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Jordin Johnson, a contestant in the 2014 Miss Mississippi Pageant, has been touring the U.S. with a message to buy American.

Jordin Johnson, a contestant in the 2014 Miss Mississippi Pageant, has been touring the U.S. with a message to buy American.

The next face of the Buy American Movement could be Miss America.

Jordin Johnson, a Meridian, Mississippi resident who was named Miss Turtle Creek last August, is a contestant in the 2014 Miss Mississippi Pageant. In the lead-up to the event being held July 12-15, Johnson has been touring the country getting out her message about the economic importance of keeping manufacturing jobs in the United States and buying American.

Her platform is called, “Rethink America, Buy American,” and according to Johnson, “It promotes the importance of keeping manufacturing jobs in America rather than outsourcing those jobs. This has been a huge issue we’ve seen with our economy, over four million jobs have disappeared, and my job is to educate the public about this issue.”

See her recent interview on the local ABC News station, WTOK, in Meridian, Mississippi.

Congratulations to Ms. Johnson for taking on an incredibly important issue and doing her part to get the word out about it.

I was even more impressed by Johnson’s platform when I read more about it.

“Why should we buy American?” she asks. “When you buy products that are made in America you support American workers. When you buy products that are made in America you support companies that are doing business in America… Once Americans start buying more American-made goods, the demand for them will increase. More factories and plants will open as a result of the rising demand and more job opportunities will then be available.”

Johnson has the economics of it right – buying American will create jobs. The challenge is to increase awareness about it so that more people will make the effort to do it. Efforts like those being made by Ms. Johnson are critical to moving the Buy American Movement forward.

I don’t know what Johnson’s chances are of winning the 2014 Miss Mississippi Pageant, but I do hope to see her positive message about the economic benefits of buying American continue beyond July. I wish her the best of luck.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

lady shoppingI was recently having a discussion about unemployment in the U.S. and how it relates to the $500 billion annual U.S. trade deficit. That got me thinking: just how much do Americans spend per month on imported goods and services?  Well I did a few calculations, and what I found was shocking.

I divided the total value of imports in the U.S.A. for 2013 ($2.74 trillion) by the number of adults in the U.S.A. (240 million), then I divided that by 12 (for 12 months in a year).  On average, each U.S. adult is responsible for over $950 in imported goods and services per month!

That is much more than I thought was even possible.  Can you imagine that?  Every month, every U.S. adult is responsible for nearly $1,000 in imported goods and services.  We have really let ourselves go!

But here is something equally amazing.  If we could get the average U.S. adult down to just $790 of imported goods and services per month (that should be doable, right?), we would have no trade deficit at all.  The trade deficit may seem insurmountable, but when you consider how much we are currently importing, we really don’t have that far to go.

In fact, if we could simply replace 17% of the imports we consume each year with U.S.-made goods and services, we would have zero trade deficit, and that would pump enough money into the economy (nearly $500 billion per year) that everyone in the U.S. who wanted to work would be able to find a job.

If more Americans will start to just consider where products are made in their purchasing decisions, we may really start to see improvements.  Please consider taking the Buy American Challenge today.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

Custom New Balance running shoes Georgetown University blue and grey.

Custom New Balance running shoes in Georgetown University blue and grey.

Here’s an idea for an awesome gift for the sports fan in your life.

New Balance makes running shoes which can be custom tailored to match the exact color scheme of practically every NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, etc. team in existence.

Not only that, New Balance will embroider the back section of the shoes directly behind the heels with a custom message of your choosing.

Imagine custom made Florida State University shoes in garnet and gold that read “Let’s Go Noles!” Or custom made New Orleans Saints shoes in gold and black that read “Who Dat?”

There is nothing cooler to wear to the big game than these custom New Balance shoes. Your favorite sports fan is sure to love this gift.

And I know that from experience.

I got a pair of these custom New Balance shoes (see pictured) for my wife and she absolutely loves them.

We are huge fans of the Georgetown University Hoyas basketball team, so naturally we designed my wife’s shoes in Hoya colors, navy blue and grey. And we embroidered the backs of the shoes with the classic Hoya cheer, “Hoya Saxa!”

My wife wears them to every Hoya game we go to and she is complimented on them often.

Best of all, these one-of-a-kind shoes are reasonably priced from $139 and they are Made in USA. That means if you buy these shoes you will be creating jobs for workers right here in American at a time that so many need work.

You can design your custom New Balance team shoes by clicking here.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

Take a quick minute to watch this really amazing video from the Million American Jobs Project explaining where all the American jobs have gone and what you can do today to help bring them back.

Do what the video asks and share it with just two people. Just a small change in our consumer behavior can create millions on new American jobs.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

Made in USA DVD.pngMade in USA: The 30 Day Journey,” Josh Miller’s new documentary is an inspirational reminder that the words “Made in USA” still matter. While Americans from Main Street to the halls of Congress struggle to cope with our sputtering economy, Miller reminds us that the answer to reclaiming a prosperous future may lie in the long-forgotten rallying cry to “Buy American.”

As Miller demonstrates in his month-long trek across the United States, a sure-fire way to create American jobs is to stimulate demand for American-made products. While conventional wisdom once told us the jobs that left our shores would never return, as is so often the case, that conventional wisdom is now being turned on its head.

The film shows that in many industries, companies that stuck to their American-made roots are now thriving, while firms that made the decision to off-shore are realizing the advantages of sourcing from low-wage countries like China are being eaten up by rapidly increasing wages in those countries. Once you consider the other disadvantages of off-shoring, such as increased shipping costs, higher inventory costs, and extended time to get products to market, in many industries the benefits of overseas production are now being outweighed by the costs. As a consequence, America may be primed for a serious jobs recovery.

In the film, Michael Araten, CEO of the toy company K’Nex, whom Miller interviews, makes the most compelling case that the U.S. is poised for job creation in the manufacturing sector and that the Buy American Movement can help facilitate it. “What I see happening is that consumers care more and more where stuff is made; businesses react to consumers,” explains Araten. “As demand picks up for [American-made products], then [businesses] will find more ways to [fill that demand].”

The economics of it are truly very simple – consumers demand American products, and companies hire American workers to produce those products. While few would question that basic premise, many would question whether promoting the concept of “Made in USA” is worthwhile. Jobs, after all, will come back when the economics demand it, not likely before then. But in the film, Miller makes a compelling case that buying American is effective enough to be worthwhile and is the patriotic thing to do by interviewing those that have been laid off due to factory closings. We are reminded that every time a factory is shuttered, it is real American families that suffer, and Miller lets us hear from these folks. But the film doesn’t just highlight this problem; it also gives us a solution – we can reverse this disturbing outsourcing trend by using our collective purchasing power to create jobs here in U.S. The film makes it clear that America needs to get serious about buying American right now, before another factory closes and another small town, like the one Miller grew up in, is devastated.

One aspect of the film worthy of applause is the non-partisan approach to the topic that Miller maintains. The importance of buying American resonates with people from all kinds of political backgrounds. As divisive as politics can be, Miller was smart to steer clear of any overtly political messages. It would have been very easy for Miller to let some of his personal political views creep into the film. In my view, that would have only been a diversion from the true message of the film: Our economic future is in our own hands, and we can have a better future by buying American.

I also love the way the film ends (I’m not giving anything away here) – with unique question that Miller poses to the audience. His question strikes right at heart of the problem the Buy American Movement has struggled with for years. The American people are as patriotic as they have ever been, but even the most patriotic people often don’t make an attempt to buy American, even though it will help our country to do so. When it comes to patriotism and consumer behavior, the rhetoric and the actions are simply not aligned.

Here is Miller’s question: We’re willing to die for our country, but are we willing to buy for it?

If more people would ponder Miller’s question seriously, I think we would see the Buy American Movement really take off in this country, and that could lead to the economic recovery in America that we have all been anticipating, but have yet to experience.

Made in USA: The 30 Day Journey is a must-see film. You can get a DVD for $19.99 by going to the website for the film: http://www.usa30days.com/

Get your copy today.

Oakley Sunglasses 2The warm weather has finally arrived, and it’s time to start spending more time outside. Whether it’s at the beach, in the backyard, or at a baseball game, a good pair of sunglasses is a must-have this time of year.

If you are looking for a new pair of shades be sure check out Oakley sunglasses. Not only does Oakley make many of the coolest sunglasses ever designed, they have superior eye protection, they’re competitively priced, and most (if not all) of their shades are made right here in the USA.

I’ve been a huge fan of Oakley ever since I was a kid. During the mid-nineties, there was a period when it seemed everyone in my entire high school was wearing Oakley sunglasses (or Oakley knock-offs we called “Foakleys,”). The brand had recently introduced their iconic e-wire design and the trend (in Miami, Florida, anyway) was to wear sunglasses indoors on your forehead as you walked around from class to class. It seems a little silly now, but at the time, that was the thing to do.

Ever since that time, Oakley has consistently been a leader in the sunglasses industry. The company, headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, has been a frontrunner in eyewear innovation and currently holds more than 600 patents for eyewear, materials, and performance gear. They have had design after design become best-sellers, and they have earned their position as one of the most recognized and coveted brands in the industry.

I recently entered the market for a new pair of shades when I broke the sunglasses I had been wearing for several years.  Having never even researched sunglasses since committing to buy American a little over three years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. Would I even be able to find American-made sunglasses? And if so, would they be reasonably priced and look good? I was ecstatic to find that Oakley – my favorite brand of sunglasses – are made right here in the USA.

In my research, I could not confirm that all Oakley sunglasses are American-made. Many accounts online suggest that all their sunglasses are made in America, but others say that a few of their designs are imported. Nonetheless, the brand has many different styles that are manufactured domestically (in California), and you can identify them because the words “Made in U.S.A.” are stamped in raised letters on the inside arms of the frames.

In my search, I considered many different Oakley styles, and the decision on which pair to go with was tough. In the end, I chose a pair of polarized Oakley Pit Bull sunglasses.  They look and feel awesome, and they can be purchased for around $130. I’ve had these glasses for a few weeks, and I absolutely love them.

By the way, the fact that I’m from Miami and I bought “Pit Bull” glasses is purely coincidental.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

American-made flip flopsI just saw that there is a Groupon for Okabashi sandals going on right now and I wanted to share it with you.  The deal is for $30 worth of Okabashi merchandise for just $15.  This bargain is too good to pass up.  I already got mine, and I’d jump on this deal too if I were you.

If you aren’t familiar with Okabashi, I hope you will be soon.  They make very comfortable and high quality flip flops.  Since I first tried them a couple years back, I have purchased three different pairs in different styles and colors.  They are by far my favorite brand of sandals.

What I like best about Okabashi is the quality construction of their flip flops.  Unlike most sandals, Okabashis are made from a single piece of stamped rubber, as opposed to different pieces of rubber that get joined together or uppers made of different materials sewn to rubber bottoms.

In my experience, Okabashis hold their shape perfectly and never flatten out like most sandals.  They also have true arch support.  I found I can walk around much further in these sandals than others I have owned in the past because of the support they provide.

My wife loves Okabashis, too.  She really likes to have sandals that match her outfits in the summertime, so she just loves how this brand comes in practically every color of the rainbow.  Some of their sandals for ladies also come with a 1” heal, which is pretty rare in a flip flop.

Okabashi is a family owned business that has been around for more than 25 years. Besides being made in the USA, Okabashi shoes are 100% recyclable, designed with superior foot support and a massaging insole, anti-microbial, dishwasher safe, and backed by a 2-year guarantee.  And at less than $20 per pair, Okabashi sandals are a really great value.

This Groupon for Okabashi ends in just three days.  Don’t miss this chance for a really good deal on some of the highest quality American-made sandals money can buy.  Not only will you love these flip flops, but you will be creating jobs for American workers when you buy them.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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