A light, airy, effervescent, blog of grave consequence. (NOT!) Dedicated to those of us who must respond to negative stimuli by Chernobyling (entombing in concrete) our innermost thoughts.

Location: Slaughter, Louisiana, United States

A semi-gruntled corporate reliability engineer trying to make ends meet while keeping my wife happy, and myself out of the asylum.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Buy American: A good idea in theory if not practice

One of the policy positions that Trump espouses is "Bring jobs back to America". He says he will make Apple build all its products in the US as an example. Sounds good, right? Only to the economically illiterate.

As a society that loves saving a few pennies and generally skipping sales taxes by shopping on, or getting the same stuff cheaper at the WalMart rather than the local dry-goods stores, (if they even exist anymore), I refuse to believe that we will enthusiastically embrace spending at least five times more to buy similar products that were made in the USA.

An example: I needed new underwear and socks. Instead of grabbing them at Walmart like I always do, I decided to see if I could find an American company that sells what I needed. I was able to find a couple after a bit of searching and I bought my stuff from two of the online retailers. was one of the companies. was the other.

They shipped the products quickly and there seem to be no obvious issues with the quality although the Union Label whites say "Don't bleach" So I guess they will be grays eventually.

Fit is good and, though they use old-school tags rather than the recently developed printed tags that Hanes and FOTL are now using, I noticed no comfort problems.

Here's the issue.

If I had shopped at Walmart, I could have gotten the 7 pairs of underwear for about $10 and 12 pairs of socks for also about $10. (Obviously made in China, or Pakistan or some other country.)

The 5 pairs of underwear and 6 pairs of socks that were Made In The USA cost------ wait for it----

$120. (Including a couple dollars for shipping.) These are standard issue white briefs and typical athletic calf high socks. Nothing special at all.

Obviously, the prices would go down a bit if they were able to sell a higher volume, but if you are truly serious about buying American, the opportunities are out there. You just won't because it costs too much.

I won't bother to get into the effects of retaliatory tariffs and other silliness.

We still need to end immigration of all kinds and deport all those in the country illegally. Then let the job market stabilize. Wages will have to go up for the jobs that current illegals are doing in order to get Americans to do them which will in itself drive up prices. But that price I'm willing to pay.

I'm not sure, though, that I'm willing to pay 6 times as much as I currently do just to say my underwear was made in the USA.