Buy American! Be American!

    John F. Kennedy had it right almost 50 years ago when he told Americans, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!"

    We have forgotten this rallying cry and have gotten lazy; causing this current mess we are now so desperate to fix. We became dependent on our government for everything and now we all want to be "bailed out."

    This won’t work! It will only postpone the inevitable, unless we ALL decide to roll up our sleeves and work our way out of it.

    We need to bring work and jobs back into this country so that we have people/consumers with money that can buy our products. Sending all of our manufacturing jobs to foreign countries took our best-paying jobs with them, leaving too few consumers behind with jobs to buy our goods.

    I know it is easy to blame big business for sending these jobs to foreign countries, but the American buying public is just as much to blame. We buy cheap, without any care for where or how an item is made.

    How can you blame big business for trying to make cheaper products when that is what we are demanding? Granted, big business took the easy way out and sent the work over rather then finding better/leaner ways to operate, but then again, many of the unions fought this progress, cutting their own throats.

    Big business had it half right in the 1980s when they marketed "Buy American." It should have included "Build American," because in the 1990s they started buying many of their manufactured goods form foreign counties or even opened American companies overseas or in Mexico.

    Take Wal-Mart, for example. When Sam Walton started the company, he proudly marketed "Buy American." Now, you would be hard-pressed to find American-made products in his stores.

    Better example, look what buying foreign goods has gotten us. Poisoned pet food and toothpaste, as well as toys with lead paint with little or no safety standards. Child labor abuse has skyrocketed worldwide and world pollution levels have increased due to the non-regulation or non-enforcement of pollution laws in the countries that build these products. Worker safety and care are also non-existent in many of these countries, as well.

    Sending jobs to foreign countries to lower our costs does not and did not work. It did not work in our free market system because it eliminated the buying power (jobs) of the people who make up our market, our consumers.

    It IS that simple.

    All businesses outsource work, either to lower costs because someone else has a better way of making the product or because they need to increase their capacity. My brothers and I do this in our three companies (but only with American companies). However, now that times are tough and sales are down, we have brought many of these jobs back into our shops to better utilize our people and assets.

    We are working harder, smarter and for less money just to survive these tough times. We know we need to take care of our own first. We also buy all of our equipment from American companies, even all of our company and personal cars are American-made.  We, as a country, need to pull the outsourced work back into this country. We don’t need cash bail outs, we need work.

    Building roads and schools is good, but stimulus payments back to the American people are only a Band Aid. We need jobs, and to get jobs, we need to bring the work back.

    Create incentives to buy American. Eliminate all the pet projects of our congressmen and women from the stimulus bill and work on helping to bring work back into this country.  Hard work built this country, and hard work will save it!

    As Americans we need to take back our country and have pride and loyalty in being the best country in the world.  Stop blaming the other side and start doing what you can for your country. We don’t need to wait for the stimulus. We can start today by “Buying American – Building American – Being American!" This goes for every American citizen, whether you are buying for your company or your family!

    Jaime Maliszewski is president of RPW Inc., Elite Finishing LLC and Brilliance LLC in Milwaukee.

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