The Benefits of Buying American (and Wisconsin) Made
September 10, 2019
- 70 percent of Americans think it’s important to buy American-made goods and 60 percent are willing to pay more for a “Made in the USA” tag
- Made in America supports higher-paying manufacturing jobs, a cleaner environment, and stronger human rights
- Affordable American-made companies for you to consider
Want to help on trade? Buy “Made in America” when you can.
Jobs, higher wages, consumer spending, and economic growth are all tied to goods manufactured here in America. Whether it’s toys, electronics or agricultural products, American-made is vital to the health of our economy.
But although we’d love to buy 100 percent made in America, it’s impossible to manufacturer everything here at home. Take a computer for example, which is made up of steel, glass, gold, bauxite, silica sand, iron ore… you get the idea. While electronics-makers may assemble computers here in the US, it’s unlikely that all the raw materials required can be mined here. It’s just a fact of trade and the way goods are made: some countries are more rich in certain raw materials than others. A healthy trade relationship with foreign partners ensures US-based companies can keep up with demand while maintaining a reasonable price for consumers.
You’ve probably never heard of indium, the raw material that goes into most LCD TVs and solar panels. The US has a scarce supply of indium compared to other countries like Canada, the largest exporter of indium at 75 tons per year. To keep up with how much Americans are buying, US-based companies rely on imported indium rather than mining it here at home.
However, outsourcing raw materials doesn’t mean we shouldn’t buy American-made products as often as possible. Plus, the more goods we make here and sell to American consumers, the less business we give to other countries… which is important leverage while we hash out this whole trade-war thing.
“Made in the USA” often comes with a higher price tag, but it’s a price nearly 60 percent of Americans say they are willing to pay because of the economic benefits that come with buying American-made goods. We’ve hand-selected our favorite affordable options for you to consider:
Back to school: buy Crayola when the kids have an art project due
Take a ride: is there a more famous American-made brand than Harley Davidson?
Sweet tooth: when you’re craving chocolate, go with Pennsylvania-based Hershey’s
Household appliances: go with the KitchenAid brand (now owned by Whirlpool)
New clothes: any of these top 25 American-made clothing brands
For Wisconsinites looking for even more local goods, there’s plenty of “Made in Wisconsin” to go around. Need a new flower vase? Check out handcrafted Rowe Pottery based in Cambridge, WI. Bathroom faucet need replacing? Buy Kohler, based out of Kohler, Wisconsin. Know a guy who’s always looking for a cool pair of socks? Introduce him to Wigwam Mills, a Sheboygan-based sock manufacturer.
What other benefits come from buying American-made?
The benefits of buying American-made goods aren’t just related to your wallet. Money Crashers outlines a few important benefits of buying local, including a lower carbon footprint, less pollution, and better human rights.
The US has stricter laws and regulations. Thanks to the Clean Air and Water Acts, Toxic Substances Control Act, and EPA inspections, American companies have to jump through more hoops before sending a product to market. That means better, healthier products that have less likelihood of being recalled. Interestingly, China had 179 product recalls in 2016 compared to just 73 for the US.
More goods made here means less pollution. Global shipping alone accounts for 2.5 percent of all carbon emissions on the planet, and shipping emissions are expected to increase from 50 percent to 250 percent by 2050. When we buy and sell goods at home, it cuts out the pollution associated with transporting items across the globe. Plus, US factories pollute much less than other countries.
Making products in America protects human rights. It’s hard to get a good look at how workers are treated in foreign countries that make the products we buy. Take Bangladesh for example, where a 2006 report uncovered child labor being used to make clothing sold at Walmart and JCPenney. Or in China, where workers producing toys for Hasbro, Mattel, and Disney were being treated more like prisoners than valued employees.
In addition to being better for the environment and human rights, one other significant benefit of “Made in the USA” is innovation. Creating new products and better technology helps America stay ahead of the competition and ensure our jobs remain competitive in the global marketplace. Advanced manufacturing in the US is responsible for 75 percent of all research and development in the private sector, and this innovation in turn creates high-paying manufacturing jobs that average $26 per hour.
The bottom line? Buy American-made when you can, because it supports higher-paying jobs, a stronger economy, a cleaner environment, and happier workers. It also gives us more leverage in trade negotiations, which will lead to a better outcome for our companies and worker’s Paychecks.