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Posts Tagged ‘Jobs’

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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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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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

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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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What I LearnedFor the last three years I have been fully committed to buying American. That means barring certain circumstances when buying American is simply not possible, I have purchased nothing but goods made in the USA.

I started buying American as New Year’s resolution in 2010 and have been doing it ever since.  After doing a bit of research, here is the buy American program I chose to follow.

I must say, this experience has been extremely rewarding because I know every time I make a purchase I am doing my part to create jobs in America at a time so many are in need of work.

Here are three surprising things I learned in my experience buying American:

  1. Buying American Saves Money – I never would have believed it before I started buying American, but faithfully buying made in USA absolutely saves money.  Mind you, not every item is less expensive, because sometimes you do have to pay a bit of a premium, but on the whole I have saved money by buying American.  There are two main reasons for this.  First, buying American cuts down considerably on the purchases you make of things you don’t need.  You save money because you make fewer impulse purchases.  Second, buying American forces you to do more research on the things you do buy.  Once you’ve taken the time to research where to find a certain good that is American made, it’s a natural next step to find that same good for the best price possible.  I find better deals now than I ever did before I started buying American.
  2. Buying American Does Not Require Deprivation – I never would have believed this before either, but buying American does not leave you feeling deprived all the time.  Practically everything I buy is American made, and my experience has been so good that I have no plans to change that.  But the key to avoiding the feeling of deprivation is to allow for the purchase of a few imported goods when the right circumstances call for it.  The whole point of buying American is to use your buying power to support jobs here in America, but there is no need to refuse necessities – like cell phones for example – that simply cannot be found made in the USA.  The buy American program I follow allows for several key exceptions to the buy American rule.  Those exceptions make staying on a buy American program possible.  Going cold turkey won’t work.
  3. Buying American Becomes Easy to Do – In the first couple days of a strict buy American program, it can be difficult.  It’s similar to cutting out carbs or gluten from your diet for the first time (if you’ve ever tried that).  At first, it is a real shock.  But after a while, you get the hang of it.  At first, you go to stores and it seems like everything you plan on putting into your cart is imported and off-limits.  But after a little while, you cycle through all the regular items you have to buy frequently, and you just know which brands are made in USA and which aren’t.  I didn’t know at first, but I now know I buy certain batteries, sponges, socks, etc., all that are American made.  Once you’ve done the research the first time, which often requires nothing more than looking at the fine print on packages, buying American becomes simple.  Buying American doesn’t start out easy, but it definitely becomes easy before long.

Please consider joining our growing Buy American Movement.

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

Randy

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Christmas Wish: Find WorkWhen shopping this holiday season, don’t forget that for millions of unemployed Americans, the most important gift you can give is a job.  And you can make a real difference for people struggling to find work in this country by simply making an effort to buy American during the holidays (and beyond).

Most people don’t really consider themselves job creators, but the truth is every time we spend our hard-earned money, we are creating jobs – somewhere.

Decades ago the vast majority of goods consumed in this country were made in the USA, so pretty much however one spent his money, there was a good chance most of it was going toward American job creation.

But over the years, the percentage of goods found in stores that are made in America has decreased dramatically.  When we buy goods from overseas, that’s where the money goes, and that’s where the jobs are created.

So nowadays, we can’t just buy things with no regard for where they are made.  Unemployment is too high for that.  We need to pay a little more attention and make an effort to buy things that are made in USA whenever we can, especially when we can find items of equal or better value comparably priced.

Little by little those made in USA purchases add up, and they turn into jobs for Americans who need work.

It saddens me to think of all the parents out there this time of year, who want nothing more than to provide a joyous Christmas (or other holiday) for their children, but don’t have the means to provide it because of joblessness.

Even if it’s only for a few weeks around the holidays, try to make an extra effort to buy American.

If enough of us will do it, we’ll have more work to go around in this country, and a few more smiling children on Christmas morning.

Take the Buy American Challenge today.

Happy Holidays!

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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