A growing theme that’s gaining momentum is to boycott China and buy American products first. This is greatly fueled by the uncertainty of exactly what role China played in the coronavirus outbreak. The early mishandling of the pandemic has even nurtured serious questions of intent.
The obvious reasons for “Buying America First” would include: higher labor standards, better quality products, rebuilding the U.S. workforce, and strengthening local economies. In an effort to restart the nation’s economy, it would benefit all Americans to practice investing into our own system with consumer awareness.
Many of the competing foreign countries that are popular for manufacturing cheap goods have no guarantee for worker rights. U.S. employers and manufacturing processes are held to a higher labor standard that’s enforced by federal and state laws. When you purchase a “Made in USA” product you won’t be contributing to child labor, slavery, trafficking or dangerous working conditions abroad. Products manufactured here are usually built with higher quality components, which increases the longevity of the product. Again, U.S. companies and manufacturers are held to higher federal and state environmental regulations. When you Buy American, you know that you’re helping to keep the world a little cleaner for future generations.
If you remember your high school Civics class, you already know that a negative federal budget deficit contributes to the overall national debt. When you purchase “Made in USA” products, you’re supporting American jobs. Many of the countries used to produce cheap goods have much lower product safety standards than what manufacturers are held to in the U.S. For example, poisonous levels of lead are in tens of millions of toys shipped to the United States, and a lot of those… made in China.
When you “Buy American” you’re supporting a chain reaction of positive effects. While every “Made in USA” purchase supports the national economy. There’s a chance your town or a town near you manufactures something, employing your fellow American. More employed Americans means there is more opportunity for dollars to be invested back into your local economy in the form of tax revenue and more jobs. Factories and money are shifting to countries not friendly to the USA or democracy. When you avoid imported goods in favor of American-made items, you help ensure that the United States doesn’t find its access to vital goods impacted by political conflict.
If not for any other industry or product, the most noted disadvantage the United States faces, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, is the fact pharmaceutical medicines and ingredients are either made in China or India. Other Chinese imports such as shoes, clothes, and some electronics are inexpensively made and on American shelves.
Baseball, apple pie, and hot dogs are almost synonymous with “American,” but you may be surprised how many things that you think are made in America are actually manufactured overseas. The official baseball manufacturer for the MLB is Rawlings, one of the sporting goods brands owned by Newell Brands. Early on, it was an American-made product, but today Rawlings baseballs are shipped in from Costa Rica. Barbie is about as iconic of an American doll as you can find, but owner Mattel hasn’t had a U.S. manufacturing facility since 2002, and the doll is now made in China. Just like Mattel, toymaker Hasbro relies on the manufacturing facilities in China and India for many of its toys including, if you can believe it, the staple military man G.I. Joe.
Levi jeans and cowboy boots – ’bout as Texan as you can get right? Wrong. Although denim was originally made in Italy, Levi Strauss & Co.’s mass production of them in the late 1800s caused the cotton fabric – and the Levi’s name – to become closely associated with “American Made”. But in 2003, Levi Strauss closed down its U.S. manufacturing plants and moved production to China, Vietnam, and Turkey. Even the red wagon that went on to become the iconic ‘Radio Flyer’ we know today was originally made in Chicago from wood, and it was called the ‘Liberty Coaster’ in honor of the Statue of Liberty. Today, the little red wagons are made in China.
As many eBay consumers find out later, there’s a lot of Hong Kong sellers infesting that market as well. The best way to know if you are indeed buying a product from the United States is to Read the Label. That way you know you are putting money back into U.S.A. businesses (and securing the jobs of the American workers they employ) as we try to get back on our feet and past the coronavirus fallout.