Why do we need more American Manufacturing?
Some experts will say, we are better off as a consumer nation, buying what we need at cheap prices that are made in other countries, so in the long run we all have more money to spend and can afford to buy even more things.
On the surface this sounds like a great idea, but I highly doubt the experts take into consideration the fact that there is a huge cost to being only a consumer driven economy.
First and foremost there is the loss of quality jobs. Yes retail creates jobs, but ask those working in retail if they are making enough to support their families. Odds are they are living in a household where even two jobs make it difficult to pay for their essentials. Manufacturing and trades usually pay more of a living wage and while those wages do make the costs of some goods increase, we have to remember that technology has improved in such a way that labor has been reduced and the skills to operate and maintain the automated equipment has increased. This in turn makes it easier for manufacturers to produce goods in the US instead of importing them. The result is the workers that are hired can be paid wages that afford them to support their families.
Next, the cost of buying lower quality products made by workers who are forced to live in the factories, work for very little money and in horrible conditions, usually do not last as long as most American Made products. To be clear, i am not referring to Made in USA products produced for discount stores, those products are made differently than those produced and usually sold directly to the consumer by the manufactures and/or by small retail shops and boutiques. When a consumer makes a purchase, they expect a product to last a certain amount of time before they have to replace it. For example, major appliances, used to last 25 years or more, now you are lucky if they last longer than their one year warranty. Many things have a 90 day warranty and usually break not long after. Toys, clothing and other consumer goods that are imported also have short life spans. The net result, is that we consumers, have to keep buying things over and over again, long before we want or should have to do so and this costs us money, there is no savings. In fact, it ends up costing us more than it would had we purchased a better quality at a higher price.
Finally, while this has nothing to do with the amount of money we consumers spend, it does have a major impact on our lives. I am referring to our national security. Buy American laws should be preventing military, law enforcement and border patrol uniforms form being made anywhere but the US. It is a simple matter of national security. However, the Buy American laws get circumvented every day and those who wear uniforms end up wearing imports. At the same time, many of the items our military uses comes from overseas. This too should not be happening. During World War II, we made the things we needed and went without so our military could use those resources to win the war. The result was we won.
When consumers choose to Buy American, we all win.We need more better paying jobs in the U.S.A. so we can not only support our families but actually spend time with them.