After reportedly losing 2.3 million manufacturing jobs between December 2007 and February 2010, the sector has rebounded as more companies bring operations back to the country. And nearly half of Americans have made a special effort to buy products made here.
Although marketing may not be the primary motivation for companies to manufacture products in the United States, the fact that Americans love the “Made in America” label is compelling. It offers companies selling power.
According to Consumer Reports, nearly eight in 10 Americans would rather buy an American-made product than an imported one. More than 60 percent of customers are even willing to pay a 10 percent premium for domestic products. A Gallup Poll found that 45 percent of Americans made a special effort to purchase products made in the country.
In the Gallup Poll, the leading reason for buying American products was to support the country and for patriotic motives (32 percent). Keeping and creating jobs in the country (31 percent) was second, followed by motivations of it being good for the U.S. economy (20 percent). Thirteen percent purchase American-made products for superior quality.
“Patriotism and the pursuit of positive corporate images as standing behind the U.S. economy” are a part of what’s driving companies to bring manufacturing to America, MarketWatch reports. By producing domestically, companies gain customer support.
Boston Globe writer Jeff Jacoby recently scribed an interesting column stating the case for the separation of employment and health care. While most of us have accepted this as an inevitable reality during our lifetimes, he says it simply stems from World War II wage controls that are no longer relevant:
With more than 90 percent of private healthcare plans in the United States obtained through employers, it might seem unnatural to get health insurance any other way. But what’s unnatural is the link between healthcare and employment. After all, we don’t rely on employers for auto, homeowners, or life insurance. Those policies we buy in an open market, where numerous insurers and agents compete for our business. Health insurance is different only because of an idiosyncrasy in the tax code dating back 60 years – a good example, to quote Milton Friedman, of how one bad government policy leads to another…
Unconstrained by consumer cost-consciousness, healthcare spending has soared, even as overall inflation has remained fairly low. Nevertheless, Americans know almost nothing about the costs of their medical care. (Quick quiz: What does your local hospital charge for an MRI scan? To deliver a baby? To set a broken arm?) When patients think someone else is paying most of their healthcare costs, they feel little pressure to learn what those costs actually are – and providers feel little pressure to compete on price. So prices keep rising, which makes insurance more expensive, which makes Americans ever-more worried about losing their insurance – and ever-more dependent on the benefits provided by their employer.We thus ended up with a healthcare system in which the vast majority of bills are covered by a third party. With someone else picking up the tab, Americans got used to consuming medical care without regard to price or value. After all, if it was covered by insurance, why not go to the emergency room for a simple sore throat? Why not get the name-brand drug instead of a generic?