Personal Thoughts

Editorial Section

Buy American & Support Your Country

By Allan B. Colombo


The other day I came home from the office and found my grandson's Wishbone (PBS program) photo book from a local Wendys restaurant. Looking it over, I could not help but notice that it was printed in China and assembled in still another country. Immediately I thought about the American workers who work for U.S. printing companies that probably could have used that printing and assembly job. I know, the U.S. printing companies had a chance to bid on the job but they wanted more money than the firm in China. What do they expect, the U.S. workers who do the actual work make more money than their foreign counterparts.

Yet, this very restaurant expects U.S. workers to buy and enjoy their food. This is no isolated instance either. Every time my grandson comes home from either McDonalds or Burger King, he brings home a toy that has the equivalent of "made in China" on the back. Every time I pick up one of these toys I can not help but think of the U.S. workers who once made toys like them for U.S. companies. Yet, these restaurants bring these foreign-made toys back into the United States where they use them to entice children to bring their parents to their establishments to buy food.

When are we, the American people, going to realize that if we are not willing to pay a higher price to support the high standard of living of our fellow, U.S. citizens, our own high standard of living will someday be adversely effected. After all, if others either lose their job or have to take a lower paying one to survive in this global economy, then it's almost certain that they will not be able to buy the products that I make. How long do you suppose it will take until you and I find ourselves either out of a job or we're forced to take concession after concession? Isn't this what is happening today?

I'm sure that most everyone has heard of the "global economy." Unfortunately, I believe the global-economy concept was flawed from the start. It doesn't take an economist or financial expert to figure it out either.

For example, in most cases, U.S. companies are automatically at a disadvantage when they market their wares in other countries. First, there is the wage disparity between those who work in the U.S. and those who work for foreign firms. The fact is, U.S. workers are about the highest paid labor force in the entire world. Second, setting their sights on "global" competition, U.S. companies have, or soon will, come to the realization that they cannot possibly compete in this global arena while paying U.S. workers high wages. After all, those in other countries generally do not make as much as U.S. workers. Thus, they must either lower the wages they pay here at home or they must open up shop in a foreign country where they can use the same cheap labor force that their competition uses. Look around you, isn't this happening here and now?

We have been told that, in the long run, this will be good for America. We are told that U.S. workers will benefit from the global approach, but I fail to see how. I believe that most of us good folks know that something is terribly wrong, but we feel powerless to do anything about it. We have resigned ourselves to this fact, and so we do nothing at all. Yet, there really is something that all of us can do. Simply, support your fellow American worker by purchasing products "Made In The United States." Do this by deciding that it is in your best, long-term interest not to make "price" your primary consideration when buying a car, stereo, television, washer/dryer, or any other product.

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Copyright©1999 Allan B. Colombo