Racked- In a time when no one agrees on anything, some vague consensus can be found around the idea that more American manufacturing would be good. Rarely does someone say publicly, “Actually, I think there should be less American manufacturing.” (Although it happens.)
Politicians, particularly our current president, love to talk about American manufacturing. Donald Trump tried to make the deal he struck to save factory jobs at the Carrier HVAC plant in Indiana a synecdoche for his professed concern over the welfare of the American worker. The deal didn’t stop jobs from moving to Mexico, and when a union leader complained that the arrangement hadn’t improved the lives of the employees as much as it had garnered positive press for the new president, the commander in chief bashed him on Twitter. Between the election and January of this year, the president made 31 claims of adding or saving jobs by intervening with companies; ProPublica found that 90 percent of those jobs were not saved or never materialized. But while the scale of these claims was questionable and the results were missing and the actual effect was actively pretty bad, nearly everyone was able to agree that, in a vacuum, saving those jobs would be a nice thing. More American manufacturing: good.
And yet, there is less. Twelve-and-a-half million Americans worked in manufacturing in 2017, down from 14.1 million 11 years earlier. There’s been some growth since the sector dipped to its lowest point in 2010, as a result of the Great Recession, but American businesses are rarely moved by the common public sentiment to make the change and bring their supply chains (and all the jobs they represent) to the US. As is often the case when there’s agreement that something should change in the United States and still it doesn’t, the answer to the obvious question — who wants to keep the status quo? — is “business.” Or, more and more of late, “capitalism.” If a decision doesn’t cut costs, it’s understood to be bad for business, in violation of the indomitable will of capitalism. And if a decision were to increase costs, well, who would dream of making a decision like that? Not a business person.
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People tend to talk about how they support American Made and how they want to reinvigorate the economy by keeping jobs in the states, but how many of these people act upon their words? Not many. When push comes to shove, it's much easier to establish your production overseas in China or Indonesia or Bangladesh, but there’s not nearly as much pride in that as there is saying that your company fought for what you believed in and is devoted to American Made. What many of these people do not realize is that there isn't instantaneous success when it comes to being American Made, it takes time and hard work. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.” I highly recommend reading the rest of this compelling article, it will certainly change how you think when you pull out your wallet to buy a piece of clothing next time.