What Does ‘Buying American’ Even Mean? - New York Times

What Does ‘Buying American’ Even Mean? - New York Times

Full article originally published by nytimes.com - July 3, 2019

Last year, I decided to treat myself to a set of really good wrenches. After a lot of research, I narrowed my list to three manufacturers that, while not widely known, got rave reviews on obscure forums where professional mechanics gather. Then I noticed that one, Wright Tool of Ohio, makes all of its tools in the US, using only American steel. Motivated not by patriotism but more by plain hometown spirit, I made my choice: Of course I would “buy American.”

It felt good to do that. And I’m hardly alone in that feeling. Americans like to support American industry. Polls indicate that about two-thirds of Americans would pay more for US-made products over imports. Why? Largely because American shoppers have long believed in the superiority of American quality, in supporting American industry, and in the idea that “buying American” promotes American jobs.

This “Buy American” bias has long driven American policy. The country’s first president deliberately chose “homespun” fabric made in America, not imported from England, to wear at his inauguration in 1789. Nearly 228 years later, America’s 45th president promised at his inaugural address in January 2017 to “follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American.” President Donald Trump’s administration has followed through on that vow, issuing a “Buy American and Hire American” executive order and imposing tariffs on imports with the explicit goal of promoting US manufacturing and jobs.


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