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Would American's be willing to pay for American-made goods?

We have food labels indicating nutritional value, why don’t we have labels on all goods indicating site of origin prominently displayed? Every item should indicate the following: Raw materials for the item over 10% i.e. any raw materials comprising over 10% of the item must indicate country of origin. If a manufactured item consists of pieces from other countries, then the 10% rule applies. Labor to produce the item should indicate country where the manufacturing occurred. Shipping---what countries transported the item? If it is a ship, what flag do they fly? If it is sold by a wholesaler, then where is that company headquartered? Where does the firm pay taxes?

While I don’t advocate trade wars, isn’t it the right of every American to buy American? If we don’t know where the raw materials originate, who manufactured the item, who shipped it, and the location of all middlemen i.e. where they pay taxes, then we have no idea of what buy American means. In the case that multinational companies are involved then there should be some way to indicate what percent of that company is “American”.

To pay for this I recommend a 0.1% tax on all items sold so that the bureaucracy to enforce this can be implemented. This tax amounts to 10 cents on the purchase of an item costing $100. This is a tiny amount but would be enough to finance the enforcing bureaucracy and permit Americans to buy American.

  • Mar 11 2013: This has practical limitations. I once saw a documentary about the pencil. Each component comes from a different country. The metal used to hold the eraser in place is a mixture of metals mined in different countries. This is just a simple pencil.
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    Mar 11 2013: Whether Americans are willing to pay a premium for American-made goods depends in part on the individual's tastes, his budget, the price difference, and the quality difference.

    As an example of a similar situation, I buy most books I buy through Amazon, but I occasionally buy a book or two from the local independent bookstore, because I think that that place adds value to the community. I would like to see it stay in business even if it cannot compete on price.
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    Mar 12 2013: Richard you have a very valid point.

    This is exactly where America’s problem started. Big outlet chains started buying cheaper import products, cut a bit on consumer price and made a killing in profit. From a business point of view this was the right thing to do but disastrous for the local economy.

    Government failed miserably not being able to foresee the consequences as those intrusted should have done their homework in protecting the economy and as such the citizens of the country.
    It works like this. Once you start importing goods despite it being much cheaper you contribute to local manufactures eventually having to close down which leads to unemployment. Keep in mind, each and every time you buy an imported product you're putting food in the mouth of a citizen of another country which is a good thing to do, however not while citizens in your own country are literally starving.
    At the same time the exporters like china has to increase production creating more employment on their side.

    Although American consumers would have paid more for local products the revenue and income hence salaries would have remained in America being spend there going round and round uplifting the economy. Less unemployment means fewer citizens having to rely on government families and relevant organisations to support them.

    Next time you buy an imported product keep this in mind for you can argue as much as you might, this should be the first and foremost prerequisite for any economy to balance its import and export.
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    Gail .

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    Mar 12 2013: Americans CANT buy American any more - for most things.

    My husband and I spent more than 5 years on the road - traveling in our motorhome. Everywhere we went, we tried to buy local things to send to the grandchildren. I found some T-shirts and pajammas in a museum in Minnesota. I was told that this was because Senator Wellstone (D - who died in a plane crash) - who was the director - insisted on only "made in America products.

    The second place was the only place where we wanted to buy foreign. It was China Town in San Francisco. We went into a shop and my husband found some hats with a chinese dragon and some chinese characters on it. He looked at the label and it said, "Made in West Virginia". Oh how we laughed. During our travels, we actually met people who worked at that factory. Those hats were the only thing in the store that were made in America.

    There are exceptions, of course. Take the central market in Charleston, SC, where you can watch people make baskets out of local rushes. Local crafters can still be found. But if I want a pair of shoes, I only know of two American shoe makers, and I don't know where they get their materials from. I can't remember the last time I saw an article of everyday clothing that was made in America.

    All of this being said, if you think that a 0.1% tax will be used to enforce bureaucracy that will fix the problem, you don't understand your own government.
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    Mar 12 2013: There are two reasons why (say, China) can provide cheaper items than what can be made in America, The main reason being currency manipulation.
    The reality is that Chinas costs are rising and, in actuality, the legitimate cost of said items aren't that far behind American-made alternatives.

    China can't sustain their actions forever and it'll all come crashing down eventually.
    Only problem is that if America doesn't start re-transitioning back whilst it still maintains the infrastructure and skilled workers, they'll be a point where it'll have no choice but to keep buying from China, despite it costing more.
    (Something which will no doubt continue for decades, given the speed of change).
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    Mar 11 2013: Richard, The term made in the USA is as hard to nail down as jello. A Harley davidson is one of the few "made in the USA" products. Most agro products come from Mexico now. I was in Taiwan and they make about everything for the USA. I was in Korea and saw a pair of Air Jordans for 20 bucks that sell in the states for 150 plus ... not knock offs in the factory where they are made ... a sweater for a fraction of the US costs .... the "Made in the USA Union Label" is made in Korea because the cost of union labor in the USA would drive the cost up ... now that is funny.

    When I was in industry .. we need a lot of ball bearings. We could special order them from the USA and have a 75% accuracy rate for our requirements at a very high special order cost ... or we could order them from Japan off the shelf and have a 95% accuracy rate from their standard production with a replacement for any not meeting standards at their expense.

    I was looking at a high end product and I could buy one (US company) product with a one year limited warrenty ... or a overseas brand that I could replace four times for the cost of the American one (that was also made overseas). If I get 50,000 mile plus in a american car I feel good .... I can name three foreign cars that get 200,000 mile plus as an average.

    I am not for sure that buying American means the same to me as it once did.

    It is not the workers fault and not all the companies fault either. Between unions and the federal government the cost of the product and staying in business has gone through the roof. Companies are happy with a 5% profit for the year and the government takes 35%. Something went very, very, very wrong here.
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    Mar 11 2013: A fascinating proposition, especially in an age when a Chevrolet might be made in Mexico, whereas a Kia is manufactured in Ohio.
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    Mar 11 2013: They should by all means. But there is a little problem. They themselves have shown the world how far and how profitably a product can be marketed. Will they withdraw the Walmarts, the KFCs, the McDonalds to US soil?
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    Mar 11 2013: Your own question indicates the problem in determine if a product is American-made? Do the raw materials need to be mined in America? Do all of the components need to be made in the US, or just the final assembly? What about the components of those components? What if the product is built in America but the company is off shore? What if the company is American but major stockholders are foreign?

    I submit to you that there is no such thing anymore as an American made product, and further, that it's not important. The global economy binds us all together in prosperity. Why is it important to you to separate us from that?