Policies that are Fundamentally Unfair to US Manufacturers

Off the Wall

Mike – I just saw a clip of you talking about the fact that most people who say they support American-made products, won’t buy the products unless they cost the same or less than the imported version. How do you know this is true? And how can you blame people for not paying extra for American goods, when so many are pinching pennies?
Sarah Joyner

Hi Sarah
The clip you’re talking about, I think, is attached, and tells the anecdotal story of my experience with Lee and Wrangler jeans. It’s a true story, and similar to ones I’ve heard from many other manufactures trying to make stuff here. (You can tell it’s true because, as the video indicates, I’m now a “Thought Leader,” and a thought leader would never lie.)

To be clear, I would never “blame” anyone for choosing a more affordable, foreign made alternative. I would, however, challenge the belief held by many, that most people will pay a little bit extra for a domestic alternative, if given the choice. From what I’ve seen, that’s just not the case. Like a lot of other virtuous signals, support for all things “Made in the USA” is easy to declare, but harder to actually do. When it comes right down to it, most people don’t put their money where their mouths are.

Again – in the context of the whole interview – I wasn’t criticizing the consumer. We can’t willingly enter a “global economy,” and then bitch when our people buy foreign made goods, for whatever reason. My criticism had more to do with the many policies that are fundamentally unfair to US manufacturers. Why, for instance, would we compel US companies to absorb the cost of following all of the rules and regulations and compliance requirements that protect the rights of workers, but do business with countries have no such requirements? In what world is that remotely fair? Why do we think we can have it both ways?

My larger point in the interview, was to encourage our elected officials to level the playing field.

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