Sen. Bernie Sanders Enlists The Mall Museums In His Fight For Job Creation.

Stephanie Kraft, Valley Advocate Bernie Sanders, the Independent (and self-styled socialist) U.S. senator from Vermont, has given the country a present. It was planned as a Fourth of July present, but it's ready ahead of schedule. It seems that last Christmas, Sanders was doing some Christmas shopping at the Smithsonian Museum's gift shops and noticed that many items were made abroad, not in America. Busts of American presidents—made in China? Sanders had a talk with the museum's administration about whether the shops could do their bit to strengthen the American job market by stocking American-made items. So now the Museum of American History has added a boutique next to the Gunboat Philadelphia exhibit called the Price of Freedom store. The new store stocks some 300 items, all of them made in the U.S.A. All the Smithsonian's shops together carry more than 12,000 items, only about one-third of which are made in the U.S., according to Smithsonian officials. U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, the ranking minority member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which oversees the Smithsonian, in March introduced legislation to force the museum shops to carry only items made in America. Now all the shops, including the one at the Air and Space Museum, are looking for American vendors to supply them with attractive items. The buy-American issue was given a high profile earlier in the year when Diane Sawyer did a series on ABC that began with a reality-TV tactic: move all the imported goods out of your house and see what you have left (very little). Ubiquitous items such as light bulbs and television sets were not being made in America, the team discovered; such findings pointed up statistics on the rise in the percentage of imported goods purchased by Americans ( in 1960, 8 percent of what we bought was imported; today the figure is almost 60 percent). By paying a relatively few dollars per year, the Sawyer series showed, American consumers can help protect and even create jobs in the U.S., and contribute to reducing the trade deficit. (Sometimes it's not even a matter of paying more; a lot of Asian goods that used to be cheap aren't so cheap anymore.) Forbes magazine reacted to the series by calling it a display of "reckless nationalism." Few American factories make household goods now, said the prestigious business magazine, because they make things of higher value, such as pharmaceuticals, airplanes, "sophisticated componentry." Yet the U.S. has lost ground in the manufacture of "sophisticated componentry" as well as dishtowels; the Kindle e-reader, for example, was designed here but is not manufactured in the U.S. Most notebook computers used in the U.S. (except for the Apple brand), and most cell phones, are not only manufactured in Asia but designed there. But Forbes-brand globalism is beginning to be discredited, partly because of a growing awareness that Asian nations are very self-protective in international business dealings. Often they require American companies seeking to do business in their markets to share technology in ways that undermine the U.S.'s competitive edge, even in the case of products invented here. And the laissez-faire globalists have shown themselves impotent at job creation, except for the jobs they've created in other countries. The consumer has a part to play in creating jobs here, and there's more to it than just buying regardless of the origin of the product. That may help the low-paid clerk in the retail store, but it does little to build the economy at all levels. Assuming that the products are equal in quality (and American products will likely be better), that they are equally appropriate for the purchaser's need, and that the difference in price is not extreme, the buying that helps is the buying of goods made here. Read original post here.