Every July 4th, we gather together to eat, drink, set off fireworks, and show our patriotism towards the country that we love. Independence Day in the United States is one of the best days of the year, as it’s one where we can all reflect on the freedoms that we have in this great nation. Underneath all the pomp and circumstance lies a problem that most people are simply not aware of, which is that we are perhaps not as independent as we believe. We are not talking about civil rights here, but rather the position that we are currently in when it comes to trading with other countries.
Over the course of the last couple of decades, production and manufacturing jobs formerly held in the U.S. have been heading overseas at an alarming rate. It is tough, although certainly not impossible, for companies to compete with the costs of running a business overseas, which is why so many have chosen profits and sustainability over keeping jobs at home. It is not just the employment rates that have suffered due to this seismic shift, as the trade deficit that we currently have with other countries is very much tipping in their favor.
We are now in a position where we have become too dependent on other nations for the items that we need on a daily basis. This situation puts those other countries in a position of power when it comes to set prices for these items. Since they are well aware that those items cannot be produced here, they essentially hold the country, and the consumers who live here, over a barrel. The sad news is that the average consumer blames the companies who provide these services, blaming them of price gouging, when in fact they are forced to charge more because of the cost of importing products and services.
This is an issue that even extends all the way to our military personnel. You would imagine that all the items used by our military and sourced and manufactured in our own country, but that is not the case. When you consider the massive amounts of money spent on running the military, think about how much extra money is being shelled out to cover the cost of items that need to be imported from locations that lie outside our own borders.
All of these things have a trickle-down effect that usually negatively impact the consumer. You are forced to pay more for products and services that we need to get from other parts of the world. While there are certainly some items that we will never be able to fully make at home, there are plenty more that can be manufactured domestically. This is why buying American made products is so important, as it can begin to shift that trade deficit a little more in our favor. This is something to seriously consider the next time you go to make a purchase and see that “Made in America” label.
We also need to consider our vulnerability to foreign countries who provide us with essentials products and raw materials such as steel. Our military can also be compromised because a lot of things they require to operate come from abroad. In the case of a military conflict, access to these items could be restricted and may limit our ability to defend ourselves effectively. In order for American companies to be able to produce things here in America, we as consumers need to support them buy buying their products made here in the USA.
Only when we lose our dependence on foreign countries for the essential items we need can we truly celebrate our independence.
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