Made In The U.S.A.

Posts Tagged ‘Buy American’

Happy New Year.

In Adventures on January 1, 2010 at 12:43 am

I’m done.

Time to go buy some junk, just because I can.

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By way of some sort of explanation, I present this email exchange.

In Adventures on November 13, 2009 at 12:06 am

Subject: Your blog
From: Chris
Seriously you’re only buying American this year? Why?

Subject: Re: Your blog
From: Me
It’s been an adventure. Read the rest of this entry »

Does it matter?

In Adventures on October 22, 2009 at 12:22 am

Does it matter if you buy American?

– If a product can be made “more efficiently” by another country’s less expensive workforce, why shouldn’t it be?

The ship has sailed. No amount of my buying American-made T-shirts is going to reverse the trend of making 99% of American-purchased T-shirts in foreign countries. The only way we’ll get those jobs back Read the rest of this entry »

From coffee makers to MITUSA lovers/haters

In Adventures on September 20, 2009 at 12:55 am

Remember that site I linked to the other day? And remember the great comment I pulled out for your benefit? (If you don’t, it was here, and this: “Being careful about what you buy is always a good idea, including when it was made in your own country.”)

The comments from that page illustrate many of the passionate arguments one can make, with others or with oneself, when considering the purposes and effects of buying things that are MITUSA compared to buying things that are not. Here are some of my favorite comments: Read the rest of this entry »

American manufacturing doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

In Adventures on June 13, 2009 at 12:15 am

At the steel convention (see the previous post), another interesting topic that was addressed during a panel discussion with bosses from some of the biggest steel producers in the world was how American manufacturing doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

The point was made by the biggest boss from the biggest of companies. Sure, he’s got a horse in the race. But he’s also got a perspective that’s pretty different than my own, so I figured I should listen. Read the rest of this entry »

Steel

In Adventures on June 12, 2009 at 12:59 am

Last month–centuries in blog time–I photographed a convention of steel manufacturers. Major American steel manufacturers. Big ones.

They don’t like China.

I learned lots of things at that event, but I can’t say I learned anything as much as how complex the whole protectionism/buy-American argument can be. Read the rest of this entry »

New Meaning

In Adventures on June 2, 2009 at 12:03 am

When I started this blog and tried to think of a catchy name for it, I was thinking puns. That’s pretty obvious given that I landed on “Bye, American” as a title for a site about buying American.

The intention at the beginning was that the “Bye, American” title represented saying goodbye to American manufacturing, and saying goodbye to the ability Read the rest of this entry »

Ten things… The last part.

In Adventures on May 29, 2009 at 12:58 am

Last year I also bought:

8. Paint. Lots and lots of paint. Behr, the house brand at Home Depot, appears to be made in California. That’s where I used to get all my paint; not California, but the Depot. When I painted this house, however, I went to Paint Supply on South Grand. They suggested some companies I’d never heard of, but they ended up being really nice to paint with–and they cost about a third of the price of the Home Depot paints. Read the rest of this entry »

Ten things… Parts 5, 6 and 7.

In Adventures on May 28, 2009 at 12:57 am

Last year I also bought:

5. Picture frames. FrameUSA touts 100% American-made picture frames. You can even look in on the workshop. I get that they’re assembled in Ohio, but are they importing the frame blanks from China? That’s the problem I’m having at every framery I can find. Nobody seems to indicate where the materials come from. Read the rest of this entry »

Ten things I bought last year… Parts 3 and 4.

In Adventures on May 27, 2009 at 12:54 am

Last year I also bought:

3. A cool white coffee table that looks like a folded piece of futuristic something or other. It’s nice, really. I got it from the same place I got the couch, but about nine months later. Read the rest of this entry »

Ten things I bought last year that I’d have a helluva time trying to buy this year. Part 2.

In Adventures on May 26, 2009 at 12:49 am

Last year, I also bought:

2. A big ol’ flat-screen LCD TV that screams “I’m a shallow person who doesn’t read.” I do read, but I also need my Seinfeld reruns.

It’s a Sony. I’m guessing it’s from somewhere definitely not near my house. Read the rest of this entry »

Ten things I bought last year that I’d have a helluva time trying to buy this year. Part 1.

In Adventures on May 25, 2009 at 12:21 am

I bought a house in 2007. Labor day I moved in. I unpacked for a couple of months. Then I spent most of 2008 furnishing and finishing the bulk of the place. It’s by no means “finished,” but I am sitting on a couch with my feet on a coffee table and I’m watching a TV.

Essentially, I dodged a huge bullet. A flurry of gunfire, really. I bought a whole ton of stuff when I wasn’t concerning myself from whence it came. Read the rest of this entry »

“If you go to Wal-Mart, you’re a rat.”

In Adventures on May 20, 2009 at 12:51 am

Last week there was a “Keep it Made in America” rally held in downtown St. Louis. Simultaneous rallies were held in other cities around the country, promoting the idea that “building it where we buy it” is important to our economy.

At the St. Louis rally, 80-something car dealer turned Buy American advocate Dave Sinclair spoke to a crowd of already- and soon-to-be-laid-off auto- and steel-workers. Whether you’re on the side of the workers who think the corporations keep too much money, or the side of the manufacturers who think their workers make too much money, or the socialists who think the two sides deserve each other, you’ve gotta love a quote that cuts through the BS. “If you go to Wal-Mart,” Sinclair said, “you’re a rat.”

Other attendees said other things, but none of them were quite as awesome as Sinclair’s quote.

Jesse Jackson said something I agree with: “We are subsidizing the export of American jobs. Don’t get mad at the workers in foreign countries. They don’t take our jobs. Our companies go over there and give the jobs to them.”

But you can’t blame the companies. They do what makes money. It would appear we make it profitable to sell cheaply made things. Even if it means they have to go overseas to make them cheaply enough for us. And even if it means we’re shopping at Wal-Mart to get them even cheaper.

U.S. Senator from the great state of Missouri, Claire McCaskill, seconded Reverend Jackson’s notion. She agreed that it makes no sense to prop up ailing companies if those companies are simply going to outsource jobs overseas. “Let’s build them where we sell them,” she said. “We are in a defining moment in our history. We are drifting away from our heritage. If we begin to accept the notion that we are only going to ‘buy’ in America–we aren’t going to ‘build’ in America–then the sun is going to set on our greatness.”

I’m not sure if that’s entirely true. I understand the concept that manufacturing generates wealth, but I don’t know that I understand it.

It was recently pointed out to me that we need to face the fact that America is a consumer culture. Sure, I’ve heard that a million times. But this time it resonated a little more. It doesn’t just mean we like to consume. It means that we only like to consume. We like to consume so much that we consume ourselves. We consume items that enable our consumption–cheap things, imported things. Bad things.

The speakers at the rally probably don’t realize that they’re making my point too. We are rats if we buy at Wal-Mart, but not just because it’s anti-union–because it enables our additction to consuming ourselves. Foreign workers don’t take our jobs, we give them away in exchange for less expensive t-shirts and TVs and tchotchkes. We are at a defining moment in our culture. But it’s not going to be defined by a government propping up an industry. It’s going to be defined by the people who spend their money, one dollar at a time, and what we choose to spend those dollars on.

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Wilco (The Album)

In Adventures on May 19, 2009 at 12:22 am

Wilco’s got a new record due next month. They sent me an email to announce they’d put it up online for free streaming (their way of saying, I think, “please don’t steal our music, but you’re welcome to listen to it.”) A week or so later they sent another message to announce that CD and vinyl versions are available for pre-order. Read the rest of this entry »

All the best steel temporary fence posts come from America.

In Adventures on May 3, 2009 at 12:57 am

Just when you’re feeling a little down about the prospects of, and reasoning for, buying American-made stuff, you are sent a press release that reminds you that the goal is a good one.

Thanks, reader Tom, for bringing this to my attention. Read the rest of this entry »

This shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

In Adventures on April 18, 2009 at 12:33 am

So, embarking on a little more research into my banana-buying fiasco, I expected to find that there are some locally-grown American banana options, perhaps from Florida and Hawaii and California. And there are. But I can’t find any way to buy them, other than perhaps to be in Florida or Hawaii or California and happen upon a grove of banana bushes and pay someone a nickel to eat one. Read the rest of this entry »

Lelia, you’ve got me on my knees. Lelia, I’m beggin darlin please.

In Adventures on April 4, 2009 at 12:38 am

Lelia’s comment is really lingering in my peanut-sized brain.

For those of you who don’t read every word of this blog, here’s a recap:

I wrote a post about what Buying American means to me. The impact it has, at least in theory, was what I was pondering when I wrote about why Read the rest of this entry »

What does Buying American mean?

In Resources on March 25, 2009 at 12:07 am

I pondered this question in the car yesterday, on my way home, stuck in traffic on the Forest Park Parkway. I wrote it on the back of a McDonald’s receipt and enjoyed the incongruity.

What does Buying American mean? Read the rest of this entry »

Another reason to listen to Wilco

In Adventures on March 22, 2009 at 12:12 am

As if you don’t already have enough reason to listen to the band Wilco, allow me to add another.

They just sent me a presale notification for an upcoming movie about the band. I followed links to the band’s site, and resulting web store, and eventually found this–a statement of MITUSA-ness: Read the rest of this entry »

My New Yorker magazine ripoff: The Saint Louiser

In Resources on March 20, 2009 at 12:58 am

While I prefer Tiger Beat and the National Review, my pal Elon reads the New Yorker. (I don’t understand why. He lives in Los Angeles.) He mentioned to me that the recent Style Issue includes a story on Buying American.

Though they didn’t contact me for a quote, I approve of their effort. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Buy American? Part II.

In Resources on March 5, 2009 at 12:08 am

After telling my friend, Elon (*Reader #6), about my fancy-schmancy blog he visited and read and even posted some comments. He also gave me some good feedback:

I’m digging the blog a lot, but wondering why you didn’t delve deeper into your initial motivations. I wanna know more.

To which I replied, after some babbling about buying American being just a whim:

I think the conglomerate answer is that it seemed like one simple thing I could do that would have a wide-ranging impact for me, personally. So instead of buying local or growing my own or saving money or buying less or not buying junk or buying organically or shopping green or supporting the American worker or fighting companies that ship jobs offshore or generally doing lots of different “responsible consumer” things, this one step might lead me to a bit of all that. And so far, I think it has.

I’m happy enough with that answer to share it.

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(* Readers: #1 Shelley, #2 Leah, #3 Jeremy, #4 Dan, #5 Crystal, #6 Elon, #7 Bryn. Hi everybody.)

CNN & Congress on “Buy American”

In Resources on February 5, 2009 at 9:52 pm

“Buy American” these days refers to language in the national economic stimulus package. It seems to me that Congress is really politicizing this issue, because the concept of buying American sure seems like a no-brainer on the surface. But in truth, the consequences of a national requirement to for the government to Read the rest of this entry »