The White House is Celebrating Made in America Week — But Not Without Criticism

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing, we live every week like it’s Made in America Week.

But the official Made in America Week is currently happening, and President Trump has a whole host of activities lined up to celebrate.

The fun kicked off on Monday at the White House with the “Made in America Product Showcase,” which highlighted an American company from every state. On Wednesday, the president is scheduled to participate in a “Made in America certification event,” and on Thursday, the president is planning a “Made in America announcement.” Things wrap up Saturday in Norfolk, Va., where Trump will attend the commissioning of the Gerald R. Ford CVN 78 aircraft carrier.

But almost as soon as he announced Made in America week, Trump was criticized for not practicing what he preaches. Multiple news outlets have pointed out that many Trump brand products are made overseas, and frankly, some of that criticism is deserved. Here’s the Washington Post:

“For Trump, highlighting U.S.-made products is inconsistent with his practices as a businessman. For years, the Trump organization has outsourced much of its product manufacturing, relying on a global network of factories in a dozen countries — including Bangladesh, China and Mexico — to make its clothing, home décor pieces and other items.”

The Huffington Post also pointed out that Trump’s use of steel and aluminum from China was a big issue during the 2016 presidential campaign, and the president’s daughter/adviser Ivanka Trump is also under fire for her reliance on overseas factories to produce her fashion line. The Daily Beast traveled to the Trump International Hotel in Washington to check out the goods in the gift shop, which had a Made in America T-shirt but nearly everything else for sale was manufactured overseas. (Side note: We offered up some American-made suggestions for the hotel back in September 2016.) 

Even the conservative-leaning Washington Examiner ran an op-ed pointing out Trump’s hypocrisy on Made in America.

“’America First’ sounds good when you are the president, but, we all know that whenever money’s been on the table in his extravagant, Napoleon-like penthouse in Manhattan, it’s always been ‘Trump First,’” contributor Mark Vargas wrote.

Ouch.

It’s unclear what might come out of Made in America week — past theme weeks have been overshadowed by current events, often at Trump’s own making. And there’s no doubt that Trump has divided the country, with his opponents pledging to fight him on all fronts.

But whatever you think of Trump, we hope that you can get behind Made in America.

We’ve featured many of the companies taking part in the White House showcase on the blog and our annual gift guide, and our summer interns even talked about their favorite Made in America companies on The Manufacturing Report podcast this week.

American-made goods create jobs and help grow the economy. If every American committed to buying $64 worth of American-made purchases each year, 200,000 new jobs would be created. If contractors increased use of American-made materials by just 5 percent, an additional 200,000 new jobs would be created.

American-made products are also better for the environment, from consumer goods to big industrial needs like steel and aluminum. That’s one of the reasons why a deeply blue state like California is moving toward buying its steel locally — American mills abide by strict environmental guidelines, leading to less pollution to both produce steel and ship it to where it is needed.

And American-made products are often of higher quality than their foreign-made counterparts. There have been serious concerns over China’s lax safety regulations, for example, from everything from toothpaste to toys to dog treats and even processed chicken.

Made in America matters. It’s also perhaps one of the few issues that Americans tend to agree on — 95 percent of voters polled in 2014 had a favorable view of American-made products.

We know that you can’t always buy American-made, but we encourage you to do so when you can. Check the label when you are out shopping, for example. Do a little research on American-made options before making a big purchase like a home appliance or new car.

And we also hope that Team Trump finally steps up and shifts Trump Organization product manufacturing to the United States (Ivanka Trump should also work to manufacture at least some of her clothing line here). Even moving production of just one or two items would go a long way to showing Trump isn’t all talk when it comes to Made in America — and it will support job creation and the economy along the way.

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Reposted from the AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

An Invitation to Sunny Miami. What Could Be Bad?

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

If a billionaire “invites” you somewhere, you’d better go. Or be prepared to suffer the consequences. This past May, hedge fund kingpin Carl Icahn announced in a letter to his New York-based staff of about 50 that he would be moving his business operations to Florida. But the 83-year-old Icahn assured his staffers they had no reason to worry: “My employees have always been very important to the company, so I’d like to invite you all to join me in Miami.” Those who go south, his letter added, would get a $50,000 relocation benefit “once you have established your permanent residence in Florida.” Those who stay put, the letter continued, can file for state unemployment benefits, a $450 weekly maximum that “you can receive for a total of 26 weeks.” What about severance from Icahn Enterprises? The New York Post reported last week that the two dozen employees who have chosen not to uproot their families and follow Icahn to Florida “will be let go without any severance” when the billionaire shutters his New York offices this coming March. Bloomberg currently puts Carl Icahn’s net worth at $20.5 billion.

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