Gordon Mercer and Marcia Mercer Global Digital Post: “Each time you choose to buy an American made product, you help save or create an American job.” Michele Nash-Hoff
Franklin, NC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/15/2011 -- A recent ABC News program featured a Texas family having their house stripped of everything not made in America. While most of us could predict how that was going to turn out, it was still a shock to see the empty house and visually realize nearly all their household goods were made in another country. ABC News found it difficult to replace these items with made in America products.
One of the most objective measures of success and failure of a nation’s leadership is trade and whether we have a trade surplus or deficit. If we have a trade surplus, we export more monetary value in goods than we import.
Let’s review the cases of Germany and the United States. The United States had a trade deficit of $497 billion for 2010. Germany had a trade surplus of 178.56 billion dollars for 2010. Germany has ‘made in Germany’ products other countries want. According to “Business World” their unemployment rate is 7.4 percent. We have an unemployment rate of 8.9 percent.
What have German leaders done differently? German leaders emphasize the importance of “made in Germany.” Their leaders did not define free trade to mean giving up manufacturing. Agreements were reached between the German government and corporations that they would not take all their manufacturing abroad and would keep a high level of manufacturing jobs in Germany. Many medium size family manufacturing businesses in Germany flourish, and have created trade surpluses. Germany blunted the blow of the deep recession by encouraging corporations to lessen work hours but keep people employed. German leaders also make it difficult for unlimited imports to come into their country.
What do we need to manufacture to remain a world power? Professor Don Livingston at Western Carolina University writes that our leaders seem to think leadership is mostly about the latest press conference. Is image more important to them than leadership, he questions? Are our leaders focused on manufacturing?
Huge sums of wealth are leaving our country as we buy goods from other countries but lack made in America products to sell other countries. But there is something we as individuals can do. ABC News Diane Sawyer reported that if each of us spent just $3.33 more on items made in America around 10,000 new jobs would be created. Michele Nash-Hoff on the ABC news website, and the author of our title quote writes, “There is a ripple effect in that every manufacturing job creates three or four other jobs….”
American goods have lost none of their prestige. We noted that ABC’s last ‘Made in America’ segment featured a young German couple who had traveled to New York specifically to buy American made clothing. They carried their brand name shopping bags with pride. They had spent a lot of money. When ABC news caught up with them at the airport, the couple were shocked to learn none of their purchased clothing was made in America.
What is still made in America? Websites are springing up featuring made in America goods. stillmadeinusa.com, buyamerican.com, MadeinUSAForever.com are a few sites. “The Saturday Evening Post,” July/August 2010 issue has an article listing many companies who manufacture in the U.S. including Caterpillar, New Balance shoes, Hershey’s chocolate and Intel Corporation.
We need a new generation of leaders committed to bringing back American manufacturing and made in America. Made in America goods are vital to our future as a global power. As Michele Nash-Hoff points out, “It takes money to protect our freedom.”
What is the good news? The good news is that there is something we as individual citizens can do to make a difference. It is a simple solution and it will create jobs. We can encourage stores to feature American made products. We can demand that our U. S. Congressional leaders create programs and incentives for more made in America products. We can insist our political leaders promote a “Made in America” buying campaign. And, we can support corporations who step forward and manufacture more American made products. We can buy American.
Leadership matters and is about action……what will you do? America needs a few good leaders.
The Global Digital Post columns are read by readers in over 38 nations. Gordon Mercer is international president of Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society and a professor at Western Carolina University. Marcia Mercer is a writer and columnist. Go to http://9955.hostednr.com to get to our Global Digital Post Press Room. Views expressed in this column are the views of the authors and do not reflect the views of other organizations.