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Tony's Tip of the Month! - AUG '11


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BORN IN THE U.S.A.

-PART 2-

Last month, I left off with this very interesting cliffhanger:

What can be done as Americans to reverse this trend?

There are over 300 million people living in America. If each adult American would shift $20 a month spending to American made products, that itself would create Millions of new jobs.

That sounds great and I’m all for it. But there’s a wrinkle. Let me read from a portion of the federal trade commission website.

FTC Explains ‘Made in USA’ Standard To Confirm Consumer Confidence

In the aftermath of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, news reports suggest that more American consumers are seeking out products that are "Made in the USA" with the expectation that the claim is truthful and accurate.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, "Made in USA" means that "all or virtually all" the product was, indeed, made in America. The agency enforces the standard to ensure commercial compliance and confirm consumer confidence.

For a "Made in USA" claim to be accurate, all significant parts, processing and labor that go into the product must be of US origin. Products should not contain any — or only negligible — foreign content.

According to FTC officials, there's no law that requires manufacturers and marketers of most products to disclose US content. In fact, except for automobiles and textile and wool products, it's a manufacturer or advertiser's choice to say whether a product is domestic. But those who choose to make the claim must adhere to the "all or virtually all" standard.

While the FTC enforces the "Made in USA" standard, it's the US Customs Service that oversees the requirements that imported goods be marked with a foreign country of origin (for example, "Made in Japan").

So what are we saying here?

Is anything made in the USA anymore?

You'd be surprised. Let me quote some portions from an article written by Stephen Manning. (Link to original article.)


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Published: Friday, February 20, 2009

It seems as if the country that used to make everything is on the brink of making nothing. In January, 207,000 US manufacturing jobs vanished in the largest one-month drop since October 1982. US factory activity is hovering at a 28-year low. Even before the recession, plants were hemorrhaging work to foreign competitors with low-cost labor. And some companies were moving production overseas.

But manufacturing in the United States is not dead or even dying. It is moving upscale, following the biggest profits and becoming more efficient, just as Henry Ford did when he created the assembly line to make the Model T car.

The United States remains by far the world's leading manufacturer by value of goods produced. It hit a record $1.6 trillion in 2007 - nearly double the $811 billion of 1987. For every $1 of value produced in China factories, the United States generates $2.50.


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So what is made in the USA these days?

The United States sold more than $200 billion worth of aircraft, missiles and space-related equipment in 2007, and $80 billion worth of autos and auto parts. Deere, best known for its bright green and yellow tractors, sold $16.5 billion worth of farming equipment last year, much of it to the rest of the world.

Then there are energy products like gas turbines for power plants made by General Electric, computer chips from Intel and fighter jets from Lockheed Martin. Household names like GE, General Motors, International Business Machines, Boeing and Hewlett-Packard are among the largest manufacturers by revenue.

Several trends have emerged over the decades:

  • The United States makes things that other countries cannot.
  • Today, "Made in USA" is more likely to be stamped on heavy equipment or the circuits that go inside other products than the televisions, toys, clothes and other items found on store shelves.
  • US companies have shifted toward high-end manufacturing as the production of low-value goods has moved overseas. This has resulted in lower prices for shoppers and higher profits for companies.
  • When demand slumps, all types of manufacturing jobs are lost. Some higher-end jobs - but not all - return with good times. Workers who make goods produced less expensively overseas suffer.

Once this recession runs its course, surviving manufacturers will emerge more efficient and profitable, economists say. More valuable products will be made using fewer people. Products will be made where labor and other costs are less expensive. And manufacturers will focus on the most lucrative products.

About 12.7 million US workers, or 8 percent of the labor force, still held manufacturing jobs as of last month. Fifty years ago, 14.6 million people, or 28 percent of all US workers, were employed in factories. The numbers – though painful to those who lost jobs – show how companies are making more with less.

Still, the perception of decline is likely to grow as factories and jobs vanish and imports rise for most goods we buy at stores.

Thirty years ago, US producers made 80 percent of what the country consumed, according to the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, an industry trade group. Now it is about 65 percent.

US factories still provide much of the processed food that US households consume, everything from frozen fish sticks to cans of beer. And US companies make a considerable share of the personal hygiene products like soap and shampoo, cleaning supplies and prescription drugs that are sold in pharmacies. But many other consumer goods now come from outside the United States.

In the 1960s, the United States made 98 percent of its shoes. It now imports more than 90 percent of its footwear. The iconic red Radio Flyer wagons for children are now made in China. Even the Apple iPod comes in a box that says it was made in China but "designed in California.”

Some US-made products are hiding in plain sight. Berner International, near Pittsburgh, does not make the clothes, dishes or sponges sold at Wal-Mart, but its products hang above shoppers' heads as soon they go through the sliding doors.

The company's 60 employees make air curtains - rectangular blowers mounted on the ceiling that keep out hot or chilly air, insects and dust while keeping in air-conditioning and heat. Also called air doors, they hang from ceilings at Wal-Marts, Whole Foods supermarkets and Starbucks, and above the big factory doors at Ford Motor and Toyota Motor car plants.

So here’s what we’re saying:

  • If we spend money at Wal-Mart, the money will go to China.
  • If we spend money on gasoline, it will go to the Arabs.
  • If we purchase a computer, it will go to India.
  • If we purchase fruits and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
  • If we purchase a good car, it will go to Japan.
  • If we purchase something useless it will go to Taiwan… whoops, sorry.

And none of it will help the American economy.

As an American you are in the enviable position of being able decide if you want to stick with the status quo or change this dynamic for yourself by starting your own home based business.

Without getting too preachy or taking patriotism to a fanatic level, I want to tell you how proud I am to be an American. To live in a country where despite all the obvious and not so obvious faults, any ordinary person with any ambition can become a successful individual.

I am grateful to have found an American company, for Americans that will support me to be all that I want to be.

I was born in the USA and so was the company I choose to be a part of. A company should be developed in the USA for the USA ... doing its part to stimulate the economy by inspiring each of us to overcome the current adversities with a simple, yet profitable, method of becoming financially independent. I’m truly gratified for the bounty of America, of which there is much.

As we celebrate our 235th birthday let’s quote one of our founding fathers:

We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience. “

George Washington believed in our country and all that it stood for. You must likewise believe in yourself and act accordingly.

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