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Posts Tagged ‘trade deficit’

You can’t have an effective buy American movement if the movement is not visible.  With this brand of clothing, Made in USA Threads, now it can be.

I’ve been advocating the buy American movement for over a year and a half now.  One thing I have been frustrated with is the lack of visibility the movement has.  Livestrong has those yellow bracelets you see everywhere.  The breast cancer group has pink ribbons on everything from neckties to linebackers.  But where is the visibility of the buy American movement? 

I’ve spent the last several months building this brand so that finally the buy American movement can have the visibility it needs to thrive.  This brand is about quality American-made clothing at reasonable prices, and it says “Made in USA” right on the chest where everyone can see it.

Let me ask you, what does the logo on your shirt stand for?  If you own a polo shirt, what does that little man on horse carrying a polo stick, or practically any other widely recognizable garment industry brand image, really stand for?

To me, it is a symbol of a clothing industry that once thrived in America that has now been outsourced to the lowest bidder in a global race to the bottom.  It is a symbol of the underlying cause of a $500 billion annual trade deficit the U.S. incurs each year and the 9%-plus unemployment rate that comes with that enormous trade deficit.

I, personally, don’t care to wear that kind of symbol on the clothing I wear every day.  I prefer to wear a shirt that says “Made in USA” on it!

What does that stand for?  It stands for American jobs.  It stands for investing in the future of our country and our communities.  It stands for turning around a disturbing outsourcing trend that has slowly chiseled away at the foundation of our economy for decades.  Finally, it stands for protecting the few remaining garment manufacturers left in this country before they too become the victim of outsourcing. 

Made in USA Threads is a brand that is made in USA and is proud to show it.   When I wear these clothes, I wear them proudly.  So can you!

Visit www.MadeinUSAThreads.com today. 

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

Randy

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If there’s one thing Americans do very well it’s consume. We like shopping.  We like going to the mall or Target and coming home with whatever our hearts desire, regardless of where it was made. Although this kind of buying behavior can be damaging to our economy and our country, changing this behavior is easier said than done.

In the last year and a half of actively living and advocating a buy American lifestyle, I have learned a lot about what to do, and what not to do, in persuading those around me, like friends and family, to buy American.  Here are a few key tips:

1)  Never make others feel guilty about their current buying habits.  Whether it’s friends, family, coworkers, or anyone else, the key is to talk about the reasons you buy American with no judgment on others who currently don’t. Others will be much more receptive to the concept of buying American when using this approach.

2)  Be as committed as possible to buying American yourself.  When those around you see that you are genuinely committed to buying American they will begin to take the idea more seriously.  Few will be moved to consider a commitment to buying American if they think your commitment to buying American is a passing fad.  It’s got to be perceived as permanent to have an impact on those around you.

3) Blog, tweet, or make Facebook posts about buy American topics.  Social media are great tools to put out useful information about the topic of buying American.  These messages can reinforce other messages your friends and family are already hearing about buying American.  It is also a no-judgment way to talk about the personal and societal benefits of buying American.  The buy American movement depends on effective communication, and new media, like blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, are the key to effective communication today and for the foreseeable future. Embrace these tools.

4) Let others bring up the topic of buying American with you.  When I first started strictly buying American and blogging about it, I told all my friends and family about what I was doing.  I asked them to follow my blog, follow my tweets, become a Facebook fan of Buy American Challenge, and that sort of thing.  After that, I backed off on bringing the topic of buying American up for discussion.  I found that friends and family started asking me about buying American instead of me having to bring it up with them.  If you want buying American to spread, my advice is let people know why you are buying American initially, then back off.  However, continue to keep the topic visible if you can.  I drive an American car, wear Made in USA clothing, and blog about buying American regularly.  Those who want to talk about buying American know they can bring it up with me anytime, and they frequently do.

5) Be a resource for those who have questions about buying American.  When folks first start to think about buying American, they have lots of questions.  Where can they find American-made products they need?  What about products not found made in USA anymore?  What about imported products they just can’t even think about giving up?  A good place to start in addressing these concerns is to give people the guidelines of the Buy American Challenge.  This is an easy-to-follow buy American program that anyone can follow.  I suggest printing out a copy and giving it to people who are showing interest as a suggestion of where to start if they decide to give buying American a try.  Additionally, offer to be available for advice on hard-to-find items.  If you ever get stumped, and can’t find a particular item made in USA, contact me and I’ll help you out.  Believe it or not, almost all products can still be found made in USA, you just need to know where and how to look for them.

Follow these five tips and you will be well on your way to spreading buy American through your social network.  Remember, for buying American to have a really meaningful impact on job creation in this country, we need to grow the movement. One person’s decision to buy American, though admirable for the principle of it, doesn’t mean much in terms of job creation.  It’s not going to create millions of jobs like we want it to.  But when thousands or even millions of people start demanding American-made products it will have a major impact on job creation. 

If you are committed to buying American yourself, commit to doing what you can to grow the movement as well.

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

Randy

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I have tremendous respect for everyone in the buy American community.  Anyone willing to spend time promoting the practice of buying made in USA out of a hope for a better future of our country is aces in my book.  I only wish we had more people willing to take the charge. But as buy American advocates, we need to be very cautious not to let the ugliness of politics seep into – and frankly, infect – our buy American message.  Because every time it happens, another person who would be a new buy American advocate gets alienated.

Let’s face it, Americans are passionate about politics, and while 10-20% percent of Americans may be on the fence on Election Day, the other 80% are pretty firmly entrenched in one camp or the other.  Those that do have strong political leanings generally do not like to hear or read about the political leaders and organizations they support being spoken about in a negative light.  Nor do they typically like to hear about the leaders and groups they do not agree with spoken about in a favorable light (although favorable discussion of any kind is more tolerable).  Discussing politics in any capacity simply has the potential to rub a lot of people the wrong way.  It is unavoidable.

That is precisely why it is best not to mix messages about politics and buying American.  The buy American message resonates with people of all different backgrounds and persuasions.  Individual Americans choosing to buy American is not a Republican or Democratic issue; it’s an American issue.  Buying American creates jobs and helps our economy.  Anybody should be able to agree with that, and the overwhelming majority of Americans do.  So why mix that buy American message that so many are receptive to with a political message that is certain to alienate many? If you genuinely want the buy American message to carry through, it’s just not a good idea to mix messages.

I believe one major reason that politics and buy American messages often get intertwined is that those who are passionate about buying American also tend to be fervent about politics, so it’s only natural for messages about the two subjects to get interconnected.  Once again, I believe one must make every effort to keep these the two separate.  The buy American movement needs to grow if it is ever going to be the force in this country that it could be.  As advocates, we cannot afford to be turning away support because of politics creeping into our message.

Let me make one thing clear: I am not saying that buy American advocates should avoid being vocal about politics.  Far from it.  What I am saying is that as a buy American advocate, you should do your best not to mix political and buy American messages at the same time or in the same venue.  What does that mean in practice? If you have a blog, website, or facebook page about buying American, don’t post political messages on there, and do your best to keep the political messages others post there to a minimum.  Try to be sensitive to the fact that your buy American supporters may lean opposite you politically.  If you want to talk politics, do it on a personal facebook page or on a separate blog.  You get the picture. 

My interest is the success of the buy American movement.  We only have so many real leaders out there, and we will all have more success if we can stay focused on communicating our buy American message free of politics. 

In a time of incredible political division in this country, buying American is one thing that still genuinely unites people of all different backgrounds and beliefs.  Whether you identify as a Tea Partier or a labor activist, there is a good chance you support buying American.  You’d be hard-pressed to find an area where you’ll find more common ground among staunchly opposed political groups and individuals. 

The truth is, when it comes to buying American, politics doesn’t matter, so let’s not let it get in the way.  Politics has ruined enough in this country; let’s not let it ruin our buy American movement as well.

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

Randy

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Last week, Julie Seedorf, a columnist with the Albert Lea Tribune in Minnesota wrote a column called “Support Businesses that Support USA.”  In her column, Seedorf referenced a number of plant closings that have occurred recently in southeastern Minnesota due to off-shoring, and called on the members of her community to buy American instead of resigning to the apathetic conclusion that each of us is powerless to keep jobs here in the U.S.A. 

“Let’s join together as Americans and make a commitment to our American workers,” says Seedorf. 

Read the entire column here: http://www.albertleatribune.com/2011/03/14/support-businesses-that-support-usa/

The specific recommendation Seedorf makes to her community is to go to the Buy American Challenge blog and take the Buy American Challenge.

“I found a blog by Randy in Arlington, VA. It is called buyamericanchallenge,” says Seedorf.  “He is challenging all of us to buy ‘Made in the USA’ products. I am going to join his challenge… I believe if we stick together and support our workers we can effect a change. Take the challenge. Challenge your friends and neighbors to do the same. And don’t give up. If it doesn’t work in a year, keep it going for two, three, four or however long it takes…”

Seedorf is right.  We can make a difference and keep Americans employed if we will make a commitment to buy more things that are made in the U.S.A.  It might take a few years, but if we will each make a personal commitment to do it, and be willing talk about it with those who are closest to us, we can put millions of Americans back to work and lead our country back to prosperity. 

Thank you, Julie, for challenging your community to take the Buy American Challenge, and thank you for walking-the-walk and taking the Buy American Challenge yourself.

We need more people like you willing to challenge people to make this important life change.

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

Randy

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This is Mary, who has been buying American for three decades.

Here is a story about a woman, Mary, who has been buying American for the last 30 years.  I met Mary online when she commented on one of my postings.  I enjoyed her story so much I thought I would share it with you.  Here is Mary’s story, in her own words:

I am a 30-year-long consumer of made in U.S.A. products, so I pretty much took the Buy American Challenge three decades ago.  I don’t buy a pen unless it’s made in U.S.A.  I’m also an American manufacturer and the web person for a consumer directory of domestic products. As such, I whole-heartedly support buying American.

As a consumer and business owner, I consider not only the price of a product, but the cost to own that product.  I often spend less on domestic products than their imported counterparts.  I usually spend about the same on a domestic product as the import is priced.  Occasionally, I spend more for a domestic product than I would for an imported version. 

My buying habits were established before I ever took over the family business.  Many commercial products remain made in U.S.A. because business demands quality.  Businesses know that low quality products come with a higher cost to own.  The product will more often need repair, lack dependability, and soon require replacement. 

Somehow though, ordinary consumers have been sold the notion that they should disregard quality and value in favor of a supposedly “low price.”  It actually seems quite frivolous and somewhat extravagant to me to consider that some people spend their money repeatedly while I spend my money only once.  If business demands and receives made in U.S.A. products, there’s no reason for consumers not to make the same demand in the marketplace. 

Even though my home is filled with made in U.S.A. furniture, furnishings, appliances, apparel, etc., there are exceptions. There is Champagne from France in my home, a piece of Waterford crystal, and bananas come to mind.

Some of these items are what one would call “cheat items” on the Buy American Challenge.

For all my involvement and dedication to U.S. manufacturing, I most certainly support sound, fair and balanced trade of both raw materials and finished goods.

We have manufacturers that utilize raw materials found in other countries.  One such example is bamboo, which is manufactured in the U.S. into flooring and clothing. Our chocolate producers often use cocoa bean which is found in other countries.  As fussy as I am, I certainly don’t mind purchasing a U.S.-made chocolate made with foreign-grown cocoa beans.

Consumers also deserve choices and selection in the marketplace, especially fine products from foreign producers with an expertise.

The words “Made in U.S.A.” were always a source of pride to me but the word “imported” has changed significantly in my lifetime.

As a child in the 1960′s, just about everything was made in the U.S.A. It was actually something special and unusual, “fancy” even, when something was imported.  When a woman in the neighborhood purchased an imported set of china from England, word of the purchase spread throughout the neighborhood. “Oh, that china must be beautiful.” “I wonder how much it cost.” “Did her husband get a raise?”

Today, the word imported most often denotes junk. Unlike my childhood, the U.S. trades today not for the finest products from around the world, but for sub-standard products that realize the largest profit margins.

I have no doubt that anyone taking the Buy American Challenge will be forming a habit that will last their lifetime. I would not have continued to buy made in U.S.A. products for three decades without benefit. I’ve simply found no downside to all my purchases. I am a brand loyal shopper but that ceases whenever production moves abroad. This results in discovering new domestic brands which somehow exceed my expectations. There is nothing like a satisfied consumer – that’s me, for the past 30 years.

Thank you for sharing your story, Mary. 

If you have a buy American story to tell, please share it with us.  I hope this “My Buy American Story” can be a regular feature on this blog.

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

Randy

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Buying American when gift-giving presents an interesting dilemma.  A person may be passionate about buying American when purchasing items for their own use, but how does that apply when buying gifts for others?

I have been in this place many times in the last year, and my advice is to use your best judgment and err on the side of buying gifts that the gift-recipient(s) will actually enjoy above gifts you might buy because they are made in the U.S.A. 

The guidelines of the Buy American Challenge say that buying American only applies to you.  It does not apply to friends and family you might be buying gifts for.  So, if your nephew asks for certain pair of imported sneakers for his birthday, just get them and don’t even worry about it.  Refusing to buy gifts that are not made in the U.S.A. has the potential to anger people who do not particularly care where the things they want are made.  Although I do not share that point of view, I respect people who have it, even if they are a brother, daughter, or significant other.

This changes when the gifts are intended for you.  If you would only buy goods made in the U.S.A. for yourself, why shouldn’t you ask the same of people buying gifts for you?  When I have a birthday coming up, and I know people will be shopping for me, I always circulate a list (electronic list with links) of American-made things I would like to receive as gifts.  Not only does this make things much easier for friends and family buying gifts for you, but it also ensures you will get the American-made things you really want.  It also allows you to price-shop online ahead of time to save those buying gifts for you some cash.  Most importantly, it is a great opportunity to educate the people in your life about all the great things that are made in the U.S.A.  In my experience, people are generally happy to buy gifts that you have suggested for them to buy, and they are generally pleasantly surprised at all the high-quality, reasonably-priced, American-made things on the list. 

Actually, regardless of whether you buy American or not, I suggest sending gift wish-lists out. Putting out a list of potential gifts is a win-win for everyone.  Nobody likes to wander through the mall, picking things up, and trying to find something you think a person might like.  A list takes all the guesswork out of it.  Just be sure that it is clear your list is of options for potential gifts, and not a list of all the things you expect to get for the occasion.   My first list I sent to my family raised eyebrows when they thought I expected to get every gift on the list, and I had listed about 20 things listed. 

One important thing to keep in mind is that American-made goods sometimes cost more than imported goods.  You may have received a $30 pair of jeans in years past from a certain person.  If you send them a list of American-made gifts, make sure the list consists of items in the $30 price-range.  Don’t send them a link to $100 American-made jeans and expect them to buy those for you.  By the way, this is just an example of the kind of predicament you might discover.  In fact, American-made jeans can be found for $30.  Here is a link to beautiful pair from a great company called All American Clothing: http://www.allamericanclothing.com/products/AA301.html

One time you should go ahead and buy a gift made in the U.S.A. for someone else is when no specific gift has been requested and you are reasonably sure that an American-made gift will be liked just as much as an imported good.  I don’t think my dad particularly cares what brand of jeans he gets as a gift.  So if I know he wants jeans, I would absolutely buy a pair of American-made jeans for him.  This is another great opportunity to show those around you what great American-made products there are available.  Maybe some of these gifts will turn into brand loyalty and/or increased interest in buying American.  Don’t miss the opportunity to give American-made gifts when the chance presents itself.

Here is one final thought on buying American with regard to friends and family.  Sometimes those close to me buy imported things that they are very excited about, especially if they spent a good deal of money on the item, like a fancy jacket or watch.  When this happens, I make it a point to show exactly the same enthusiasm I would have shown if I didn’t care about buying American.  Remember, buying American only applies to you.  That means not judging others when they get things they want.  Show those around you the respect of sharing in their excitement as you would if buying American was not a priority of yours.  It will be appreciated. 

I hope you will find this gift-giving advice useful.  I would love to hear what you all think about these guidelines for American-made gift-giving.  Have you ever been in one of these gift-giving scenarios?  What did you choose to do?  Were you pleased with your choice afterward?

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

Randy

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Tonight, ABC World News with Dianne Sawyer is continuing its groundbreaking series called “Made in America.” The series is shedding some much-needed light on the importance of buying American-made products in order to create jobs in this country.

World News Tonight airs at 6:30 PM Eastern Standard Time.  Please make sure you don’t miss it.

Thank you, ABC World News, for this terrific series.

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

Randy

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I thought it would be a good time to highlight some expert opinion about the extreme importance of addressing the U.S. trade deficit.  I mean, who cares what Randy has to say?  Not many, believe me!  But how about Warren Buffett, a man generally regarded as one of the world’s most successful investors, and a man genuinely concerned with America’s future?

In 2003, Warren Buffet wrote a piece for Fortune Magazine called “America’s Growing Trade Deficit Is Selling The Nation Out From Under Us. Here’s A Way To Fix The Problem – And We Need to Do It Now.”  In this article, Buffett predicts all kinds of scary things for the future of our nation if we allow our enormous trade deficit to continue to expand (FYI, it has).  

In the article, Buffett describes the U.S. trade deficit this way: “In effect, our country has been behaving like an extraordinarily rich family that possesses an immense farm. In order to consume 4% more than we produce–that’s the trade deficit–we have, day by day, been both selling pieces of the farm and increasing the mortgage on what we still own.”

Better yet, I won’t summarize.  Here is the actual article:

America’s Growing Trade Deficit Is Selling The Nation Out From Under Us. Here’s A Way To Fix The Problem–And We Need To Do It Now.

By Warren E. Buffett

November 10, 2003

(FORTUNE Magazine) – I’m about to deliver a warning regarding the U.S. trade deficit and also suggest a remedy for the problem. But first I need to mention two reasons you might want to be skeptical about what I say. To begin, my forecasting record with respect to macroeconomics is far from inspiring. For example, over the past two decades I was excessively fearful of inflation. More to the point at hand, I started way back in 1987 to publicly worry about our mounting trade deficits–and, as you know, we’ve not only survived but also thrived. So on the trade front, score at least one “wolf” for me. Nevertheless, I am crying wolf again and this time backing it with Berkshire Hathaway’s money. Through the spring of 2002, I had lived nearly 72 years without purchasing a foreign currency. Since then Berkshire has made significant investments in–and today holds–several currencies. I won’t give you particulars; in fact, it is largely irrelevant which currencies they are. What does matter is the underlying point: To hold other currencies is to believe that the dollar will decline.

Both as an American and as an investor, I actually hope these commitments prove to be a mistake. Any profits Berkshire might make from currency trading would pale against the losses the company and our shareholders, in other aspects of their lives, would incur from a plunging dollar.

But as head of Berkshire Hathaway, I am in charge of investing its money in ways that make sense. And my reason for finally putting my money where my mouth has been so long is that our trade deficit has greatly worsened, to the point that our country’s “net worth,” so to speak, is now being transferred abroad at an alarming rate.

A perpetuation of this transfer will lead to major trouble. To understand why, take a wildly fanciful trip with me to two isolated, side-by-side islands of equal size, Squanderville and Thriftville. Land is the only capital asset on these islands, and their communities are primitive, needing only food and producing only food. Working eight hours a day, in fact, each inhabitant can produce enough food to sustain himself or herself. And for a long time that’s how things go along. On each island everybody works the prescribed eight hours a day, which means that each society is self-sufficient.

Eventually, though, the industrious citizens of Thriftville decide to do some serious saving and investing, and they start to work 16 hours a day. In this mode they continue to live off the food they produce in eight hours of work but begin exporting an equal amount to their one and only trading outlet, Squanderville.

To read the rest of this article (and I hope you will), click on this link: http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/growing.pdf

Our trade deficit is a serious problem that we need to do something about soon.  We can’t wait around for Washington to fix this problem because if they were going to take bold action to address this, they would have done something by now.  However, every one of us can do our part to address this problem by buying American.  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

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This week, Dr. Donald J. Boudreaux, a prominent economist and the former Chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, penned an open letter to me in response to my Feb. 12th posting, “Record Crushed: U.S. Trade Deficit with China – $273 Billion in 2010 – Biggest Ever Between Two Countries.” He also posted the letter in the comments section of the posting on this blog.  In the open letter, Boudreaux posed several barbed questions about the Buy American Challenge effort.  Here is my response…

Dr. Boudreaux,

Thank you for visiting my blog.  I appreciate your comments and direct questions.  And I appreciate you thinking so highly of my posting that you penned an open letter to me on your own blog. I truly love a good debate, so this should be fun.  I realize, of course, I am choosing to engage in an economics debate with a renowned economist (or perhaps multiple economists), but hey, I guess eventually you have to play with the big boys. 

So let’s go question by question.  You asked:

- Because “buying American more often” means buying low-priced imports less often, Americans’ spending power will shrink. Americans will then have less money to spend at the movies, at local restaurants, on premium cable-tv packages, and the like. How do you know that the job losses that result from contractions in these industries won’t offset whatever job gains emerge in other industries from “buying American more often”?

I like how you phrase that… How do I know if jobs created from buying American won’t be offset in other areas?  Of course, I don’t pretend to know because these things do not have a direct relationship on each other; job creation and unemployment is caused by a myriad of factors.  So no one could ever know this sort of thing, much less be certain of it ahead of time.  But, since we are currently experiencing a huge jobs crisis in this country, and you are the one who argues for a less intuitive method of creating jobs in this country than I do, I would like to know: How do you know that the job losses that result from $500 billion leaving the country via the trade deficit – which most economists say is stifling job-creation in the U.S. – are fully offset by employment increases in other industries as you claim?  I don’t think you could possibly know that.

Your whole question starts with a faulty assumption.  The assumption you made is that buying American will reduce one’s buying power.  That is an entirely untrue assumption.  I have been on a strict buy American program for a year, and I have more money to buy things I want and need than I ever had.  Try to buy American for a week and you will see why.  When you buy American, you rarely make impulse purchases.  How many sweaters do you have in your closet?  More than you need?  Me too.  Practically every sweater I have in my closet was purchased on impulse.  That stops when you buy American because the majority of the consumable goods you see in malls and at Target are imported.  Buying American makes you think about whether you actually want to buy something because American-made things are a little harder to find.  Buying lots of stuff you don’t need reduces your buying power, not buying American.  Buying American actually helps people live within their means and increases buying power.  Plus, I am not saying everyone should entirely stop buying imports (so please do not pretend that is what I’m saying), what I am saying is that if Americans can cut their consumption of imported goods 25% and replace that with American-made goods, we will have no trade deficit, and many more jobs because of it.

Here is another wrong assumption. You assumed that American-made things are more expensive.  Certainly that is true sometimes, but not always.  There are lots of American-made items that are of equal quality that are less expensive than imported goods.  Are American-made New Balance running shoes more expensive than imported Nike? No.  Is Tito’s Handmade Premium Vodka (made in Texas) more expensive than imported Grey Goose? No.  People pay more for imported items sometimes because there is a higher perceived value simply because the product is imported.  But those misperceptions can be changed, and that is precisely what I am trying to do.  Buying American in these cases will increase one’s buying power.  Using your own logic, you should be a big supporter of buying American when American-made goods are less expensive.  Not only would we create jobs from the goods being made here, but we would also be increasing our buying power through cost savings, which would lead to more jobs created in other areas like restaurants, cable-TV, and the like.  I don’t think you can have it both ways.  If you think it is better to buy less expensive imported goods because of the impact it has on job creation in other areas, then you should be a big supporter of buying American-made in cases when the American-made product is less expensive. Do you support buying American in these cases?

Then there is the issue of quality.  A lot of the cheaper imported products are in fact poorer quality.  How many $5 umbrellas have you broken?  Me too.  They say, “They don’t make ‘em like they used to,” for a reason.  Much of the imported stuff we are buying is cheaper quality.  American-made stuff is more expensive sometimes, but in most cases, products made in the U.S.A. are higher quality and last longer. 

You asked:

- At least half of all U.S. imports are inputs used for production here at home by American firms. So if American firms substitute more costly American-made inputs for lower-priced imported inputs, many American firms’ costs will rise. These firms will lose market share. How do you know that the job losses that will result from these firms’ contractions and bankruptcies will not offset whatever job gains emerge from “buying American more often”?

Again, I object to the phrasing of the question.  My method of job creation and deficit-reduction is straight forward and intuitive.  Buying American-made things puts Americans to work who make those things.  That is plain and simple.  The burden of knowing is on you, since your position (as I understand it) is that American consumers should do nothing to correct the trade imbalance or create jobs for Americans by buying American.

I have never said that I think companies should stop using imported goods in production.  The reason I have not said that is because I advocate a consumer approach to addressing the trade deficit and unemployment problems in this country.  I believe that if we create demand for American-made goods by talking about the superior quality of American products and the positive impact buying American has on our economy – and millions of people start to do it – American firms will be profitable meeting that demand.  I’m not sure how we could make American companies use domestic inputs even if we wanted to.  But if the American people demand it, then companies will find a way to fill that demand profitably.  But we are a long way from that.  Right now you can’t even find the domestic parts content for most goods.  If you think somehow that American consumers buying American-made goods will cause bankruptcies, I think you are wrong. 

You asked:

- Because every dollar of America’s trade deficit is a dollar invested in the U.S. economy – investments that overwhelmingly expand the volume of America’s productive capital assets above what this volume would be without these foreign investments – eliminating America’s trade deficit will likely result in a net reduction of investments in the U.S. economy. How will less investment “secure our long-term economic future”?

Please reword this question and I will be happy to answer it.  I’m not sure what you are asking. 

Please answer this hypothetical:

You are considering purchasing one of two widgets.  One is an American-made product, produced by an American-owned company and made with 100% American parts content.  The other is an imported product, produced by a foreign-owned company and made with 0% American parts content.  They are both the exact same price.  In your opinion, which is better for the American economy?

A) Buying the American-made widget is better for the American economy

B) Buying the imported widget is better for the American economy

C) They are completely equal (neither A, nor B is better for the American economy)

I’d like to hear your other questions, and I would love to hear your answers to mine.

Thank you very much for commenting and starting what is sure to be a lively debate.

Sincerely,
Randy

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U.S. trade deficit balloons to $500 billion behind spike in U.S.-China trade gap.

Big news about the U.S. trade deficit was reported yesterday.  The Department of Commerce revealed that the U.S. trade deficit for goods and services was nearly $500 billion in 2010 – a 33% increase over the trade deficit for all of 2009.  Over half of that was due to a $273 billion trade deficit with China.  The United States has a job-stifling trade deficit that is growing, and growing fast!

The deficit is growing because as Americans are starting to increase their purchasing again after a thrifty 2009, they are buying imported goods more than ever before, often from countries like China.  In fact, the U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 is by far the biggest trade deficit a country has ever had with another single country in history. 

The U.S. trade deficit is having a significant negative impact on job growth.  Experts estimate that every $1 billion in exports creates an additional 6,000 jobs in the U.S.  Yet, despite $163 billion more in U.S. exports in 2010 (which created almost 1 million new jobs), jobs still are not being created in sufficient numbers to get the economy going or increase employment largely due to offsetting increases in imported goods.  While increasing exports is a worthwhile goal, we cannot look for that to be the sole solution to our trade imbalance problems.  We need Americans to cut back our reliance on imports by buying American.

We can solve our country’s economic problem ourselves by changing our buying habits just slightly and buying American more often.

The average adult consumes $700 per month in imported goods.  If we could reduce that to $517 per person per month, we would have no trade deficit at all. With no trade deficit, we would likely have 3-4% unemployment.  All we need to do is reduce our consumption of imported goods 25% to have jobs again in this country.  That will secure our long-term economic future (a.k.a. our children’s future). 

Can you cut 25% of the imported goods you buy and replace them with American-made goods?  If you will do that, you will have done your part to set our country back on the path to economic security.

That is why I am buying American.  Please join me.  Take the Buy American Challenge today!

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

Randy

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