by Kimberly Blackford
One of the things that make Americans so unique is their sense of pride, determination and will to never give up. These three traits, along with many others, have created a resilient American society that doesn’t crumble to its competition whether it’s on the playing field or in the global trade battle. Last winter ABC launched a ground breaking series, “Made in America” which focused on the current American manufacturing climate and our economy. Sadly, it proved that Americans are addicted to imports and today nearly 60% of everything we own is made in countries overseas.
Diane Sawyer and the ABC “World News” team took to the streets with their challenge last year and converged on a typical home in Dallas, Texas. They worked with an average American family to furnish three rooms of their home solely with American-made products. Once all foreign made products were removed from the rooms, there sat three spaces that were entirely empty. Not only was the family astonished, but also they were amazed and saddened by what was discovered. They felt as though they had contributed to the ever-growing unemployment problem in the US and the failed confidence in American-made products. Needless to say, this was an eye-opening experiment for everyone involved including many other Americans who became familiar with the story and the “Made in America” challenge.
Fast forward eight months later to Bozeman, Montana and meet an economist turned builder named Anders Lewendal who is hard at work constructing a new home built entirely of U.S. made products. You name it – everything from the nails, screws, lumber and bath fixtures were all made in America. Lewendal is convinced that if every builder bought just 5% more US-made materials, they would create 220,000 jobs. And, after some close calculation, The Boston Consulting Group agrees with his numbers.
Lewendal’s home features more than 120 products from more than 33 states. And, although many builders would argue that US-made products are more expensive to use, the all-American home is running only 1 to 2 percent more expensive than a home built with foreign made materials. It appears even though some materials used in the construction project have run a bit higher in price, others have been cheaper, so it basically has averaged out to a comparable price so far.
And, what is even better, the American-made products are often a noticeably higher quality than their foreign counterparts. This was definitely the truth when it came to the quality of the nails used throughout the home. The nails used were produced by Maze Nails of Peru, Illinois and use high-carbon steel and a double coat of zinc that results in a stronger, rust proof product.
So, even though using 5% more U.S. made materials when building may not seem like it could fabricate a positive change in unemployment, it most certainly can and will by creating 220,000 more jobs. Maze Nail’s President agrees and so do many other leaders of the companies whose products were used in the home. All agreed if builders bought more American products, it would put more people back to work.
Instead of Americans purchasing foreign made products without having a second thought, why not ask yourself how you can incorporate more American-made products into your work, home and life?
Click here if you would like the list of products and companies used to build the “All-American Home.”
And, for more great coverage and information on Anders Lewendal's "All-American Home," see the video below on his home completely "Made in America."
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