Buy American! (Even if it costs more?)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Maybe we'd had too much box wine. After all, the half empty box was starting to remind me more and more of Sponge Bob Square Pants. I reached over and let the little guy tinkle in my plastic cup one more time.

"How can you call yourself a patriot if you don't buy American?!" My friend Lenny was starting to turn as red in the face as the California burgundy we were drinking.

We'd been talking money and politics most of the evening, and eventually the two topics collided when I made the statement that I buy based on price - with a nod to quality (particularly as it impacts durability and maintenance costs) - and not based on where a product comes from.

Man, what a mistake. It's true what they say: "You can't put the wine back in the box after it's been poured."

As I tried to explain to Lenny between his vino-fueled outbursts, it's not just that I'm a cheapskate (after all, that's a matter of public record). I believe that competition in the marketplace - a key element of which is pricing - needs to prevail. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all about trade restrictions, etc. that effect price and take some of the freedom out of free trade. Although last I knew, they worked both ways here and abroad, limiting both what the U.S. can export as well as what it can and can't import.

My point was that there is nothing wrong with letting price dictate your buying decisions over "Made in America." Add to that multinational conglomerates, foreign ownership of U.S. companies, and manufacturing operations spread out around the globe (like in the auto industry), and determining whether a product is truly "American Made" is next to impossible. And since the people of the world consume more goods and services from the U.S. than from any other single country, isn't it only fair that we reciprocate by consuming some of theirs, especially if they cost less?

But that's just one cheapskate's opinion, and I'd like hear yours. How do you feel about buying American-made products, even if they're more expensive? If, like Lenny, you've vowed to buy American-made, is there any price point at which you'd reconsider?

Thanks for reading, and Stay Cheap!

posted by Jeff Yeager at 7:56 AM 15 comments

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