When one declares oneself to be a conservative, one is not, unfortunately, thereupon visited by tongues of fire that leave one omniscient. The acceptance of a series of premises is just the beginning. After that, we need constantly to inform ourselves, to analyze and to think through our premises and their ramifications. We need to ponder, in the light of the evidence, the strengths and the weaknesses, the consistencies and the inconsistencies, the glory and the frailty of our position, week in and week out. Otherwise, we will not hold our own in a world where informed dedication, not just dedication, is necessary for survival and growth.

William F. Buckley Jr., Feb 8, 1956, NR

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Revolutionary Spirit

A Good Idea For All Of Us! Courtesy of TAO at A Radical Perspective.


Since Christmas is fast approaching I think it might behoove all of us to realize that WE can make a difference! So, remember this as you go out shopping:


"There are 293 million people living in the United States. If each one would shift $20 a month in spending from foreign made products to American made products, that would create 5 million new jobs."
---Made in the USA.com

So rather than waiting around for Washington to solve our problems or waiting around till 2010 to vote for the candidate that will represent our values let "vote" with our pocket book; lets start a revolution one person at a time!

Two great resources: Made In The USA and Still Made In The USA.

Lets purchase $20 worth of MADE IN THE USA goods for each and every person in your household and or each and every person on your Christmas gift list!




P.S. To all my blogging buddies please cross post this on your own blog (banners are available at http://www.madeinusa.com/ and
http://www.stillmadeinusa.com/ it is the patriotic thing to do!

24 comments:

Biased Girl said...

Great information...I'll have to look into that...

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

I not only support this idea, I have supported it for years ... by boycotting Walmart.

TAO said...

I just did a little background it one person who attacked me pretty hard on this....and I found that she describes her blog as: "A political place for opinions, research and musings from the Anarchist/activist point of view."

Oh, I am a realist and I will admit that I have not bought a big three car in over 18 years but I do not believe that the big three are representative of ALL American labor!

We have a great labor force, we have companies that are innovative and well run. There are some great things about this country...

I just do not believe that our greatness is reflected in Washington or on Wall Street.

Thanks!

Now, to go back and nail the little anarchist...

CB said...

Are Toyota, Nissan, Mercedes, BMW, Honda, (will Volkswagen be) "Made in the USA?"

Are Wal-Mart employees not productive participants in the economy of the United States?

How do the narrow interests of any industry compare with the broad interests of US consumers? In other words, why would we protect Alabama cotton growers at the expense of consumers who have to pay more for shirts or Louisiana sugar growers or why would we subsidize corn growers at the expense of everyone's grocery bill?

Fair trade, whatever that means, is lofty sounding and perhaps desirable but to do anything that harms consumers by propping up failed business models is criminal, especially when you additionally burden consumers with increased debt burdens that will drag the entire economy down.

We are Americans, we don't whine and complain in the face of "unfair" competition, we take our lumps like men, get up off the deck and kick ass! What have we turned into?

Robert said...

I have to agree with you Craig. Our economy is no longer one of local concerns. Business evolves, industries adapt or they fail (or should be allowed to fail)and in many case "buying exclusively American" actually hurts Americans.

A prime example is the auto industry. South of Ohio, all of the auto manufacturers are profitable and if you notice they are all foreign. North of Ohio the auto manufacturers are losing money faster than a seven year old at the ice cream truck. The employees at MB, Toyota, Nissan, et al, are American workers. They are the ones with a positive, productive, profitable business model. Further, these are companies where every employee seeks continuos improvement as a corporate mantra and it is practiced daily form the President down to the new guy installing wiring harnesses. The others are union shops, and the UAW seeks only to find a way of doing less for more. Those should be allowed to die on the vine while the positive businesses supported. Those places are where Americans work and succeed.

In ancient history in Israel, there was a particular color of dye obtained from a particular type of shell fish, now extinct. (I can't remember the name of either. It was on an archeology program on the History Channel last week) Divers were required to harvest the shellfish to get the die.

Along come traders from India with a deeper color and a better product. Today, the choices are endless. Should we continue to supoprt those local divers, or evolve and the industry evolved?

My money goes to the company that produces a product that weighs at the top of my personal cost-benefit analysis.

And I agree with your last sentiment. Why have we stopped being innovators and started being concerned with protectionism? It is a sure sign of degrade in American thinking and culture.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

"My money goes to the company that produces a product that weighs at the top of my personal cost-benefit analysis."

Robert, this statement alone is the key to the problem with most porducts made in the USA. I beleive in buying US but again our economy is so differsified that it becomes almost impossible to actually buy total USA.

For instance you mentioned the auto industry. Did you know that their is ONLY completely American made vehicle. All parts made in USA, all manufacturing in USA and manufactured totally by USA employees.

The kicker is that it is a Japanese car. The Honda Accord. All Accord's sold in teh US are completely manufactured in the US.

All of the Big 3 vehicles have numberous parts manufactured outside our borders especially in Mexico.

So actually buying completely USA is hard and it can be very expensive especially in the cost minded economy that we live in.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Excuse the spelling. I am a slave to spell check and wish that the comments section had a spell checker. I am so accustomed to using spell check that I post the comment BEFORE I read it.

Sadly I used to be a decent speller until computers spoiled me! LOL

Robert said...

Ken, it isn't your spelling it is jsut the typing. I type the word JUST wrong everytime...but I really do know how to spell it...

If you are still lurking here, call me.

TAO said...

Is the only thing we manufacture cars?

Everyone here loves to go on and on about smaller government and returning control of our back to the people...and here, is a conscious effort that each and everyone of us can make to CHANGE things to the way we want them.

Did you ever think that just $20 a month on your part could make a bigger difference than any government program could?

No one asked you to buy inferior products or lesser quality goods. No one is talking about cars...

The point is are you even aware of where stuff is made that you purchase.

If we no longer are concerned about local economic concerns then exactly what kind of argument can you make for being concerned that our government is not local? If you believe that government is best if it is local then explain to me why the same does not hold true for economics?

Think about it...

TAO said...

CB,

I have never asked for a bailout or a subsidy, nor have I ever asked for tariffs or the repeal of NAFTA...

All I asked is for people to THINK about what they buy and where they buy it.

Now, as far as consumers go and debt. Exactly how do you intend to get China and India or the Middle Eastern countries to return those dollars back to us. How do we get to repatriate those dollars? Or would you prefer that those dollars stay in those countries and we just print more when we need to? Maybe we could allow them to flood the world market with those dollars and then what?

Our economy is about consumers and about jobs. Without jobs you have no consumers...they are not separate and distinct creatures.

By shifting just $20 a month from imported goods to domestic we could begin the process of making government smaller and remove government from its overreaching tendencies in our lives.

TAO said...

Robert...

Here is a question for you...and I am refering to your post about going back to the intentions of the framers of the constitution...

Can we also go back to tariffs and restricted trade? Why go back to one politically if we do not go back to one economically?

Should we also return to an era of when women could not vote and blacks were slaves?

The point is if values and principles are important then would acting upon those values and principles also be important?

How free and independent can we be if we continue to believe that we can execute our economic activity with no regards to the security and future of this country?

If we do not transact our own business among ourselves then what expectation or demand can we make that our country is worth defending?

As a businessman I made a conscious decision a few years ago to just focus on made in the usa and only sell to mom and pop retailers....oh and to get out of all sizes and just focus on a niche size scale.

I made that decision to get out of the sales chasing business and focus on margins. Sales can always be gained but once you lose your margins you are history.

Now, what I see a greater percentage of our population is falling further and further behind in all areas. At what point does this percentage drag you and your family down with them?

At what point does the current financial situation in the United States impact your life?

None of us are immune....

How do you expect to downsize government when our number one export is government debt and more and more of our citizens find their standard of living reducing? Do you believe they are going to suck it up and deal with it? Or are they going to make demands on government?

CB said...

TAO,

The thing about any nations currency is that it ultimately has to be spent in the nation of origin. It may go through the exchange process for other currencies, but it must ultimately be spent there (even in those places where a currency may operate in a black market - i.e. greenbacks in preference to rubles at various times) they have their value linked to where they went into circulation.

This is part of the big misunderstanding with Keynesian focus on "trade imbalance." It is just an accounting function and doesn't really tell you all that much. Most that have had college economics had to suffer through Lester Thurow, Keynes and theories long discredited but that paleo conservatives like Buchannan still fall for.

Japan wrecked itself trying to dump chips and gobble up market share here in America with subsidized products. They had a decade of ZERO growth. Retaliation is not the way to go (I'm not suggesting here that you recommend that, this is for anyone else that might read this). We subsidize and protect through tariffs at our own peril.

The way to bring American manufacturing back is by providing market incentives to do so. American workers remain the most productive in the world and most would prefer to do business here. What we're struggling with is what has plagued Europe, creeping regulatory and tax schemes that punish capital and drive it off shore. If we want American manufacturing to return, cut the 2nd highest corporate tax rate on the planet in half, then watch job creation soar. If you really want to see some action, eliminate the capital gains tax and dollars will flood back into the country. Repatriation will be strong and instantaneous. You can't punish something and expect it to remain where it is.

The regulatory schemes we've erected are unbelievable. I own a couple of small businesses and I almost want to tell the regulators to take my business and run it. We are suffering from out of control run away governance at the local, state and federal levels. How absurd is it for Nancy Pelosi to run Detroit or Barney Frank to run the financial markets but that's what both are trying to do. Elliot Spitzer was one of the worst violators of the Interstate Commerce clause ever.

In direct contravention to the Constitution which states that all revenue measures shall originate in the people's House, we have federal agencies like the FCC and the FTC and others who set their own rates without the approval of Congress! At the local level, we have all kinds of regulations and taxes and bureaucrats trying to tell the private sector how to function.

By all means do not support the Malthusian, massive redistribution schemes created by climate religionists, designed only to take down capitalism. Big government is the entire problem, get it out of the way and watch just how efficiently the markets correct themselves.

Robert said...

I think a key fact is that invested money multiplies. Tao, we are more than an automotive nation,but I have some experience in that arena so I use it as an example.

When Mercedes-Benz built their only auto plant in N. Amaerica they chose Alabama. Ten years later, although it didn't take long, the company accounted for 5% of the state's exports, approximately 5.4 billion dollars. The city of Tuscaloosa has grown and their is more economic activity there than ever before. I don't know exactly, but the wages in Tuscaloosa were nowhere near $30 an hour.

I am far from an expert in economics, and someone tell me where I am wrong, but there is no downside to purchasing this foreign car. It is made in America, the workers are compensated extemely well because in addition to the salaries, benefits don't cost much, there are bonuses for productivity, the salaries are spent locally, and the city and state benefit. In addition, there are almsot 50 companies that have ridden into the area because of the MB presence.

No, the profits are not kept in the NYSE. However, were the company to build these cars in Germany, there would be no advantage to the state of Alabama.

Kia Manufacturing is building a $1 billon plant in Lagarange, Georgia. 70% of the parts used to make the car are American made. Before too many years, it may be 90% made in America. I just don't think the current global economy supports exclusively supporting American companies, as the local economies here have prospered from a foreign presence.

CB said...

Robert,

Although the current conversation is about cars, what you've noted applies to any industry. Even if it's just assembly, the assembly could be done elsewhere.

Government is a zero sum game but markets are not. In other words, government doesn't produce value, it is only an expense. Even in the case of make work projects like Barry is talking about, you take money out of the productive economy to produce less benefit than where it came from. It makes no sense. If it did, then a 100% tax on income and wealth would be in order.

Markets, on the other hand, as you say, multiply economic benefit. Alabama creates a tax incentive to induce Mercedes, Mercedes accounts for 5% of Alabama exports and an even larger percentage of the Alabama economy. Even if Mercedes isn't paying taxes, the employees are as well as the employees of support companies moved into the area. Alabama gains employment and increases its tax base which gives more money for the crooks, uh, politicians to spend.

TAO said...

CB,

My main point is and always has been, that by doing something as simple as shifting $20 a month from our current purchases of imported goods to american goods we could circumvent government and lower our reliance on them.

I do not want government assistance in anyway shape or form. Dealing with them is like presenting a business plan to a bunch of bankers; they do not have a clue and it is a waste of time!

It is not an issue of quality because not everything and not every company in the United States is run like the Big Three...and I am shocked at all the comments in regards to American goods being shoddier than imported goods.

The original comment I made did not ask anyone to sacrifice quality or pay an exhoribant price.

All it did was make people aware that by becoming conscious of what we buy and where we buy it we could make a dramatic change in our political economic system.

Small Businesses in the United States create more jobs than do any automakers.

Every Presidential candidate claims that their proposals benefit small business...but small business is not looking for assistance but rather consumers.

You are right, currency always has to return to its point of origin. Sadly, we use debt as a way to gain the return of our currency.

All we have to offer in exchange for the goods and services we receive from foreign firms is access and the credit of our consumers. As long as that is all we have to offer then the concept of free and fair trade is absurd.

It just perplexes me that all American manufacturing is judged through the emotions of the big three automakers.

It just perplexes me that every continues to rant about big government and then when given an option to do something about it personally then it becomes a debate about quality.

We can paste our websites with all the red white and blue spangles we want and we can demand that everyone support the troops. I wonder why all these retired military people want me to support the troops when they cannot in turn support small businesses such as myself.

I do not want trade barriers and I do not want government incentives but I do want Americans to quit judging patriotism by the number of flags they fly on their blogs and the number of support the troops banners they have pasted all over.

If you believe that Made in the USA is a connotation of poor quality then obviously nothing in America is of any quality and or value. Thus, then nothing in America is worth protecting and or defending.

Then we have the government we deserve and we have the educational system we deserve and life is not precious no matter when you begin to debate life.

I here from time to time that while my shirts are "good" imported shirts are "good enough." There is a BIG difference between good and good enough.

I think that pretty much sums up everything in the United States today, we are a country of people who accept "good enough" for good.

Our politicans and our political system are just mere reflections of ourselves. The greed and stupidity on Wall Street is exactly what we value....

Main Street does not exist anymore....and its just a figment of my imagination.

All of the automobile plants in the world will not solve our economic issues...its like all the kids that blog for money...they actually think that the economic downturn will not effect them. They do not even realize that the price per click that people pay has dropp by almost half and that more and more companies are switiching to commissions based on sales not clicks.

Once again I say, that as long as we only have government debt in which to use to return our dollars back to our economy government will continue to grow and we will be increasing our dependency and decreasing our freedom. As long as our future is dependent on foreigners then all this talk about national defense is foolish as we cannot fight our biggest competitors because they own us.

Arthurstone said...

Robert opined:

'The others are union shops, and the UAW seeks only to find a way of doing less for more.'


Actually the UAW has always been about labor enjoying decent wages, suitable benefits and safe working conditions while sharing in the immense profits auto manufacturers for so long enjoyed

So thanks for getting to the core of conservative thought'. Let's bust the unions (all of them) once and for all. Right? RR certainly had that dream. And GWB has followed down that very same path of blaming workers for the shortcomings of management.

The auto situation is no different. US automakers have been incompetently managed a very long time and now the institutional problems are dragging each and every one of the 'big' three down. Wages and benefits are only a part of the problem and they can be fixed through negotiation.

Detroit long ago gave up any sort of long term vision and simply stopped building cars people want to buy. And that is the far larger part of the Detroit equation.

Hardly the workers fault. But they and their contracts provide a useful dodge for the auto companies.

Robert said...

First, my comments about unions said nothing about excluding other factors regarding the auto industry. By your statement you are saying that foreign companies manage their companies better, if we take at face value your arguements regarding unions. I agree that foreign companies do a better job at management, and one reason for that, I posit, is that they have refused to become entangled with unions.

The UAW has NEVER been just about fair wages and working conditions, and those thigns are achieved just fine without them. In the 1920s there was a need for the union perhaps, but no longer.

The UAW has no claim to the "huge profits" of the auto industry, were there profits to be distributed. The owners of the comanies are entitles to the profits, for it is their risk capital that was used to provide those jobs to the employees, who agreed to be employees and not owners.

I don't disagree with your position on the vision of Detroit. Their vehicles have lacked creativity and functionality, and quality control is terrible. Add to that the situation of the union shop, and you have impending disaster.

I would allow the companies to bankrupt, restructure, abandon their union affiliation, relocate those plants to Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi where they are welcomed and not viled, and find new engineers with creativity and a new perspective on furture vehicles. If those operations were as streamlined and efficient as the foreign companies are in the south, they would be profitable immediately.

TAO said...

I really wouldn't worry all that much about automakers....

With the fact that Americans have reduced their credit consumption for the first time in over 50 years and with the fact that financial institutions have already committed themselves to cutting back 2 trillion dollars of consumer credit in 2009 you can pretty much kiss the auto industry in both Detroit and in the South goodbye.

Never thought I would see the day when Americans would quit consuming credit....first time in 50 years or more...

That is quite an accomplishment...

Arthurstone said...

Robert typed:

'The UAW has NEVER been just about fair wages and working conditions, and those thigns are achieved just fine without them. In the 1920s there was a need for the union perhaps, but no longer.'

The 1920's 'perhaps' but no longer? The auto companies weren't even unionized until the 1930's & 1940's. Please.

Just hiring/firing practices, decent wages, safe workplace conditions all resulted from negotiations and labor actions led by the UAW.

The auto companies (as any other American industry) did in no way ever give anything to their workers at all willingly.

You might be interest to learn that European manufacturers are heavily unionized in their home countries but, following the American trend of anti-unionism foreign carmakers manufacturing here are setting up shop in right-to-work states mainly in the south.

Robert said...

I am quite familiar with Europoean automakers...I am also familiar with the right-to-work states and the success that the model has achieved for companies who adopt that business model.

I will tell you an anecdote about something that occurs in an American auto plant in Detroit. Two small pieces of steel are glued to a small block of rubber between them. There is also a small block of wood attached. This is then given to new, mostly inexperienced managers as a test. They are told to go out into the facility and find one person to drill a simple hole through the middle of the setup. It never happens. The three materials, steel, rubber, and wood fall under three separate union contracts, and it will be a violation for a steelworker to touch a wooden project, a carpenter to touch a steel project, etc.

The places in the south? The workers are well paid and the safety departments are pretty well staffed. The companies take safety very seriously and tens of millions are spent on equipment, assist devices, industrial hygienists, and ergonomic studies...and the lsit goes on and on.

Remove the obstacles to teamwork, force a more effective management style, and offer products that satisfy the demand, and get the government to actually look at the ridiculous burdens they have placed that make the American industry less competitive, and success is assured!

TAO said...

Sorry, Robert, I disagree with you totally. GM and Ford in Europe are very successful and they are the top automakers in the region.

You have unions and government regulations there also....

What you do not have in a company that is managed by people who cannot and do not do their jobs. They use their bigness and their clout to make their lives as easy as possible.

You can shift all the operations of Detriot to any southern state you want to but at the end of the day if management in dysfunctional and incompetent isn't doesn't make a difference about labor.

The big three has three times the dealers and at least four times the vehicle mix to hold a 44% percent market share.

Then look what GM did to GMAC...got into financing home loans, airplanes, and corporate receivables and all of that. Can't help but wonder why GM looks like such a bureaucracy with all the little divisions doing whatever it takes to build up their own empires at the expense of the company as a whole.

You could give GM the designs of a Toyota and give them a union free workforce and they still couldn't produce a profitable car.

Its the corporate culture plain and simple.

Arthurstone said...

Robert-

'Anecdote'? Urban myth.

Working conditions in Southern state based auto manufacturers are what they are because Labor did the heavy lifting necessary to raise standards for everyone. If the companies could hire children, pay $10 a day wages, scrimp on safety & the environment they would do so yesterday.

But they can't despite the most fervent hopes of the 'conservatives' around here.

Robert said...

Arthur, the unions may have done the heavy lifting once upon a time, but even you statements reflect past tense. My anecdote is not urban myth, it is firsthand knowledge.

So taking yor statements about the auto industry, since the southern automakers have no such union restrictions, why do they not pay $10 an hour and scrimp on safety?

The hopes of conservatives for child labor and industrial accidents? You probably should have some of my coffee. That kool-aid you are consuming is having drastic, long term effects....

Arthurstone said...

Robert wondered:

So taking yor statements about the auto industry, since the southern automakers have no such union restrictions, why do they not pay $10 an hour and scrimp on safety?

They would if they could. But as long as unions exist workers will be protected. Even those who are not organized benefit from gains unions have achieved. Likewise environmental and labor laws have been enacted at the urging of labor (and the more enlightened business owners) which will, until that long hoped for day (by free-marketers') business has it's way, serve to protect workers and the nation itself.

Kool aid? Nope. A realist. 'laissez-faire' capitalism leads to excess and abuse. That is the history of the beast.

Likewise 'conservative' viewpoints here at CC regarding the environment are as appalling as those around labor.