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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.

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I’ve made several posts this year about a documentary film project called “Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey,” a film about a regular American guy (Josh Miller) who sets out on a 30-day journey across the country to discover what “Made in USA” means and what impact it has for the future of our country.

Just weeks after filming has wrapped up for this ground-breaking film, Miller and the rest of his production team have released a film trailer. 

Check out the film trailer here:

This is a great preview of the film, which is expected to be released a few months from now, although a release date has not yet been set. 

I have been doing all I can to support this film because this project has the potential to reach millions of Americans with a critical message:  The future of our country depends on each of us doing our part to buy American.

At least that’s what I think the central message of the movie will be based on the trailer and all I know about Josh and his project, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.  I will be waiting with eager anticipation to see what Josh and his crew discovered on their journey.

You can find out more about the film here.

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

Randy

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Documentary Filmmaker Josh Miller, along with his three companions, has completed three days of his journey to buy and use nothing but American-made goods, and by the looks of things, Josh is really starting to struggle.

Important to note is that Josh chose to adopt the strictest possible interpretation of what it means to buy American, a plan I do not recommend, and you’ll see why.  He is literally refusing to use anything not made in the USA.  That means showering with a hose because practically no showerheads are made in USA (but this one is), using a portable bathroom because he couldn’t find an American-made toilet, and so on.  Josh has really gone COLD TURKEY.

Here it from Josh himself in this YouTube clip:

The Buy American Challenge, which is the plan I have been on for the last two years (I just had my second buy American birthday this week. Don’t I get a pin or something?). This is a realistic buy American program that anyone can follow.  Best of all it doesn’t require the kind of severe deprivation that Josh is dealing with. 

I’m hoping that as Josh continues on his journey, he will make peace with the fact that avoiding all imported goods is just not realistic.  I’m hoping he will adopt these Buy American Challenge program guidelines as a realistic alternative. 

I believe that if we are going to have a thriving Buy American Movement in this country, we need a common plan that most of the people committed to buying American are on.  It needs to be simple, it needs to be easy to follow, and most importantly, it needs to be realistic! 

You can follow Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey at these sights:  30 Day Journey Webpage, 30 Day Journey Facebook Page, 30 Day Journey Twitter Page, 30 Day Journey YouTube Page

Once again, here are the guidelines of the Buy American program I recommend:

 Buy American Challenge Guidelines:

  1. Buy only American-made finished products or American-grown or -raised foods.
  2. Items you buy may have parts, materials, and content that is not American-made, -grown, or -raised.
  3. Items you buy may be made in America by foreign-owned or multinational corporations.
  4. This challenge applies only to one’s own personal purchase decisions, not those made for households, groups, businesses, associations, or for one’s profession.
  5. Embarking on this challenge should be done willingly.  No one should ever be obligated or forced into buying American-made.
  6. This challenge applies only to purchases you make going forward.  Any puchases made in the past are in the past. 

Exceptions to the Buy American Challenge Guidelines:

  1. One, of course, may buy a specific foreign-made product if a doctor, dentist, or other medical expert prescribes or recommends it.  Example: If your dentist says you need a fancy foreign-made tooth brush, don’t worry about it, just get it.
  2. One may buy a specific foreign-made product if the item is simply not made, grown, or raised in the United States, and the item does not have a suitable replacement that is made, grown, or raised in the United States.  Example 1: A lot of electronics just aren’t made in the U.S.A. anymore.  If you can’t find what you want American-made, don’t worry about it.  Example 2: There is no such thing as an American-grown banana.  No worries, you can still eat them.  Example 3: There is no American-made “Champagne” because to be called Champagne it must have been produced in the Champagne region of France.  However, their are plenty of high quality American-made substitutes that are virtually identical to Champagne, but when they are made in America they are called “sparkling wine.”  This is the kind of item that is not the same, but does have a suitable replacement. 
  3. One may buy a specific foreign-made or -grown product if one is for some reason required to buy a specific item.  Example: If your professor assigns a specific foreign-made calculator to use for a class, don’t worry about it, just get it.
  4. One may buy a foreign-made item if it is urgently needed, and time or proximity preclude one from buying an American-made version of the item.  Example: You are really thirsty, and the only water available is bottled in France.  Don’t worry about it, just get it.
  5. If one has a kinship with another country other than the U.S.A., he or she should feel free to buy items made, grown, or raised in that country as well.  Example: Let’s say you have Irish heritage and like to buy things made in Ireland from time to time.  Go right ahead continue doing that.
  6. One is allowed five “cheat items” (or more if you really need more).  These are items that one may have an existing attachment to.  If you simply can’t live without a specific foreign-made good, you can continue to purchase it.  Example: Let’s say you just love Swiss chocolate.  You can, of course, continue to buy your chocolate as often as you would like. 

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

Randy

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In parts one and two of this series we talked about the men behind the project that could make the Buy American movement go viral, and how their project is exploding into a firestorm of Buy American enthusiasm. Today, in the final chapter of this series, we will talk about how to bring that flame to every man and woman who loves this great nation.

That is where you and I come in.  When I heard this project was afoot, I immediately contacted Josh and offered him my assistance.  I asked him, “What can I do to make sure this ground-breaking project is a success?” Then it dawned on me: The key to making this small project being orchestrated from a kitchen table in West Virginia is to spread the word. 

Right now, this is the project of just a few thoughtful individuals.  But why not make this America’s project?  Why not spread the word, and make this small budget film America’s big chance to bridge divides, both politically and socioeconomically, that have not been bridged in years?  Why not take this opportunity, to forcefully remind ourselves that we are not powerless to control our economic futures, but empowered by our buying power to control our own collective destiny if we will each do our own small part by buying American more often?

Keep this in mind.  The average American adult is responsible for over $700 in imported goods per month.  With just a small change in our purchasing behavior, we could substantially reduce the U.S. trade deficit, and that would create millions of good-paying American jobs.  We can do better.

So, this is what I am doing, and I sincerely hope you will join me:

  1. Forward this story to everyone you know.  Put this on Facebook, Twitter, and email it all around.
  2. Go to:  http://www.usa30days.com/.  When you get there, make a contribution if you can, but more importantly, email Josh and tell him your thoughts about this project.  He wants to hear your thoughts and stories for the film, and it will just be immensely important for the success of this project.
  3. Like this project on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.  If the project gets 2000 Facebook fans and 2500 Twitter followers by April 30th (only a few days away!), Josh and company are going to select a Twitter finalist and a Facebook finalist (at random) and draw the winner between the two finalists. The winner (and one friend) will be flown to one of the filming locations of their choosing to spend one night and one day with the film-makers all expenses paid by them!
  4. Finally, if you have a high-profile contact that you know might want to appear in this film or help promote it when it’s done, please contact them and ask them to volunteer to be interviewed for this film by sending an email to Josh.  We want Josh to be interviewing the best experts out there.  If this project is going to make the most convincing case possible, Josh is going to need the best group of economists, politicians, historians, politicians, etc. he can possibly get involved.  Just a little tweet can mean a lot for a film like this.  Let’s use all our contacts to give this film the attention it deserves.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  I’m through hoping for better outcomes for our country, when the status quo isn’t bringing them, and there is something I can actually do to make a difference.  Don’t we owe it to ourselves to try to do our part to get our country back on the right track while we still can by buying American?

Our country needs a thriving buy American movement.  Please join us.  And please spread the word about the 30 Day Journey. 

Let’s make this America’s project.  Let’s have this project be the spark that make this buy American movement go viral.

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

Randy

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Every once in a while, you are just at the right place at the right time. Every now and then, an idea that has been stewing for years reaches a critical moment when a spark is lit, combustion occurs, and BOOM, next thing you know, it’s everywhere. 

In many ways, the Buy American movement is just such an idea.  It could be an idea that’s time has finally come.

In the last post we introduced you to filmmaker Josh Miller, the man behind the documentary that will bring the Buy American movement to every home. This post is the story of how Josh intends to do just that.

Hear it from Josh first-hand here:

Josh and his two companions, producer Ron Newcomb and a cameraman Justin Moe, never anticipated their project would ever grow to the size it already has. The threesome initially set out to make a small film with a meager budget of just $5,000; seed money they hoped to raise online, but were unsure they could.  But they figured they had the recipe for an intriguing story, and if need be, they would find a way to fund the project on their own if the fundraising efforts came up short.

The plan was originally for Josh, who has the double-role of co-producing and serving as the on-camera talent, to spend 30 days relying on and buying nothing but American-made goods.  The crew would hit the road, visiting cities and towns that either impact, or have been impacted, by America’s tendency to buy what they want, with little regard for the effect those decisions have on the greater health of our country. 

Along the way, Josh planned to interview business leaders, labor leaders, economists, politicians, historians, and regular Americans to hear their views, and hopefully,  make some sense of the multi-decade rise, fall, and mini-resurgence of made in America enthusiasm in this country.  In Josh’s own words, he wants an explanation for the seemingly conflicting exhibition of American patriotism displayed by so many when he asks rhetorically: “We’re willing to DIE for our country, but are we willing to BUY for it?”

It turns out that this just may be the case after all. For Josh and company, they are fast realizing that their project may be the spark that turns American patriotic spending from a notable consumer trend, into a full-fledged cultural revolution.

Josh and his team quickly surpassed their fundraising goal, raising nearly three times their original target. This concept clearly struck a chord with many Americans who have already heard about the project, and the reality is starting to set in that this project is bigger than just them.

So how do we do our part to bring this revolution to the masses? Find out in the third and final chapter of our series tomorrow.

Check out more about the film at:  http://www.usa30days.com/

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

Randy

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There is little doubt that the buy American movement is getting bigger.  You see it everywhere you go, from television commercials to campaign trails, Facebook postings to evening news, and most everywhere in between.  Since buying American is a proven job creator, for millions of Americans who are hoping our country will finally turn the corner on this down economy, it is great news that the buy American movement is growing. 

Best of all: It might be about to blow up! 

But what’s going to be the catalyst for this possible, yet realistically improbable, surge in buy American enthusiasm?  Given all the economic turmoil our country has experienced, what is going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and makes this buy American movement go viral? The answer may lie in a small budget project taking shape right now in rural West Virginia.

Over the next several days, we’re going to release two more installments of a three part series covering the film that will, for the first time ever, bring Buy American to the masses.

As I type these words, a thoughtful film-maker named Josh Miller is up at the wee hours of the morning at the kitchen table of his home deep in the mountains of coal country.  Motivated to take on this project after witnessing first-hand the devastating impact of an aluminum plant closure that hit his small town like a punch to the gut, Josh is up drinking coffee and burning the midnight oil once again. He’s committed to a pace he knows he can’t long sustain, but he’s determined to power through and tell the story he knows must be told to the best his abilities.  He owes it to his family members who were most directly impacted by the aluminum plant shutdown, he owes it to his town, and he owes it to the American people.

Josh, along with his producer Ron Newcomb and cameraman Justin Moe are on a mission: to expose what happened to their town, and to towns all across America, and teach the American people how to stop it by buying American.

True, it will be hard for such a small group of young men to make a lasting difference in our country, but remember this: never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Throughout the entirety of our history, from the sons of liberty, to the abolitionists, to civil rights leaders, fundamental change came first at a trickle, then exploded into a movement.

What is happening in West Virginia today, as you read this post, is the start of the movement we have been waiting for. Tune in for the next two parts of this three parts series, to be posted tomorrow and the following day, to learn more about the men behind the film, and how you can be a part of history in the making.

Check out more about the film at:  http://www.usa30days.com/

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

Randy

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