Good Question: Can Buying US Products Help The Economy?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When we go to the mall, the labels most of us look at have to do with size and style. But what about where the merchandise comes from?

It made one viewer wonder, does buying more American products improve the economy? The answer is, it’s complicated.

That’s according to Toby Madden, a regional economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

He said there are simply some products we can’t create here at home or products that can’t keep up with demand.

“For example,” Madden said, “if we decided to cut off all imports of petroleum and gasoline that would have a big spike in the price of gasoline here in America.”

When most people are pinching pennies, the shopper’s pocketbook can override the importance of buying at home. And economists point out, the more you spend on those products, could mean less money in the economy.

“I really don’t care what country it’s from, as long as it’s cute and affordable,” said one shopper.

However, buying from American companies would increase the products being made in America and from there you would create more jobs.

Bottom line — there’s pros and cons.

Economists say it is a global economy, so we give as much as we get.

According to the 2010 census, the top importers of American products are Canada, followed by Mexico and then China.

Canada and Mexico import cars and parts, while China’s largest import is computer accessories.

  • Sean

    Once again no real useful information. It might have been useful to know how much of your money stays here with a purchase of made in USA. Perhaps whent you buy a made in the usa product how much that impacts the economy. Years ago the statistic was that every tourist dollar got spent 7 times. Information like that.

  • tom

    Remember this is from wcco they are not the best reporters out there. Also from my point of view, when they said there are some product we cannot make here or produce enough of, then jump to gasoline????? We are AMERICA did wcco forget that or the person they asked?????? WE AMERICANS can make anything. We just don’t have SLAVE LABOR doing it as does, mexico, china, korea, japan. We do not put people in a room sometimes 12 people and make them sleep for 5 hours than work them for 15 day after day. Report FACTS WCCO not just rambling.

    • Sue

      I agree tom

      • agreed

        tom you hit the nail on this one, I work for a company that sends orders we receive for products over to India rather than hire people here in America to enter the orders. When we acquired another company, instead of hiring more people to enter those orders, we entered a contract with a company in India that hires about 6 people to enter these orders, why because it is cheaper than hiring people here in America and that is a direct quote from my boss one of the owners. I don’t agree with it in the least espeically with the economy and if I could find another job I would leave this company in a heart beat and that is one reason why.

  • Tigger

    Who has money to buy anything?

    The politicians sailed our jobs over to communist countries years ago. NAFTA, CAFTA,ETC were payback deals for companies that donated to the crooked politicians, most are still in office today.

    • Kenny

      Mr Big in NAFTA is not in office, Bill Clinton

  • Doug T

    In a market place consumers buy what they feel is the best value for their hard earned dollars. If another country makes a product that is (in the consumers eyes) more desirable they buy it. That is what competition is all about. It gives the consumer what they want/need at a better price/value point.

    Yes its complicated — but part of this is stems from the short sighted union thugs and nanny liberals (think living wage)who forced ridiculous, arbitrary, wages and benefit payments from companies – which sure made moving jobs overseas an easier decision. And in other country’s working at a factory (while earning less than an over pampered US union “worker”) sure beats prostitution to the Euro sex slave tourist or picking through a garbage dump…..

    • Sidney

      Your absolutely correct. We beat slave labor through tecknology and inovation. Unions have fought this because it does replace labor and requires retraining. The American worker is the best in the world and every company would prefer using them but are not going to because of union clashes.

      • Paul

        A good example of your point is the successful chop stick factory in Georga. Perpich tried to build one on the range and failed. Now they can’t expand fast enough in Georga and are producing millions on chops sticks every day. This is a non union factory.

    • Ordinary Guy

      Please remember to compare these straight up. The tax portion of a purchase of domestic products is “front-loaded” in that it’s included in the price on the shelf.

      You’re not escaping that tax if you buy the cheaper foreign import goods and services, because in effect, they are “back-loaded”, meaning that the consumer will pay that amount anyway in increased income, payroll, real estate taxes, etc.

      Consider the cost of paying the taxes of those who have lost jobs as a result of purchases of imports, and that adjusted figure is a whopper. But hidden, it seems like a bargain. In fact, who would pay more when their neighbors pay less? You’d just be paying those taxes twice.

  • Ordinary Guy

    The trade deficit is about $55 billion a MONTH, need we say more?

    Would a billion a month in Minnesota have helped our state budget debate at all?

    If Americans made those goods and services, would they have bought houses?

    You can’t get any plainer than that.

  • morons

    “For example,” Madden said, “if we decided to cut off all imports of petroleum and gasoline that would have a big spike in the price of gasoline here in America.”

    Thanks to environmentalist liberals.

    • Ordinary Guy

      Great point, we’re in big trouble as far as energy imports. There’s nothing yet close to competing with it, but with the emerging societies ramping up on the demand side and our economy falling off, anything we can pump or supplement will be critical to our future. They are going to be really tough to beat if they can command more available energy just as our population and demand increases. Some say efficiency can do it, but that gets more and more expensive as you go. Smaller engines with turbochargers have worked out though.

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