to bedding. Problem is electric items, computer and electronics items and nearly impossible to find made in the USA. Our cars are all Jeeps.

Woody said...

I'll have to see if I can find the Diane Sawyer report on my NMIUS TV.

Ed said...

While this is all well and good, I will guarantee you that 95% of the stuff on Diane Sawyer's show may be made in America but they certainly aren't all made with American raw materials. Take another step back and how much of what raw materials the US produces are gathered up using American made tractors, oil, etc.

I speak this from experience because I am part owner of six companies that all put 'Made in the USA' labels on our machines because that is the truth. Yet our warehouses are full of components from other countries. Try to buy a bolt that is made in the USA.

So in my opinion, any buy American campaign is futile from the start. If they don't sell you the finished good, they will certainly sell you the raw ingredients and those are actually more profitable anyway because you don't have warrenties or final delivery costs to deal with. The one exception is food and that is one I try to support and go one step farther, buying local food when given the option.

edifice rex said...

Hey Reet! I will do one better than that; I will put up some links that give many USA brands. There are actually way too many to list individually.

Hey Deb! I did check those out! and they much be popular because they were sold out of many styles on their website!

Hey Bea! Yes, it's very hard to find electronics and such but we might can change that.

Hey Woody I looked it up and it is true. In fact, Diane Sawyer is the one who started the challenge and they have a website where you can check in if you want to record your purchases etc.

Hey Ed! well, I agree that many of the components or ingredients are produced elsewhere. We've noticed for years that many of our nails are made in Canada. However, not all of them, like in clothing. We still produce a lot of cotton etc, right here, which many of our clothing mills use.
I have to completely disagree that any effort to buy American is futile though. After doing a little research I find that there are many items made 100% here, but even if they bring in some of the ingredients from other places, the item being built here is still giving Americans jobs. Now, obviously, it would be better if all of it was made here but that won't happen until people start demanding it. Manufacturers make what the public demands, because that's how they make money. If people don't care where stuff comes from the manufacturers will make no effort to build their stuff here. However, if people stop buying their crappy foreign products and they start losing money, they'll change their attitude quick or go out of business.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I am unconvinced that globalization and free trade does the average person any good. It seems to do the giant international corporations a lot of good as they can seek the lowest cost materials and labour to sell back into the industrialized states at a big profit.

I remember when a company wanted to sell in Canada we asked that they open a branch plant in Canada. I also remember buying "Union Made" products. I am not sure things have changed for the better.

Lots of American cars are built in Canada and sold in the US under the auto pact. This predates free trade and seems to benefited both countries.

Here is the zinger. I would not sell any oil the other counties. It is a strategic resource and should be used in Canada at a lower price than the world price. It amuses me when American politicians see Canadian oil as an American resource as if the border does not exist. If the Americans were not so hungry for oil the dreadful oil sands of Alberta could be developed slower and with more care for the environment. Now the Chinese want it too.

Luckily water was excluded under the free trade deal and it is illegal to sell bulk water out of Canada. If this were not the case the US would be clamoring for great diversion projects to sent water into the US from our mighty rivers that flow North into the Arctic. Water is not a commodity to be exploited. Certainly it is not to fill swimming pools in Las Vegas and flushing American toilets.

chickory said...

I buy as much of my food as i can at the farmers market. its not only american made, but LOCAL which is important to me. Of course this is not manufacturing, but since we mostly killed our manufacturing, buying with cash money things people crafted or grow is the best i can do. I dont shop big box -also try and use local stores (non chain) but like Ed said, it is difficult to buy 100% all american.

edifice rex said...

Hey Philip! Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the "global economy" myself. I think you are right; it mostly benefits the corporations and thus the CEO's.
Interesting points on the other subjects too.

edifice rex said...

Hey Chicory! yes, it is difficult; but the more we demand and the more we refuse to buy foreign imports, I think, the more manufacturers will get back to making stuff here. It is already happening in many places. Many textile mills and such going back into operation.

Curmudgeon said...

As I look around my house most of my furniture is American antiques so I probably don't feel as bad as I should. I'm curious what kind of computer should I buy that doesn't have foreign parts? Apple? HP? What about Phones? Mine is a huge monstrosity from ma bell monopoly days. I got my stereo twenty five years ago but it's Japanese I go to road stands and Farmers markets, but they have tons of stuff from Mexico. I will try to buy American but I won't buy crap. It's a great challenge and one I would be happy to accept, but it will be very difficult. Thanks Annie

Ed said...

By futile, I meant that if you need a computer, you can't find one without some foreign parts in it, or a television, or a phone, or a radio, or a car, or a refrigerator, or a stove, etc. Yes you can find some clothes and food and maybe a few smaller items but unless you live with the clothes on your back and only eating food that you can find produced only in the U.S. and overlook the foreign machines used to harvest, process and produce that food, it is futile. Show me something made in America and I can go back in the chain and show you a foreign part used to produce it somewhere along the line.

edifice rex said...

Hey Dan! When it comes to electronics and such, yes, it's near impossible to buy American made but there are scads of other USA made products out there. I just think we don't realize what they are. And if you are buying USA made, it's generally not crap.

Hey Ed! Yes, most anything made here is going to have some part that is of a foreign origin but I think if you are going to dismiss the whole concept because a pair of authentic 100% American jeans use one color dye, on their label only, that's comes from India, well, I think you are just trying to find a reason to say it won't do any good.
Plus, i think there is MUCH more still made here than a lot of people believe. Which I will address in the next post.

Jenn said...

Man, I was all happy that you mentioned Lodge, because I've been thinking about buying some of their product.


Am I still 'buying american' if they import the product I want from China? Sigh.

http://www.lodgemfg.com/lodge-enamel.asp
"Lodge Enamel cookware has received rave reviews from consumer oriented magazines like Good Housekeeping and Fine Cooking, while also garnering approval from professional chefs, test kitchens and home cooks.

Imported from China, the two lines of enamel coated cast iron cookware are stylish in appearance and produce excellent cooking results with surfaces that are FDA approved."

Color me frustrated.

(I love enamelware. I have ruined more cast iron that I can admit, but enamelware is the best of both worlds.)

edifice rex said...

I know Jenn; I love enamelware too and was disgusted to see that theirs comes from China! I just try to get my fix by buying second hand Le Creuset. I don't know if that's any better! lol!

Jenn said...

Oo. Buying second hand. Sure that's better! Now I will have to keep my eyes open!