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Use your American dollars in the United States

October 2, 2013 - Rob Weaver
I remember when the first Walmart store opened in Tiffin. The words “Made in the USA” were practically part of the corporate logo. Banners hung from the ceiling touting the American-made goods.

That changed over the past quarter century, and not only at the world's largest retail chains. While domestically made goods still can be found at area stores -- from big-box retailers to the Little Box Shops -- foreign-made products still abound.

Perhaps the most jarring -- and galling -- change happened with computers. Boxes of new machines used to have the words “not for export” stamped on the outside. I assumed we didn't want technology getting in the hands of countries that would reverse-engineer and clone the gear.

Then, Lenovo (a Chinese tech firm) bought IBM's personal computer business in 2005. Nowadays, smartphones, tablet computers, mp3 players and other electronic gadgets are made in China.

While I can't envision, say, the iPhone 6 being assembled on these shores, a trend of “reshoring” some manufacturing work has been under way. Consumers can give it an assist by reshoring more of their discretionary income.

That's the gist of a Youtube video titled “Million American Jobs Project.” A friend (thanks, Garry) brought it to my attention by emailing a link to the video -- youtube.googleapis.com/v/4FrGxO2Fn_M -- along with supportive remarks.

The incremental approach suggested in the video could have a positive impact; whether the math holds up and the projected number of jobs are created is another matter. But I not only endorse the proposal -- to boost American jobs by buying more goods made in the USA -- I have put it into practice.

It requires careful attention.

For example, I recently bought a reusable filter for the Keurig coffee maker here in the office. One brand I looked at, the Solofill cup, was designed in America but made in China. I bought the Ekobrew cup instead -- and it was even a couple bucks cheaper.

But here's the catch: I have yet to find a single-cup brewing system that isn't made overseas. Remember when machines used to be made in America, and inexpensive doodads were made in Hong Kong? That has been reversed.

But it doesn't have to stay that way. We can help by reversing the course of American dollars ... one purchase out of 20 at a time.

P.S. Walmart has pledged to buy $50 billion more of American-made goods over the next 10 years, and notes which made-in-the-USA items it sells on its website: www.walmart.com/cp/Made-in-the-USA/1104712

 
 

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