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Posts Tagged ‘Made in U.S.’

I realize I recently wrote a piece on Girl Scout cookies being made in the U.S.A., but I had to do a little write-up on this as well. 

The Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. announced recently that their uniforms will continue to be made in America following a public uproar over reports it was considering bids from overseas manufacturers.

Girl Scouts spokeswoman Michelle Tompkins said the organization had been contacted by parents, members and volunteers urging it to keep the uniforms made in the U.S.A. She said the contract hadn’t been awarded but the bid request had been modified to require that the uniforms be made domestically and that companies adhere to strict guidelines regarding worker age, treatment and safety.

“We thank the many Girl Scout parents and volunteers who stood up for their beliefs and showed our 2.4 million girls that every voice makes a difference,” Tompkins said. “They are the role models who help build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.”

In a story first published in Woodland Park’s Herald News newspaper, the owners of the factory said the loss of its sole client could mean layoffs for its more than 90 workers and could force it to close.

Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. calls itself the world’s pre-eminent organization dedicated solely to girls. It says it helps girls build character, values and leadership skills for success in the real world.

What better message to teach young girls than the importance of buying American?  Keeping those uniforms made in the U.S.A. saved American jobs at a time that Americans need them the most.  I hope that Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. will make a point of communicating why they are sticking with American-made uniforms throughout their organization. 

Kudos to Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. for making a really great decision and standing by their core principles! 

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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Saxum Wine

Saxum, an American-made wine from California, and the 2010 international wine of the year according to Wine Spectator Magazine.

Look, I’m no wine expert.  To be honest, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between $100-bottle of wine and Charles Shaw, a.k.a. “Two-buck Chuck.”  The extent of my wine knowledge stems from three days I spent in Napa and Sonoma Valleys in California where I learned that Merlots and Cabs (Cabernet Sauvignon) are full-bodied red wines.  I learned that they go well with red meats.  Most importantly, I learned that when you are at a wine-tasting, if you say, “I’d like to revisit the merlot,” you’ll sound like you know what you’re talking about, and they’ll give you an extra pour (for free).  If you say, “Can I have some more merlot?” they’ll be on to you and say, “No.”  Feel free to use that trick, but don’t tell everyone you know.  I want it to still work next time I’m in wine country.

Back to my point: I’m no wine connoisseur, but I do know one thing about wine – no country in the world has more top-rated wines than the United States.  Wine Spectator recently issued a list of its top 10 wines of 2010, and five of the top 10 wines in the world were from American vineyards.  In fact, the #1 wine of the year was from a vineyard in Paso Robles, California called Saxum.  Judges gave this wine – a combination of several red varieties – a 98 out of 100, the best score given all year. 

American vineyards didn’t just get lucky in 2010, they also had four of the 10 best wines in 2009.  The #1 overall wine last year was a Cabernet Sauvignon called Columbia Crest from Columbia Valley, Washington.  What is amazing about the Columbia Crest Reserve is that a bottle sells for just $27.  That is a really good price for wine that just won wine of the year.  Year in and year out, the U.S. has consistently produced many of the world’s best wines.

Even so, people often assume goods that are imported, like imported wine, are higher quality than U.S.-made goods simply because they are imported.  I’ve seen people go into a liquor store looking for a bottle of wine to give as a gift, and purchase an imported bottle simply because it was imported and they didn’t know the difference between wines.  The imported wine just seemed more expensive.  If they had bought an American wine in the same price-range, they probably would have purchased a better bottle. 

You can find great American wines practically anywhere wine is sold.  If you like to buy wines online, here is a great website that offers only American-made wines: http://americanwinery.com/.  They have some great deals, and a really great selection of fine American wines in all different price ranges.

Another fact worth considering is that tens of thousands of Americans are employed in the wine-making industry.  Every time you pop the cork of an American-made bottle of wine, you are doing your part to put Americans to work. 

So, next time you are surveying the wine list at your favorite restaurant and thinking about what wine to order with dinner, consider gravitating to the American wines on the menu.  That is probably where you will find the highest quality wine at the most reasonable price on the menu.  And if you really want to do your civic duty and stimulate American job creation, consider ordering a second bottle.  It’s the least you could do for your fellow Americans.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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Here’s an easy way to buy American.  Next time you wear the soles out of your favorite shoes, or crack the heel on your best high heels, consider having them resoled or fixed instead of replacing them outright.

Shoes are one of the most difficult items to find made in the U.S.A.  According to industry data, 96% of all shoes purchased in the U.S. are imported.  That means if you replace a pair of shoes that could be fixed or resoled there is a very good chance they will be replaced with an imported product.

However, if you have them resoled or fixed, the work will be done in the U.S., creating jobs in our country, like the one you are creating for the cobbler who fixes them.  Because the money you spend isn’t going overseas to pay for production and shipping costs, that means the money will be circulated in the U.S., creating even more jobs through a multiplier effect.  That’s nothing but good news for our economy.

But it’s also good news for your bank account.  Resoling men’s leather soled oxford shoes will typically cost about $40, while replacing them will usually cost around $100.  That is a 60% savings.  A new heel for a high heel shoe will cost somewhere around $12, while a new pair will run $40 and up.

A resoled shoe is also of higher quality in my opinion.  Cobblers use a thicker kind of leather that tends to last much longer than the soles on most new shoes.  I have worn through the bottoms of lots of shoes, but I have never worn through a pair with new soles put on.

So next time you think it’s time to retire your favorite pair of shoes, give them new life by having them repaired instead of throwing them away.  You’ll be helping the American economy and your own bank account if you do.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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My shot of the Golden Gate Bridge

Hello everyone.  I’m back from my brief blogging hiatus.  I was on vacation, and it wouldn’t have been a vacation if I brought the laptop, so I left it.

About a month ago I wrote a blog entry called “Support American Jobs, Vacation in the U.S.A.”  Boy am I glad a decided to take that advice.  I just got back from the most amazing road trip down the coast of California, and I had an absolute blast.

We started our trip in San Francisco and ended in San Diego.  All I can say is WOW!  If you haven’t seen the California coast you really need to think about getting out there and seeing it.  The places we saw were breathtaking.  From redwood forests to sandy beaches, the California coast has so much to offer. 

The sweet blue Mustang convertible we drove

We flew into San Francisco and were picked up by our friends in a blue Mustang convertible.  I was glad we were able to get an American-made rental.  And let’s face it, if you’re going to be driving the California coast, it should be in a convertible.

We spent a couple days in San Fran, then made our way down the coast.  We took the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) down through Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, and all the way to San Luis Obispo.  We must have stopped ten times on that leg of the trip, usually just to spend a few minutes a on a beautiful beach we knew we might never see again.

From there, we made our way south through Santa Barbara, Ventura, Malibu, and finally to Los Angeles.  The scenic

Santa Barbara

views on this portion of our trip were magnificent.  I felt like I was Ansel Adams taking pictures of the mountains and scenery. 

Finally, we made it down through Orange County and down to San Diego.  We ended our trip with a nice day at Mission Beach in San Diego, which reminded me a lot of Miami Beach (my hometown beach). 

The trip was huge success.  I got to see so many things and places I had never seen before, and everyone had a great time.  I’m looking forward to getting back out west again soon.

Mountains just a few miles from Malibu, CA

But it’s also good to back home in Arlington, VA as well, and sleeping in my own bed at night.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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Before you begin reading this post, please take a look at this graph which represents America’s trade deficit as a percentage of GDP since 1960.  In the ‘60s and early-‘70s, we had a small trade surplus, usually at or below 1 percent of GDP.  We also had lots of good-paying jobs back then.  Remember when one breadwinner could support a family? Over time, that surplus turned into a deficit that reached about 3 percent of our nation’s total income by the late ‘80s.  Our trade deficit contracted for a few years, nearly disappearing by 1991.  But from that point on, our trade deficit as a percentage of GDP has simply ballooned.  Since 2004, the U.S. has consistently had trade deficits of 5-6 percent of GDP.

All of the red on the graph is just that, “red ink.”  That represents wealth that is leaving the country above what is coming into the country through trade.  If we ever want to restore our economic prosperity in this country, we have to get this trade deficit under control.  We cannot expect to prosper when we have $40 billion or more leaving the country every month.  There simply is not enough wealth being circulated into our own communities to create the number of jobs we need that way. 

Here is the answer: We can get our trade deficit under control simply by buying American-made goods more often.  Each American adult is responsible for $700 worth of imported goods per month.  If we cut that down to $517 per month, our trade deficit will be gone.  When you look at it that way, we really don’t have that far to go.

Let me ask you, could you cut your consumption of imported goods 27% by replacing foreign goods you buy with American-made goods?  I think you could do it very easily.  And if you will do it, you will have done your part to close the enormous trade deficit that is killing our economic recovery and the long-term prosperity and security of our country.

How easy is it to cut your consumption of imports 27%?  You could do it simply by considering where things are made before you buy them, and showing some patriotic favoritism to American-made goods, which tend to be higher in quality.  Think about how much money you spend on groceries, clothing, home goods, etc.  Making sure you buy made in U.S.A. for lots of the little things you buy will get your consumption of imports down 27%.

Or you can focus on the big-ticket items.  Let’s say you bought a $30,000 American-made car over a comparable European-manufactured import.  In that one decision, you would have done your part to eliminate the trade deficit for the next 14 years.  Wasn’t that easy?

We have to start making progress on cutting this deficit immediately.  Please commit to doing your part, take the buy American Challenge today!

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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Here are the top 10 reason why you should consider buying American: 

10. Foreign labor standards allow unsafe worker conditions in many countries. When you buy American you support not only American manufacturers but also American workers, safe working conditions, and child labor laws.

9. Jobs shipped abroad almost never return. When you buy goods made in the USA, you help keep the American economy growing.

8. US manufacturing processes are much cleaner for the environment than many other countries; many brands sold here are produced in countries using dangerous, heavily polluting processes. When you purchase American-made product, you know that you’re helping to keep the world a little cleaner for your children.

7. Many countries have no minimum wage restrictions, or the minimum wage is outrageously low. When you choose products made in the USA, you contribute to the payment of an honest day’s wages for an honest day’s work.

6. The growing lack of USA ability to manufacture many products is strategically unsound. When you seek out American-made goods, you foster American independence.

5. The huge US trade deficit leads to massive, unsustainable borrowing from other countries. Debt isn’t good for you and it isn’t good for America.

4. Foreign product safety standards are low. For example, poisonous levels of lead are in tens of millions of toys shipped to the USA. When you buy toys and other goods made in the USA, you can be confident that American consumer protection laws and safety standards are in place to protect your family.

3. Lack of minimum wage, worker safety, or environmental pollution controls in many countries undermines the concept of “fair and free trade”. No Western nation can ultimately compete on price with a country willing to massively exploit and pollute its own people. When you buy only American-made products, you insist on a higher standard.

2. Factories and money are shifting to countries not friendly to the USA or democracy. When you avoid imported goods in favor of American-made items, you help ensure that the United States doesn’t find its access to vital goods impacted by political conflict.

1. As the US manufacturing ability fades, future generations of US citizens will be unable to find relevant jobs. Buy American and help keep your friends and neighbors-and even yourself-earning a living wage.

This top-10 list was created by Todd Lipscomb.  Lipscomb is the founder of www.MadeinUSAForever.com, an online retailer that sells nothing but goods made in the U.S.A.  He also writes a blog which can be found at http://blog.madeinusaforever.com.

Check out his store.  he has some really great American-made goods for sale.

If you agree with Lipscomb, challenge yourself to buy American whenever possible; take the Buy American Challenge today. 

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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The M5 Magnum razor is made in the U.S.A. and sells for much less. It was also rated best razor of the year by Men's Health.

I’ve been saying for a long time that buying goods made in the U.S.A. does not cost more than buying imported goods (as most people assume it will), and nothing proves this point better than the razor.

Razors have gotten pretty fancy over the years.  They’ve gone from two blades all the way up to five blades on a single cartridge (or are they up to six already?).  And as the number of blades has gone up, so has the cost of those blades.  They often want $20 or more for a pack of 8 cartridges at the pharmacy. 

But recently, I came across an American-made brand of razor that is the best shave I have ever had, and it costs about half of what you would pay for a leading brand of razor like Gillette or Schick.  Now these brands make good razors too, but they are mostly imported, and boy are they expensive.  If they are saving money by manufacturing blades overseas, very little of that savings has been passed on to the consumer.

The razor I now use is the M5 Magnum  made by The Personna American Safety Razor Company.  This razor is every bit as fancy as the other brands.  It has five blades for regular shaving and an inverted safety blade on the edge for precision trimming.  It’s got vitamin E and aloe for a smooth glide.  It’s got a pivoting head that adjusts to the contour of your face.  It even comes in plastic case that closes up and is very handy for traveling.  What the M5 Magnum doesn’t offer is sticker shock. 

The M5 Magnum consistently costs far less than the competition.  You can buy an M5 Magnum with 20 cartridges on Amazon for $23.99.  That comes out to just about $1.20 per cartridge. 

Here’s the competition.  Wallgreens Pharmacy is currently selling an 8-pack of Gillette Fusion Power cartridges, which are almost exactly the same products, for $23.99.  That comes out to just about $3.00 per cartridge. 

I’m not the only one who thinks the M5 Magnum is a great razor.  Even though this razor costs significantly less than the competition, the M5 Magnum was the brand ranked best razor by Men’s Health magazine in 2010. 

People just assume that American-made goods have to cost more because they are made by American workers, but that is simply is not the truth, and the M5 Magnum razor proves it.   There are lots of great American products that are made in the U.S.A. and beat the competition on price.  Sometimes they beat the competition soundly.

So, before you assume that buying American-made brands will cost more, give it a try for yourself.  When you start buying American, you will find many high-quality American products that are at the price you would pay for an import or even below it.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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