Posts Tagged ‘U.S. trade deficit’

Swiss chocolate is a common cheat item for those who buy American. If you have a few imported items that you just can't do without, don't even worry about it. Continue to buy those items. What's important is that you buy American whenever you can as a general rule.

It’s time for a little more discussion about the guidelines of the Buy American Challenge.  I am going to make a strong case to buy American for a lot of people that have previously thought buying made in U.S.A. isn’t for them.  Let my highlight what is perhaps the most important guidelines of the Buy American Challenge program – you get cheat items!

This actually blows a lot of people’s minds when I tell them that.  When most people think about buying American, they picture buying nothing but goods made in the U.S.A. under any circumstances.  But that is not the program that I recommend because truly buying nothing but American-made items is near impossible without a great deal of deprivation.  Going cold turkey doesn’t work because it is too difficult to stick with it.

That is precisely why cheat items are built into the Buy American Challenge program.  It’s like building a few sweets into your diet so you don’t fall off the wagon and eat two pints of Ben and Jerry’s. Cheat items are actually very important because they make a program that could otherwise be difficult quite palatable, and actually fun.

Recently, a friend of mine who seemed interested in buying American wrote me and asked:  “But what about my French wine and Irish whiskey? More seriously… This could be almost impossible, given how many things are made overseas these days.”

For her, French wine and Irish whiskey are two items she has an existing attachment to that she is not willing to do without.  Even though she might like to buy American in lots of cases, she isn’t willing to go on a no-exceptions program because of these items.  As a result, she might give up on buying American altogether.

That is why the Buy American Challenge program allows for cheat items.  On the Buy American Challenge program, one is allowed as many as five “cheat items” (or more if you really need more).  If you simply can’t live without a specific foreign-made good, you can continue to purchase it.  My friend loves French wine and Irish whiskey, so she can continue to buy these products on her buy American program. 

The key is to get people buying American as a general rule.  That in itself is enough to make a big difference.  If they want to keep buying a few select imported goods, that’s fine.  It is still a big step in the right direction overall.

I also want to touch on another one of the Buy American Challenge guidelines very briefly.  One may buy a specific foreign-made product if the item is simply not made, grown, or raised in the United States.  My friend was concerned that a buy American program would be impossible because of how many products are now made overseas.  It’s true, some things simply aren’t made in the U.S.A. anymore.  That is why the Buy American Challenge program allows you to buy foreign-made goods if an American-made version is unavailable.  You don’t have to go without cell phones or bananas.  They aren’t made or grown in the U.S., so you should buy them as you please and not worry about it. There are plenty of other American-made items you will be able to buy.

The Buy American Challenge is about supporting American businesses and creating American jobs whenever we can.  It’s not about depriving ourselves of modern necessities.

Finally, I want to remind you that these are just guidelines.  They are a place to start for those looking for a buy American program.  But each person ultimately chooses thier own program.

Maybe, after reading this, you are realizing that buying American is easier than you thought.  Believe me, it really isn’t all that hard, especially after you get passed the first couple weeks.

I challenge you to take the Buy American Challenge for one week and see how it goes. 

I promise you three things.  First, you will spend less money than before because you will not be making nearly as many impulse decisions.  Second, the things you do buy will generally be of higher quality because American-made goods tend to be very well-made. Third, you will feel great about knowing you are helping create jobs for Americans every time you make a purchase.

I started buying American, and now I love it.  I will be doing this the rest of my life.

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


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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.


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I’ve posted this before, but I reposted it because it is now updated with the more recent job numbers, and it is such a powerful visual display of the unemployment situation being experienced in the U.S.

Let’s start turning this around.  Let’s get some more color back on this map by buying American-made goods.  Take the Buy American Challenge today!

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


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The U.S. trade deficit surged to its highest level in 18 months in May according to the Department of Commerce (see release).  The trade deficit increased 4.8 percent from April to $42.3 billion, the largest monthly trade imbalance since November 2008. 

Through the first five months of 2010, the U.S. trade deficit is running at an annual rate of a staggering $474.8 billion, a significant increase over the $374.9 billion trade deficit the U.S. experienced for all of 2009, a 26.6 percent difference.

The U.S. trade deficit is having a significant negative impact on job growth.  Exports in May rose by a strong 2.3 percent from April, as U.S. industries sold billions of dollars more in manufactured and agricultural goods.  But the gains in these sectors were more than offset by a spike in overseas purchases, many of which were made by American households.  From April to May, imports of goods increased $4.9 billion.

Experts estimate that every $1 billion in exports creates an additional 6,000 jobs in the U.S.  Yet, despite $63 billion more in exports in 2010 through May over the same period last year, employment growth has remained flat.  Experts attribute the widening trade gap during this same period for the stagnant job creation.

The bottom line is we aren’t seeing the job growth we need in the U.S. because even if we have strong job creation from increased exports, we are losing just as many jobs at the same time because of our reliance on imports.

We can’t keep going like this and expect things to get better.  If we are ever going to get ourselves out of this economic slump, we need to break ourselves of our addiction to imported goods.  We simply cannot send $42 billion of American wealth out of the country in a single month and expect our country to prosper. 

That is why I am buying American.  When I spend my hard-earned dollars, I am putting them to work right here in the USA, where they will go to create american jobs and our communities will see the benefit.  Please join me.  Take the Buy American Challenge today!

Here are a few links to stories about the Department of Commerce report on the U.S. trade deficit:   

Washington Post – Rising imports offset U.S. sales abroad By Howard Schneider

Washington Times – U.S. trade deficit goes up by 5 percent By Patrice Hill

AP – US trade deficit widens to $42.3 billion in May By Martin Crutsinger

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


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