The shopping season approaches and the seasonal call to buy "Made in America" is heard, this time from ABC news. "Made in America Christmas:Are you in?" asks us to spend just $64 on stuff made in America. Supposedly this will help save 200,000 jobs. Why they figure spending $64 on made in America will save 200,000 jobs is questionable. I guess they needed a big number and that one came up. No explanation how this will save that number of jobs, but who needs facts or figures? No, just tell us how you plan to spend that $64.
Here is the thing. I am not going to buy made in America if it's not a great product. That's what I dislike about efforts like American Expresses Small Business Saturday, or this Buy America effort. Just because it's a local business doesn't mean it's a good business. Just because it's "Made in America" doesn't mean it's a good product. If my locally owned business sells stuff imported from England, what do I do?
Bottom line is, make a better product, provide a better service, at a cost people are willing to pay and you will be successful. I am not sure how many products my local Target carries that are made in America, but I couldn't find any. It is actually quite depressing to walk through any of our major retailers these days looking for "Made in America". What happens if your efforts to "Buy American" causes Target to lay off employees? How does that help the community?
We recently bought an All-American Pressure Cooker for our new hobby, canning. While being American made was a factor, the deciding factor was it's the BEST pressure cooker out there. If it had poor rating, or reputation we would have bought a different brand. I am proud to support "Quality, Made In America".
The way forward is to become a nation of "makers", instead of just takers. We need to make a better product, at a price that the customer will pay. It's that simple. Here is an interesting nugget from the Wall Street Journal Article linked to above, "Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees." I am not criticizing government worker's. My Dad worked in city government all his life. It's just the place we find ourselves today.
If we want people to really get behind the "Made in America" effort we need to build better stuff, at a price people feel gives them value. We could call it, "Buy Quality, American Made"