KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Sep 15 2011

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Red, white and blue is the new black

There was a time when people just assumed their cabinetry and appliances would be built in the U.S.A. Now, given the current economic strains and the foreign options in cabinetry, appliances and accessories that are invading the U.S. market, I wonder if the American kitchen industry will go the way of American steel, autos and home electronics—to some third-world country—taking American jobs as well as the American Dream with it?

We, the American people, have been sold a “bill of goods,” which is the idea we can somehow maintain our standard of living by purchasing cheaper and good, not great, products that were once produced here in the U.S.—such as cars, clothes, TVs, phones, even food—from some other country and that our lives will be better. I say, look around you and wake up!

We have lost great companies and millions of jobs to other countries that will never come back, and the current economic situation and growing jobless rate are just tips of the iceberg. There was a time when American steel, cars, TVs were the cornerstone of modern technology and the envy of the world. And now we are willing to buy cheap imitations without once thinking about the ramifications of those actions.

The new Jobs Bill proposed by the Obama administration means nothing and will do nothing to stem the tide of joblessness unless there is a job connected to it. We need to bring manufacturing back to America and need to buy American products. It’s patriotic…it’s the American thing to do.

My question is this: Does your client care if it is made in America? Do you care? Does it make a difference? Does “Made in America” still stand for quality, technology, craftsmanship, security and trust? I say: “Yes, it does,” and we need to educate the consumer on the options they have to choose from and how their decision can and will affect the world around them.

With U.S. unemployment at its highest in decades and in light of the ongoing uncertainty about the future of our economy, I believe that we are ready for a consumer revolution to halt the tide of foreign imports and encourage consumers to buy American-made products to stimulate economic growth and put people back to work.

For way too long, the American consumer has ignored where products are made and simply sought out products they perceived to be cheaper without understanding or realizing their decision to buy a cheaper foreign product may have caused an American factory to close and the dollars that would have gone to an American worker instead went to pay a worker in China or India at a fraction of what an American worker would have earned. Most people would say, “I bought a good product for the best price, and someone made a profit”B ut here lies the rub: The worker in China did not pay taxes on his earnings to the U.S., nor did his employer, so nothing was paid into the system, which affects everyone here.

I say “enough!” and I draw a line in the sand and issue this challenge to both consumers and manufacturers to “Buy American.” Buying something made in the U.S. is something to be proud of, it will make you feel good and you are helping out the economy by keeping the money at home and protecting jobs here.

Will if cost more to buy an American product than a cheaper foreign item? Most likely the answer will be yes, but you need to think of those few dollars more as an investment in America, as well as an investment in our future—our children’s future.

I believe in the power of the individual and that the choices we make can change the world. The revolution begins with you and the choices you make. I say choose wisely…choose American.

Kevin M. Henry

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 15th, 2011 at 12:00 PM and is filed under Business, Miscellaneous. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1.  Ann Porter, CKD |

    Good post, Kevin.

  2.  patricia gaylor |

    Excellent! My next project: try to do a remodel without using any products that aren’t made in the US…I’ll keep you posted. GREAT post !