Shutdown shopping, or, how you can help the American economy rebound

Posted by LDonia on 10/17/2013

While many a reporter and congressperson are reciting “$24 billion” as the cost to the American economy of the government shutdown, the reality may be starker.

According to Brad Plumer at the Washington Post, a report from Macroeconomic Advisers believes that congressional policy battles have sapped the American economy of roughly $700 billion. The Post finds that number questionable, but seems content to agree that a group of petulant lawmakers have still inflicted some serious harm on the economy.

At the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), we considered what could be done to even slightly offset that harm. We concluded, as we often do, that buying American-made products could help – not solve, but help.

When we buy American-made products our money stays in the U.S. economy. It’s not split between an American company with a front office and its foreign manufacturer; it all stays here.

So your three AAM bloggers (Matt McMullan, Taylor Garland, and yours truly) came up with personal wishlists of American-made items. There’s definitely a big price range represented in our lists, but it’s worth remembering: When you spend extra money on something that’s Made in the USA, not only are you guaranteeing the person is making a decent wage in safe conditions, you’re also investing in a product that will likely last a long time. After all, isn’t one hand-crafted item made by an American worker that lasts you ten years a better investment than a cheaper product – made in China and of lower quality – that you have to replace each year?

We think so. And so, without further ado, here are our wishlists.

Matt McMullan’s wishlist

  • Pencils. Why are all my pencils made in China? This is bunk.
  • Bike helmets: Why can’t I look like a boss and safely ride my bike at the same time? I need this balance in my life. I blame currency manipulation.
  • Winter is coming. So I need an American-made toboggan.
  • A guitar so I can work at sounding like John Lee Hooker.
  • A couch. So I can lay around and get nothing done while simultaneously supporting the American economy. Remember: Ghostbusters is streaming on Netflix Instant.


Taylor Garland's wishlist

Lauren Donia's wishlist

  • It's just about soup & stew making season. The skillets, pots & dutch ovens by Lodge would make a nice addition to my kitchen.
  • I can show my home state of Connecticut some love with these hand-made (in Kansas) decals.
  • I've been wanting a Slush Mug forever. You freeze it, pour liquid into it, and the liquid magically becomes a slushy. In seconds. Why don't I own this already?
  • Coatmaker Poppy Von Frohlich recently extended into hand-knit leg warmers. They're gorgeous and make me want to chassé around my apartment channeling Jennifer Beals in Flashdance.
  • My biggest splurge: this party dress by Daniel Silverstein. I love it.

Okay, so those are our wishlists. Now what say you? If you have an American-made product you’re coveting (regardless of the price) tell us about it in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter.

Interested in buying something American-made, but not sure what to look for? Ms. Martha Stewart teamed up with eBay to create a Made in America online store. Check it out.

Images from Worksman Cycles and

1 comment

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