According to the US Census Bureau, 30 years ago exports and imports with China mostly offset, and there was no trade deficit. By 2017 the trade deficit with China was $375.6 billion, and also over $60 billion each with Germany, Japan and Mexico.
Imports from China include computers and electronics and other manufactured goods; Germany, Japan and Mexico trade deficits are influenced especially by the automobile industry.
How did this happen? Cheap labor is a significant explanation. Most of these countries sought to improve the standard of living for their citizens. The result is that US consumer goods often can be made less expensively overseas – we get cheaper cell phones, televisions, and automobiles, but the manufacturing jobs, often higher paying, are gone and instead we have become a service economy, and we often hear that the middle class has suffered.
We like to say “American as apple pie” which brings to mind a huge American success story. Apple designs its products in California. But guess what? They’re manufactured in China. Baseball, the “American pastime” uses Rawlings balls which historically were manufactured in St. Louis, Missouri. Now they’re made in Costa Rica. The Barbie doll was manufactured here until 2002, but then Mattel decided to have it manufactured in China where labor assembly is cheaper.
An article in The Regional Economist, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, estimates that Americans benefit $260 per year because of imports. So is $260/year worth the disruption to American workers’ lives? It doesn’t seem like it, especially if workers end up in retail jobs or gig jobs like Uber. Until education better prepares workers for the service economy, many will be worse off.
Why does all this matter? Should we care about buying Made in America? The easy answer is yes. Here’s why:
- The recession of 2008 should be recent enough in our minds to help us realize the importance of keeping manufacturing jobs in the USA.
- Environmental concerns. The “carbon footprint” increases when we buy goods from far away. We use more fuel to transport merchandise across long distances compared to goods made in America. And the ocean liners that transport goods are notorious for spilling oil into harbors and the seas.
- As we celebrate our patriotism, know that relying on outside countries to provide our products is not a good way to promote our independence. Our country was once a global manufacturing powerhouse and we need to make sure we can produce our own goods for our own economic and political health.
- Quality Control. The government monitors the way many products are made and tested in the United States. We have less control over the standards used in other countries. Toys made in China and sold in the United States, for example, had to be recalled due to the high lead content which can make children very sick and damage their ability to learn.
- Safe and fair working conditions. The government ensures that United States factories follow safety standards and promote healthy work environments. Foreign countries lie outside of our jurisdiction. Images of child labor in sweat shops abroad should cause a shudder to our conscience.
So how do we become better consumers of made in USA products?
- First, learn about the products you use. Only the automobile and textile industries in our country are required to label where product is made. If you drive a Chevy or Ford, in general you are driving an American car. Mitsubishi cars?
- Your clothing labels will state where textiles are made, usually in Asia. Start checking and you will see “Made in China”, “Made in Viet Nam” on most of your clothing tags. Begin to become aware. For other companies like those that sell furniture or electronics, you may need to dig deeper.
- Visit websites. Learn about the history of a company. Many Made in America businesses are family-owned. Supporting local businesses supports the community by adding to the tax base and helping the local economy – it keeps jobs in the community. Start buying made in America. Learn about who is trying to enhance made in America products and support them.
Custom Water Bottles Made in USA
Lively Bottle custom water bottles made in USA are our answer to this issue. We create American jobs. Most reusable water bottles are made in China because they’re cheap. But as noted above, you’re rewarding foreign workers at the expense of American workers, and hurting the environment.
Lively Bottle custom water bottles made in USA are made from BPA-free Tritan plastic. Our bottles contain 19 oz and are double-walled to keep drinks cold and hot (coffee, too) longer. The bottles and lids are dishwasher-safe and therefore easy to sanitize, unlike water bottles with small openings or lids with straws and other impossible-to-clean parts.
Since Lively Bottles are made in USA, we are able to quickly deliver custom and personalized water bottles using our beautiful printing process. Our custom water bottles have no minimum order size, and they conveniently fit in backpacks, bike cages, cup holders, and small and large hands.
We invite you to contact our design expert [email protected] for assistance.
Thank you for considering our custom water bottles made in USA!