Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead
This is not an easy time to be an American: the economy struggles to regain stability, and nearly 23 million of us remain unemployed. In particular, our manufacturing sector continues to suffer, with 5.1 million fewer U.S. manufacturing jobs now than in 2001.
I experienced these challenges firsthand when we were forced to layoff 100 employees from the Bollman Hat Company, America’s oldest hat maker, due to competition from foreign production. It was a heart-wrenching experience, and I vowed to never let it happen again. This led me to establish American Made Matters®, which launched on July 4, 2009.
American Made Matters® is an organization dedicated to educating consumers that buying American-made products strengthens the American Dream. It is comprised of American manufacturing companies and allows its logo to be used on products for which at least 50 percent of the cost (labor, materials and overhead) is incurred in the U.S. and its final assembly or transformation also takes place in the U.S. American Made Matters® has doubled its membership in the past year, recently welcoming its 200th member.
American Made Matters® has declared November 19th, 2013 the first annual American Made Matters® Day. On November 19th, we are asking you, consumers, to buy at least one American-made product to show your support for American manufacturing. We are also hoping this event will kick-off a movement encouraging Americans to buy products made in America throughout the upcoming holiday shopping season.
With the multitude of problems facing our country and the world, it is easy to feel helpless. However, we all have the power to make a difference—we have the ability to bring back the American economy, to decrease the unemployment rate, to help the environment, and to provide opportunities for our children and grandchildren. We have the ability to do all of this, and all it takes is one small action: buying more goods that are made in the U.S. In fact, spending just five percent more on American-made goods could create an additional one million jobs in the U.S.
Is it really that simple? Yes. For every $1 spent on American-made goods, an additional $1.35 is invested in the U.S. economy. For every one manufacturing job, another three jobs are created. If $64 of the $700 the average American family spends on holiday gifts is spent on American-made goods, 200,000 jobs could be added to the U.S. economy.
Need additional incentives? Buying American-made goods minimizes the pollution from transporting goods long distances and ensures that the goods were manufactured in adherence to U.S. environmental standards. Further, selecting goods that were manufactured in the U.S. supports America’s standards for safe working conditions, reasonable wages, and labor laws. Higher demand for American goods creates American jobs, and more business for American companies allows them to provide greater benefits and healthcare options for employees, placing a lesser burden on our taxpayers.
These are the facts. Now imagine the possibilities. Americans are still the world’s largest consumers—the power to make a difference really is in our hands. We hope you will join us in our cause.
Don Rongione, President and Founder of American Made Matters®