America Matters: An Industrial Uprising
To “Buy American” means to support local and national businesses that treat their workers fair, pay decent living wages, and keep as much of the production side of their business within the country as possible. And for patriots who want their communities and country to succeed, buying American made products is something they take great pride in.
The American Consumer
And even though it is easy to assume we have become a society where people care more about saving money than wondering where a product was made, it is not an accurate assessment of the American consumer in general. A study conducted by Consumer Reports in 2013 showcased that around 78 percent of their respondents were more likely to give their money to a company if they knew their products were American, not foreign-made.
Around 75 percent of respondents cared about whether or not the company had manufacturing plants within their home state, while 92 percent of respondents cared about how much said company gives back to the local community.
While these statistics are not an absolute representation of the American public’s views on domestic and foreign-made goods, it shows that we do place a great deal of emphasis on how companies behave and where their products are being made. For many Americans, the goal of buying goods is not only about saving money, but about supporting the causes and companies they believe share in their values.
The same 2013 Consumer Reports study showed that around 61 percent of survey respondents believed clothing products made in the United States were of a higher quality than their foreign-made counterparts. Only five percent of people felt American-made clothing or shoes were inferior to foreign-made products. And while it is easy to get caught up in the negative reports of the United States losing manufacturing jobs to other nations, there are still a ton of companies that make their products in the United States. Companies listed on the American Made Matters website sell a wide variety of products made in the United States.
Giving Rise to the American Dream
The need to focus on American-made products is greater than ever, with the United States going through a period where manufacturing jobs are consistently being shipped out of the nation. Whether it is because companies who produce American-made goods are not making enough money to stay in business, or because major companies find it cost-effective to move their manufacturing plants to other nations, the United States has lost five million manufacturing jobs since 2000. If we look back to 1960, around a quarter of American workers were involved in the manufacturing industry. Now the number is closer to one in ten workers. This has to change, and it can with the support of every American.
The Need to Support Local Manufacturers
And it is not only the number of manufacturing jobs in the nation that causes concern, but the wages being paid to those workers who still have a job in the industry. Manufacturing jobs always paid a lot more money than the minimum wage. Figures still suggest that these workers are getting more money than a minimum wage worker, with the average wage for a manufacturing worker coming in at $20 an hour, but the gap is not as great as it was in the past. Where manufacturing workers could afford to buy a home, and support their entire family on a manufacturing salary, it is not always the case anymore.
But how can we as consumers help to halt or reverse such a trend? We can voice our opinions with our wallets. Companies that are flooding the market with $5 shirts or sweaters that are made in Vietnam or the Philippines must know that American consumers are not happy with their decisions. It is sometimes difficult to justify paying $30 for something you could get for $10 or $15, but is paying a little less for goods a worthwhile way to sacrifice the jobs and livelihoods of so many people within our communities?
United We Stand
At the end of the day, a nation is only as strong as its communities. And it is the duty of hard working Americans everywhere to make sure they are putting the best interests of our nation first. It does not mean boycotting all foreign products, but it does mean choosing to financially support companies that are making an effort to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States, providing quality products for working men and women across the country. It means putting America first, and keeping our dollars where they belong – in our communities.