Friday, December 09, 2016

Buying American will not be an easy path



 American consumers have both poor memories and the ability to quickly adapt to inferior “improved” products. We express our displeasure to each other, but continue to purchase the less than improved items and before long, they become the new standard. We adapt and move on. A good example is the plastic bag inside a box of cereal. At one time it was easy open wax paper or a plastic product that came apart with an ease a 5 year old could accomplish.

Try to open one of these bags now without a pair of scissors and you will need a broom and dustpan. A personal trainer friend of mine recently posted on Facebook a perfect example of this phenomenon. “Evidently my muscles are only good for lifting weights, as I cannot get the wrapper open on my protein bar.”

Aside from a boycott, competition is the best way to keep any one company or country from making too much money. The biggest richest company in the world right now is the Communist government of China. They finance, oversee, control, subsidize, and back everything made in China.  Like Disneyworld in Orlando, all roads lead to their coffers. They dump their goods on the USA while taking very little back except maybe our cigarettes. We do have the best tobacco and they haven’t yet learned how devastating smoking is to their health. Another truth is a lot of the products brought here do not translate well from their perspective to ours.

Here is what I think will happen if Donald Trump effectively levels the trade playing field with foreign countries and forces American companies to build American only and be warned, it will get very ugly. I say ugly not because I think it is the wrong thing to do, but because our country lives on instant gratification and perceived deals. I’ve already pointed out that quality can be compromised, as it interferes with our gluttonous need for instant gratification. “We want what we want and we want it now”, said Jim Morrison and he couldn’t have been more right.

Initially we will see a sharp rise in prices on imported goods, which will generate a lot of negative feelings with the press and the consumer. The replacement American produced products will cost more for basically the same stuff as we were getting from China and other mass-producing countries as American companies scrabble to meet the customer demands.  There may be quality issues involved, which will be eliminated when competitors enter the fray. There will be 3-4 year period of time where almost anything we bought from these countries costs more. As we agonizingly adjust, Trump’s policies will be hammered ad nauseum, but there is a silver lining awaiting us.

The first business to collapse will be the dollar stores. Wal-Mart, the once all American store will take a giant hit, as will other import-heavy businesses.

Competing American companies will be the logical answer to prices dropping and this could take every bit of 4-5 years. In the meantime, we will see a more balanced distribution of monies to the workers and company profits will peak, and then level out as the world market adjusts. It goes without saying that countries like China will scream foul as the elephant riding the bicycle can no longer keep moving forward. Heck, they’ve already started crying foul. They may even threaten to go to war with us.

American entrepeneurialship and creativity will result in innovative products we long forgot were even available, like an actual vent on a gas can, so it doesn't burp out all over the place when fueling the lawn mower. Instead of cheap junk that only adds to the other substandard stuff we accept as quality, we will see pioneered and competitive products offered and if they can’t live up to expectations, another company will build a better one.

I once again go back to the current Chinese-made gas can. The spout is not built to pour. It is a flexible piece of tubing that degrades in about a year and spills gas all over everything when pouring. The crux of the matter is, this is all that is available, because all of them come from China. American companies don’t even try to compete, because you can just go buy another cheaply made one.

Now mind you, this American innovative change will not happen overnight and there will be a lot of perceived pain, suffering, and sacrifice as we adjust to not getting our cheaply-made baubles when we want them. In some areas we will see a price reduction as we become less dependent on foreign products, namely fossil fuel derivatives. Possibly agricultural products will also see a reduction in prices as farmer’s markets will compete with grocery stores. We have made other countries and governments rich beyond all reason by purchasing or outsourcing so many products and I do believe Donald Trump is on the right track. I may have to cinch up my belt a notch or two while it all comes about, but I understand the need for it.

Lop-sided trade deals that favor every country but ours, needs to stop and the sooner we renegotiate these contracts the better. To sum up one logical person, “This ain’t no way to run a business.”
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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Deb Hearn: Lots to think about Bert Marshall. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Mimsy: Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Jason McGrew: Yea.. I'm not so sure... and what kind of wussy can't open cereal bags...? Maybe it's an evolutionary thing as I have no problems. ;)

Anonymous said...

Betty Lansford: Interesting read. Ty!

Anonymous said...

Amy Winans: All the Millennials can now get to work on something practical and pragmatic...and powerful aka American Innovation. Hope we still have what it takes!

Anonymous said...

John Frock: Great Column! If businesses can escape the unions (which I know quite a bit about) prices wouldn’t necessarily have to skyrocket. Government and unions have destroyed our industrial and manufacturing, output and productivity. Management took the easy way when the unions went crazy. They demanded themselves right out of jobs with the blessings of of the DC dummies.

Anonymous said...

Jason McGrew: Wishful thinking maybe. Prophetic? Only time will tell.

. . . . . said...

This article sums it up nicely: https://fee.org/articles/how-government-wrecked-the-gas-can/

Thankfully, we have an anchor!

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