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It’s Not a New Lamp, It’s an Investment in America
Our Buy American Mention of the Week!
by Roger Simmermaker
April 19, 2008

Have you ever wanted to buy decorative items to accent and beautify your home but were hesitant because you figured finding anything on your list with a "Made in USA" label on it was next to impossible? With one visit to the Decorator’s Chest Home Décor Collection at www.decoratorschest.com, you’ll see just how incredibly possible it is to buy anything from lamps, mirrors, art, clocks, metal décor and other fixtures and accessories for your home that are produced here at home.

And we’re not talking about just a few insignificant knickknacks. The number of items in their American-made inventory is amazing. There are 1,152 lamps, 1,188 mirrors, 1,013 art selections, 678 clocks and accessories, and 275 lighting fixtures. Literally everything on the www.decoratorschest.com website is made in the USA.

Right now you can get free shipping on everything in their online catalog, and if you’re a new customer like me, you can save an additional 10% off your order.

These are not cheaply-made choices from China, so don’t expect to come away with a table lamp for your living room for $40.00. The home furnishings category is one where buying American is going to cost you more money. But when we do end up paying more to buy American, here’s how I think we ought to frame our thinking on the subject. It’s not an extra cost - it’s an investment in America.

Shifting gears from home to automotive, if you’re looking for seat covers for your vehicle, you might pay a visit to www.coverking.com and click on the "custom seat covers" link. All Coverking custom seat covers are made in California, and the company does not hide the fact that their employees are well paid with a more-livable wage and enjoy such benefits like medical insurance and a clean, comfortable working environment.

If you visit Marathon Seat Cover at www.marathonseatcovers.com you’ll discover that all their seat covers are made in USA and produced in Bozeman, Montana. Marathon makes seat covers for most automakers and caters to workmen, hunters, fishermen and families. They know that only by generating satisfaction for their customers can they generate profits for their company, which enables them to grant good pay and benefits for their employees.

Textbook free trade theorists would have you believe the best strategy for America is for the companies listed above to pay lower wages so consumers could buy the products they make at lower prices. But in this scenario we can only hope that prices fall faster and farther than wages to come out ahead. American companies need adequate profits to pay good wages to attract good, productive, high-skilled workers. American workers should be viewed as potential contributors to a productive U.S. economy and not labor cost problems to be dealt with.

Paying American workers adequate and fair wages makes for a motivated American workforce which in turn can result in higher quality and lower prices through greater productivity. In fact, history shows that higher quality and lower prices go hand in hand. In 1900, Secretary of State John Hay said, "The United States is approaching. . .a position of eminence in the world's markets, due to superior quality and greater cheapness of . . . its manufactures."

The former Secretary of State was speaking from experience. From 1870 to 1900, domestic prices for American products made behind protective tariff walls fell substantially. Prices for textiles and household furnishings fell 30 percent in that 30 year period, while metal products fell 49 percent and chemicals fell 41 percent. The increased efficiency of domestic production protected behind tariff walls was well on its way to paying off for both workers who saw their incomes rise and consumers who saw prices drop. The economic connection between high tariffs and low prices was solidified during the golden age of protectionism.

If we expect to achieve these same attributes in our economy today through expanding free trade which often leads to cut-throat competition from abroad, then we’re in for a rude awakening. Direct competition through free trade with third world countries that pay pennies-on-the-hour wages can only destine us to a future of lower wages and reduced consumption. That doesn’t bode well for an economy where 70 percent of economic activity is made up of consumer spending. Americans can only be as affluent as consumers as we are wage earners.

Roger Simmermaker is the author of How Americans Can Buy American: The Power of Consumer Patriotism. He also writes "Buy American Mention of the Week" articles for his website www.howtobuyamerican.com and is a member of the Machinists Union and National Writers Union. Roger has been a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, has been quoted in the USA Today, Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report among many other publications, and is now a weekly contributor to WorldNetDaily.


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