By Sandy Long
When I was a kid, I remember getting my first transistor radio; made in Japan, then people were starting to get concerned about Japan’s role in electronics development followed by their entry into motorcycle and automobile manufacturing. In response, buy American programs were instituted by companies such as the American automakers to encourage people to keep buying American made cars. Sam Walton prided himself on providing American made goods in his pilot discount stores. Americans kept working, American manufacturing thrived and wages went up, as did the price of goods.
During the 50 years since then, Americans forgot the reason it was essential to buy American made goods, that of keeping America working and self-sufficient, instead demanding cheaper and cheaper goods to buy. A new term appeared in relation to everything from razors to diapers, ‘disposable’.
As people spent more for housing and services, the demand for cheaper goods grew. There were other factors in play too. The government pushed for a more ‘global economy’. Unions struck for more money for their members for them to be able to afford the increasingly costly housing, goods and services. The EPA pushed tougher regulations onto American manufacturing. The increase in cheap labor from illegal aliens put Americans out of work. Manufacturing concerns became more global corporation operated rather than single proprietor ownership. Corporations took a hard look at their bottom line and with the blessing of the government who took the country to free trade instead of fair trade, decided to take their manufacturing overseas for the cheaper labor to increase their bottom lines and satisfy their shareholders.
This led to a domino effect throughout the country. Because the manufacturing of cloth moved overseas, the American cotton and wool growers went out of business for the most part; garment making soon followed. Metal fabrication plants that made small parts such as nails and screws could no longer compete with foreign competitors and went out of business. Discount stores who bought almost all of their goods from overseas manufacturers destroyed the small dime store model of businesses and small grocery stores that could not compete. The upshot was a loss of jobs for Americans.
Look at the produce and canned goods in your local grocery store. What is the difference between a Fuji apple and an American grown apple, very little, yet apples from all over the world take the place of American grown apples. The same goes for everything from asparagras to zucchini, grown and shipped in from overseas. Read the label on that can of fruit and you will see that the fruit was grown somewhere overseas. Even the meat in American stores is imported, we send our beef overseas and import the beef sold in American stores from overseas. American fields lay fallow while lower quality agricultural goods abound on grocery store shelves, American agricultural jobs once again gone overseas.
How can this disaster for the American workers be overturned, by buying American made goods whenever possible. Buy your foodstuffs from American growers at farmer’s markets or those who sell directly from their farms. Read the labels on things you might want to buy, if you do not see ‘made in America’ on the label pass it by. Support your locally owned businesses that try to at least sell as many American made goods as possible, this not only encourages American manufacturers to keep manufacturing here, but it also provides jobs.
Finally, write your representatives and strongly suggest that the reins be pulled back on the EPA and a lessening of EPA regulations towards American manufacturers. Write companies that have sent their manufacturing overseas taking American jobs from Americans and tell them that you will not buy their products anymore until they bring back the jobs to America and increase the quality of their products.
The American people are part of the problem and have to be a major part of the solution to the losses of American jobs and putting American’s back to work. By working together, Americans can once again be the proud, self-sufficient country that it once was.