ďAs I See It: Buy American"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, June 12, 2009

In September of 2007, I wrote a column about a massive recall of toys made in China for American companies. It was headline news how paints used in various manners were said to contain dangerous levels of toxic lead. These products were not “copy-cats,” they were produced under contract by U.S. companies.

At the time, questions were raised regarding how huge toymakers could even survive because of the extent of the recalls. There were threats that heavy fines were to be levied for non-compliance.

According to today’s news, the threats were just that and they were ignored or made to go away. Large toymakers are still contracting to have products produced in China by the same companies that used lead content in the past.

When I did a follow-up on some of the recalled toys in 2007, I found retail outlets that (in spite of national news coverage) claimed they had not received information regarding the products still on their shelves. Some told me they had to have the UPC code numbers from the manufacturer before they could dispose of the recalled items. Do retailers know who the manufacturers were? How could the general public ever know if the retailer even got a recall notice?

Are there ways we — the consumers — have of finding out if the toys were actually ever recalled? And what happened to them if they were? Are they simply being re-cycled through dollar stores? As I see it, products made in China, Korea, Taiwan or any other country that are inferior, and pose a danger to our youngsters health, should be banned from shelves in the U.S. FOREVER.

Although we as purchasers of the foreign made products may save money buying them, the big profits go to the big name company whose name appears on the package. The same company, in many cases, who built factories overseas and hired people that work for pennies compared to wages paid the workforce of laid off employees in the U.S.

With just a little research you could find many U.S. companies who own manufacturing facilities in China and elsewhere overseas. The sad thing is these U.S. companies pay so much less to have their products made that they can sell them for a third off and still make twice the profit a U.S. produced company can make.

The reality is, we can’t blame the foreign countries who welcome U.S. COMPANIES and accept their commerce. It’s those U.S. COMPANIES who are committing harm to our youngsters. They produce toxic goods, made cheap with inferior elements.

We need to stop buying products made overseas — no matter what the price is. We need to decide how much we can afford to spend, and perhaps only purchase half as many items.

We need to acknowledge what we do spend will contribute to keeping jobs in the U.S. that keep our friends and neighbors working.

Make a vow as we hear of more and more people laid off of work — if it doesn’t say “Made in the USA,” don’t buy it. It would not take too long to convince the foreign made producers that they cannot take our jobs AND our money to make illegal, low quality products. If we demand “Made in the USA,” products we may have to pay a little more for them but the quality would be superior.

I just went to my clothes closet and discovered 13 out of 14 of my shirts were made overseas; Korea, Mexico, Thailand, Honduras, El Salvador, Jordon, India and the list goes on. The items aren’t cheap T-shirts with advertising — many are dress shirts. My wife Pat did a little better, only 12 of 14 were made in other countries. She was thrilled that her Red Wings jersey was MADE IN THE USA. Check your own closet; you’ll be just as surprised as I was. Do the same thing with your tool box, you will find 90 percent of its contents, including the box itself, were made overseas.

No matter where you look, it’s hard to find anything that says, “Made in the USA.” If we all begin insisting we want products made here — and buy those we find that are made here, it won’t be long before there are more. Farmers markets are a good place to start. We can create jobs and provide better quality of life, especially for innocent youngsters.

This article was written in the USA, by a USA writer!

Capt. Fred Davis is a retired charter captain and nationally published author of boating articles. His “As I See It” appears Fridays in the Tribune and Boat Smart articles are published in each edition of the Thumb Resorter plus on line at www.captainfredsboattips.com.

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