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Archive for the ‘Set Record Straight’ Category

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

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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

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In all the hoopla surrounding the Republican presidential primaries, the release of President Obama’s 2013 budget, the Grammy’s, and the tragic passing of Whitney Houston, a truly significant report about America’s relentlessly growing trade deficit has been given very little media attention and is in danger of going unnoticed by the American public.

On Friday, February 10th, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that the U.S. trade deficit for goods and services was $558 billion in 2011, a 12% increase over the trade deficit for all of 2010.  Over half of the U.S. trade deficit (53%) was due to a $295.5 billion trade deficit with China, a staggering sum which stands as the largest trade deficit between two countries in history. (full report)

As our country’s job-stifling trade deficit continues to expand rapidly, and our inability to get it under control is without a doubt undermining our economic recovery.

Let’s look a little closer at why the trade deficit grew in 2011.  U.S. exports experienced strong growth in 2011.  Exports increased by $265 billion for the year, an 11.4% increase over 2010.  However, these strong gains were more than offset by $324 billion increase in imports, a 13.8% increase over the previous year.

What does this mean? Even though we are making significant gains by increasing exports, which is creating jobs, we are simultaneously costing ourselves jobs by continuing to increase our consumption of imported goods. 

While some of the simultaneous increases of imports and exports are due to imported materials being used to make goods in the U.S. for export, the vast majority of our trade deficit is due to the trade imbalance we incur in consumer goods and automobiles. 

In 2011, the U.S. imported $768 billion worth of consumer goods and automobiles.  However, we exported just $309 billion in these same categories.  Overall, the U.S. experienced a $459 billion trade deficit in consumer goods and automobiles, which accounted for 82% of the overall U.S. trade deficit for 2011.

What does that mean for American consumers?  It means we have the power to control our collective economic destiny by adjusting our consumer behavior.  If enough of us will commit to buying American, we have it within our power to eliminate the U.S. trade deficit, which will keep more than a half-trillion dollars circulating in our economy, and will create jobs – probably millions of jobs – here in America.

That is why I am buying American.  I am determined to do my part to get our country back to prosperity.  Will you 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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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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2011 Ford Explorer

Cars.com is misleading the American public again with their conceptually faulty “American-made Index” that was just recently published by the website for 2011 model cars. 

These rankings, which Cars.com promotes as the most American-made cars on the market, lists the Toyota Camry the #1 most American-made car for the second year in a row.  That distinction should have rightly gone to the Ford Explorer.  The Ford Explorer is made in Chicago, Illinois and has more domestic parts content than the Camry.  In fact, the Explorer has the highest domestic parts content of any vehicle currently in production  which is still being sold through 2011 .  That means it beats the Camry on this website’s list of most American-made vehicles.  (Point of Clarification: the Ford Sport Trac has 90 percent domestic content, but was discontinued after production of model year 2010 was complete; however, it is reportedly still being sold in Ford dealerships through calendar year 2011.)

Please don’t misunderstand me; I am extremely pleased that Toyota chooses to produce many of their automobiles in the U.S., thereby creating American jobs.  But putting the Camry on top of a rating called the “American-Made Index,” is simply wrong.

Not only is Cars.com is using questionable methodology to reach their conclusion, they do not publish the methodology they use in developing the rankings.  If these rankings are going to be cited all over the place and regarded by many to be the list of the most American-made cars, the methodology should absolutely be made public.

According to Cars.com, the three factors that were considered to create this American-made index were: country of final assembly, American-made parts content, and volume of sales.

Wait a minute! What does volume of sales have to do with anything?  If I’m going to use the “American-Made Index,” I am going to use it to buy a car that is going to be the most American-made per car. The Toyota Camry doesn’t move ahead of other cars with higher American-made parts content, like many cars produced by Ford and Chrysler because more Toyotas are sold. 

The Camry is made with 80% domestic parts content.  That’s not bad at all.  But there are several other American-made cars with higher American parts content that got skipped on this list.  These are the cars that should be making headlines for being the most American-made.  In fact, two cars with higher domestic parts content that got skipped on this list compete directly with the Camry and the Honda Accord (which Cars.com dubiously ranked second on their list). 

The Chrysler 200 Sedan (remember the “Imported From Detroit” Super Bowl commercial with Eminem) has more American-made content than either the Camry or the Accord.  So does the dodge Avenger Sedan. Both are made in Michigan.

I don’t know what Cars.com’s motivation is in creating this misleading index, but it is very counterproductive to efforts to increase consumer patriotism in this country.  Stories like these create consumer confusion, which causes many people to just give up on buying American altogether. 

If you have some time, please let Cars.com know that their index should leave sales volume out of their methodology.  They should also publish precisely how their rankings are determined. 

Here is the email address of Patrick Olsen, editor in chief at Cars.com: polsen@cars.com

American consumers could really benefit from an American-made index that doesn’t “cook the books” for certain cars.  To be acknowledged as most American-made car, you should have to actually be the most American-made car. 

Once again, here is the full list of vehicles and their domestic parts content as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws+&+Regulations/Part+583+American+Automobile+Labeling+Act+%28AALA%29+Reports

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

Randy

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The Ford Sport Trac is made in Louisville, Kentucky and has the highest percentage of domestic parts content - 90% - of all vehicles being sold in the U.S.

Without question, the most important time you can buy American is when you are purchasing a car.  The reason for this is simple.  A new car is second only to a home as the most expensive purchase many consumers make. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, the average price of a new car sold in the United States is $28,400. That is a whole lot of money to be spent at one time on a single purchase. Choosing to buy American in this one critical instance has the same impact as buying hundreds of less expensive goods that are American-made.  In short, when buying a car, this is the time when you can do the very most to help create American jobs by buying made in U.S.A. 

Another reason it is great to buy American when buying a car is that our country makes many of the best cars in the world.  Whether it’s a car, truck, SUV, hybrid, you name it, many of the very highest rated and best-selling vehicles in the world are made right here in the U.S.A.  Regardless of what kind of vehicle you are looking for, you will likely find one that fits your needs that is made in America.

Buying American is a little more complicated for cars than most other goods though.  There are lots of foreign sounding cars, like some Toyotas and Hondas, that are actually now made in the U.S.A., and there are some traditional American car brands that are now made in other countries.  So when buying a car, we really can’t just assume based on the brand name where the car was made.  We really have to do a little more homework to make sure the car we are buying is made in the U.S.A. 

Another important consideration when car buying is the percentage of U.S. domestic parts content used to make the vehicle.  We can’t get parts content information for most goods we buy, but with cars we have access to a great deal of information.  Not only can we identify where every vehicle had its final assembly, but every car manufacturer publishes the percentage of domestic parts content used in making their vehicles.  This allows us to differentiate between the cars that have 0% domestic parts content and those that have a much higher percentage of U.S.-made content.

The parts content is important because when you buy a car, you aren’t just creating jobs for the people working in the final assembly plant; you are creating jobs for workers all the way up through the supply chain – like the person who built the transmission or the person who sewed the seats together.  Cars create lots of jobs for workers that never actually see the final product being made.  That is why it is critical to consider the percentage of domestic parts content when purchasing a car.

One thing to consider about parts content is that no car is made with 100% American-made parts anymore.  One main reason for that is every car built today has a computer chip and complex electrical system built into it.  Some of this parts content simply cannot be sourced in the U.S.A.  But we shouldn’t let that discourage us from buying an American-made car with as high a percentage of domestic parts content as possible.  Thankfully, we have over 100 cars and trucks to choose from that have 50% or more of their parts content made in the U.S.A.

If you are wondering what the most American-made car on the market is; it is the Ford Sport Trac, made by Ford Motor Company.  The Sport Trac is made in Ford’s Louisville, Kentucky plant that has been in operation since 1955.  There are 2,100 workers employed at that plant.  In addition to the Sport Trac, this plant also makes the Ford Explorer and the Mercury Mountaineer, both of which have 85% domestic parts content. 

For a full list of cars (years 2005-2011) and their percentage of U.S. parts content, go here: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws+&+Regulations/Part+583+American+Automobile+Labeling+Act+%28AALA%29+Reports

Remember, there is no more important time to buy American than when you are buying a car.  And don’t forget, the higher percentage of domestic parts content the car has, the more American jobs you are creating when you buy it. 

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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