Anti-Buy America opinion makes its point by ignoring realities of Buy America rules

Posted by mmcmullan on 06/12/2014

There are a handful of bills working their way through the New Jersey legislature right now that are designed to strengthen and expand the state’s existing Buy American rules.

A recent opinion in the Newark Star-Ledger expressed grave concern that enacting them would essentially make New Jersey descend into an ungovernable Luddite state:

If this bill becomes law, first responders could be forced to use inferior equipment, basic technology might be banned from local schools, hospital patients could be deprived of the best diagnostic innovations, commuters might be left with no train car to get them to work and students with no bus to take them to school. Will lawmakers have to cope without their BlackBerries and iPhones?

Sounds pretty scary! But the opinion conveniently ignores the waiver mechanism in these bills that allows state agencies to bypass Buy America requirements if there aren’t any American-made materials available in sufficient quantity or at a reasonable cost.

Plus, the waivers include 30-day comment periods that allow domestic manufacturers a chance to put their products forward for consideration. That's important, because these rules work: The federal Department of Transportation, for instance, has some pretty exacting Buy America rules in place. And the head of its Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has noted that when you challenge U.S. businesses to source their products domestically, they find a way to do so. FTA reduced the number of its approved Buy America waivers from more than 40 in 2009 to three in 2012.

Buy America laws are a good idea, and New Jersey businesses and workers will benefit from them. The author of the opinion would be better served by focusing on a legitimate government boondoggle, like the one currently being driven over on the West Coast above California’s San Francisco Bay.

Related recent Blogs

@KeepitMadeinUSA on Twitter

  • MT @ScottPaulAAM Don't cheer 2Q GDP estimate yet: imports rose faster than exports, an unnecessary drag on growth. http://t.co/J7WUhVJxOT 3 hours 43 min ago
  • Missed the news last night? Here's a recap of the status of the legislation to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent: http://t.co/3fNnYwW5KI 4 hours 51 min ago
  • ICYMI: Senate passed its version of Highway Trust Fund bill; shortened length of extension to Dec. instead of May 2015. Heads back to House. 17 hours 9 min ago
  • The Senate is now debating legislation to reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund (well, until May 2015). Watch on @cspan: http://t.co/7h65biQlFz 21 hours 1 min ago
  • RT @SteveRattner: Amazing shift in US jobs -- gone from making things to taking care of sick people http://t.co/44ZBilZiCg 21 hours 58 min ago
  • We must be close to election season. Candidates are talking a big game about unfair trade on the campaign trail: http://t.co/vsahfLZSb4 1 day 22 min ago
  • Looks like @amazon is getting into the 3D printing business. http://t.co/dHa0askSK9 1 day 1 hour ago
  • RT @WisconsinOven: MT @KeepitMadeinUSA @ScottPaulAAM shares ideas in @HuffingtonPost on how to restore American manufacturing leadership:ht… 1 day 2 hours ago
  • BTW, ALL the machines at that Indianapolis Adidas plant helped produce LeBron jerseys. http://t.co/InVSaeooRv Plus more in Iowa & Cleveland. 1 day 2 hours ago
  • !!! RT @darrenrovell The LeBron jersey assembly line at Adidas facility in Indianapolis http://t.co/FCcJz76kpa 1 day 2 hours ago