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Made in the USA - Why Buy American?
When you are about to make a purchase, do you ever ask yourself, “Is this American-made?” Perhaps you should. You have no doubt heard people go on about how important it is to buy products that are “proudly made in the USA.” Many studies are conducted on this topic in the hopes of coming up with facts and figures to persuade people to “buy American.” Distinct rules have been laid out and laws put in place detailing the conditions by which a company may declare that its product is “Made in America” and the penalties for making false claims.
Why all the fuss over a simple statement? Surely this is not simply a matter of national pride. When dire factors such as personal safety and economic security are weighed in, the gravity of the situation starts to become evident. It is not just something veterans and politicians act on for the sake of sentiment or affiliation.
How Seriously Is It Taken?
If a company is found to be misleading consumers – even slightly – into thinking that its product is American-made (by, say, adding a U.S. flag or the outline of our nation onto its packaging), they will be found in violation of the Made in USA standard and must answer to the Federal Trade Commission. Charged with protecting consumers’ rights for over one hundred years, the FTC will determine the extent of the violation and enforce that the company take action to rectify its mistake. Repeated offenses may carry heavy fines.
So why do some companies risk making false claims? For starters, companies are expected to follow the rules independently, and the FTC doesn’t actively inspect claims without good reason and relies on consumers to report to them when they believe companies are being fraudulent. Plus, when you consider how a recent Consumer Reports survey showed that nearly 80% of American consumers prefer to buy American – and over 60% would purchase a higher-priced item that is American-made over a cheaper one that is not – it becomes apparent why a company might chance it.
What makes it difficult for the consumer is that there is no set label that identifies something as being all-American. Companies may create their own stickers and logos, and there are different distinctions between content and manufacture. Certain conditions will allow a claim of being “Assembled in USA” without additional mention of its inclusion of foreign parts. And even products with legitimate Made in USA claims may contain a small amount of foreign material in their construction.
Look for iconic American imagery on packages or ads that show when a company is trying to promote its dedication to American commerce, and learn to identify when added wording in the logos reveals certain exceptions they are trying to slip by the public eye. This will help you commit to buying American without uncertainty.
But Why Should I Buy American?
There are many reasons given for why it benefits Americans to stand by their nation’s manufacturing, but it really boils down to the healthy condition of three vital factors of everyday life: the individual, the environment and the economy. These three aspects, the modern day equivalent of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, must be preserved in order for future generations to be able to enjoy the type of untainted lifestyle we strive to provide for them.
HEALTHY CONSUMER – When you buy something manufactured here on domestic soil, you can be secure in the knowledge that it is composed of material that will not harm you. Routine testing by the Consumer Product Safety Commission is conducted to detect the presence of toxic elements in items found in your home. Other countries do not adhere to the same safety regulations, which is why there are so many recalls of foreign-made products such as children’s toys made with hazardous lead paint.
HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT – With regulations set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency, we know that manufacturers are required to do all they can to prevent pollution and other environmental hazards from spoiling our planet. But the EPA is an American organization, and foreign manufacturers are not bound by its edicts. Continuing to support these offending companies defeats the efforts of the domestic agencies whose noble goals we are so proud of.
An additional aspect of this would be the needs of our global society. We have addressed the safety of the individual as a consumer, but what about the exploited individual in a factory or workshop? The Fair Labor Standards Act ensures that American employees are protected from unfair labor practices and can enjoy safe working conditions, reasonable hour limitations and salaries that reflect their efforts. Overseas, there still exist factories that abuse workers, demand long hours at unreasonable wages and force children to work in order to meet greater demand.
HEALTHY ECONOMY – Whereas it is easy for us to picture what a healthy individual or even a healthy environment may look like, it is not as simple to grasp the concept of a healthy economy. The economy is not a living thing. Money is not alive. And yet the term healthy is often used to describe national conditions that are utterly inorganic, as if they were living things.
A healthy economy is one that prospers. It thrives on its own, doesn’t require assistance from others and provides for its own constituents. An unhealthy one naturally seeks aid from foreign sources, a situation that can escalate into immense foreign debt. And if a country imports more than it exports, its resulting trade deficit makes this condition worse. Keeping American dollars within our economy – buying from companies that build domestically using American materials – helps keep our economy healthy. Money from purchases, wages, taxes and production circulate in a self-contained cycle that may be thought of as our nation’s circulatory system.
Havahart Does Its Part
Understanding the importance for America to look after its own, Havahart helps contribute to the health of our nation by manufacturing nearly all of its animal traps domestically. With over seven decades of experience selling animal traps, Havahart sees the value of producing locally and manufactures many of its products in Pennsylvania, one of America’s most historically relevant states.
Let us know how you feel and whether it matters to you that the products you buy are made in the USA. Add a comment below, or visit our Facebook page to tell us whether you are Proud to Buy American!