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When it comes to ‘buying American,’ the lines are blurred

Published: Sun, May 10, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

When it comes to ‘buying American,’ the lines are blurred


I am writing to you as a concerned citizen about a trend I have noticed over the past several months regarding opinions being expressed on television related to “buying American.” In specific, the broadcasts I have seen are referring to buying American cars as opposed to “foreign” cars.

This was brought to my attention again last weekend when there was a rally in Trumbull County and one of the men interviewed expressed something to the effect — and you better not buy a foreign car.

I own a Honda Accord. This is my second Honda and my present car is almost six years old. When I bought my car, I felt good about it because I knew there were Honda plants in the U.S. including one nearby in Marysville, Ohio; therefore, I was also supporting the American economy because American workers are employed in these plants.

The question that keeps coming to my mind is: What is American when it comes to purchasing an automobile? From what I understand it, some of the parts for American cars built in American plants come from foreign suppliers.

I feel that this continued anti-foreign verbalization by “authority figures” might lead to problems for those who own “foreign” vehicles. I want to feel safe in my automobile as I drive from place to place and not feel that my car may be targeted for vandalism because it is considered a “foreign” car.

In addition, being an American I hold dear my freedoms. One of which I believe is my freedom to choose. It is my choice what type of automobile I choose to make payments on for five to six years and this choice should not be influenced by outside pressures.

The economy is very bad for everyone, and it has been reported frequently that Americans are just not buying as we did in days gone by. Instead of pointing the finger and trying to place blame, our energies could better be used to work toward finding solutions.




1kecocona(6 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I just bought a "domestic" car. Dodge Journey. Good American car, right? Straight from the window sticker: "Assembled in Toluca Mexico with 59% parts origin, Mexico. U.S./Canadian parts origin, 29%"

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2cambridge(3238 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Dorneda, your car was built by Americans in a plant in America. I believe this qualifies as "buying American". It's so frustrating when it's time to replace something you bought 20 years ago that was "Made in America" and have no option but to replace it with something "Made in China" and your brand new shiny piece of junk falls apart in your hand the second time you use it.

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3JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

A vast majority of the profit goes back to Japan rather than staying in the states, that is the difference. Part of the problem with the approach of the unions is the "because we said so" attitude without any facts to back up their assertions. If efforts were made to educate rather than just energize they'd be able to help people like the person who wrote the letter better understand.

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4cambridge(3238 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

The profit is shared by the people that run the company and the stock holders that own it. If an American owned Honda stock they would share in the profit. CEO's in Japan make a fraction of what their counterparts make in America and they kill themselves when they fail. I believe the letter writer contributed to the economy of Ohio. Maybe not in an ideal way but I do believe it's a contribution.

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5UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

It's time for made in America to mean something again. Maybe a more telling sticker would be "Made by Union Workers in the USA". At this point I'd settle for 80% USA content. We need jobs American politicians.

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6irishfan91(97 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I once owned a Nissan built in Tennessee and a Ford built in Japan at the same time. You are correct that the lines are being blurred. I believe the real reason for the "Don't put my flag on your foreign car" campaign is the unions as many of these foreign auto makers do not employ union workers at their plants. I see nothing wrong with AMERICANS taking jobs from these companies. Unions are what are bringing down GM--not the ridiculous salaries of the upper level management. Things like the jobs bank (getting paid to not work) and the 7 billion dollars a year in legacy costs have made GM unworkable. All of my cars are from the American companies but by accident--not as a matter of principle. As for the campaign I should put a sticker on my car that says "I fought for this flag--what did you do?"

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7cambridge(3238 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

In 1984 Toyota and GM started a joint venture in Fremont California. The plant employs more than 4000 UAW members. They build Corollas, Tacomas and Vibes and are paid more than $30.00 an hour. In 25 years they have never had a layoff. I'm sure because of the economy they will go through some rough times but my point is that the only difference that I know of between this plant and other GM plants is Toyota's participation in management.

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8cambridge(3238 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I meant to mention that the name of the plant is Nummi Motors.

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9jethead11(139 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

When they say "Buy American", they really mean "Buy Union". I won't buy union made products, but I do buy American. Feel comfortable buying American made Honda and Toyota cars, who employ Americans who don't to take advantage of their company and fellow countrymen. I think it is Un-American to support a company and a union who make inferior products and stiff-arm everyone they can for their own selfish ends. They harm America and its place in the world. We used to be number 1 in steel and autos, now where are we. Our position in the world has been reduced. Don't support those who got us here!

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10cambridge(3238 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago


I posted this comment previously. On March 22 the "Parade Magazine" the supplement in the Sunday newspaper printed the results of a poll in their "Feedback" column. The question was, "Does America need labor unions?". The results were 92% yes. Unions are gaining in membership and did so even under the Bush administration. And I mean under in more ways than one. I guess in your mind that would make most Americans UN American.

I believe less than 13% of the labor force is union. Do you actually believe that 13% of American workers wrecked the country. Fortunately for you there is Wal-Mart and you can by all the cheap labor made junk you want.

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11jethead11(139 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Certainly not all union members are un-American. What is un-American is telling people that if they do not support inferior American products or services that they are un-American. By supporting companies that provide worse products, we are only enabling them to keep doing what they are doing, which hurts everyone in the long run. If GM made Toyota-quality cars, they would not be nearing bankruptcy right now. Part of the problem of why they can't compete lies with the unions. Do you disagree?

And, just because 92% of those surveyed believe something does not make it right. If everyone is so pro-union, why is the labor force only 13% unionized? I know, nasty corporate pressure...intimidation...la la la. We are all so weak. The reality is people like employers to feel the threat of unionization, but dislike unions themselves. Just as I do.

When unions give their members the right to choose whether to join or not, I may soften my view. But until then, its off to Wal Mart in my Toyota, supporting independent, non-union Americans all the way (the non-vocal 87% of the working population)!

Actually, during the Bush administration, union membership hit its lowest point since World War II. It may have come up since that point however.

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12cambridge(3238 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago


Do you live in the valley? Just for the sake of argument lets say you do. Just so I understand, are you saying that you would go out of you way to buy the same car from the same car company built in a non-union plant down south than at Lordstown?

If the auto workers down south or any other blue collar, white collar, whatever had a choice between their current non-union status or union wages and benefits what do you think they would chose?

I would say those poll numbers speak for themselves and don't need an explanation. You have every right to try and put your own spin on those numbers but I'm not buying it.

Why is it when a CEO at Chevron can make 25 million a year and retire with a 400 million dollar pension it's called capitalism but if someone working in one of their refineries or an office worker in their headquarters wants their piece of the pie they are out to pull America down? As union membership in this country has declined so has our standard of living. It is America and we all make our choices and you have every right to make yours but just because someone chooses union they don't need to hear how it's pulling down America. The facts don't bear that out.

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13jethead11(139 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

All workers, except certain management classifications, are allowed to unionize. They are free to unionize in any state in the country. What's stopping those in Marysville from unionizing? Think about it. If going from $42 an hour (all in, including benefits) would go to $72 an hour for just voting to unionize, of course people would do that. So why don't they? How is their choice to unionize limited? Seriously. I am telling you, they like the threat of unionization, but hate unions. What other explaination is there? Look at it this way, 92% say unions are still needed, but only 13% say they will join a union. I don't think that's spin, but judge for yourself.

I no longer live in Valley, but work for an airline headquartered in the south. The largest non-union airline in the country. Our people want nothing to do with unions. Nevertheless, the unions continue to try to unionize groups that want nothing to do with them (and spend millions of their member's dues in the process). In the rare instance they get enough cards signed to force an election (twice by my count in 10 years), the actual votes for unionization has been under 30%. Being an airline, we are under different rules, so being a right to work state means nothing in our case. But nothing is stopping us from unionizing if we want to. We just don't want to.

Anyway, I don't care what the CEO of Chevron makes, or anyone else for that matter. Only what I make. In my view, big labor destroys jobs in the long term, and there is ample proof of that. I support those that agree with me, and that is why I will buy non-union.

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14gmann415(268 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

i am in the national aerospace workers union. in our plant we have roughly 30 people as laborers. 12 of us have been laid off. our union isnt good for our company because its a small company. however unions are good if you have 30 people per shif and depinding on the amout of profit a company makes. a union can make a company or break a company. and right now it hurt our company.

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15kecocona(6 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

How much of the 13% unionized workforce in the U.S., is accounted for in the auto and steel industries? Two industries that have been in decline for decades.

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16gmann415(268 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

dont think that the national aerospace union has nothing to do with automobiles. we machine parts for the volvo semi,s. and trust me. when g.m started to layoff we fell right behind them. theres been several machine shops that are hurting due to the work they provide for auto workers.

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17cambridge(3238 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I'm missing something. Jethead stated he has no problem with a CEO making 25 million a year and 400 million dollar pension. It's the UAW and teacher, police, fire, nurse, airline worker etc. unions that have things out of whack. My ex wife works for a union airline and I know what their wages and benefits are. They are one step up from the working poor.

I've worked in or with unions my whole life. I have never seen any intimidation or thugery union haters like to allude to. They never give an example of their own personal experience they just parrot that non-union rhetoric.

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18scrooge(563 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

13% unionized workforce
I wonder how many of those laid-off union workers are now doing "scab" non-union labor jobs?
I know many union carpenters that work "scab" jobs on the side - nobody seems to want to acknowledge that.
I also wonder how many union brothers shop at Walmart and non-union grocery stores - or wear clothing made by non-union (probably young children) workers.

So for those of you who are preaching pro-union, put your money where your mouth is!

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19cambridge(3238 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I just watched Fritz Henderson the CEO of General Motors on the Glenn Beck show. Glenn Beck asked him "what went wrong.". The answer was "our sales dropped 45% in a 18 month period and we could not survive that". Glen Beck then asked him " wouldn't filling bankruptcy be a Godsend, it would give you a chance to get out from under the legacy programs of the unions and get away from the stranglehold the unions have over GM", Henderson answered, "the unions have been more of the solution than the problem". That's the CEO saying that.

These quotes might not be exactly word for word, I'm paraphrasing but I'm sure that you can view a rerun of the complete show online.

I'm not angry with jethead or anyone else. We are just expressing our views and I guess trying to help others view something from our position. I do find it humorous that jethead would make a statement that the 92% that voted that America needs unions actually hates unions. I swear I'm not mad. In Fact I was laughing as I just wrote that. A very bizarre statement.

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20jackfrost5555(3 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

From what I heard, the profit after all expenses including salaries for building a Honda Accord in Marysville is approx. $3800.00.
That $3800.00 is the money that is sent to Japan.
For those who feel buying a foreign label here simply because it's assembled here are badly informed if they feel it makes no difference.
It makes a huge difference when you multiply that number times millions and ship more of our money overseas.
We became a great country for one reason, the creation of wealth thru production.
Wise up people, or be willing to live a third country banana republic life style.

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21Lifesnadir(164 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I think any American company who outsources ANY part of their business should be made to pay!



I WANT AMERICAN "CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS" for AMERICAN COMPANIES. When I hear a Pakistani-Indian---Timbucktoo accent, I politely ask to be transferred to an AMERICAN center. IF they understand that request (most do NOT), I get to an AMERICAN. IF they do NOT comprehend my request, I tell them I refuse to talk to anyone who is not IN the USA.

It's common sense. WE need the jobs. WE need the income. WE need our economy strong. Giving away our companies to overseas / Mexico / South America is NOT what the USA needs.

When are our lawmakers going to STOP THE OUTSOURCING????????

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22ytownsteelman(657 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Why is it neccessary for unions to drive non union companies out of business? Remember the Hubbard IGA? 40 people out of work and I am sure that unionists are jumping for joy. Lets face it, those 13% of the population who are union members wish the other 87% of us would lose our livelihoods. Why would anyone want to join an organization that targets people who are not in their litle group? Now who has the hate?

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23cambridge(3238 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I've never seen a post where anyone wished for a non-union person to loose their job. I've only read the opposite. I'm as strong a union person as you will ever meet but I respect every-one's right to earn a living. I don't have a problem with anyone that doesn't want to belong to a union. On the other hand if a person wants to belong to a union that's their business. It's a free country.

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