Monday, June 20, 2005

The Rant

GM is a hot topic of conversation, and the subject of this week's "On the Money," the N-S's new Rant-like feature in their Monday business section. Here are a few of our favorites:
I buy American-made vehicles. It is so important to support our country and our jobs. People need to stop buying foreign products. Our government sold this great country out by allowing so many imports and letting our jobs go to other countries. We all can try to help bring our jobs back by refusing to buy foreign made vehicles and products. I realize the price is a little more on American-made products, but the quality is better. I, for one, am tired of cheapness and am willing to save longer to get the things I need, which are American made. And by doing this, I am saving someone’s job!
I'm not sure how many other people are tired of cheapness -- I'm sure not. But maybe spending more than you have to is the new economic rage! (Not likely.)
Yes, I only buy American-made products if possible. Not only my auto, but all the way down to my American-made socks. Without these jobs in our community you lose the tax base for many things that we take for granted, such as water, sewer and electric. If you lose them you still have bonds out in many communities to support the expanded services. Who will get to pay for these? We the users will pay through rate increases. Also upon the loss of American jobs, you will get to assist in paying for unemployment and medical benefits, as well as the tax base you lost when the industry left.

Don’t forget the most important thing: the trickle-down effect compliments of Reagan. You will not need as many other jobs from the suppliers to the factories to the banks, grocery stores, clothing stores, fast food, schools and many others. So look to see where it was made before you buy. The small amount you save in the beginning may cost you dearly in the years to come.
Low prices are a good thing. No, we don't want cheap prices at the cost of humane working conditions, but there's nothing wrong with buying the least expensive item, regardless of where it was produced. That's not heartless, that's capitalism -- and it's also progress. Some things are better off made in other countries. Do I really care where my socks were made? No. I care that they're comfortable, offer the support I demand and are available for a reasonable price. You want to be in the sock business? Then make good, cheap socks. If you can do that best by opening a factory in Honduras, well, hey, Hondurans need jobs too.

Let's take a look at a local company. Vera Bradley. We all love it so well. They do good work in the community. Their former chairman, Pat Miller, is our state's Secretary of Commerce. And they manufacture their bags right here in Fort Wayne. But they don't have college graduates working at their factory. No, many of their employees are, um, how does one say this gently...immigrants who may or may not be in this country legally. And they're working in conditions that one person who toured the factory used the term "sweatshop" to describe. I think there's a story there for an enterprising reporter who wants to expose the dark side of a local company.

The point is that there are issues with domestic and foreign companies, and buying American doesn't always really mean buying American or that you're helping out the U.S. or local economy more than you would by buying a cheaper foreign-made product. We the public put our trust in journalists to inform us of the things that we don't have time to go out and investigate ourselves, and the working conditions at the factories where the things we buy are made certainly fall into that category.

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