"How you can still Buy American"
Posted by scapozzola on 02/24/2009
Karen Aho at MSN Money has published a terrific, in-depth article analyzing whether the U.S. "still makes anything." What she found is that the "United States has a robust manufacturing sector, the largest in the world." However, its "export strengths -- airplane parts, industrial machinery, wheat, corn, meat, soybeans, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors -- aren't enough to offset the foreign goods that line retail shelves." In essence, the issue is jobs. The loss of productive manufacturing work has had severe consequences for the overall economy. Aho points out that for "every job in manufacturing, studies say, an additional five are created." She quotes Richard Kline, the president of the AFL-CIO's Union Label and Service Trades department, who says, "If all we do in our lives is look for bargains, we're going to bargain ourselves out of a livelihood." Kline's point is well taken. The United States's mammoth annual trade deficit means the continuing loss of millions of manufacturing jobs. Aho says that the U.S. buys "a third of the world's consumer electronics but sell only 4%. Nine out of 10 items of clothing we buy are made elsewhere, mostly in Asia. All told, we import goods worth $750 billion more than we export." Aho says that consumers should check labels and see when they can buy an American-made product. And, as a helpful primer, MSN added a slideshow on ways to Buy American.
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