American Only By Name?
Our Buy American Mention of the Week!
by Roger Simmermaker
January 25, 2002 - for the American Reformation Project
As many people already know, or are just now finding out, "Buying American" is much harder than it seems. In addition to looking at products hoping to find "Made in USA" on the package or tag, an untold number of consumers often fall back on how "American" a brand name might sound.
Grey Poupon mustard is American and is made in America by an American company, while French's mustard is made in America by a British company. Swiss Miss is American, but Carnation is owned by the Swiss. The confusion gets worse, and we aren't talking big-ticket items here.
What about the products that actually have "America" or "American" in company name or brand name? Fortunately, some of the more obvious ones like American Honda Corporation are easy to figure out, but what if you were to buy Great American or Pure American natural spring water? If you bought these brands before 1999, you would be lining America's pockets, but if not, you would be lining the pockets of the French. In November 1998, AquaPenn Spring Water, based in Milesburg, PA was bought by Danone Group of France. Such acquisitions call into serious question the advantages, if any, of foreign investment in the United States. Even if all workers remain employed after the takeover and no downsizing takes place, both wealth and tax dollars are siphoned out of the country to pay for the costs of running foreign governments instead of our own.
Few ever take the time to ponder who gets the return on all this foreign investment. If we are going to line someone's pockets, why not line our own? If we keep the tax-generating wealth and profits in America, we will much more easily be able to keep the social fabric of America from fraying, and we all surely benefit from that.