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Vol. 3, No. 4
July 4, 2005

Buy American!
by Andrew Angove

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What is happening to America today? Where is the sense of patriotism that was so evident in past generations? Has the memory of those who paid the ultimate price to defend America and protect its freedom been forgotten? It appears so. Americans have become a selfish, inconsiderate people. We look only at the small picture, ignoring the bigger one. In order to save a few cents, we'll buy on the cheap with no thought of the price we're ultimately paying to save a few bucks in the long run. We're giving away America, and it's a shame.

There is a large retailer in this country that sources many of its goods from overseas. The popular belief is that this is the best way to keep the price low. And Americans flock to their stores, year after year, buying foreign made goods with no thought whatsoever of the real cost they're paying. That real cost is American jobs, American pride, and the American economy. Americans are sacrificing our own workers and jobs because we think it's saving us money, when in reality the price we're paying is much, much higher, and could have devastating consequences in the future.

Working conditions and wages in foreign countries are much lower than in America, because in many cases there aren't strict employment laws in place to protect those workers, if any laws exist at all. So they work long days in bad environments for next to nothing in the way of pay, employers offer few or no benefits to them, and because of this foreign companies can manufacture merchandise much cheaper than American companies can. Lower overhead, lower cost. In America, employers must pay a competitive wage, provide a work environment that is safe, and provide basic considerations to their workers that foreign employers don't have to deal with. All this costs American employers money, which means higher overhead and more expense to produce goods.

In short, because American companies have higher government mandated standards to maintain than their foreign competitors, they cannot compete as aggressively in the world market. And this means more and more business is being outsourced overseas, and more goods are being imported, all in an attempt to save American consumers money. And there's nothing wrong with that, at least until you look at the big picture. And the big picture is the sacrificing of American jobs and the American economy.

As companies outsource labor and goods overseas, fewer workers are needed here, and unemployment goes up. One might try to justify this as a good thing, since American companies are saving money, but with fewer Americans working, who will be paying taxes to support our military and other government expenses? And many jobs today just don't pay what they did a few years ago, so buying power is decreased. With earnings dropping, the cheap foreign stuff looks more attractive as American families struggle to get the most for their money. And that creates a vicious circle of dependence on foreign goods, which further erodes the American economy.

If that weren't bad enough, the booming overseas economies are flourishing in large part because of the demand from America. This means a better life for foreign workers, who can now afford a higher standard of living as well as the ability to travel more, which increases foreign demand for fuel, which increases the cost of fuel to Americans due to higher worldwide demand. So, we're ultimately paying for our foolishness anyway. What we save by buying cheap imported goods at a store that imports most of its goods is lost at the gas pump.

The evidence of this erosion is especially clear in the automotive industry. What was once the "big three," (GM, Ford, and Chrysler), is now GM, Toyota, and Ford. Today, General Motors struggles to sell cars at discounted rates while Toyota is waist deep in profits from its car sales, usually at full markup. And to not think that ultimately Toyota has its sights set on taking GM out of the top spot is foolish. Why would we, as Americans, allow this to happen? Why would we support this? Have we learned nothing from history? Our ancestors must be rolling over in their graves at this news. Surely this is not what they fought in wars for—did without necessities for, and gave their lives for—so that their descendants could hand over America to the enemy! All for the want of a shiny new Crapmobile in the garage, or a new pair of imported curtains made by a child in some sweat shop hanging on the kitchen window.

Yes, I realize we are not at war with these foreign countries, but they are our competitors, and Americans by and large are their largest customers. So why are we allowing American companies that support American workers to deteriorate, while supporting foreign companies that haven't always been so friendly to us?

People will say that their foreign car is made in America, and that they are supporting the economy here by buying one because our workers built it. But the bottom line is, the corporate headquarters for the company whose name appears on that car isn't located in America. It's overseas. It's a FOREIGN company, in a FOREIGN country, and they are COMPETING with American companies and American WORKERS! It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out, but so many apparently simple-minded Americans have now bought that story that a great American company, the Ford Motor Company, is now running BEHIND Toyota in sales. And that largely came about due to Americans buying Toyotas. It's DISGRACEFUL, and it's a SHAME!

A former neighbor of my Father's had a plate mounted on the front of her black SUV that said: "Proud To Be An American". Did I tell you that this was a Mitsubishi SUV? Every time I saw her, I wanted to ask how she justified being a proud American while she was supporting foreign competitors by purchasing a foreign automobile. As Americans, we must stop this bad practice. We must start taking care of ourselves and protecting our very own industries and workers. It is the only way America can remain a strong country and compete in a global marketplace. We have laws that protect our workers, and we recognize that our citizens have rights, which ultimately costs money and puts us at a distinct disadvantage when trying to compete around the world with other countries that don't extend similar rights and protections to their workers.

In fact, one huge retailer here accounts for more than ten percent of the U.S. imports from China - ONE RETAILER! Care to guess which one? They are also ranked among China's top ten trading partners, ahead of Russia and Britain. This same retailer used to have a "Buy American!" sales pitch a decade or so ago. But statistics show that statement can no longer apply, as imports from China for this retailer have doubled in the past five years alone.

So, the next time you need to buy groceries, or clothes, or things for your house, why not support America and pass on by that huge "FOREIGN★MART" store and find a true AMERICAN store that buys and sells American-made goods. You might not have as wide of a selection, and you might pay a bit more, but you're doing the right thing in supporting your country, and you're helping our workers keep their jobs. You might ultimately even save your OWN job! Remember, you can't buy anything if you don't have a job, and today Americans are literally shopping themselves out of work!

Plans are already in place to import 250,000 Chery automobiles from China in 2007. This is being brought to you by the same people who were responsible for the Yugo cars a few years back. You remember the ones, they were like Bic lighters: when they ran out of gas, you just threw them away and bought another one! Are you beginning to see the writing on the wall? Hey, maybe Foreign★Mart can sell them in its stores, customers just pick the one they want, pay for it inside with the rest of their imported stuff, and it'll be waiting for you outside in the parking lot when you leave!

Next time you're shopping for a new car, think of the American car manufacturers who have built so many beautiful classic cars over the years. The cars we still love and cherish today. We don't want to see any more great companies like Plymouth or Oldsmobile disappear. In a way, it's a disgrace to park a new foreign car in the garage next to your American classic. What a disservice you're doing to the men and women who worked so hard to create and build that classic, who toiled long hours to grow a company that is now gone, or in danger of going under.

On this Independence Day, don't you feel America deserves better? Send a clear message to our foreign competitors and to the big American companies that enable foreign countries to prosper at our expense. Let them know that American pride is still alive and well and growing. Buy American cars. Support America. Buy American!

Copyright © 2005 Automotive Mileposts, Inc.
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