LTE: Rebuild America by Buying American

Rebuild America by Buying American

Last summer I was shopping for a lawn aerator. The only options to buy local were all made in China so I went ahead with the purchase. Within the first two hours of use a bracket broke so I took it to a local weld shop for repair. An hour later the axle broke so I returned it to the store for my money back. The cost of this item was $300. I then went on the web to search for an American made aerator and found one at $625. At first I thought, I can’t afford to pay that amount of money to “Buy American”. Then it hit me. Before cheap imports from overseas became an option, the cost to buy an aerator was $625. If I wanted and needed one then that’s is what I would pay. It also occurred to me that most America made products like this last your lifetime and your children’s lifetime so is $625 really too much to pay.

There has been a huge cultural change when it comes to buying goods and services. Do you remember a time when Wal-Mart proudly advertised itself as a “Made in America” company? Try to find something in the store now that is made in America. It will take you awhile. We have fallen prey to buying on price. The lowest cost point is not made in America, its made in Asia, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, ect. You may ask, why can’t we make things here at lower prices? Because those lower prices are the result of paying workers dollars a day with no health care, life insurance, social security, disability, workers compensation and so on. And because the design and component parts that go in to these products have been cheapened thus resulting in what I call “disposable goods”. We have become a “throw away” society. Why spend $100 for a quality kitchen blender when I can buy one for $30. Heck when it goes bad we can buy another one and still be money ahead. Seems to make perfect sense until you realize that an American has lost their job because of that decision. Now does it still make sense?

Have you purchased a good or service lately and needed to call the 1-800 help line with a problem? It is likely that you will be talking to someone in India who cannot understand your question? Companies like Dell and Verizon offer a solution to this problem. Pay us more money and we’ll give you another number to call where you can talk to an American that can actually understand and help you. Does this make sense to you?

Foreign governments can cry all they want to President Obama about unfair trade agreements if the US Government implements a “Buy American” policy to rebuild America but there is not a darn thing they can do about it if you and I change our buying practices. Doesn’t it make sense for us to buy American made products right now? We may have to save a few more dollars first and do a little more research before buying but in the end we will get a better product and put Americans back to work.

A word of caution. Many American corporations are building their products overseas and selling here under their well-known trade names. These are the corporations that have sold out the American people to satisfy Wall Street’s expectations and their own bonus expectations thus playing a huge role in the current economic crisis.

My father would have never bought me a pocket knife made in China. He bought me a Case knife made in Bradford, PA because he knew it would last. Let’s make a difference here in Central PA… “Rebuild America by Buying American”.

Bob Aleksivich

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