Posts Tagged ‘made in usa

14
Feb
17

10 Made in America Gifts for Valentine’s Day

Shower your special someone with American-made gifts this holiday.

Source: 10 Made in America Gifts for Valentine’s Day | Alliance for American Manufacturing

Shower your special someone with American-made gifts this holiday.

Valentine’s Day is less than a week away. Do you honor Valentine’s Day gift-giving traditions but aren’t sure what to get your significant other for the holiday? We’ve picked out 10 Made in America products that will make this holiday special for you and your loved one.

1. LaLa Land: No, not the movie. If quality — and a little bit of whimsy — is something you are searching for when it comes to Valentine’s Day, look no further. Artist Brian Nash has created a line of pajamas that provide comfort and quality while sleeping that will make a great Valentine’s gift. Customers who spend $95 or more receive a free 5” x5” heart painting by Nash, who also sells Made in the USA T-shirts, hats, belts and even pet products.

2. Love+Grace: This California-based company is a luxury pajama and loungewear brand from designer Julie Zipperer, who has 20+ years experience in the loungewear industry. The brand is designed for cool, chic women who enjoy being comfortable at the same time.

3. Eco Lustre: Looking for a place to shop for cute, cool, elegant jewelry that is also affordable and environmentally friendly? Eco Lustre is the place to go. The company also provides eco-friendly gift wrap with every order, the perfect finishing touch for any gift.

4. Voluspa: Founders Traci and Troy Arntsen founded the exotic fragrance company in 1999 to create “extravagance that is effortlessly chic.” Voluspa offers a variety of gift sets, all made in Southern California. “Voluspa is truly an affordable luxury. Our ingredients for fragrance are sourced globally and are on par with fine fragrance. Not your typical mid range candle fragrance. That is why we have such a cult and celebrity following for our scents,” Traci Arntsen says.

5. Philosophy: The well-being beauty brand inspires women to look, live, and feel their best. Philosophy seeks to bridge the gap between what is offered in dermatologist offices and retail everywhere, so that all women can access the best skin-care technologies available. Philosophy also pledges to contribute 1 percent of sales to the Hope & Grace Initiative, and awards multiple financial grants each year to local organizations working to empower women through promotion of mental health and well-being.

6. Tervis: Looking for a practical Valentine’s Day gift? Tervis offers a range of Valentine’s Day-themed drinkware perfect for your sweetie — or just someone you want to celebrate this holiday. Tervis pledges to keep hot drinks hotter, cold drinks colder and is even customizable.

7. Goetze’s: Is your Valentine a caramel junky? If so, Goetze’s candy products, including Caramel Creams and Cow Tales, make the perfect gift, all while Keeping it Made in America. The company’s website also has instructions for crafting a special Candy Wreath.

8. Russell Stover: Treat the chocolate lover in your life with a box from this classic candy company. Clara and Russell Stover began making candy in the kitchen of their Denver home in 1923. Today, the company is the largest U.S. maker of boxed chocolates and operates under three principles — quality, service and value — and remain a Valentine’s Day favorite.

9. Teleflora: Valentine’s Day isn’t complete without flowers! Consider sending roses, tulips, orchids, and lilies to a special someone this holiday, all hand-delivered by a local florist.

10. Savino: Looking for an ingenious way to serve and preserve your favorite drinks with your Valentine? Look no further. Savino is the wine saver you’ve been looking for that protects wine from oxidation, allowing you to save some for later.

02
Feb
17

Under Armour debuts ‘made in the U.S.’ gear

Under Armour Debuts ‘Made in the U.S. Gear – and tests what we think we know about manufacturing in America

From the Washington Post

Source: Under Armour debuts ‘made in the U.S.’ gear — and tests what we think we know about manufacturing in America – The Washington Post

January 30, 2017

The black sports bra and matching leggings that Under Armour began selling Monday don’t look particularly distinctive from the rest of the workout attire on its website.

But, in fact, the garments are different in a key way: They were made in the United States, marking a key milestone in the company’s ambitious bid to significantly rethink its manufacturing strategy.

They are the first batch of clothing to be made at UA Lighthouse, a sprawling Under Armour facility that opened this summer in Baltimore. A 35,000-square-foot design and product development hub, it is an anchor of Under Armour’s attempt to figure out how to make clothing in the United States — an unusual venture in an industry where manufacturing has largely been done overseas for a generation. About 97 percent of clothing sold in the United States is imported, according to the American Apparel & Footwear Association.

Just 2,000 of the garments are available for sale — 1,000 each of the bras and leggings — so it’s a small-scale start. But the process of creating them offers a look at what the future of Under Armour — and the wider apparel industry, for that matter — might look like. The company says that it was able to operate on a sharply shorter timeline for bringing the gear to market, and it says it believes the Lighthouse setup is cost neutral compared to making clothing overseas.

With President Trump talking frequently of finding ways to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, Under Armour’s experiment might end up drawing particularly close observation from retailers and Washington alike to see if it can be a blueprint for similar initiatives.

Kevin Haley, Under Armour’s president of innovation, said that the process for creating garments such as the bra and leggings would typically take 18 to 20 months. For the Baltimore-made pieces, though, it took just three months.

Haley said that’s because the Lighthouse setup has enabled the company to compress the creation process in several ways. Perhaps most important, when designers and manufacturers are in the same building instead of on different continents, they can combine their contributions to the supply chain into a single step.

“The designer is sitting in the Lighthouse facility with the person who’s actually going to perform the operations to assemble that garment,” Haley said. “So the person who’s actually going to be putting it together is effectively going to be teaching the designer, ‘Look, here’s how to simplify this design and do it more efficiently.’ ”

Haley also said that the technology in the Baltimore facility has enabled speedier garment production. By using 3D body scanners, Under Armour can figure out how a certain piece of clothing is going to fit and flatter a body without going the traditional route of producing a physical prototype.

The company also hopes this setup will generally enable it to work in a more iterative way on clothing, allowing the team to fine-tune pieces after they’ve started to hit stores. In the future, Under Armour might ship out a small batch of clothes from Lighthouse and see how customers react to the gear before making tens of thousands of pieces of it. If shoppers, for example, say that a waistband is fitting a little snugly on a pair of shorts, they could tweak that for a bigger production run of that item. And being able to adapt to that feedback in real time could be powerful: It could be the difference between selling thousands of those shorts at full price, or having to mark them all down because shoppers were just lukewarm about them.

Here’s why it matters that making clothes in Baltimore could shave time off Under Armour’s speed-to-market process: because doing so has become something of a holy grail in the retail world. Because of social media, live-streamed runway shows and other cultural changes, fashion trends go boom and bust faster than ever before.

You might be tempted to think these tectonic shifts mostly matter for fashion companies and not for performance athletic brands such as Under Armour. But, in fact, exercise attire has become a deeply trend-driven business. Printed yoga pants, leggings with mesh paneling, workout tanks with strategically-placed cutouts: These popular looks are all riffs on what’s happening on the catwalk.

“It enables us to effectively pull forward materials, fabrics, textiles, yarns that the consumer maybe wasn’t going to see until 2018, 2019 — and bring that into 2017,” Haley said.

But speed-to-market wasn’t the only reason Under Armour pursued U.S. manufacturing capabilities. The company has a lofty goal of contributing to a revitalization of Baltimore by creating jobs at Lighthouse and a planned roster of other facilities.

So what kind of labor force was needed to create these garments? After all, jobs going overseas is only part of the reason that the United States’ manufacturing industry has contracted — many such positions have been lost to automation.

The company said some 50 people worked on this particular garment collection, including design, manufacturing, marketing and other roles. Haley said the headcount of workers needed to create the products in Baltimore was “not all that different” from if they were made abroad.

“It’s not like these are being made by a robot,” Haley said. “These are being made by human beings using advanced manufacturing methods.”

Lighthouse staffers also work on Under Armour sneakers, though, and that manufacturing process is one for which the company has been working for years to reduce the number of workers and steps needed.

Some competitors, Haley said, “could have 300 pairs of hands touching every shoe that moves down the line. Which is at some level crazy, in 2017, to be introducing all that room for margin for error at each step along the way.”

Ultimately, Under Armour hopes that Lighthouse is a proof of concept for a bigger global initiative to embrace “local for local” manufacturing. In other words, Under Armour gear sold in Brazil would be made in Brazil; gear sold in the United States would be made in the United States, and so on.

The goal, Haley said, is to show that “if we can make it here, we can make it anywhere. And if we can make it here, anyone can make any product here.”


Editor’s Note

The plan to build the plant in Baltimore was finished well before tRump (pronounced “Tee” “Rump”,  like in Tyrannasaurus Rex, also, commonly known as T Rex) was elected, so the IPOTUS (Illegitimate President Of The U.S. or IP for short) can not take credit for it, but he will try anyway. In fact, I had reported the Baltimore plant previously on my blog entry: Reebok Is Bringing Back Shoemaking in the USA about some shoe companies bringing shoe production to the USA. The Baltimore-made sports bra and leggings hit digital shelves Monday, a milestone in the company’s ambitious bid to completely rethink its supply chain.

Thanks to Brad Bolin for showing me this article.

 

20
Jan
17

The Oaf of Office – More USA Jobs or Less?

This is written specifically for Inauguration Day. With Donald Trump being sworn in as the 45th President, the question is whether his administration will be good for the American worker and the Made in USA movement which ultimately means more jobs for Americans.

What Can We Expect for Made in USA jobs under the Trump Administration?

Will the Trump administration increase Made in USA jobs or will the Trump administration continue the Republican doctrine and do the opposite: to decrease good paying jobs in the USA? To predict these two outcomes, we have to know what Trump believes by what he has said (which is sometimes difficult as sometimes he is on both sides of the same issue). We know that he agrees with the ultra-right of the Republican Party on all issues except possibly two: first, the GOP has always been wary of Communism and Russia. Interestingly enough, Trump has expressed the exact opposite of this wariness. Second, the GOP are in full support of Free Trade, exporting US jobs and maximizing profits for the company’s CEOs. While Trump had previously offshored jobs and has his Trump clothing line (and his family’s products) made outside of the U.S, suddenly, in mid-campaign, Trump said that he is against Free Trade treaties.

Policies of the Republicans and Therefore, Trump and its effect on the USA.

So let us quickly look at some of the policies of the Republicans (and therefore, Trump) and see how it would effect US jobs. These include minimum wage, income taxes, Immigration, Free Trade, Energy, Mergers, Economic Growth, Free Press.

Wages and the Minimum Wage

For the past 100 years, the traditional view of Republicans towards business has always been on the side of owners of businesses.  This has not changed. Republicans have always been against all issues that would make the bosses pay more: minimum wage, vacations, 40 hour work week, overtime pay, social security, unions, pensions, employee health care, disability, child labor, worker’s compensation,  and workplace laws that outlaw discrimination or harassment. These issues were fine when the United States was an overwhelmingly run by small businesses. But, since 1980, the USA has become the Mega company capital of the world and many of these giant companies are multi-nationally owned. In fact, large corporations (since 2007) employ more Americans than small businesses (small business being defined as less than 500 employees). The US is so top-heavy (big corporations dominate) that just 6 companies made 50% of all profit in the US in 2015 (according to USA Today) and 28 companies made 50% of the profit to the S & P. So, sometimes it seems ludicrous that the Republicans go to great lengths to protect the mega-Rich, who already have their own lobbyists, but very little for small business owners. So, what about the workers? Workers compensation has been stagnant especially when compared to corporate profits and CEO pay. Workers wages are just starting to go up over the past two years, but many workers depend on the Federal Minimum Wage to make a living. The Minimum Wage has been unchanged since 2007 (as passed by a Democratic Congress), it is still $7.25 per hour (Louisiana and Tennessee do not follow the federal minimum wage). It has been shown by many economists that the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation. And at the present time, an employee working a forty hour week at minimum wage would still put one at the poverty level. Critics (mainly Republicans) have charged that the raising of the minimum wage kills jobs. This has never been proven, in fact, there evidence to the contrary (Business Insider) and (US News).

History of US Federal Minimum wage to Nominal Dollars

History of US Federal Minimum wage to Nominal Dollars

What is the opinion of Trump? He wants to repeal the minimum wage. But, of course, he has flip-flopped on this issue multiple times (see Washington Post Flip-flops on minimum wage). But if Trump follows standard Republican orthodoxy, and many expect that he will, Trump will try to repeal the minimum wage. What does this mean for American workers? The prospects don’t look good. It is assured that the Federal Minimum Wage will not be raised. However, some Democratic states have, on their own, voted to increase their own state minimum wage. These states have shown the greatest economic growth. Growth in these states will be great, because they are innovative, and despite the efforts of the Trump administration.

Income Taxes

Trump has promised to change the tax code. It has always been hard to pin down Trump, especially when what he says does not match what he says on paper. But the written Trump Plan is a basic Republican plan, First, it gets rid of the Inheritance Estate Tax which would help only the top 1%. Second, it decreases the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%. Third,  it would decrease the rate of the top income makers from 37% to 33%. The group of $91,150 – $110,000 per year  would also get a small tax break from 28% to 25%. There is no change from $37,500 – $91,150. In fact, most may be paying more. (You can see more on the Trump Tax Plan/NPR analysis). The final verdict: This is classic trickledown economics, giving more money to the top 1%. It didn’t work with Reagan did it, it won’t work now. When you give more money to the rich ,they do not spend it (there is no trickledown), they invest it. Additionally with substantially less income coming to the government, the cost to the government is $62 Trillion per year (greatly increasing the deficit). Final Cost to the worker: more taxes paid by the middle class, less money from the corporations, less money from the top 1%, less money for the government to finance infrastructure. In fact, this is the exact same policy that caused the middle class to disappear in the first place.

income-tax

Immigration

Historically, there have always been groups that have hated immigrants: at first, it was directed at the Irish, and then the Germans, then the Chinese and Japanese and then later, the Hispanics. The Republicans haven’t always been about deporting immigrants. For Republicans, this is a relatively new phenomenon. I mean there were always a sub-group of Republicans – the KKK, the John Birch society, the segregationists, and other White Supremistist groups (they had been Democrats until the Civil Rights Acts of 1965, then they became Republicans) whose voices have always been minimal until recently. Now they are quite vocal. The cause of this movement? It happened after President Reagan repealed the Fairness Doctrine in journalism and Media. This is when Right Wing Media went into action. It encouraged prejudiced people who were previously silent to speak out publicly. And this is where Trump has made his connection. Trump loved to inflame this crowd with hatred towards immigrants: He said he would build a wall. And then he said Mexico would pay for it. Of course, it was talk, just saying outrageous things to get people to listen.

trump-minority

The Wall Between the US and Mexico

So, how serious is the possibility of building the wall between the US and Mexico? Even Trump supporters didn’t take this idea seriously, but they loved the hateful rhetoric anyways. Let us look at the 119 mile wall between Mexico and the United States. The Washington Post said that building just the wall would cost $25 Billion (not million- and it doesn’t consider surveillance). But, we know the actual costs are always more than estimated by three to four times. So, that would make it approximately $100 Billion. And Mexico is sure not going to pay for it. So, guess who is going to pay for a wall that won’t keep immigrants out? You are, the American tax payer. Estimated cost per person $308.

trump-wall                                                                                                    The Trump Wall

Republicans know that immigrants are a vital source of labor for certain business especially the farming community. In fact, the Senate had passed a Comprehensive Immigration bill in 2013 (that is right – both Democrats and Republicans worked together). However, some Republican Tea Party members scuttled the bill in the House and now, we are in the same state as before. Final decision: I can’t see Trump getting enough Republican votes to build the wall. Some Republicans are thinking about the future of their party. They know they can’t stay in power as the all-white Party about increasing their chances of getting Hispanics to vote for them. The Republican can’t stay the all-white Party, not without a lot of tricks anyways (like the ones they are already employing – gerrymandering, voter suppression), so they will need to lure some Hispanic voters. Theoretically, what if Trump built the wall , and deports all the ones he said he would (11 million), many industries would be hit hard: agriculture, construction, Home Health, Hotels, Motels, restaurants, landscaping, wine growers, etc. Some anti-immigrants say that this will “free up jobs for Americans.” My experience, Americans don’t take those jobs. When the Great Recession hit in 2009, how many Americans did you see working on the farm or Home Health? Practically none. Americans would rather collect unemployment than do the heavy manual labor that the immigrants do.

Free Trade

Free Trade is a Republican creation, taking root under the Reagan administration. It undermines what our Founding Fathers had started which was, in order to protect fledgling U.S. businesses, the government would levy tariffs on products coming from other countries. The first Free Trade Agreement passed was the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which was an agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico. The next Free Trade agreement was a whopper. It was the World Trade Organization (WTO) which brought in tons of more countries, including China. And guess what happened, just as previous President contender, Ross Perot predicted, this created “a giant sucking sound” of American jobs to other countries. By eliminating import tariffs, it made imports much cheaper, American products suffered, businesses closed, and, then, American business owners joined the foreign competition by closing down American factories and sending the jobs to China, Mexico, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, etc. (where labor is cheap and regulations minimal). Multiple industries in the USA have been hurt, severely injured and many are on life-support. A lot of good paying manufacturing jobs had been eliminated in the United States, which has created a giant vacuum in the US economy – that vacuum is from the loss of the middle class.

Trump had always been a Free Trader, in fact, he has offshored his Trump clothing to places like China and Mexico. He was never against Free Trade until, during his campaign, he had read a survey where people felt it was important that jobs be kept in the USA. During the campaign to whip up this anti-trade talk, Trump had made insinuations that he would raise the tariffs on China.

Buick Envision made in China

Buick Envision made in China

It is interesting that Trump has targeted companies auto companies that have planned to off-shore to Mexico, but does he say anything about China bringing cars into the USA? No. How about the Buick, Chinese – made, Envision? Nope, not a word. Then, there is the new all-electric car, Atieva which just changed its name to Lucid, to make it look like it is American, which is totally financed by Chinese businesses, will Trump comment on this? Nope. Trump will only comment once there is enough publicity to make it worth commenting on it. It is not like he really cares whether it is US made or not.

Will Trump raise tariffs on Imports from China?

So, the question is whether Trump will levy tariffs of 35 or 45% like he threatened. My prediction is No. Trump has too many ties to China (from Time Magazine). He has plans to build 20 Hotels in China over the next 10-15 years and not to mention that the Bank of China is his biggest tenant in Trump Towers. If Trump really infuriates the Chinese government, the Chinese could impound his company that makes Trump clothing and they could jail all of his employees and managers as spies, because totalitarian governments are like that. This is called conflict of interest. Federal policy is being influenced on how it effects hid business personally. Another potential conflict of Interest: The Obama administration has filed a suit against Fiat-Chrysler . Fiat is hoping that can make a deal with the Trump administration. Fiat might be thinking instead of being sued or paying a fine, maybe we could just make a contribution to some Trump business?

So How Will Trump Save American Jobs?

If  import tariffs on Chinese products are not raised, then, how will Trump save American jobs? My prediction is he won’t. What he will do, is what he has been doing since being elected? He will tweet and threaten a company who have had thoughts about building factories in Mexico. (See Ford and Toyota – Washingon Post). Also, see Fiat-Chrysler. In all cases, Trump took credit where no credit was due. He did not change the course of their company. Think about it, do you think corporations make millions of dollars in investment just because of a tweet? This is not a charity auction. (“I bid 30 milllion dolllars to bring jobs back to the USA!”) These corporation have been formulating these plans for years. (In reality, Trump should be thanking Obama for all these actions, but Obama is not one to be a credit hog.) Will he truly go after NAFTA which would hurt his most loyal constituents, the Farmers? Maybe, but Trump has no loyalty and no interest in agriculture.

Will there be serious reforms towards Free Trade? I truly doubt it. Trump will give the outward appearance that he cares. In the meantime, American companies will continue to off-shore, and companies that come back (re-shore of jobs), instead of being little noticed (like the present time), it will be crowed about by Trump who will take all the credit where none was due. One good thing to come out of this is that traditional Republicans like Paul Ryan are looking to decrease taxes on American products that are to be exported, they haven’t gone so far as to say that they will increase tariffs on foreign imports or getting rid of tax exemptions for moving expenses for companies as they move their company from the USA to another country. At least, the Republicans are entertaining some Democratic ideas, but don’t let them hear that.

Other Issues That May effect the Economy

Health Care

Health Care can strongly influence consumer’s pocket book. At the present, Trump and the Republicans are ready to repeal The Affordable Care Act (ACA). If the Republicans do replace the Affordable Care Act with a comprehensive Health Plan that covers everyone, providing good health care at less cost, this would be one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of American government. But will the GOP take that giant and brave step. Not a chance.

The Evaluation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The ACA did many great things, it insured an additional 20 million Americans, the highest percentage of insured Americans ever in the history of the nation. It controlled expenses, brought down the price of healthcare, paid for preventive health and eliminated exclusion based on pre-existing conditions. But, the ACA wasn’t close to a perfect system. One of the main problems with the ACA was that is was based on the obsolete notion that companies wanted to give their employees health insurance. Today, companies bend over backwards to make sure employees are not full-time and, therefore, does not have to pay benefits). In fact, companies like Macys keeps track to the minute any employee that comes close to qualifying for benefits, and makes sure that it does not happen. My belief was that the ACA was a band-aid to the health care system, to decrease its expenses – to delay the eventual bankruptcy of the nation from health care for several more years.

obamacare-insurance-rates

The Cost of Repealing The Affordable Care Act

There are a couple of problems with the idea of repealing the ACA. One is the Republicans have no replacement policy. Even though Trump says they have a plan and it is close and Everyone will be covered, better care, less cost. This is definitely a case of over-promise and under-deliver. (Especially if Medicare for everybody is off the table.) The other problem with the Affordable Care Act is that it is a Republican idea from the Heritage Foundation. The only “real” thing that the Republicans don’t like about the ACA is that President Barack Obama takes all the credit for it and therefore, for political expediency, it had to be demonized. The idea behind the ACA was to add more competition between the insurance companies (health insurance exchanges) and, therefore, decreases costs. The only wrinkle from the GOP brain trust, thus far, is that the insurance companies can compete across state lines. Wow, what a change. (Oh yeah, Health Savings Accounts which are available in the ACA, great idea). The problem with the ACA and the GOP wrinkle is that insurance companies can drop out of the competition at any time (because many times there are “agreements” between oligopolies) which raises the price of insurance premiums. The fact is the Republicans want to repeal only the name of Obamacare and leave the rest of the system untouched. They don’t want to go back to the extremely expensive  and dysfunctional old system. But that is the only way. So, what the GOP did under the dark of night was to hide the fact that repealing the ACA will cost the nation trillions of dollars, the GOP wrote a resolution that repealed a mandate that The Congressional Budget Office keep track of how much repealing the Affordable Care Act would cost. In the same article, it highlighted:The result of repeal is estimate that $140 billion of federal funding would be cut to states by 2019, resulting in the loss of 3 million jobs by 2021, loss of $1.5 trillion in gross state products and a $2.6 trillion reduction in business output. State and local tax revenues will fall by $48 billion. Obviously, the repeal of the ACA will be very costly, and it is very probable that the average American will be paying a lot more for Health Care. And expect a lot more Americans to declare bankruptcy due to medical expenses. The AP reported than premiums will increase by 25%, that 18 million more people will be uninsured one year after enactment and 32 million more uninsured by 2026. Look at it another way, the Trumpcare model will be so expensive and exclude so many people that it would rapidly drive the nation and individuals into bankruptcy, that the electorate would be willing to give the model of Medicare-for-all model a very serious look many years sooner. (But, the Republicans are very serious of getting rid of Medicare by privatizing it based on a model like Obamacare).

obamacare-repeal-vote-cartoon-luckovich

Energy

Trump has nominated Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, as Secretary of State. What does this mean? Well, detente with Russia, of course. But, with regards to oil, we should expect to see more widespread drilling everywhere including the Oceans, the Arctic and National Parks. Expect more pipeline projects across the United States. And, you will definitely be spending a lot more for gasoline. The price of gasoline is not actually based on supply and demand (as people traditionally think) but rather on speculation (see my blog entry: Wall Street and the price of Oil). The price of oil hit a low in January 20, 2016 at $27 a barrel. Now, with the election of oil friendly politicians, the price of oil has increased to close to $54 per barrel (this is definitely not due to increased demand or decreased supply). It is estimated that in 2017 the cost of oil per barrel will be in the $60s, however, I believe this is severely underestimated and that speculators will push this up much higher. Remember it wasn’t all that long ago when a barrel of oil was $114 (in June, 2014). So, expect to pay a lot more at the pump.

take-me-to-your-leader

Mergers

Trump and the GOP believe in the government staying out of the way when it comes to businesses. We know from history that the natural outcome of unfettered capitalism is monopolies. But since this was outlawed by Theodore Roosevelt, the natural end point is oligopolies (a few companies that own everything). By collusion (oligopolies say instead “a gentleman’s agreement), a few companies can drive prices up without actually competing. For 2017, one can expect many new giant mergers to pass without fight from the Federal government. AT&T with Time-Warner will merger as will Monsanto and Bayer. Even Fortune Magazine has made this prediction with their headline A Trump Presidency Could Unleash a Pharma Merger Boom. So, maybe Pfizer and Allergan could try a try another merger (it was thwarted by the Obama administration). The effect for consumers: Pay More for Less Choice.

merger

Economic Growth

One thing that people forget is that the United States is at near maximal employment, the US economy is very strong (all economist believe this, maybe not political pundits). The economic growth has been steady at 2% per year. Yet, enough people (not a majority) still wanted a change. Here is what Goldman-Sachs predicts for 2017:

Donald Trump promised economic growth of 5-6%. No other economist is coming close to predicting this. It is another case of over-promising and under-delivering. In fact, some are thinking that Trump may slow the economy and Citi group thinks that it is a 50% probability that Trump will not even finish out his term. The next year – there will be growth and it will be all due to the Obama administration. Plus, there is no evidence of weakness in the economy, unlike years previous to The Great Recession. However, after that, it will be Trump’s baby. Sometimes, growth and recession have nothing to do with the President and there are swings that naturally occur or sometimes things occur can effect the economy (9/11). I predict based on the cycles of the economy, that we are due for a “slowing” as we have never seen this many consecutive years of positive growth ever. Certainly, President’s do make a difference. Sometimes it takes several years to really see the effect – but is plain when you evaluate Reagan’s legacy both on the United States and on California, (back when he was governor). The United States and California have never recovered. There is distrust in government, the government tax base is shrinking, infrastructure has almost collapsed. Are there any great infrastructure projects in the USA anymore? (Just compare the USA to China’s incredible growth, we look like Ancient Rome).

Conclusion

Trump’s policies are like Reagan’s. It is Voodoo economics. Bad for everybody except for the 1%. There will be more large corporation mergers, Health Care will become much more expensive, the middle class will have to pay more in income taxes, the Federal deficit will explode, oil prices will increase, the rich get richer and no real change in jobs coming back to the USA. The only potential bright lights for the economy are: Republicans working on adjusting their Free Trade policies and a “big” infrastructure project. The infrastructure project could be done right, but I severely have my doubts with this group of Republicans. As Trump takes the oath of office, he becomes the oaf in office. This inauguration is like scene from a parallel universe, like what if Hitler didn’t attack Russia, or what if we didn’t discover Penicillin. The American public have not grasped that we are living in a great time, but have decided that we needed a “change”. People for some reason can’t grasp the concept that change can be for the worse, sometimes much worse. So, for the people who to vote for a temper-“mental” man without one day of public service, “You reap what you sow”. If the economy goes south, you go bankrupt, you lose your health insurance, well you brought it upon yourself. 70 million Americans voted against your choice. As far as bringing jobs back into the USA, Trump will bring none, not even his Trump clothing line from China.

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Free Press

This last issue does not have to do with economic issues, but there has been a disturbing trend. With the rise of right-wing news groups, Breitbart, Fox News, Alex Jones, it is getting difficult for Republicans to know what is real news and what is fake news. Trump only reads the most extreme right wing news, so he does not know what is real news versus fake news. And if Trump is confronted by the real truth, he belittles the Press. Trump is kicking the Press out of the White House to limit access. He didn’t allow the regular Press to ask questions during his so-called “Press Conference”.He has threatened to sue the Press or jail them like other dictators. In the meantime, they have hired KellyAnne Conway as the Reich Minister of Propaganda (ala Joseph Goebbels). I believe that if he can intimidate the Press, then he can intimidate any Americans who disagree with him. My idea is that all networks should fact-check in real time – which means while a political participant or President speaks, at the same time, in close captioning – it says whether the person is lying. It would be easy because almost all of these TV shows are tape-delayed.

free-pressWe need to support the Free Press and they should be free from the intimidation of a dictatorial President. And we need to stay strong against the Trump and his trolls who threaten violence and vitriol on all who disagree with Don the Con.

 

05
Dec
16

Kickstarter – Secure Pocket 2-in-1 Athletic Shorts by Edge Athletic Apparel

Kickstarter, a crowd-sourcing instrument to fund new projects, has introduced a novel idea – men’s and women’s athletic shorts that secure your pocket’s contents. Plus, they will be Made in the USA. The deadline is December 29, 2016. The goal is $20,000. The project is by Edge Athletic Apparel. Pledge your support today.

via Introducing The Secure Pocket 2-in-1 Athletic Shorts by Edge Athletic Apparel — Kickstarter

Introducing The Secure Pocket 2-in-1 Athletic Shorts

About this project

Introducing Edge Athletic Apparel’s Secure Pocket design, 2-in-1 athletic short!

Fixing a Major Problem

THE PROBLEM: Stuff! We all are guilty of carrying stuff with us, whomever we are, where ever we go. From the professional athlete, to the average, once a week gym goer, we carry our stuff on our body at all times-during our workout, on our run, training, yoga, or simply going about our day! We have our phones, keys and wallets/credit cards on us at a minimum, constantly being made aware of them and being distracted from our activities. We’ve tried clever ways of keeping these items secure while we go about our day; putting them in socks, in clumsy armbands, those bulky waistbands or fanny packs, or even holding them in our hands! You name it, we’ve tried it.  Undoubtedly, many of us have also tried athletic shorts that claim to hold our items in place, yet they still allow for our stuff to move around, fall out, make annoying clanking noises, are hard to access or are too small to fit anything and are still a distraction!

THE SOLUTION: Secure Pocket 2-in-1 athletic shorts! Here at Edge, we have designed a 2-in-1 athletic short with a large, easily accessible pocket that securely holsters all your stuff to your body. The pocket design is different from other athletic shorts on the market in that the pocket is beneath the compression layer and truly holds your belongings in place. The compression acts as a holster and secures everything from your phone, keys, wallet/credit cards, and more to your body. This security allows you to keep focused on your activities and no longer on the distraction of the clanking, bouncing, bulkiness or falling out of the stuff in your pockets! As the creators of the Secure Pocket design, and athletes ourselves, it was our goal to create something stylish and comfortable, with function and performance like no other shorts out there!  We feel we have done this with our innovative Secure Pocket shorts. No more fooling around with your phone placement, listening to the clanking of keys, being made aware of the bulkiness of all the items in your pocket. We feel these shorts will quickly become your favorite athletic shorts as you will be confident and comfortable and almost forget you have anything in your pockets at all, thus allowing you to take your day, your actives, your lifestyle- “to the Edge”!

 

  •  Although, at the moment, our pictures feature only men’s shorts, we are producing BOTH men and women’s Secure Pocket Athletic Shorts for this campaign.
  • Men will have the option of the  traditional athletic short as shown in our video, or a version that is 2 inches longer.

$20,000 Campaign Goal

We have set our campaign goal at $20,000. This $20,000 (or more) will help us accomplish our goal of introducing our pocket design to the world and getting our shorts in the hands of you, the consumer. It will also help get our apparel line, Edge Athletic Apparel, on the map. Once we get funded, we will work diligently in fulfilling our orders, working hard to get our quality products to you on time or sooner!

Edge Athletic Apparel’s Future Goals

Our our long term goal is to create a functional athletic apparel line, with stylish, comfortable, innovative and performance enhancing athletic wear for men and women!  We’d also like to see our pocket design in a variety of bottoms with pockets, such as causal wear, golf, business attire and more.

Risks and challenges

Since the inception of our product in December of 2013, and our desire to bring it to life, we have encountered many hurdles, as new companies do. Likewise, we are sure there will be more hurdles along the way. Our company has a strong team, an even stronger supporting cast and is highly motivated to deliver quality product that exceeds your expectations.

We’ve spent many hours choosing the best materials, re-working designs and searching for a quality, local manufacture. Our promise to you, the backers, is that we will be 100% transparent during this campaign, when it comes to unforeseen setbacks and obstacles that may arise in production, shipping or anything else it takes to get our product to you.

24
Nov
16

WOOLRICH® The Original Outdoor Clothing Company

Woolrich The Original Outdoor Clothing Company

As long as we are talking about cold weather clothing (see Duck Boots by LL Bean), there is another Eastern company that has been in business since 1830. The company’s  name is Woolrich. The founder, John Rich, came from England and opened up a woolen mill in Woolrich, Pennsylvania.  Woolrich has a very rich and steep tradition. Woolrich has supplied blankets for the Civil War, World War I and World War II. They are the first clothing company to make clothing for the outdoors. They designed and produced the clothing for Admiral Byrd exploration team in 1939.

One of the earliest patterns from Woolrich is the Buffalo check plaid pattern. They still make this Men’s Buffalo Shirt.

Mens Buffalo Wool Shirt

Mens Buffalo Wool Shirt

Woolrich makes clothing for women as well. The cape has a three piece hood.

Women's Mill Wool Hooded Cape

Women’s Mill Wool Hooded Cape

Designed to keep people warm- made in its own Pennsylvania mill. Material is a blend of wool and nylon with an adjustable belt.

Women's Eco-rich wool blanket coat

Women’s Eco-rich wool blanket coat

To keep very warm, check out the parka. Insulation is 80% duck down and 20% feathers.

Artic Parka John Rich & Bros.

Artic Parka John Rich & Bros.

These used to be the warmest pants you can buy. They are made of thick, heavy duty wool

Heavy duty, yet fashionable – the cardigan sweater.

Women's Harvest Cardigan Sweater

Women’s Harvest Cardigan Sweater

The traditional – The varsity jacket.

Men's Varsity Jacket

Men’s Varsity Jacket

To keep warm, it is important to layer – the dependable Henley, made of 100% cotton.

Men's Henley Shirt

Men’s Henley Shirt

This is a traditional sports jacket – a wool jacket. Warm and fashionable.

Woolrich also has a nice selection of footwear.Waterproof leather and wool upper.

Women's Fully wooly lace Boot

Women’s Fully wooly lace Boot

This men’s boot is made with Horween leather – it is “Spectacular.”

Men's Spectacular Boot

Men’s Spectacular Boot

This is a great looking women’s boot.

Women's Santa Fe Boot

Women’s Santa Fe Boot

Here is fashionable wool jacket.

Women's Alaskan Wool Jacket

Women’s Alaskan Wool Jacket

 

Then there is some simple footwear as well.

Women's Strand Sneaker

Women’s Strand Sneaker

Don’t forget that Woolrich makes a vast array of blankets and socks. Not everything made by Woolrich is made in the USA, so, check the labels.

28
Oct
16

Guideboat Shopping

Guideboat is a company in Mill Valley, California. It is an eclectic mix of boats, (yes, boats) equipment and well-made upper end clothing. Much of their clothing is made in the USA or Europe.

Source: Guideboat

Below are some of my favorite from this season’s catalog. All of the below are Made in the USA.

Rock and Raven Hacking Jacket

Rock and Raven Hacking Jacket

Goat Suede Shirt

Goat Suede Shirt

Frank and Eileen Shirting

Frank and Eileen Shirting

Red Wing Clara Lace up Shoes

Red Wing Clara Lace up Shoes

St. Regis Wool Jacket

St. Regis Wool Camp Jacket

Sailboat Selvage 5 pocket pants

Sailboat Selvage 5 pocket pants

Thompson Twill Jacket

Thompson Twill Jacket

Flannel Lined Pants

Flannel Lined Pants

Union Suit Redux

Union Suit Redux

 

11
Aug
16

.Lumber Rain – Poppy von Frohlich

I present once more one of my favorite small American (and local) makers of clothing made in the USA. This new product is a raincoat called .Lumbar Rain by Poppy Von Frohlich.

Source: .Lumber Rain – Poppy von Frohlich

.Lumbar Rain

PVF rain coat

  • I finally made a rain coat! Waxed cotton canvas is the earth friendly option when it comes to rain gear.  Lumber Rain is designed to make you look rad while battling the rain.

    Large boxed pockets set at an angle for comfort but not so angled that your stuff falls out,  my large signature hood with a leather drawstring, western style front yoke, back rain flap, curved hem (a little longer in the back), antigued copper snaps, and french seams. (better pictures coming, these are temporary photos)

    I designed the coat to have enough room for two medium/light weight layers or one medium/thick layer.  Bust shaping is from a narrow front side panel and a larger armhole.

    To clean a waxed cotton coat you brush off dirt with a soft brush, if you get a lot of use out of it you can rinse it off with a hose and if you get a lot, a lot of use out of it you may need to reapply wax in the areas that get a lot of rubs.  The coat cannot be washed in a machine nor can it be dry-cleaned.

    A key characteristic of waxed cotton is that it shows its creases, called crooking.  It is a desired look when buying waxed cotton.  Expect to see crooking in the coat and show it off with pride because wearing waxed cotton is cool and responsible.  The whiskey color and the moss show the crooking more than the black does.

    Are you new to waxed cotton?  Are you a tiny bit skeptical?  I completely understand.  This coat can be worn as a normal canvas coat on non-rainy days but it has the added bonus of having water resistant properties for those rainy days, water does not penetrate the cotton fiber, it simply beads up and rolls off.  Waxed cotton can sound funny to someone who hasn’t worn it before so I am offering exchange, store credit or refunds.  I think once you try it on you will be very happy with it, but in case you discover it is not right for you we can figure out which return policy is best for you. This offer is good for coats that have not been worn outside, coats that were only tried on and worn around the house for twenty minutes or so.

    PVF Lumbar

    This is a pre-order, Shipping is scheduled for September 22nd

    made in Northern California, USA!!!

 




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