Thank you from the Tim Gill Center for Public Media and our collaborative partners for your participation in the 2016-2017 Citizen Journalism contest. This year’s theme was inspired by life in Colorado. To learn more, visit the Colorado Encyclopedia.
We are happy to announce this year’s Citizen Journalism contest winners:
WRITTEN ARTICLE: “Many reasons to by American” by Rick Sheridan
Recently, I read a slogan that got my attention. It said: “We’re willing to die for our country, but are we willing to buy for it?” This idea was from a documentary, “Made in USA: A 30 Day Journey.”
Josh Miller, the film’s narrator and primary actor, pledged to live off of American-made products and services for 30 days. In this tragi-comedy, he struggled from day-to-day to find American goods for basic living, such as eating, showering, transportation, etc. There are many important reasons to purchase American made products that are worth considering.
There has been plenty of other media coverage of this topic. ABC World News produced a series, “Made in America,” focusing on American manufacturing. Their research found that in 1960, foreign goods made up only 8 percent of Americans’ purchases. Today, almost 60 percent of everything we buy is made overseas. If every American spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.-made goods, it would create almost 10,000 new jobs in this country.
According to Roger Simmermaker of the New York Times, adding more American manufacturing jobs not only reduces the unemployment rate, but also expands the tax base to pay for benefits, like Medicare and Social Security. The Center for Automotive Research estimates that every new job in auto production actually can support nine other jobs, from grocery store employees to landscape contractors.
There are several environmental concerns with purchasing overseas products. Many products made in China actually start their life in the U.S. as raw materials. They are shipped back to the U.S. as consumer goods. This creates unnecessary petroleum consumption and emissions.
Also, manufacturing facilities overseas are not held to the same standards as American manufacturing facilities. Many companies overseas use dangerous, toxic processes. This pollution can eventually travel back to the U.S.
Besides the environment, there are labor concerns: Many countries have no minimum wage standards, no child labor laws, or the minimum wage is terribly low. No Western nation can ultimately compete on price with a country willing to use these tactics. Buying American sends a message that this is unacceptable.
Economic considerations: The huge U.S. trade deficit leads to massive, unsustainable borrowing from other countries. Buying American creates a multiplier effect of jobs and supports many other workers in production and distribution. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, for every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.40 is added to the economy. That is the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector.
Despite all of the problems mentioned here, there are some positive developments. According to Heesun Wee, of CNBC.com, Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, recently announced it will boost sourcing of U.S. products by $50 billion during the next 10 years. General Electric is investing $1 billion through 2014 to revitalize its U.S. appliances business and create more than 1,500 U.S. jobs.
Even a minor difference in your buying habits will impact our local, regional, and national economy. Try not to adopt the cynical attitude that your voice is not being heard in Washington.
Call your representatives and let them know why this is important to you. Finally, tell your local shop owners you would like to see them carry more “Made in USA” products. The key ingredient is probably the self-discipline to resist the lower prices of overseas imports.
PHOTOJOURNALISM: Coverage of the Women’s March in Denver (January 21, 2017) by Julie White
AUDIO: “Chavez Gallery” by Chloe Brooks-Kistler.
VIDEO: “Grupo Tlaloc’s 35th Annual Xupantla Ceremony” by Junior Robinson