In 1933 FDR signed the Buy American Act which required the United States government to prefer American made products in its purchases. Other pieces of Federal legislation extend similar requirements to third-party purchases that utilize Federal funds, such as highway and transit programs. The President can wave this act if equal trade is involved with a foreign supplier. Under the 1979 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Government Procurement Code, the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) 1996 Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), the United States provides access to the government procurement of certain U.S. agencies for goods from the other parties to the agreements.
Buy American is a program that had it's roots in Union protectionism. By making Made in America a patriotic act union jobs were protected. For some campaigns it even bordered on racism. Growing up I heard more than one WWII generation senior say they would never buy a "Jap rice burner" or a "Kraut VW car". To them buying a foreign car was buying from the enemy and thus disrespecting the memories of those American's that fought and died for freedom and the memories of those Jews who provided slave labor to German Companies and then were killed.
Today conservatives and even progressives are still for freetrade and see the global market place as a good thing for Americans and an incentive for less efficient and competative American companies to work better and thus create stronger businesses. Selling plateforms like the internet through sources like EBay and Craig's List have become boom sources for small companies restricted to their geographic area to be able to cheaply reach a global marketplace and has been a good thing for American small retail businesses. Dollar store chains carrying mostly cheap import goods have made more than one American a millionaire and at the same time provide goods at lower prices for cash strapped Americans. These dollar stores have been so successful that many standard retail outlets have dollar item aisles and sales islands within their stores.
Over the years I have seen the consumers change with this access to cheap import goods. Product loyalty and business loyalty has gone out the window completely. I remember when discount retail outlets got into the car repair and tire and battery business and I witnessed loyal customers leave our small hometown service station to go get discount work at cut rate prices. Then I saw these same people complain that when they were out traveling and they broke down they could not find a service station anywhere and they had to wait hours and hours for a tow. I watched consumers stop going to the small appliance stores to go to the big hardware stores to buy frigs and washers and dryers and than complain when they could not get anyone to fix the thing after they got it home. Americans in their effort to afford more things have Pogoed themselves into a third world existance to save a dollar and in turned killed their own opportunity for employment at a living wage. American Small Business was the source for quality goods, quality service, fair prices and fair hiring practices. Unions were also a part of this demise. Ford Motor company prior to the unions offered it's people 5 day work weeks, insurance, paid holidays and weekends and many of the good business practices the unions claim they don't offer. Union thugs used organized crime tactics to force unions on workers who were just not interested.
My feelings for the effects of freetrade and unions has changed dramatically over the years. I now see that freetrade is a form of protectionism and unions are more of that same protectionism that has degraded our way of life rather than enhanced it for the most part. Don't get me wrong I am still for freetrade if and only if it is a two way street. For decades our international trade has been one sided. I don't believe in union protectionism, however I do think imports should be taxed 10 precent unless those countries agree to import equal amounts of goods and services from the US. I do believe we as Americans should commit to spending a little more and doing with a little less to buy American Made products. The best way to cripple an economic thug is to deny our trade dollars. We are through our imports financing Marxist countries that practice human rights violations against their and our citizens through military and terrorists acts. And quite frankly the more we learn about the lead paint, mold and food born illness problems we are having with imported goods I would think it would be a great deal healthier to buy American Made. On my twitter page I often try to bring to light great American Companies that offer superior products that I have personally tried and enjoyed. I think it's important.
The other day I had to go and purchase a new American Flag because someone ran off with the flag pole and all. I went to the Walmart up the street from my house and looked at the flags they had for sale. It said Made with American materials by Americans in America. I picked it up. About 15 dollars. I went to a discount hardware store to pick up some stuff and looked at similar flags and they were made in China and were about 10 dollars. I was glad I had paid about 5 dollars more for the made in America flag.
I feel much like the WWII seniors now. Defeat the enemy by not being an enemy of American Business. Support America buy American. I also support as many small businesses in my community as I can going a little out of my way to buy from them what I might get at a large discount store. I think Consumers can send a message and it can change our country. It's those dollars we spend every day that are like tiny little votes for American Businessman. Make an effort to support American businesses, tell the large chains you would prefer they buy American made supplies and materials. Trade with the small independent shops in your area. Cast your greenback votes for Americans.
Resources for American Made: