December 23, 2013: Don't follow the example set by the U.S. government -- Buy American in 2014!
Welcome to the last Early Shift of 2013. We’re gonna keep this short, because we’ve got some last-minute holiday shopping to finish up. Shouldn’t be too hard, we’re not worried; Santa is on the move, and he’ll probably help us out. But if Santa bails on us, we’ve been working up some solid American-made gift ideas for the last few weeks. We’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
Why buy an American-made gift? Simple: It supports American manufacturing jobs, and those jobs are good for the economy. That’s why we’re in favor public policies in place concerning federal infrastructure spending (and out in the states, too) that achieve those same objectives.
So ... why are the federal government’s procurement policies for apparel so terribly lax?
In a weekend article that kids these days would most assuredly call “dope,” Ian Urbina of the New York Times picks apart the double standard that has official Washington encouraging consumers to muster their collective purchasing power to improve grim working conditions in many overseas factories while spending our tax dollars on the same goods:
Federal agencies rarely know what factories make their clothes, much less require audits of them, according to interviews with procurement officials and industry experts. The agencies, they added, exert less oversight of foreign suppliers than many retailers do. And there is no law prohibiting the federal government from buying clothes produced overseas under unsafe or abusive conditions.
‘It doesn’t exist for the exact same reason that American consumers still buy from sweatshops,’ said Daniel Gordon, a former top federal procurement official who now works at George Washington University Law School. ‘The government cares most about getting the best price.’
Unfortunately, the best price doesn’t always mean you’re making the right buy. We’re big fans of rules like the Berry Amendment that direct U.S. military apparel procurement toward American-made goods. And we’re big fans of lawmakers who stump for them. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this issue in 2014.
Now about those American-made gifts:
If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping by now, we predict you’re gonna have a heckuva December 24. But never fear: There are still plenty of ways you can Buy American. Here’s Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul explaining how easy it is to shop Made in the USA nowadays:
If you still need some shopping tips, Paul and and Alex Bogusky from the Made Movement put a few more down on paper in a recent Huffington Post opinion. Or you can check out AAM’s curated list of American-made holiday gift ideas right here.
And, as always: Do you have an American-made gift that you’re giving, or coveting? We want to hear about it. Tweet it to @KeepItMadeinUSA or email us: info [at] aamfg [dot] org.
Happy Holidays, America! Have a fun and safe one, and we’ll see you next year.
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