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What do you think about the 'Buy American' provision in the economic stimulus bill being debated in the U.S. Congress?

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It's a nice notion and caters to the neanderthals who can't comprehend that a free market system is what makes our own corporations powerful. Such people merely see the foreign manufactured goods in the US and cry unfair. They don't stop to think that the ENTIRE WORLD drinks Coca Cola while munching on MacDonalds while watching Hollywood Movies and fill their car with Exxon/Mobil. This is how we have culturally dominated this planet since WWII and the global consumers want it. Just as American consumers want Japanese or European cars or electronics. President Obama is correct on this.

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Of course, wouldn't "Buy American" mean that one would be compelled to buy a Toyota produced in Kentucky as opposed to a Ford Mustang mainly from Mexico?

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Can't say that the 'Buy American' provision would be good for any of the worlds economies, if it did go through every country would have it's "Buy [insert country name]" provision. It hard to say you tell someone that they can't sell this us but they are still expecting you to sell the items they want. If provision did go through I could see Canada turning the tap off for oil and gas and fresh water exports.

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Argh, should read; It's hard to tell someone that they can't sell this or that but they are still expecting you to sell the items they need.

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It's a good way to put the whole world economy into the toilet ala 1931. I really hope history doesn't repeat itself.

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There are those who stop and consider that making corporations more powerful -- entities which no longer align themselves with any nation-state or people, and can't be considered "ours" -- while drinking Coca-Cola, eating corporate fast food, killing time with corporate entertainment, and killing the planet (via wars and environmental damage) over access to fossil fuels, might not be such a great thing.

Buy American seems to be something of a cry for greater self-reliance as an economy. It's one thing for an American at the lower rungs of the economic ladder to wish for wealth-creating capital to trickle down from Americans up the ladder. The Chinese might not always be so accommodating.

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The whole stimulus plan is the greatest hoodwink in u.s. history. the whole premise is that if the gov. drops a lot of dough, we will kick start the economy. did anyone forget that bush just dropped quite a lot of dough on afganistan n iraq? if that did not stimulate the economy, perhaps it was because so much of the expenditures were foreign so a buy american clause would make sense. roughly half of any project is going to be materials so shipping billions to foreign countries under the guise of kickstarting the u.s. economy seems as if it would be money wasted. but for that matter, I think all of the money is a waste.

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They used to have a similar campaign in the 70s and 80s in Britain when I was a kid, but why would you buy a product that was more expensive generally of a lower quality?

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Buy want you can afford and what you need...bottom line.

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Buy American is great for America.

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Buy American seems to be something of a cry for greater self-reliance as an economy. There are those who stop and consider that making corporations more powerful . . . might not be such a great thing.

I agree. But the reality is that this push for a “Buy American” provision will almost certainly alienate economic allies like Britain, Canada, and Japan, to name a few, who have stood by us while this disaster unfolds and lead to a protectionist global trade war. Everyone hunkering down to weather the storm ironically will only make the situation worse.

While self-reliance on certain levels is certainly desirable, even crucial, to any nation, particularly with regard to food and fuel resources, a global economy with interlinked trade networks and shared financial and political goals benefits us all, and is a de facto reality, despite countless efforts to turn back the tide. That this globalization will become more encompassing, transcending borders and language, is already happening, and I honestly believe that at some point in the distant future, a world government will not only be inevitable but necessary, primarily to avoid the kind of mess we’re in now.

Yes, New World Order-type stuff, but not the evil, dark overlord-tinted whisperings of conspiracy theorists. Societies have been manipulated by some “Man” or other for centuries. It’s nothing new. But the machinations of power brokers, corporate moguls, and politicians still can’t eliminate the fundamental need for employment opportunities for grunts like us. Another philosophical debate for another time, of course, but still, in the end, they need us as much as we need them, so a balance has to be struck. And that balance is in globalization and free trade.

the whole premise is that if the gov. drops a lot of dough, we will kick start the economy.

Not exactly a "hoodwink," i.e., "scam," if the ultimate goal is get the economy up and running again. Seemed to work with the New Deal in the 1930s in terms of creating jobs to lift the American economy up. Meanwhile during the Depression, Canana pursued a policy of protectionism, raising tariffs against US products. The result? Increased unemployment and a prolonging of the Depression in . . . wait for it . . . Canada.

did anyone forget that bush just dropped quite a lot of dough on afganistan n iraq?

The money spent in those areas was of a different sort, used for different reasons, for acheiving different purposes. The situation is not a fair comparison.

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What do you think about the 'Buy American' provision in the economic stimulus bill being debated in the U.S. Congress?

It's okay.

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I agree. But the reality is that this push for a “Buy American” provision will almost certainly alienate economic allies like Britain, Canada, and Japan, to name a few, who have stood by us while this disaster unfolds and lead to a protectionist global trade war. Everyone hunkering down to weather the storm ironically will only make the situation worse.

It may also violate WTO rules, though I'm not certain of this. Every country erecting protectionist barriers to avoid losing domestic jobs is a recipe for global economic stagnation.

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Americas debates "Buy American" plan.

China debates "Buy America" plan.

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China debates "Buy America" plan.

The Chinese are certainly going to be under the gun for currency manipulation. It's clear they've been doing that. The value of the RMB should rise relative to the dollar given our trade balance. So Beijing buy massive amounts of dollars to depress the value of their currency and point out, "Well, if Uncle Sam didn't run massive deficits you wouldn't need to sell us the dollars?"

That can get into a "he said, she said" finger pointing exchange. And it won't bring manufacturing back to the USA. If the jobs leave China because the RMB appreciates, they will go to a less-developed country.

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If they're not careful, America will be like Japan and everything will be more expensive.

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If they're not careful, America will be like Japan and everything will be more expensive.

There are other reasons for that. I can remember Japanese tourists in LA surprised to discover "Made in Japan" goods were cheaper in America than in Japan where the distribution system is not as efficient and the government piled out taxes for a long time to depress consumption and steer capital toward investment.

Where we could learn a thing or two from the Japanese, as well as the Chinese, is their significantly higher rates of personal saving. Americans' lack of savings forces Uncle Sam to borrow overseas when Washington runs deficits.

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Isn't the global market a 2 way street? If the US is going to establish bills and provisions for "Buy American", then shouldn't they have to ban the equivalent amount of exports and/or exports revenue? "Here world, buy our products but we won't buy yours"... is that what this provision is saying? Someone please tell me I'm wrong.

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In a Trade War, trade barriers is like bombs, you kill their jobs, then they retaliate with their own brriers and kill your jobs, in the end everyone have lots of unemployed. The question is... what is the point of create a job, if the cost is destroy another job?

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"Here world, buy our products but we won't buy yours"... is that what this provision is saying?

Actually, it's more like telling American manufactureres and consumers to buy materials and products only made in America presumably by Americans, in the mistaken belief that it will somehow create more jobs and keep American currency at home. Protectionism like this has never really panned out well for capitalist economies that need to demonstrate growth potential. Corporations know this, but the electorate doesn't seem to - or rather would prefer not to know it.

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The Buy American campaign a few decades ago is what made the American car companies what they are today. The makers just expected the people to buy, no matter the quality or price.

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It's a good idea....

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LFRAgain: "While self-reliance on certain levels is certainly desirable, even crucial, to any nation, particularly with regard to food and fuel resources, a global economy with interlinked trade networks and shared financial and political goals benefits us all, and is a de facto reality, despite countless efforts to turn back the tide. That this globalization will become more encompassing, transcending borders and language, is already happening, and I honestly believe that at some point in the distant future, a world government will not only be inevitable but necessary, primarily to avoid the kind of mess we’re in now."

We both agree that localization of sources of supply for food and energy are very important to the vitality and sustainability of a community. However, globalization, as it has rolled out, has been extremely destructive of communities while at the same time it has increased the material comforts of many of the individual members of these communities.

Besides food and energy, another critical element that needs to be developed and maintained as locally as possible is knowledge. The knowledge to build things, maintain things, and improve things. Whether those things are steel, clothing, appliances, etc., they represent the pieces of the tangible world that are what all the numeric abstractions on spreadsheets and databases point to.

More learning can take place if you have the same activity taking place on a smaller scale in a great many locations, and in different cultures, than if the mass of the work goes to the lowest cost producer in one place.

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Trade restrictions and protectionism were contributors to the great depression. But I don't think that is what Obama is after here.

There are some key facts to consider.

Micro-Economics: This makes sense as it encourages having local business produce products for the local economy instead of importing or long range shipping everything in. This encourages local jobs, local investment and local tax base improvement.

Off-Shoring: We've see way to much of this the last couple decades. It would be better to have a little more expensive items produced by vibrant local and domestic economies and offer benefits to companies who take on this domestic investment and contribution to communities. Companies taking everything offshore should not receive similar benefits as it is our president's responsibility to raise the domestic economy and provide jobs.

Reduced Consumerism: We need to stop buying things we don't need. Rabid consumerism is no longer viable, credit will not be as available and people need to shift away from collecting so much stuff. It is not environmentally friendly and all that consumer credit is a danger to us.

Green: pressing for greener products will inevitably mean having more of them produced at home.

Global: We need to see this shift globally with Japan doing more to produce more of what it needs internally here too.

Doesn't mean we give up global products and trade: We are not talking protectionism here. We are talking about encouraging spending on domestic products. There will still be many things that make sense to trade globally and to produce globally. Trade needs to carry on.

We should not block rice from Japan in favor or domestic products as an example. Instead encourage people to consider the domestic and national advantages of buying local product and encourage them to do so. Some will, others will not. But both products will likely be on major shop's shelves.

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America has been largest consumer in the world. It was responsible for delivering the high growth and prosperity for trading partners. Such as Japan, South Korea, South East Asian nations, China and India. If US did not buy, those nations will not get rich. High growth was fueled by high credits. It is unsustainable for a long time.

It was also a expense of low skilled American workers. Since the signing of NAFTA, countless Americans lost the jobs. The root cause of trade inbalance was a globalization. It is not good for developed nations like US and Japan.

Globalization is good for developing nations beacuse they have cheap land and labour. They are more attractive for business and investments. At that moment, US is broke and facing the moutain of huge debts. For solving these mess, US needs to import less and export more. It will gradually transform budget from red to black. It will casue some pains to trading partners. However US has no choice and needs to look after helpless citizens and falling banks now. Uncomfortable truth is US needs to spend less and high growth nations like India and China needs to spend more. When everything get back to normal, 'Buy American' slogan can be removed. If the world want US become strong again, they have to give US for reasonable time frame for protectionism.

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Secretary of Commerce (sitting erect) Yes, Mr. President?

Dave (from a card) You're spending forty-three million dollars on an ad campaign to... (reading) 'Boost consumer confidence in the American auto industry.'

Secretary of Commerce And it's proving quite effective...

Dave Does it make the cars any better? Secretary of Commerce No, sir. It's more of a perceptual issue.

Dave (beat) Perceptual?

Secretary of Commerce Yes, it's designed to bolster individual confidence in a previous domestic automotive purchase.

Dave (beat) Why?

Secretary of Commerce Well... to shore up product identification and preserve market share.

Dave So we're spending forty-seven million dollars to make people feel better about a car they've already bought?

Secretary of Commerce Yes, but I wouldn't...

Dave (indignant)Well I'm sure that's really important, but I don't want to tell some eight-year-old kid he has to sleep in the street because we want people to feel better about their cars. (beat) Do you want to tell him that?

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It's all nonsense. Exactly what do they mean by "buy American"? What are these "American" things they want you to buy? How many American products are actually in an American home? Not many. As for American cars, a large percentage are made in Mexico and Canada, and many components are manufactured in Asia.

This entire stimulus bill is ludicrous. Exactly what good is it going to do to borrow nearly a trillion more dollars and add it to the national debt? The amount equals nearly $5000 per person in America, and this amount must be paid back (with interest, I might add).

What's worse is that it probably won't do any good. No amount of "stimulus" is going to help. Everything the US government touches turns to crap, for each dollar you give the government in tax, they spend three. The best thing to do is for the government to keep it's sticky hands out of the economy, and let nature take its course. "Stimulus" will not fix anything, it will merely delay the inevitable, and in turn delay the eventual recovery.

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Full Support IT!

Time for America to think about it's self. Japan's package is what 12,000 yen or about 100 USD. The US plan is closer to 600 per person some I hear are getting even more.

Buy USA Support our hometown businesses.

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Buy Made in USA

It will not only good for US, it is good for the whole world. If US economy is weak, the world wide economy is weak too. For US getting stronger, the world need to support US industries and jobs. Stamp out the all trade agreements. They are not good for low skilled Americans.

US products are Steel, Aeroplane, Computer Softwares, Communication Equipments, Chemical products, Multimedia and Agricultural produces. US Soy beans are very popular in China. US baseball products are very popular in Japan. China and Japan has to buy more.

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Too bad that if someone wants to buy American, in the case of a digital TV, where would they go?

Where is Zenith these days..... RIP

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American products are quite mediocre, so buying only American products would result in a loss of competitive edge - as well as the obvious trade barrier allegations.

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What do you think about the 'Buy American' provision in the economic stimulus bill being debated in the U.S. Congress?

Love it. Doing nothing, as the republicans want to do, is a proven failure. And this is the only option on the table. Hopefully it will be passed tomorrow, but it'd be just like Harry Reid to screw that up.

I just love that the republicans held last year's convention in Saint Paul, the city where the bridge collapsed into the river killing 13 people and injuring 145.. and this week they tried to strip the infrastructure spending out of the stimulus bill. Yeah, that's 'in touch'.

A tax cut never created a job. But a government program to rebuild highways, bridges, the grid, to hire cops and teachers and firefighters.. those are JOBS, like it or not.

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Oops! Forgot the most important line.... And the Buy American thing is okay, as long as we remember our allies (JAPAN).

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"Buy American" OK, I've got a few things I'll be buying this year, digital camera, video camera, LCD TV, laptop computer, keitai, some fancy clothes and some new shoes.

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I totally support this provision. There is way too much competition in the US today. Trade wars start when there is limited competition with countries trying to get in... that is not the situation in the US, which consistently ranks among the top 3 on the "Worlds most open markets" lists ! Nations like Japan (rank 22) have seriously damaged the US work force and economy by focusing too much attention on the US. They have basically over fished the waters and now can't understand why they are no longer welcome... get real ! As for the EU... reality check, this stimulus package is for American workers and the US economy... not for foreign nations to try and dig themselves out of their own selfmade economic problems. Obama said it clearly... stop blaming the US for all your troubles. Welcome to the world of "change ... hey you asked for it !

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Judging from the last four pro-protectionism posts and their subsequent "reasoning," if this is the depth and complexity of the average Joe's understanding regarding the state of the world and US economy, then we're all in for a long and bumpy ride. God help us all.

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not for foreign nations to try and dig themselves out of their own selfmade economic problems. The sub prime disaster was wholly a US problem. It spread world wide because capital markets cross borders. The US gets a lot of blame, but in this case it's justified.

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"The sub prime disaster was wholly a US problem. It spread world wide because capital markets cross borders. The US gets a lot of blame, but in this case it's justified."

Hardly ! Do some simple research and you will see I'm right. Bush visited Saudie Arabia in January of '08, his concern was skyrocketing oil prices, then at just over $90 a barrel. The Saudies gave Bush some lip service, sent him on his way, then made a token effort to lower prices... realised in February at 86$ a barrel... then something happened. Seems the OPEC nations got together and, well, err, umm... decided to screw the world !

Over the next few weeks and months oil prices slowly crept up... hovering around the magic $100 a barrel zone... which was achieved by mid March. Prices bounced around this level for a few weeks then bang... $100 plus was the norm as market forces failed to correct the problem. And in April both the Dow Jones Industrial and OPEC generated oil prices converged on two fronts. A consistent price of oil over $100 a barrel and the final peak of the Dow Jones at just over 13,000 ! The rest is history. The Dow Jones plummets as oil prices hit $137 a barrel, with talk of $160... and this is still in the late spring and early summer months. By July the Dow has lost 2,000 points and Americans are staying home for the summer... the damage is done ! It's a free fall from there as speculators can't sell fast enough, realising the summer is lost... this in turn affects the housing industry as summer is the peak season for home building. The Dow continues to fall and from September 8th to October 11 loses almost 3,000 points... it's at this time that the term "sub prime loan" is introduced to the world ! Those are the facts, sorry of they don't mesh with many of you out there who simply want to blame the USA for everything. The charts and dates are all out there for those of you who wish to know the truth.

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Try living a normal life buying what you need from day to day & at the same time try & not buy something made in China. Now try & buy American, I think you are all in for a horrible surprise. If you can do it you will have to pay through the nose for it, & it will only be marginally better than the junk coming out of China.

I have a better solution, America should get it’s sticky fingers out of everybody else’s countries & go for the isolationist thing again. And wouldn’t that make the world a safer place to live.

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Grafton, your post reeks of a driveby flame.

"I have a better solution, America should get it’s sticky fingers out of everybody else’s countries & go for the isolationist thing again. And wouldn’t that make the world a safer place to live."

Let me refresh yer memory... the last time the US entered into an "isolationist" stage it got dragged into WWII with the bombing of Pearl Harbor ! Now, for the other part of yer post...

"America should get it’s sticky fingers out of everybody else’s countries"

You might be interested to know that the vast number of "Fortune 500" companies are American. 8 of the worlds top 10 most recognizable brands are American. And Americans contribute more than 60% of "all" the worlds charitable donations around the world... the world has spoken, they love the USA !

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The plain truth about this "Buy American" provision:

John B. Judis, writing in The New Republic: "Officials from Canada and European Union have complained loudly that a provision in the House stimulus bill that requires American steel and iron for infrastructure projects violates the World Trade Organization rules. But guess what? They don't. The treaty allowed countries to make exceptions for government procurement for specific industries. The U.S. stipulated iron and steel. The EU--not to be outdone--stipulated drinking water, transportation, telecommunications, and energy. Canada stipulated steel, motor vehicles, and coal. So these complaints--and the similar outcry among corporate lobbyists in Washington--is base hypocrisy. And it's too bad that President Barack Obama is listening to them."

From Todd Tucker of Public Citizen:

"Translated out of trade lingo, both Canada and EU give their nations' products much more generous preferences than Congress is even considering giving ours. While current U.S. laws (merely extended in the stimulus bill) give U.S. iron and steel a leg up over the foreign competition for transit projects, Canada and the EU give their firms a leg up over American companies and products on EVERY aspect of transit funding, and many other government purchases besides.

"And, we're not criticizing them for it: why SHOULD decisions by democratically elected parliaments about how to best spend tax dollars on domestic infrastructure be subject to constraints imposed by international trade agreements? There is no "protectionism" at issue here. But, it is certainly hypocrisy--and perhaps a bit of opportunism--on the part of Ottawa and Brussels."

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bandacleo your theory on the cause of this economic downturn is ridiculous.

And by the way, every single one of the Fortune 500 companies are American - because it's a list of American companies.

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