Buy American: It’s not hard – just follow the money |

Buy American: It’s not hard – just follow the money

My Side
Steve Damm
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Steve Damm

Every American wants our economy to be strong. We all intuitively know how to support our own workforce, and we want to.

To buy American is to be patriotic, to support our workers, to benefit, our neighbors.

What does it mean to buy American? What about all those Import car makers assembling cars here in the good ole’ U.S. Aren’t they really American cars?

What about our American companies outsourcing labor and parts? Is that being a good American company?

Why can’t America compete for consumer goods? Why are nearly all electronics and appliances built outside the U.S.?

It’s not so easy to buy American if we don’t know what is American.

First and last it is about the money.

U.S. trade policy favors import cars if the final assembly is completed on our soil. Sadly our trade negotiators didn’t get the same deal with the importers. Our market is huge compared to their markets, and thus it is worthwhile for them to be here, but not so much for us to be there.

The final determination is not the domestic content, but where the profit is going.

Import car makers make billions of dollars of profit and it goes right back to the home country. They produce all the high tech components in the home country, send them in crates to the U.S., and keep the technical jobs home. Then they export the grunt work assembly to non-union workers in the U.S.

What about the American companies outsourcing to Mexico, Brazil and Canada? Sadly they have no choice. Union demands, restrictive emission rules, unfair competition and global competition are to blame. The redeeming fact is the profits all stay in this country, the money for research and development stays here and supports high-tech and high-paying jobs.

What about our American companies that are outsourcing or even setting up off-shore companies to avoid taxes. We can’t tolerate this anymore.

Taxes for U.S. corporations are among the highest in the world. A tax on a corporation is a tax on their customers. It is a part of the corporation’s cost, and raises their final price. No wonder they have to export jobs and profits to compete.

We need to fix our tax code; then put some teeth into our enforcement.

We can learn from the Japanese. Even when faced with great disruptions in their economy, such as the recent earthquake and tsunami, they have a fervent nationalistic, patriotic focus on rebuilding with their own resources. They consider it a duty to their society to work tirelessly and not complain.

Americans need to turn away from the “me first” attitude and look to enhance the good of the many.

Yes, our big corporate banks and industrial CEOs make too much money, but it is not a justification for selfish behavior by the masses.

The most noble middle class of the world lives in the U.S. Together we can bring America back to our high standard of living. Once again it is about the money, not for the benefit of the greedy, but for the restoration of America.

We can demand our legislators and bureaucrats be more responsible when enacting trade policy and be firm with foreign trade predators.

We need to send a message to Wall Street that what matters is need not greed. We need to fix the corporate tax code and put logic into union rules. We need to come together in a manner similar to our response after 9/11.

Remember it is all about the money. Find out if the profit stays in the U.S. Only then will you know if you are buying American.

Finally, this should be our credo: buy local, buy regionally and buy nationally.

It may not be in our short-term interest, but it will benefit us in the long term.

Steve Damm has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for 55 years, and works in the retail automotive business.

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