Author Archive for Jack Ackerman

02
Dec
17

2017 Made in America Holiday Gift Guide! Alliance for American Manufacturing

The holidays are here – and the Alliance for American Manufacturing is excited to release our 2017 Made in America Holiday Gift Guide! 

Norman’s Printery

This year’s list is filled with ideas from every state and the nation’s capital. We included picks at every price point and for a variety of people on your list, and we also aimed to include a number of American-made ideas that haven’t made the list before. We also shined the spotlight on makers who took part in our 10th Anniversary Celebration on Nov. 14, and included several suggestions from readers like you. 

But we have more exciting Made in America news!

We’re also unveiling our new Made in America Directory, which shines a spotlight on companies that manufacture their products in the United States. So, if you can’t find the gift you are looking for on this list, head over to the directory for even more great gift-giving ideas!

—Team AAM

Alabama

Exxel Outdoors and its 95 employees make 2 million sleeping bags at a factory in Haleyville every year. It wasn’t always this way; the Haleyville factory was on the brink of closing when Exxel bought it in 2000. But the company bet on Made in America, upgraded the factory – and found success. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Bonus: Veteran owned and operated, Redline Steel manufacturers custom home décor products at its shop in Huntsville. Popular items include family monograms and American flags. Reader Pick

Alaska

Artist and entrepreneur Paul Heflinger’s eco-friendly jewelry and artwork company, The Winking Moose, is inspired by the Alaska wilderness. The company is so committed to the environment that it uses as many recycled materials as possible when shipping its products.

Bonus: The Alaska Rug Company, which made our 2016 list, makes its unique household décor using recycled fishing line and rope. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Arizona

All of the bags, wallets, belts and other accessories produced by Lifetime Leather Co. are handcrafted at the company’s workshop. Reflecting its moniker, the company’s products are designed to last a lifetime.

Trouble the Dog

Bonus: Stuffed toy Trouble the Dog has brought comfort and hope to kids going through a hard time, from youngsters stricken with cancer to children impacted by tragic events like the Boston Marathon bombing and Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The sweet toys are made at the Stuffington Bear Factory in Phoenix.

Arkansas

Robinson Lane is best known of its state collection of charms, but the company also makes a variety of necklaces, earrings, and other personalized jewelry.

California

Entrepreneurs Kimberly Caccavo and Kate Nowlan aim to create clothes that make women feel safe, powerful and fashionable with their athletic line, GRACEDBYGRIT. The brand’s products have SPF 50 protection and include other safety features like whistles and pockets to hold a phone. For more Golden State-made clothing options, check out Groceries Apparel, which manufactures its entire line of 100 percent recycled and organic streetwear in Los Angeles.

Bonus: Law enforcement officers, emergency responders, military service members and more carry MAGLITE flashlights, which are manufactured at the company’s headquarters in Ontario. You can find the flashlights at retailers nationwide. Reader Pick

Colorado

Denver’s Sword & Plough gets its name from the phrase “to turn swords into ploughshares,” as it repurposes military surplus into stylish bags and totes. The veteran-founded company also gives 10 percent of its net profits to veteran-related causes and has helped support more than 65 veteran jobs since 2012. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Sword and Plough

Bonus: Begin Again makes its line of toys from sustainably harvested rubberwood, plant-based plastics that aren’t derived from oil, water based stains and natural rubber, ensuring kids can play safely. The Fort Collins company sells a variety of colorful interactive toys, including a line of John Deere-themed tractors.

Connecticut

Bevin Bells is the only dedicated bell manufacturer left in the United States — and the company almost lost it all in 2012, when a devastating fire destroyed its historic 19th century factory. But Bevin Bells rebounded, building a new plant just a quarter of a mile from its original location in East Hampton, where it makes over 50 different styles and sizes of bells.

Delaware

Artist Megan Flachier’s Well Born Clay unglazed bakeware line is made with natural materials and designed to be a substitute for coated baking or roasting dishes. The unglazed cooking surface means that food will not stick to the pan, and the dishes naturally retain the heat of the oven.

District of Columbia

Mother and daughter duo Lisa and Jamie launched Oh Bessie! to “make you and your kids smile.” The whimsical line of children’s room décor, accessories and clothing is all crafted in the United States.

Sweet Harvest Farms

Florida

Owner Cynthia Jennings began crafting Sweet Harvest Farms soaps in her garage in 1998. The company’s line – and customer base – has expanded since then, but Jennings continues to make Sweet Harvest Farms bath products in small batches to ensure quality. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker 

BONUS: You can find the affordable, durable, and colorful kids dishes made by Re-Play at retailers across the country. Re-Play products are made from HDPE plastic – i.e., recycled milk jugs – and is BPA-free.

Georgia

Marriott hotels sources its towels from 1888 Mills in Griffin, one of the last remaining towel manufacturing plants in the United States. You can find the company’s products at retailers like Walmart. Reader Pick

Hawaii

No flip-flops here! In Hawaii, they call them slippers, and Island Slipper has been designing, manufacturing and customizing the beach must-haves on Oahu since 1946. The company makes a variety of styles for men and women and regularly collaborates with partners like Allen Emonds, Barneys New York and JCrew.

Idaho

The bath and body products from Camille Beckman are all produced at the company’s factory in Eagle, which opened in 2000 as the first green building in Idaho. Despite its size and output, the factory only uses the power of five households, according to the company. Reader Pick

Illinois

You’ve probably seen WeatherTech ads during the Super Bowl highlighting the company’s commitment to manufacturing. The company’s all-weather floor mats, floor liners, cargo/truck liners, mud flaps and more are highly rated and enjoy a loyal following — multiple readers asked that we include the company on this list. Reader Pick

Field Notes

Bonus: Every component of Field Notes paper products are Made in America, including the paper and ink. The company’s trademark notebooks are inspired by those that were sold in gas stations and feed stores at the start of the 20th Century. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Indiana

Purrfectplay owner Pam Wheelock launched her company after discovering that most pet toys included synthetics, dyes and plastics that could potentially hurt her furry family members. Along with providing a safer toy alternative, Purrfectplay donates 5 percent of its sales to no-kill rescue groups. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Bonus: Tedco Toys has made science-based toys in the United States for the past 30 years, helping young people have fun while also learning a thing or two. Reader Pick

Tedco Toys Discovery Pack

Iowa

Amana manufacturers its woolen blankets, scarves and throws in the same building where the company first launched more than a century ago. Amana also sells high-end furniture that is handcrafted in the United States. Reader Pick

Kansas

Simone Chickenbone’s beauty products are made with all-natural ingredients that impart therapeutic aromas like avocado oil. The company’s famous Chicken Poop lip balm is sold in more than 700 stores across the country. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Kentucky

L’Oreal USA manufactures its popular line of Garnier Fructis hair care products at its facility in Florence, from items that make great stocking stuffers like shampoo to its line of damage repairing hair masks.

Louisiana

While many potato chip companies use vegetable oil to make their snacks, Zapp’s uses peanut oil at its factory in Gramercy. Although Utz Quality Foods bought the brand in 2011, Zapp’s continues to make its product in Louisiana and is often packaged with a New Orleans-inspired look.

Maine

Portland’s Zootility Co creates functional products with a bit of flare, including its trademark PocketMonkey, which fits easily into a wallet and works as a bottle opener, screwdriver, letter opener, ruler, orange peeler, headphone wrap and more. Reader Pick

Zootility Co.’s PocketMonkey

Maryland

Based in Westminster, custom clothing manufacturer English American works directly with clients to create custom fit suits, sport coats and tuxedos. Reader Pick

Massachusetts

Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan recently profiled designer Joseph Abboud, who manufactures his line of men’s suits in New Bedford. “It’s chic and cool to be made in America,” he told Givhan.

Michigan

While luxury brand Shinola made a name for itself with watches, the Detroit company continues to expand its offerings, which now include a line of headphones. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker  

Minnesota

Nordic Ware makes many of its kitchenware items at its factory in Minneapolis, employing hundreds of people and supporting the local community. The company sells a variety of pots, pans, bakeware and more that are Made in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

BONUS: Enderes Tools makes a variety of forged hand tools, from chisels to screwdrivers to mason tools to punches and nail sets. Reader Pick

Mississippi

Starkville-based designer Catherine Ann Davis creates artwork, apparel, baby gear, home décor at her studio, hi yall!,, and you can order many of her works online. As is to be expected given its name, everything the company offers has a Southern flair.

Missouri

Klogs Footwear designs and manufactures its classic line of molded polyurethane clogs in its hometown of Sullivan, with options for men and women. Reader Pick

BONUS: Designer Susan Piontek created her lingerie line Sassy Chassis, which made our 2016 list, to help women of all sizes embrace their femininity and strengths. All fabrics for the line are sourced in the United States, and the products themselves are manufactured in St. Louis. Reader Pick

Montana

When Spencer Williams bought a small pet toy company in 1996, he set out to create the world’s safest and highest quality dog and cat toys. Today, West Paw makes its popular line of toys at its eco-friendly factory in Bozeman, and in 2016 was named as One of the Best Small Companies in America by Forbes magazine. Reader Pick

Nebraska

All of the chimes produced by MAAC windchimes are unique and one-of-a-kind, produced using everything from old collectable toys to football helmets.

Kimmie Candy’s Joe Dutra

Nevada

Perfect for stocking stuffers, Kimmie Candy makes its award-winning products at a factory in Reno. Kimmie Candy brought production back from South Korea in 2005, and now makes 2 million pounds of candy in the Silver State every year. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker 

New Hampshire

Peterboro Basket Co. has been in business since 1854, and the company is the oldest manufacturing company still making baskets in the United States. Today, its products are handcrafted and made-to-order, and can be personalized with a special plaque and even gift wrapped.

New Jersey

Looking for a perfect pair of sheets, pillows, table cloths or other accessories? Check out Lime & Leaf, which works closely with American textile makers to produce its line of household linens. The company also donates a percentage of every product sold to the North Carolina State University College of Textiles, the only remaining college in the U.S. devoted entirely to textiles. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Bonus: There’s no excuse for flying an American flag that was made overseas, especially when family-owned Annin Flagmakers has been making flags in the United States since 1847 and currently employs more than 500 people. You can find Annin flags in retailers nationwide. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

New Mexico

For more than 36 years, Albuquerque’s Silverado Home + Apparel has been designing and manufacturing luxury bedding, home accessories and clothing, all with a distinct Southwestern style.

New York

Liberty Tabletop is the only company in America that makes its flatware entirely in America, manufacturing its products at a factory once owned by Oneida Ltd. After Oneida offshored production, Liberty Tabletop founders Greg Owens and Matt Roberts bought the flatware factory, keeping a tradition alive and saving jobs. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Liberty Tabletop

Bonus: P.W. Minor operates the second oldest shoe factory in the United States in Batavia, where employees make fashionable-yet-comfortable footwear. Reader Pick

North Carolina

Freaker USA’s trademark drink insulators and socks have gained a strong following since the company first launched in 2011 via money raised from a Kickstarter campaign. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Bonus: Known for its fun, mismatched patterns, Solmate Socks prides itself on its eco-friendly practices, which include using recycled yarn and adhering to a “zero waste” policy. The company owns the mill where its socks are made as part of its commitment to keeping its products American-made.

North Dakota

Linda Penry turned her love of photographing her home state’s natural treasures into notecard business HayThere Designs. The company offers single cards and notecard packs featuring breathtaking photos of everything from wildflowers to wildlife.

Ohio

Ashley and Brendan Thompson founded 50 Strong in 2012 to prove American manufacturing matters, and its factory continues to make competitively-priced water bottles that are entirely Made in America. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Bonus: NPR described the KitchenAid stand mixer as “the tool of the trade of cooking, especially baking.” While the company outsources some of its production, the classic mixer is made at a factory in Greenville, where a 325,000 square-foot expansion project kicked off in 2016. Reader Pick

Oklahoma

Nonni’s biscotti can be found at retailers throughout the United States. The original Nonni perfected her recipe in the little town of Lucca, Italy, but the company now makes its biscotti in Tulsa.

Oregon

The unique pieces handcrafted by The Green Jeweler in Ashland are made from reclaimed pure silver and gold and fair mined gemstones. Artist Andrea Pellicani’s Mesa Verde Peridot collection also sources from small, artisan mines in the United States. Reader Pick

K’NEX’s Lincoln Logs

Pennsylvania

Since its founding in 1992, K’NEX has won nearly 400 awards for its line of building toys. Several K’NEX build sets are made at the company’s factory in Hatfield, along with all the rods and connectors of K’NEX educational toys. K’NEX also makes its iconic Lincoln Logs in the United States. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Rhode Island

Ralph Rafaelian started making costume jewelry in the Ocean State in the 1960s, but ran into tough times by the 1990s as his competitors offshored their production. Around that time, his daughter Carolyn Rafaelian launched a small business of her own in her father’s factory, designing pieces for chains like Express while starting work on her own line. And that’s how Alex and Ani, one of the most successful jewelry brands of the decade, was born.

South Carolina

Perhaps one of the more practical gift ideas on the list (or just something to keep handy if you expect houseguests this season) DooDooJuice is a scented oil toilet spray made from natural oils. It’s the brainchild of a South Carolina mom turned toilet odorpreneur who developed the formula as a homemade gift for family and friends.

South Dakota

Newell’s Harmony Cream Soaps are made from goat milk and whole natural oils, and the entire soap-making process is done by hand — from the feeding of the goats to the packaging of each item. Goat milk soap is often helpful for conditions like acne, eczema and even bug bites, according to the company.

Tennessee

Family-owned and operated L.C. King Manufacturing Company has been making high-quality workwear and streetwear in Bristol for more than 100 years. The company frequently collaborates with fashion designers to keep up with modern trends. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Bonus: The weighted sensory blankets from Nashville-based The Weighted Blanket Company are designed to ground your body while you sleep, providing a calming effect that help alleviate stress and anxiety. Another thing to help ease your mind? The company offers a one-year warranty on all of its products.

Texas

It’s not just your hair that needs some TLC — beards also need a bit of love, and Texas Beard Co. offers an array of all natural oils and balms to help yours look great.

Utah

Rachel Nilsson started Rags to Raches as a way to sell her children’s hand-me-downs and make some extra cash, but quickly discovered that people were most interested in buying a romper of her own design, called The RAG. After appearing on Shark Tank and getting funds from investor Robert Herjavec, Nilsson saw her company’s sales quintuple.

Vermont Flannel Co.

Vermont

Husband-and-wife team Mark and Linda Baker launched The Vermont Flannel Company in 1991 with a commitment to manufacture in the United States. The company continues to make its handcrafted line of flannel shirts, leggings, scarves, totes, and even dog jackets in America. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Bonus: Fly fisherman will love the products from Finn Utility, which are handcrafted by artist and outdoorsman Ryan McDonald. Reader Pick

Virginia

When other furniture makers offshored their production in the 1980s — and foreign makers from places like China started stealing American designs — John D. Bassett III decided to fight. Bassett’s story is immortalized in the 2014 bestseller Factory Man, and his company, Vaughan-Bassett, continues to make bedroom furniture in Galax.

Bonus: Collared Greens is based in Richmond, but its line of bowties and men’s apparel is produced at facilities throughout the United States. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Washington

Beehive Candles are made from 100 percent beeswax, which burn brighter, longer and cleaner than other candles. The company also sources all of its beeswax from beekeepers in the United States. Reader Pick

Bonus: The delightful magnets made by Kate Grenier Designs make a perfect stocking stuffer. Grenier uses recycled bottle caps to make her whimsical collections. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

West Virginia

When the Homer Laughlin China Company introduced Fiesta in 1936, the colorful line of dishes immediately gained a cult following. The company continues to be a trendsetter and now maintains 47 colors in its iconic line. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Marble King

Bonus: Marble King uses recycled glass to manufacture more than 1 million lead-free marbles every day, which are used for both recreational and industrial purposes. Marbles from Marble King have been featured in movies like The Goonies and Home Alone, and the company made the first Cat’s Eye marble in the United States. AAM 10th Anniversary Celebration Maker

Wisconsin

Men’s shoemaker Allen Edmonds has been handcrafting its classic Goodyear welted shoes in Port Washington since 1922. The company also recrafts nearly 60,000 pairs of its shoes each year, a 38-step process that allows customers to continue wearing beloved pairs of shoes for years to come. Reader Pick

Wyoming

Jackson Hole Hat Co. specializes in making custom western cowboy hats “the old way — by hand.” The company’s retail store and manufacturing facility are located right off Jackson Hole’s town square, but you can also contact the company to place a custom order.

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Check out past AAM Made in America Holiday Gift Guides: 2016 | 2015 | 2014

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30
Nov
17

GOP Tax Bill – Trumped Up Trickle-down Tax Plan

The GOP Tax Bill – The Trumped Up Trickle-down Tax Plan

What could be easier than passing a bill that cuts taxes on US citizens? It should be easier than falling down. I mean who doesn’t want to pay less on their taxes? But this is not what the GOP tax bill is. First and foremost, the tax cut is for the benefit of the sponsors of the Grand Old Party. It starts with the permanent tax cuts to large corporations. Next, you add other goodies, like getting rid of the Alternate Minimum Tax (which makes some very rich people pay at least some income tax), getting rid of the Estate Tax (House Plan and the Pass Through Tax Reduction for the wealthy. From these cornerstone, all other legislation follows. To get at least some support for their plan, the GOP feigned that they were going to cut taxes on the middle class. And, in order not to blow a giant blackhole in the Federal budget, the GOP has taken away tax deductions used by the middle class.

How popular is this Tax Plan?

The GOP Tax Plan is extremely unpopular, only 25% approve and 52% disapprove – see Axios Link. But The GOP wants to pass it anyway.

Why The GOP Tax Bill is Bad For America?

1. Tax Cuts To The Corporations Do Not Increase American Jobs or Increase Wages.

a) Trickle-down theory is a farce

The GOP Tax Plan is a re-hash of trickle-down economics, sometimes called Voodoo economics. The outrageous theory is that if you give money to the rich, it will trickle-down to the middle class. We have overwhelming evidence that it has never worked. The Reagan tax cuts, the first recent trickle-down tax cut, not only did not create more jobs, but it was the start of the widening economic disparity that has continued to widen. Even, more recently  the experience of the Republican-dominant state of Kansas has shown to nearly bankrupt the state.

b) The Real corporate tax rate is 15%, With the Corporate Tax decrease the real rate will be 8.5%

Corporations are making all time profits, capital can be borrowed at incredibly low rates and yet these corporations don’t hire any new employees or pay them more. There has been a change in the thinking of corporations. In the 1960’s, Corporations made up 21% of the total federal revenue. Now, in 2016 Corporations pay only 9% of the total federal revenue (CPPD), which means the bigger share comes from the middle class. And, now, the GOP wants to decrease the corporation tax rate from 35% to 20%!!! Not that Corporations pay 35% income tax, after all their lobby-filled special tax exemptions, corporations pay only 15% on income (Forbes) – and if you decrease the nominal rate from 35% to 20% without getting rid of these exemptions, the real corporation tax rate would be 8.5%. So, what would be the percentage of corporation revenue to Federal Revenue after this GOP tax cut? It would decrease the revenue towards to the Federal government from an already all time low of 9% to an obscene rate of 5%. Together, with the elimination of the estate tax, this means that the middle class will have to pitch in even more.

c) Why Don’t Corporations hire more or pay more with record breaking profits?

Corporations have had a change in philosophy/conscious. Since the 1970s, corporations’ goal has been to maximize profit while enriching their CEOs and shareholders. It used to be that a corporation would only “down-size” (resorting to mass firings) when the corporation profits were negative. Then, in the 1980s, corporations started downsizing when profits were static and, now, corporations routinely downsize even when they are pulling down record profits. So, what do corporations do with these record profits if they are not creating more jobs or paying higher wages? First, pay CEOs more: CEOs pay has been skyrocketing every year. The ratio of CEO pay to workers is 335 to 1. It used to be 17/1 in 1980. The second thing corporations do is pay more dividends to stockholders. The third thing corporations do with their record profits is they buy back their own stock to pump up their price in the stock market. (This practice should be illegal). Fourth, corporations, thanks to the Republican-dominant Supreme Court created the Citizens United Decision which allows corporations to contribute unlimited money into campaigns, which sends tons of money to their minions, so, the GOP can pass laws like the Trumped Up Trickle-down Tax Plan. The circle of greed continues.

2. Why is only One Party Doing this Tax Plan?

Like the unsuccessful repeal of the Affordable Care Act, The Republicans have been plotting in secret to pass the Trumped-Up, Trickle-down Plan through a process called Reconciliation. By using Reconciliation, only a simple majority is needed, the issue must be budgetary and would not increase significantly the federal deficit beyond a 10 year term limit. So, how does a plan that increases the federal deficit by $1.4 – 1.7 trillion fit that definition? I do not think it does. And because the GOP has majorities in the Senate, The House as well as The President, the  Republicans feel that they can do whatever their sponsors want. And despite what the public wants (52% disapprove), The GOP might just pass this pile of steaming garbage.

3. Who Profits of this Tax Plan?

Who are the winners of this plan(Wash. Post)? 62% of the money from this Republican Tax Plan goes to the top 1%. Obviously, corporations are the biggest winners. People making at least $200,000 and up are also winners – they will be rid of the Alternate Minimum Tax (Donald Trump would have gained $31 million in his 2005 Tax return). The House Tax Plan eliminates the Estate Tax, but today’s Senate Plan increases the the exemption to 11 million for a couple. In another give-away to the wealthy is a reduction in the tax rate who use a process called “Pass Through”. This is where a wealthy person who has a sole proprietorship or limited corporation income from their business transfers into their personal income at a rate of 25% instead of 39.5%.

4. Who Are The Losers of the Trumped-Up, Trickledown Tax Plan?

The GOP Tax plan is very tricky. Things like the repeal of the Estate Tax and decrease of Corporate tax are gradually phased in and are permanent, while the tax breaks to the middle class are gradually phased out and are temporary, which means that the middle class will pay more by 2027.

The Losers:

  1. Families with three or more children
  2. People that deduct state and local taxes from their federal taxes.
  3. Working poor.
  4. College students
  5. Small Businesses
  6. People who pay for Health insurance
  7. People who deduct home mortgage
  8. People Who adopt
  9. People who deduct medical expenses
  10. Wind Energy Producers
  11. Ph.D Students
  12. Electric vehicle buyers.

Below is a chart from the Congressional Budget Office which shows what the effect the Tax plan together with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act: Bottom line – people making $40,000 or less will be paying more. Also, 13 million more people will be off Health Insurance, which means more uninsured people showing up in Emergency Rooms whose bill will eventually paid by the taxpayers and not the bankrupt patients.

 

5. Top Economics Say GOP Tax Plan Will Not Increase Jobs and will cause a large Federal Deficit.

The University of Chicago School of Business asked 38 economists about the GOP Tax Plan. All agreed that trickle-down economics does not work and will only a create more than a trillion dollar federal debt, possibly $1.4 to 1.7 trillion. Some economists think that the deficit will be much more than this. So, Why pass this Tax Plan?!!! This is called a re-distribution of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy.

6. Some Other Things To Think About

With the Republicans purposely creating a huge federal deficit, the GOP have a chance to automatically cut other programs, something the GOP does not like to talk about. Automatic cuts (Paygo) means that the GOP would cut Medicare by $25 billion the first year and $400 Billion over ten years. It would also decrease Medicaid by $17 billion. Customs and Border Patrol, the Student Loan Administration and the Military Retirement Fund would also face the scalpel. But to decrease funds to Social Security, the GOP would have to separately vote on that (as it is not part of Paygo). But the GOP will surely eliminate many programs for the poor and the disabled – meals on wheels, vocational schools, etc, etc. If you hadn’t already known this, this Tax Plan is a bare-knuckled message to everybody: the Republican Party is the Party of the 1%, the ones responsible for the Washington Insiders cesspool, and the ones responsible for the greatest income disparity between the wealthy and the middle class. The Republicans and Donald Trump care not a whit for the working class. In a time of economic prosperity, we are supposed to pay down our debt, not increase it by $1.44 trillion. What happens if we hit another recession within the next 10 years? A total disaster would occur. The Republican Tax plan is totally irresponsible.

 

28
Nov
17

Poll Support For Manufacturing Made in USA Goods Jumps But Don’t Credit Trump

Morning Consult: Poll Support For Manufacturing Made in USA goods jumps but don’t credit trump.

Consumer Preferences

Increased Support For Buying ‘Made in America’ Goods, but Don’t Credit Trump

The President’s boosterism of domestic manufacturing only goes so far, experts say

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to try to bring jobs back to American workers and revamp the H-1B visa guest worker program during a visit to the headquarters of tool manufacturer Snap-On on April 18. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
  • Experts say that the discrepancy illustrates just how price-sensitive American shoppers are.

U.S. consumers are willing to pay more for “Made in America” goods, according to a recent nationwide survey. But there’s a financial limit to how much they’ll support a key 2016 campaign theme by President Donald Trump.

Sixty-seven percent of adults in the United States would be willing to pay more for products if they knew doing so would support American manufacturing, according to a Morning Consult poll conducted Oct. 26-30. The survey of 2,201 U.S. adults has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

When asked about specific price points for a hypothetical product, however, consumer attitudes diverged — particularly along political lines.

Respondents were given the choice between a $50 coat made overseas and a $50 coat made in the United States, and 84 percent said they would opt for the domestic garment. As the price of the American-made coat rose to $60 and then $75, the percentage of respondents who said they would purchase it slipped to 70 percent and 52 percent, respectively.

Put another way: Support for purchasing a “Made in America” product dropped 38 percent when its price jumped 50 percent.

Experts said the discrepancy reveals just how price-sensitive American shoppers are, and they downplayed the effect of recent politicization of American manufacturing and consumption, such as Trump’s Buy American and Hire American executive order from April.

“We can put a dollar figure on anything,” said Anthony Dukes, an associate professor at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business who specializes in pricing strategy, in an interview this month. “Marketers do this all the time. They put a value on a brand; they put a value on an attribute of a product; and they even put a dollar value on ‘Made in the USA.’”

Answers to this question have shifted since last year, when 47 percent of respondents said they would purchase the more expensive domestic coat; 52 percent this year said they would.

Dukes credited that uptick more to a consumer movement of buying locally, as opposed to the political atmosphere, though he said overall “patriotic obligation” is one reason why consumers may say they purchase domestic goods.

Sixty-five percent of Republicans said they would purchase the pricier coat, compared with 46 percent of Democrats, according to the October poll.

Ron Friedman, a partner at the public accounting and advisory firm Marcum LLP, agreed that the Trump administration’s economic nationalist rhetoric isn’t influencing consumers, and that shoppers always go for the less expensive item — wherever it’s made.

“The issue is price, not ‘Made in America,’” Friedman said in an interview this month.

“If a consumer had the opportunity to buy ‘Made in America’ versus, realistically, ‘Made in China,’ and the prices are exactly the same, they would buy ‘Made in America,’” Friedman said. “But the reality is the prices are not the same. The prices are just cheaper coming in from China.”

Although cost influences choice here, the tribalism of domestic consumption shouldn’t be overlooked.

Republicans making less than $50,000 a year were more likely than Democrats earning the same amount to say they would purchase the more expensive American good, by a similar margin: 67 percent versus 48 percent, respectively.

Americans making more than $100,000 a year are where support for the pricier domestic coat slips. Fifty-four percent of wealthy Republicans and 37 percent of Democrats with similar incomes were less likely than adults with smaller incomes to say they’d purchase the more expensive American-made item.

Measuring the number of products made in America can be challenging, especially when federal agencies use different definitions when overseeing such goods.

Fifty-three percent of “final demand for manufactured goods” or “personal consumption, business investment and government purchases” were made in the United States, according to the Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration. That means that about half the products Americans purchased were domestically produced.

That number varies by industry. Twenty-eight percent of the computer and electronic products and 48 percent of automobiles that Americans purchased in 2015 were domestically made, while 79 percent of food, beverage, and tobacco products consumed in the United States were American-made, according to the ESA.

When consumers finally get to the check-out line, Dukes said their sentiment for “Made in America” products may not always turn into action.

“It’s easy to say one thing, and then actually pull your wallet out — it’s different,” he said.

22
Nov
17

Resistance Enterprises – Doing Good and Politically Active

Resistance Enterprises

Resistance Enterprises is an Internet only Apparel company making T-shirts made in the USA (made in Maine). What makes them different is that 5% of all their profits goes to supporting charities, promoting human rights and strengthening our democracy. What also makes them different is that they are active politically especially in resisting the scourge of the illegitimately-elected-President-who-shall-not-be-named.

Immigrant with a picture of Alexander Hamilton

We’re Way More Than Just An Apparel Company. Together, We’re Making Change.

Doing good is in our DNA – we believe there’s more to running a company than just the bottom line. Here at Resistance Enterprises, we’re trying to do three important things:

1. We amplify your voice with unique messages of dissent. We’re making the most bad-ass resistance shirts we can come up with, and sometimes they’ll make people uncomfortable. We’re living in uncomfortable times. Speak loudly and stand up for what you believe.

“Be American / Express how you feel / And take the credit.”

– My Shot, Hamilton Mixtape

In Mueller We Trust

2. We help you become an effective protestor-dissident-citizen. Our Weekly Resist email goes out to let you know what’s happening each week and where you can apply your force to the democratic system that requires our participation to work.

“When are folks like me and you gonna rise up?”

– My Shot, Hamilton Mixtape

Resist with picture of Smokey The Bear

3. We donate 5% of profits to causes that are making a difference in our world. We support charities that are savings lives, promoting human rights and strengthening our democracy. This year, we’re working with the Against Malaria Foundation to protect kids from getting malaria. We’re transparent with what we raise; you can track our fundraising progress here.

T-Rump to be eaten by T-Rex

Resist with picture of Suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Never My President

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Editorial Comment

Bravo to Resistance Enterprises! I think “Impeach Trump” would be a good T-Shirt idea. Or, maybe, “Groper-In-Chief.” For those of you who are GOP voters, I will send you to a link that is Pro-GOP: The GOP.com store.

21
Nov
17

Chinese cars coming to America in 2019

GUANGZHOU, China — The cars are called Trumpchi (though their Chinese maker insists the name is just a coincidence).

Various models of Trumpchi cars have been motoring down Chinese roads for the past seven years. But even after the United States elected a real estate tycoon with a similar name as president, the world ignored them.

Now the company that makes Trumpchis hopes that will change — and China appears to believe the rest of its auto industry is ready to go global, too.

GAC Motor said on Friday that it would begin selling Trumpchis in the United States by the end of 2019. The company hopes it will be the first Chinese car brand to take off in a market that has eluded the country’s manufacturers.

Trumpchis have gained a devoted following in China. The brand’s burly GS8 midsize sport utility vehicle, the first model that the company plans to sell in the United States, and its spacious new GM8 minivan have sleek lines and levels of fit and finish close to those of Japanese automakers.

Top executives and their advisers are agonizing, however, over whether, and how, to change the name for the American market.

“There’s no Obama-mobile, that’s a cultural thing, there’s no Clinton car,” said Robert C. Maling Jr., a retired Lexus executive who is now an adviser to GAC. “It would be confusing to the American public to have the Trumpchi name.”

The Chinese government broadly appears to be gearing up for large-scale exports.

China’s auto industry has grown into the world’s largest, producing more cars each year than the United States and Japan combined, while shielded from imports by the highest trade barriers by far of any major car market. Those policies forced multinationals to move factories and their latest technology to China.

But Beijing is now discussing slight reductions in those restrictions. It is largely to prevent foreign governments from citing them as a reason to apply their own limits on Chinese automotive exports.

Unlike any other carmaking power, China requires multinationals to produce cars in 50-50 joint ventures with local companies, to help its domestic businesses learn the latest manufacturing techniques. But in statements over the past two weeks, the government has said that it may relax that rule somewhat for electric cars made in foreign trade zones.

China also said right after President Trump left Beijing a week ago that it would consider a gradual cut in its import tariffs. China charges a 25 percent tax on imported cars, compared with 2.5 percent in the United States.

Cars made in free trade zones must still pay the 25 percent tariff if they are shipped to Chinese dealers instead of being exported. But those rules also appear to be softening. In recent discussions with Tesla, the American electric car company that wants to build a wholly owned factory in a Shanghai free trade zone, Chinese officials have been looking into possibly reducing the tariff as well, two people familiar with the discussions said.

A formula being considered would apply the 25 percent tariff only to imported components in each Tesla car, said one of these people, who insisted on anonymity because the discussions were continuing. That would cut Tesla’s financial burden, while also putting heavy pressure on it to shift as much production as possible to Chinese suppliers.

Tesla declined to comment, except to repeat that it is in talks to set up a factory to supply the Chinese market.

Starting in 2013, Commerce Ministry officials have suggested they might lower China’s own automotive trade barriers once Chinese manufacturers were ready to sell abroad, to prevent them from being used as justification by other countries for reciprocal trade barriers. Indeed, carmakers from China that export electric vehicles to the United States could even find advantages.

Yu Jun, the president of GAC Motor, said in an interview on Friday that the company planned to export electric cars to the United States and Europe as well as gasoline-powered vehicles. If it does so, it could benefit from the United States’ $7,500 tax credit for electric car buyers.

Only the first 200,000 electric cars from each manufacturer qualify for the credit. Tesla and other American companies, like General Motors, are close to exhausting the credits for their customers. But GAC and other Chinese companies would each have the full 200,000 credits available.

The tax credit’s future, though, is uncertain. As Congress considers a tax overhaul, some lawmakers are considering eliminating it.

Here in China, the government has barred people who buy Teslas from collecting subsidies of $10,000 or more per electric car because such benefits are available only to buyers of Chinese-built cars. The American tax credits, by contrast, can be used for imports.

Despite the changing environment, GAC Group, GAC Motor’s parent company, has a lot of marketing work to do before it enters the American market.

At the Guangzhou auto show on Friday, Feng Xingya, the group’s president, emphasized that GAC is a state-owned enterprise seeking to faithfully carry out the goals of the Chinese government. That message might not go over as well next year at the Detroit and Chicago auto shows, where the company plans to announce more details of its American sales offensive.

And then there’s the name. GAC officials, for their part, say Trumpchi sounds in Chinese a little like “passing on happiness.” Any decision on whether to change the brand’s name would be announced at the Detroit auto show in January, Mr. Yu said.

Whatever it is called on arrival at American docks, Trumpchi may have the best shot of any Chinese competitor at international acceptance.

The Chinese government has long been leery of letting its automakers start exporting, for fear that they might embarrass the country and damage their brands by having shoddy quality. But Trumpchi has done much better than most Chinese brands, and better than some multinational brands’ China subsidiaries, in surveys of initial quality by J. D. Power and Associates, the global quality consulting company.

China is already ramping up trans-Pacific exports of multinational-brand cars. Volvo, now owned by a Chinese company, and G.M. have already started shipping cars from China to the United States. Ford announced in June that it would move production of its popular Focus compact car from Michigan to China.

China would be following the example of Japan and South Korea by jumping into the American market, but might face geopolitical obstacles. Beijing has been viewed warily in the United States for, among other things, building an archipelago of artificial islands with military-grade runways in the South China Sea.

Car dealers, however, may not be as concerned. “I’m not into the geopolitical nature of it,” said Bob Shuman, a Detroit-area Chrysler dealer who attended Trumpchi’s introduction of a new minivan in Guangzhou. “I’m just interested in selling cars.”

20
Nov
17

Christmas Gifts Made in USA 2017

Christmas Gifts Made in USA 2017

Happy Holidays. It is that time again. It is time to go shopping for Christmas presents. And what better way to say you care than by buying gifts made in the USA. I have chosen some different gifts this year. Once you finished your shopping, celebrate your accomplishment with Domaine Carneros Sparkling wine (see the last gift).

First off, from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Santa and Mrs Claus Set.

Vermont Teddy Bear Santa and Mrs Claus set

Next from the Guideboat Company, who just opened another store at the Stanford Shopping Center is a Jacquard knit J’Adore Half Zip Jacket

 

Guideboat Jacquard Knit J’Adore half-zip jacket

 

Next from Robeworks, all robes made in the USA, comes  the Luxury Hooded Robe LJ 500

Robeworks Luxury Hooded Robe LJ500

If you are looking for more than clothing, look at the satchel from Merci Fortune called the Catherine Satchel Cerise Leather. All bags are made with Horween leather and handcrafted in New York City.

 

If you want to keep warm look at this fleece blanket made by the American Blanket Company. They advertise themselves as the best blanket in America. They are lifetime guaranteed and all are made in Fall River, Massachusetts.

American Blanket Company Luster Loft Fleece Blanket

 

The Next item is from an old favorite of mine: Bills Khakis. This one is called the Donegal Sweater.

Bills Khakis Donegal Sweater Charcoal

To keep your hands warm, there are these nice Elkskin mittens, found on the website Leather Gloves Online. Not all are gloves are US made on this website.

Leatherglovesonline Elkskin mittens

To keep your feet warm, look at this Slipper from Sundance Leather. com. made in Colorado.

Sundanceleather.com Colorado Colorado cuff slippers

 

Looking for accessories made in the USA? Well, Allen Edmonds have a few Tie Pins and cufflinks.

American Flag Tie Pin

Allen Edmonds American Flag cufflinks

 

The next is a Christmas season must. It is the ugly Christmas sweater. This one is from Teespring.com. The priniting is all done in the USA, but not all of their apparel is made here, it is difficult to decipher where they are from.

Teespring Ugly Christmas Sweater

At wintertime, we can’t spend our whole time snuggled up under covers, in front of a roaring fire with a cup of cocoa, sometimes we have to go out there and exercise. Because the daylight hours in the winter are shorter, it means that we have to spend more of our time in the dark. And if you want to exercise safely, wearing reflective wear will make your work-out safer. First, from Illuminite, comes a reflective jacket in a royal blue color.

Illuminite Womens Royal Blue jacket – reflective

Continuing with the night exercise wear comes the reflective shorts from Illuminte.

Illuminite Womens Mid length shorts reflective

Another great idea for Christmas is jewelry. One company that makes all there jewelry is Hawaii is Na Hoku.

Na Hoku 14K Gold Hawaiian Heirloom 8mm bracelet

During the holiday season, there are plenty of parties and get-togethers, so sometimes one has to get gussied up. Here is an example from Nordstroms’.

Nordstroms: Dress The Population Emery scoop back reversible sequin body con dress

Also From Nordstroms’ is a Leather Bomber jacket made by long-time US clothing maker, Schott.

Nordstroms Schott NYC Genuine Shearling Vintage B-6 Bomber Jacket

 

Thinking of a gift that is not clothing, how about this briefcase from Frank Clegg.

Frank Clegg chestnut tumbled grain leather English briefcase

Still needing to stay warm, see this warm coat from Sofia Cashmere Wool Blend Coat from Nordstroms.

 

A great idea for Christmas are watches. Shinola watches are made in Detroit, Michigan.

Shinola Runwell 47mm Green Watch

 

The Vermont Teddy Bear Company has such cute ideas that is why they are appearing for a second time.

Vermont Teddy Bear Co. Beary Christmas Tree

Have you finished your holiday? Yes, well done. Now you can celebrate with Domaine Carneros Sparkling Wines.

Domaine Carneros Sparkling Wines

 

17
Nov
17

Driverless Cars Will Kill Jobs

Driverless Cars Will Kill the Most Jobs in Select US States

Yellow taxi cabs line up outside the Delta Terminal at LaGuardia Airport in Queens, New York.

 

Todd Maisel | NY Daily News | Getty Images
Yellow taxi cabs line up outside the Delta Terminal at LaGuardia Airport in Queens, New York.

If Silicon Valley gets its way, it won’t be long until every vehicle in the country has nobody behind the wheel.

Driverless car technology is expected to reduce labor costs, fuel costs and accidents, but it will also be a complete disaster for the millions of Americans who work as long-haul truckers, bus drivers or cab drivers. Truck driving alone is the most common job across vast swathes of the United States, and they could all be unemployed within years.

Almost 3 percent of all working American are drivers of some sort — more than 2 percent are truck drivers, 0.4 percent are bus drivers and 0.3 percent are cabbies and other types of drivers, according to Census Bureau occupational data. But those jobs aren’t evenly distributed across the country, and some places are going to get slammed by the automation of jobs more than others.

According to the 2014 Census data, there are more than 4.4 million Americans aged 16 and over working as drivers, and the vast majority of those are men who are categorized as “driver/sales workers and truck drivers.” In states like Wyoming and Idaho, the percent of the employed civilians working in driving jobs exceeds four percent. (The District of Columbia is the lowest by far, at only 1.6 percent).

It could be many years before vehicle automation takes those jobs. Even when driverless cars and trucks hit the road, regulators will expect them to continue to contain a human operator for the foreseeable future. But eventually, the economic endgame is to leave the drivers behind. Companies like Uber aren’t investing in driverless technology so they can continue to pay drivers:

“The reason Uber could be expensive is because you’re not just paying for the car — you’re paying for the other dude in the car,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said years ago. “When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle.”

And self-driving trucks have already been tested — the company Uber purchased to help develop its self-driving cars also plans to have thousands of trucks equipped with test technology by 2017. Those trucks will still have drivers behind the wheel, but like Uber’s cars, it’s hard to imagine they’ll be there for long.

Some states look like they’ll be particularly hard-hit, but the problem looks even worse if you zoom in and look at the same data by congressional district. Some areas — like the Bronx and Queens in New York City, and Hoboken, New Jersey — rely on driving jobs for nearly 9 percent of their work forces.

For men, who make up the majority of drivers, the situation is even more dire — in some places, 10 to 15 percent of the male workforce could find themselves newly unemployed.

What To Do To Stop Driverless Cars?
So, how do we stop driverless cars? First, I do not agree that it won’t kill jobs. To stop the progression of driverless cars: You can write, you can phone, you can blog and protest against driverless cars. There are also many ways that one can stop driverless cars individually. Some simple ways – when you see a car without a driver, get in front of it and slow down, don’t let it pass, maybe slow the driverless car to a stop and keep it stopped. For delivery vehicles, I can see people stopping the cars and robbing them, since there would be no human casualties these driverless cars would be an easy target. I wouldn’t condone this or robbing passengers of driverless Uber cars, but they would be more susceptible. Other ways, since these driverless cars depend on computers and GPS, obtaining a GPS jamming instrument and aiming it at the driverless car would make it inoperable. There are computer hackers that could have the car’s computer download a counterfeit map program which could lead the cars astray, or, in another way, a program, that alters where the satellites are perceived can also spell trouble for driverless cars. And finally, sue the car manufacturers for millions for any injury caused by driverless, soulless cars that don’t value human pain, suffering or lives.
Conclusion
This not just a battle against driverless cars but a battle against automation. The United States has embraced automation to the fullest. This is because American companies since the 1980’s have become the greediest, while at the same time, care the least about having any employees. Corporations are making record profits, yet do not expand the work force or increase their wages. (How is this GOP Tax Plan supposed to increase jobs by cutting taxes to corporations?) We are people and we do not need to join the corporate games.
How many times have you gone into a store – a mega-hardware store, a supermarket, or a department store that has vast amounts of space yet you can’t find one worker on the floor? If you are lucky enough to find something after hours of endless and aimless wandering, you, then take your item to check out, and what do you see? Multiple self-check-out stands, but only one manned check out stand. And there is a long line for either. In contrast, in Japan, where one thinks everything is automated, the scene couldn’t be more different. In the department stores, there are multiple sales people waiting to help you out at every turn. In the elevator, they have paid people who are operating the elevator, and there are human cashiers who are ready to check you out without any waiting. It is about service, ultimate service. In the US, it’s about volume and profits, damn the consumers.
It is not that I am against technology. I think technology should assist people, but not replace them. The exception would be eliminating very dangerous or very dirty jobs, like working in the sewers or coal-mining, now that I would approve of. But getting rid of drivers and losing 12 million US jobs? To that I say no.
Buy American, keep your neighbors employed.



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