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There's Only One American Coffeemaker - Bunn
Our Buy American Mention of the Week!
by Roger Simmermaker
December 6, 2004

There are many areas where it is increasingly difficult to buy American, and one of those areas is the category of small appliances. My Toastmaster toaster oven, Proctor-Silex toaster and Rival crock-pot, for instance, are made in USA, but it seems these companies have moved their production of these items offshore.

I'm not a coffee drinker, but if I was, I would definitely buy a Bunn coffeemaker. Bunn is an American company based in Springfield, Illinois, and all Bunn coffeemakers are assembled in the USA. Every other brand of coffee maker you could name makes their products overseas - usually in China.

Admittedly, "Assembled in USA" is not as good as "Made in USA," but since Bunn is the only game in town, it makes sense to support them over the competition. "Made in USA" means that either "all or virtually all" parts and labor for a given product must be American (the unwritten percentage rule is 98%). "Assembled in USA" means that a product is comprised of foreign and domestic components, but the final assembly is done in this country by American workers.

Back in 1997, the Federal Trade Commission proposed changes to what it means to label a product "Made in USA," and they proposed to change the unwritten rule of 98% American parts and labor to 75%, citing "global economic trends." This would have meant that the "all or virtually all" standard would have been wiped off the books, and a company would now be able to get away with up to 25% foreign parts and labor and still label their product "Made in USA."

Many organizations from labor unions, consumer advocacy groups and even the United States Congress rallied against the proposal as the Federal Trade Commission allowed public comments from all sides on the matter. You can view my official comment to the FTC on June 6, 1997 here: Fortunately, there was enough of a public outcry and the proposal was canned.

If Bunn is using American workers to both produce and assemble their products, it makes sense to channel our dollars to support those American workers since they command higher wages and other factors of American production absent in other countries like unemployment compensation, pensions, vacation, sick leave, and other benefits. We are not just supporting higher wages and therefore a higher standard of living in this country. We are supporting the foundation and infrastructure in this country to pay for the things that "We, the People" have demanded from our government. Only American workers pay taxes to America. The foreign producer, as President William McKinley once put it in, "...contributes nothing to the support, the progress, and the glory of the nation."

Many times, buying American does not cost more, but you might expect to pay a little more for the made in USA product in this case. You'll also have the peace of mind knowing that as you stay up late drinking coffee and wrapping all those Christmas presents for your loved ones nearby, you'll be enabling American workers elsewhere to earn the paychecks necessary to make a nice Christmas for their loved ones, too. Especially at this time of year, knowing that is enough to make spending a few extra dollars worth it.


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