Could 'Buying American' Help Create Jobs?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Labor Day weekend got off to a rough start this year with some pretty dismal jobs numbers. The economy created a net gain of zero jobs last month. President Obama will surely use that troubling statistic to drive home his message in his jobs speech this Thursday evening. Many different solutions have been offered to help the economy recover. Could "buying American" be the fix we need to create jobs? Anders Lewendal, a general contractor in Bozeman, Montana, is trying just that as he constructs a home built mostly from "all American" materials. 

Lewendal doesn't believe that everything should be bought American. But he thinks increasing the share of American-purchased products would generate jobs — enough to shrink unemployment.  Louise Story, New York Times finance and Wall Street reporter, talks about why buying American is more complicated than it might seem.

Guests:

Anders Lewendal and Louise Story

Produced by:

David J Fazekas

Comments [4]

Angel from Miami, FL

YES! I buy American whenever possible. Sometimes I delay a purchase when I cannot find a US-made product. Though I will allow non-Chinese if we simply don't make something domestically. I gravitate to "Made in the USA" on labels. The difference in price is barely noticeable. The difference in build quality is astonishing. It usually means I will only have to buy that product once in my lifetime. I have working American-made products that are 30 years or older.

Sep. 07 2011 11:11 AM
Angel from Miami, FL

@listener Federal taxes and regulations don't do anywhere near the amount of harm done by Wall Street and "going public". Privately owned companies operate profitably in the US unhampered by the taxes that they should pay and regulations that may help them as much as us.

Once a company goes public their focus is not longer the product and customers but the dividends paid to the shareholders. Where before a company could build more gizmos and remain profitable, now a company simply has to close down plants, drop workers, and make less gizmos to regain profitability. The news of hiring a famous CEO makes more money than the changes implemented by that same CEO. The definition of profitability is share price NOT revenue production in its specific industry. Just move all that capital from the gizmo dept to the healthcare division where the books show major profits and get a new Learjet in the process. Overcharging government subsidized insurance plans, swallowing an unrelated enterprise, outsourcing labor - that yields higher dividends. That's the [imploding] future, not government.

The public forests are being cleared by unregulated/untaxed corporate tree cutters.

Sep. 07 2011 11:04 AM
Margaret from Manhattan

I almost sent this note when you requested health stories last week, but you wanted the financial side. I received a heavy-duty shopping cart from a nat'l catalog company. The fabric liner and wheels exuded so much toxicity from the closed package, it filled the room and sent me to the ER with heart palpitations. Remember toxic toothpaste, pet food, baby formula, and drywall?...you know where the stuff was made. Has me considering jumping on that 'boycott made in China' bandwagon.
Thomas Friedman later this same day on "All Things Considered" (paraphrased):
"We need 10,000 people; 1,000 of whom will create a job for 10 people, 50 of whom will give a job to 300, 100 of whom will give a job to 500, etc." Beginning to do everything as greenly as possible,
spending less fuel to transport things as far, growing food in cities, living in densely populated areas for efficiency, etc., might balance the economy in the long run - after possible havoc in the short. The oceans are almost denuded of commercial fish populations now, but people want to do what they know from day to day...

Sep. 06 2011 06:29 PM
listener

A better question is how much in federal taxes and regulations does it cost to build and maintain a house? How much are the companies that produce those American products being taxed and regulated by the government?

Hey, maybe because of the crippling federal taxes and regulations is why many products are made overseas to being with?

Get it? Time to see the forest for the trees.

Sep. 06 2011 08:18 AM

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