Monday, September 5, 2011

September 5, 2011 – Made in the USA

Take the Labor Day Challenge. The American unemployment rate is officially at 9.1%. In real terms the rate is about 20% if you count those whose benefits have run out, are not eligible and/or are underemployed. The Labor Day Challenge is to try to find something in your home that is Made in the USA. Antiques and vintage items don’t count. Nor does the crafty coffee mug made by a niece or nephew. Also, food items are off the list. At least we still produce most of what we eat in America. Now, look for things in your home, every day items, clothing, etc. that were manufactured in the United States.

See, it’s not as easy as you think. There is virtually nothing. I do have some everyday drinking glasses that were made in New Jersey (I was shocked when I read the package at my neighborhood hardware store). But it is really hard to find anything you might buy that is actually made in the United States.

People everywhere in the world need decent work and an opportunity to make a living. It’s not that America should stop importing goods. The issue is we need to also make goods and be an exporter as well as an importer. The key to getting everyone back to work is to make more stuff here.

As for the challenge, the winner is art supplies. I have art supplies from all over — scissors from Finland, brushes from the Dominican Republic and Japan and the 4”x4” canvases I use are from China. That said, I was finding quite a few things that were Made in USA, from paper, to my Sharpies, tape, the Golden Medium, and most of my rulers. The Utrecht acrylic paints I use are also Made in the USA. At least when I buy supplies and make art I am helping to keep other Americans working. Now to find some sneakers made in America…..

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