CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- We have been bombarded recently about outsourcing -- the shift of manufacturing goods to places where labor costs are lower. For a long time, my own conviction was, "Buy only American made!" After all, any dummy knows that raw materials and wages originating in the USA spread prosperity throughout our economy.
All the 19 vehicles I have owned were built by Ford, GM or Chrysler and members of the United Auto Workers except for a brand new one made by now defunct AMC, which was an original source of the Romney family's great wealth. The company was then headed by Mitt Romney's father, George, who made huge profits by selling shoddy junk under a "patriotic" company name -- American Motors.
That 1960 model AMC was the only lemon among those 19. It received two engines, three transmissions and a complete front suspension in three years, by which time the body was horribly rusted out. It all started not long after their 90-day new car warranty expired.
Conversely, I drove the same 1968 GMC pickup for 25 years until it suddenly threw a rod. Never any major repairs. My 1987 Chevy truck is celebrating its silver anniversary.
Proof some "American made" is good, some isn't.
By the mid-1980s, Zenith was the only company still making TV sets in America. I paid $799 for a 27-inch one, rejecting Japanese brands selling for $300. That most Americans shopped price, not patriotically, soon afterward shut Zenith down. The next TV I bought, 16 years later for $325, a 27" RCA, was "Assembled in Mexico" (using parts made in Asia).
Why can't we find clothing, shoes, housewares, any kind of electronics or even a yo-yo "Made in USA?"
Our envious standard of living, fueled by wages far above those paid in third-world countries, makes the production cost of many consumer goods here so high that most people simply cannot or will not pay the price American manufacturers need to stay in business.