American Pride

Bye China. Bye India. Buy Trenton. Who can forget the catchy 1980s union advertising jingle, “Look for the union label”? You can check out one of those ads at the link below — it’s almost worth a look for the retro-fashions alone.

[CLICK HERE to view, “Look for the Union Label 1981 classic ad,” from YouTube.com, uploaded Aug. 2009.]

After years of slow economic growth, has America truly recovered? Perhaps not for every single person in the country, but pride in Americana appears to have rebounded nicely. Take the manufacturing industry, for example. Cheaper labor overseas resulted in the loss of 5.8 million factory jobs between 2000 and 2009. Yet since the financial crisis, economists report there has been a renaissance in American manufacturing. An estimated 150 companies have “reshored” (moved positions from overseas to the U.S.) since 2010.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “ANALYSIS: The Renaissance of U.S. Manufacturing Is Real but Maybe Not What You Think,” from International Business Times, Feb. 4, 2014.]

Just recently, New Jersey passed a bill requiring all public contracts to use goods made in America. Some testimonies against the “Buy American” bill predicted that state departments’ inability to select cheaper foreign goods could increase the cost of living in New Jersey by 20 percent. Despite this, the majority of the New Jersey Assembly voted in favor of the bill, many reasoning their vote was about patriotism and the importance of confidence in the competitive abilities and quality of American manufacturing.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “‘Buy American’ bill passes N.J. Assembly,” from NorthJersey.com, Dec. 18, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “New Jersey Seduced by the False Promise of ‘Buy American’ Laws,” from Forbes, Dec. 18, 2014.]

The Obama Administration also recently initiated steps to promote manufacturing in America. More than $290 million will be invested in two new private/public manufacturing competitions to benefit the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “President Obama Launches Competitions for New Manufacturing Innovation Hubs and American Apprenticeship Grants,” from the White House, Dec. 11, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “US to Get Two New Manufacturing Hubs — Smart Manufacturing and Flexible Hybrid Electronics,” from Industry Week, Dec. 11, 2014.]

On an individual basis, Americans seem to be doing their part to “buy American” as well. Given a choice between a USA-made product and an identical product made abroad, 78 percent of Americans would rather buy the American product. Perhaps years of handling “Made in China” (India, Indonesia, etc.) tchotchkes have influenced an expectation of higher quality among American-made goods, because 60 percent of Americans say they’d buy American-made even if it cost 10 percent more. Indeed, even 60 percent of Chinese consumers would prefer to purchase American-made over Chinese production, even if it costs more.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Made in America?” from Consumer Reports, Feb. 2013.]

Between bipartisan politics, racial issues and economic divides, it’s easy to sustain an attitude of disgust and aggravation with the good old U.S. of A. But what we lack in pride over the day-to-day mishaps, we must recognize in privilege — to live and work here. America by nature instills the belief of opportunity and certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are all good sentiments to reflect on as we embark on a new year.

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