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Can Made In America Smartphones Become A Trend?

Made in the usaAAM says lets have that debate at SXSW, a premier tech event. But we need your help getting there.

Here’s the deal: Within the past year, Google/Motorola, Apple, and Lenovo have all announced that they will make some products in America.

That’s great news. But is this a trend or simply a series of PR stunts? Lets find out.

Each March, thousands of creative, technologically minded individuals converge on Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest Interactive Conference (SXSW). Over its course, participants attend workshops and panels on a wide array of topics – and we want Made in the U.S.A. to be one of those. We want to bring a new perspective to Austin, one that understand the intersection of progressive policy and technological innovation.

Here’s where you come in!

The AAM submitted an event for consideration as part of the 2014 SXSW conference. The session, “Making it in America: Start Up and Stay” would discuss the nascent trend of stateside technology manufacturing, and make the case for technology-focused entrepreneurs to manufacture their products here in the United States.

And we need you to vote for our session.

SXSW organizers select sessions carefully, and public voting influences their decision-making. We need other people who care about Made in America as much as we do to help us send the message: This panel is important!

Can you help?

Voting for our panel is easy. If you haven’t done so already, sign up to vote here.

Once you are signed up and have confirmed your registration through your email, visit our session page and click on the thumbs up icon on the left side of the page.

And that’s it. You’re done, your vote is counted, and we are one step closer to bringing Made in America to one of the largest technology conferences in the world.

Remember, the work AAM does wouldn’t be possible without your support. So we need your vote! Thanks for your help in getting AAM to Austin for SXSW!

‘Made In America’ Is The Focus Of The New Movie “AMERICAN MADE MOVIE”

American_Made_Movie_RGB_no-creditsThere is no doubt that American manufacturing has suffered a significant decline in the last few decades.  This drop in our manufacturing base was a big factor leading to the current economic downturn.

What caused this reduction in American manufacturing?  Most of it can be attributed to the offshoring of jobs.  Manufacturers are taking advantage of free trade agreements and low-wage workers in foreign countries.  Vulture capitalists on Wall Street helped push manufacturers to move overseas to increase their profits.  The effect of reducing our manufacturing base is becoming increasingly obvious.

“So when you think about it, this loss in manufacturing jobs is kind of the backbone that broke that has caused this incredible unemployment in this country.”

– Gilbert Kaplan a trade lawyer with King & Spalding.

After World War II, the United States made up almost 50% of the global economy.  This number continued to grow all the way through the 1970s, with American manufacturing industries employing over 19 million people.  After 1979, offshoring pushed 8 million of those workers out of a job.   Since 2001, more than 50,000 American factories have closed their doors – leaving workers stranded.

“When you as an economy get rid of your manufacturing base, the results are very cataclysmic. You have a domino effect of decline that starts to affect everybody in every industry.”

— Chris Michalakis – Metro Detroit AFL-CIO, President

This is the basis of a new movie that will be hitting a theater near you very soon.

“The American Made Movie” focuses on the decline of our manufacturing base.  It takes an in-depth look at how we lost so many good jobs, and how companies are reviving Made in America.

“By revealing the successes of companies that have prospered without adopting the practices of their competitors, American Made Movie shows the positive impact manufacturing jobs have on national and local economies, aiding them in the face of great challenges. The livelihood of our country depends on understanding how we can maintain the American Dream while competing in a global economy.”

The film’s director and producer, Nathaniel Thomas McGill, knows this story first-hand.  Growing up, he watched as factory after factory closed their doors, costing his family members their jobs as mechanics and assembly line workers.  Co-director Vincent Vittorio has a family background in Detroit’s auto industry.

The movie focuses on what manufacturers are doing now to help expand the “Made in America” movement.  The movie highlights Boston-based New Balance.

“What the country is realizing now is that making things is important. The reason making things is important is because it employs a lot of people, it gives you expertise that other markets want, and it teaches you to innovate.”
— New Balance CEO Robert DeMartini

Some companies have realized that making products in America is beneficial in two ways:

  • It helps to rebuild our economy by employing local workers and putting much-needed funds into our local economy.
  • ”Made in the USA” is also a very profitable marketing niche.  Consumers want to support companies that are employing American workers; and the “Made in the US” logo lets people know that their money is going to fellow Americans.

“This idea that we have to make things in this country is back,” said Scott Paul, President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

We asked Co-director Vincent Vittorio where we could see the new movie.  He said the movie premiered in the Atlanta metro area and Chicago Labor Day weekend.  It will premiere in New York City and Los Angeles on Friday, September 6th.  Following that, it will be rolled out to several different cities coast to coast.

Title_Block_background(Below is the official trailer to ‘American Made Movie’)

American Made Movie (Trailer) from Life Is My Movie on Vimeo.

New Book “ReMaking America” Is A Guide To Rebuilding American Manufacturing

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

During the last Presidential election, the biggest theme of the campaign was jobs.  Both President Obama and Governor Romney pushed the idea of supporting manufacturing jobs by promoting “Made In America”.  By the time election day finally arrived, more than one million ads had been created about “adding jobs to our struggling economy.”

What happened to that laser-like focus on “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!”?  (Congress still hasn’t passed a jobs bill.)

For decades now, US “free-trade” policies and offshoring of jobs has reduced our manufacturing base.  According to Scott Paul, President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, U.S. manufacturing has “fallen to 12% of our national economy.” Scott notes that this has turned the United States from a “creditor nation” to a “debtor nation”.

All you have to do is look at the city of Detroit.  Up until the 1980s, Detroit was a shining example of American manufacturing. Dave Johnson from the Campaign for America’s Future describes what has happened: Detroit, which ‘used to exemplify American prosperity, now is a wasteland of crumbling buildings, homes, and people.”

There are many reasons corporations ship their jobs overseas; most revolve around the public policies created in Washington.  Policies like NAFTA and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership are removing the advantages to manufacturing here at home.

Remaking America BookRebuilding our manufacturing base is the key to rebuilding our economy and putting millions of people back to work in good middle class jobs.  In an effort to bring awareness to the need for American manufacturing, the Alliance for American Manufacturing has published a new book called “ReMaking America”.  The book features an all-star cast of experts discussing America’s manufacturing potential and potential pitfalls.

“This new volume illustrates that American manufacturing is rising from the ashes,”  Paul said. “But it will take political insight and courage among our nation’s leaders to seize on this moment of great opportunity – before our global competitors out-innovate, out-invest, and out-build us. The cost of not acting will be great.” (AAM)

In a recent phone interview, Paul and Carl Pope (Former Director of the Sierra Club) explained some of the opportunities that we must seize if we have any chance of “Remaking America”.

Paul highlighted the promise made to America by President Obama to add one million new manufacturing jobs in the United States by 2017.   Paul said that so far we have added “24,000 new jobs.”  He said, “This is well below the number of monthly new jobs needed to meet this goal.”  (You can follow the one million jobs progress at AAMeter.) This does not mean we should abandon all hope, it means we need to change our policies and invest in new technologies like renewable energy.

Paul described the book as a “hopeful message for American manufacturing”. He contributed a chapter to the book, focusing on simple public policy changes that could revive our manufacturing base.  “There is a role for public policy in manufacturing and it is a key part of this discussion,” he said.

Pope, a well-known environmentalist, is another contributing author.  People have asked him, why is he involved with manufacturing as an environmentalist?  In the phone interview, he explained that “the energy sector is a prime example of how we could rebuild our manufacturing base.  By 2050, we are going to need to rebuild, renovate, and reconstruct pretty much everything we have built in the U.S. over the last 200 years.  This is something we cannot offshore to Shanghai.”

Pope goes into great detail in the book about how right now we have a significant economic advantage over the rest of the world in liquid natural gas prices.  He said, “The United States can buy LNG for around $4 per cubic foot, while Europe buys their LNG for around $10 from Russia.  China and Japan have to pay upwards of $18 per cubic foot for LNG.”  This is an enormous opportunity for America manufacturing.  Some states are already taking advantage of this by converting antiquated coal power plants to more efficient and economic LNG plants.  To reconstruct or convert these power plants is going to take large amounts of construction materials like manufactured steel.

Pope believes that the connection between manufacturing and renewable energy could revive our economy.  He believes in this so much that he teamed up with Leo Gerard, President of the United Steel Workers, to create the Blue-Green Alliance.  The Blue-Green Alliance is focused on rebuilding our infrastructure while creating new jobs and cleaning up our environment.

ReMaking America is a guide for simple common sense solutions to rebuilding our economy, making our environment cleaner, and putting millions of people back to work in good paying manufacturing jobs.  In their interview, Pope and Paul only scratched the surface of the issues covered in the book.  Other contributing authors include:

  • Richard McCormack, Editor of Manufacturing & Technology News.
  • Leo Hindery, Chair of the U.S. Economy / Smart Globalization Initiative at the New America Foundation and former CEO of AT&T Broadband.
  • Eric Garfinkel, Member of the Adjunct Faculty at the University of Colorado Law School and former Chief Council for China Trade in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
  • Harry Moser, Founder of the Reshoring Initiative and Chairman Emeritus of Charmilles Technologies Corp.
  • Harold Meyerson, Executive Editor of the American Prospect and columnist for the Washington Post.
  • Irene Petrick, Director of the Enterprise Informatics and Integration Center at Pennsylvania State University.
  • Sridhar Kota, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan and former Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
  • Stacey Jarrett Wagner, Manager of Workforce Systems Development at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

If you need a few more reasons why you must read this book, here are a couple of excerpts.

Richard McCormack: “We can’t have a strong robust economy without making things, creating wealth.” “Look at the talk about resourcing, there is not much evidence other than anecdotal stories. The economy is stagnant, the trade deficit is going up not down.”

Harold Meyerson: “A large growing number of American workers in well-paid manufacturing jobs are now hired on to low-paying jobs, partly due to lower-wage and anti-union states.” A study by Boston Consulting Group noted wage stagnation in the US and wage increases in China. “A leading example of higher pay and benefits is Germany. Their companies have preserved the highest level of manufacturing in home markets, have offshored less-skilled jobs. There is an increasing tendency for German companies to locate jobs here in the South for cheap labor. This is not realizing the promise of manufacturing.”

 

Click the links for more information on ReMaking America, Campaign for America’s Future, the Alliance for American Manufacturing, and the Blue-Green Alliance.

The Dilemma Surrounding Chinese Steel

Over the last few decades workers in the steel industry have taken a significant hit.  This has left a huge loophole for Chinese steel manufactures to undercut US steel mills and gain a stronghold on the market.

Chinese Steel AAM

From ShouldBeMadeInAmerica.COM

More recently there have been many examples of large construction projects that have relied on Chinese produced steel.  One of the most famous was the reconstruction of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco California.  The NH Labor News talked about the $500 billion dollar project that was slotted to be funded under President Obama’s reinvestment program. The problem was that the reinvestment program required American made products and a project labor agreement for worker protections.  These restrictions are some of the reasons that the California Legislature decided not to use federal funds to fund the project.

In fact the project was completed with Chinese steel and Chinese workers, a double slap in the face for American workers.  The chinese government continues to use currency manipulation to make trade more favorable for their exports.  Currency manipulation is one of the biggest problems in trading with China. “Due to currency manipulation the raw materials costs in the United States are the same as final price of Chinese steel” said Congressman Tim Ryan. This unfair advantage has bigger effects on our national economy than just the cost of steel.

This was not the only problems with the Bay Bridge project.  The project was plagued with huge delays mostly due to shipping and steel construction.  Scott Paul, Alliance for American Manufacturing’s Executive Director explains::

“The problems with the Bay Bridge project could have been avoided if California officials had made it in America. Instead, the project is costing American jobs, undermining California’s environmental goals, and facing numerous delays.”

In a recent Wall Street Journal article Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers union, said Chinese steel’s “supposed cost savings do not take into account the environmental price of shipping steel from hundreds of thousands of miles versus 100 miles, nor the cost to our fragile economic recovery and the loss of American jobs.”

This Wall Street Journal article is creating a stir with some of the leaders in our nations building trades.  General President Walter Wise of the Iron Workers released this rebuttal:

While “U.S. Icons Now Made Of Chinese Steel” accurately depicts the ramifications of subsidized Chinese competition to our strategic steel fabrication industry, the author fails to address methods by which we can commit to re-build its capacity. Rather than abandon the U.S. steel and fabrication market for cheap labor, untested Chinese products, and the insecurity of that supply chain; the commitment to the use of U.S.-produced steel and fabrication to rebuild our 20,000 failed bridges and aging infrastructure will expand and modernize our native capacity with private capital.  In the process, they will create jobs, providing a shot in the arm to the U.S. economy that far outweighs any perceived savings from Chinese purchases. Perhaps most importantly, while the author references “price” six times, not once does he mention value. A $600 million bridge project fabricated by U.S.-based firms and U.S. workers will yield a huge local economic impact.  The same project secured by the Chinese bidder at $500 million, while cheaper, produces an economic boost in China, not here at home where our economy is still struggling to produce jobs.  The “price” of Chinese steel may be low, but the value to American families is nonexistent.

We need to ask ourselves what is better for our economy, buying cheaper and inferior products from China or boosting our national economy by getting more Americans back to work?

The United States as a whole is struggling to find ways to get our economy back on track. The biggest and best thing we can do is get Americans back to work in good paying jobs.  This means we need to revive our American manufacturing, including our steel producers.  Every state is talking about spending hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.  These are the investments we need in our country and our community.

When workers are paid a good wage they spend their money at local stores and shop.  This benefits everyone from the big box store to the small businesses on main street.

We need our politicians at every level to understand that an investment in American manufacturing is an investment in America.

Brigadier General Adams’s And Sen. Murphy Says ‘Our National Security Is At Risk From Outsourcing’

Chris Murphy And The Alliance For America Manufacturing

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Brigadier General Adams’s, and Scott Paul. (Credit Kaylie Hanson)

As if loosing our good jobs to China was not bad enough now our national security is at risk because of the policies set forth in Washington.  We are at risk of being forced into a position where the United States could be called into war and we cannot supply our troops. Why, because we do not produce the materials needed to create our weapons of war.

For many years we have been talking about the decline of American Manufacturing.  Now that decline in manufacturing and mining is starting to come back to bite us again.

Have you ever heard of lanthanum?  Well let me tell what lanthanum is used for.  Lanthanum is one of the main ingredients needed to create night vision goggles.  Ring a bell yet? No me either.   The reason why I am talking about lanthanum is because lanthanum is one of the rare elements that we need to supply our troops, but we do not mine it.   In fact 91% of all lanthanum comes from China.  Add that to the fact that 90% of all rare elements come from China that puts us in a tight spot.

Let me give you another example.  Have you ever heard of butanetriol? Um no.  What if I told you that butanetriol is the fuel that is used to propel the Hellfire missile.  I am sure you remember hearing our how we have used Hellfire missiles in recent conflicts.  The Hellfire is one of our military’s most powerful weapons.  Now how would you feel if I were to tell you that we get our butanetriol from one supplier.  The only supplier who produces butanetriol and they are based in China.

Are you seeing the problem yet? Some of the tools we need to supply our military is being produced by Chinese manufactures.  What happens if we were to ever enter into a conflict with China? Or if we enter into a conflict that China opposes? They could close our supply chain and effectively take us out of the conflict.    Remember how the North defeated the South in the civil war?  Your right, they destroyed their supply chains.

These are only two of the dozens of examples that were cited in a new report from Brigadier General John Adams and the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

America is always on the verge of war.  We train hundreds of thousands of military personnel to be ready to fight at any moment.  We stockpile weapons, just in case we need them. Right now we are on the verge of getting involved in yet another conflict with Syria.  What would happen if we jumped into that conflict without the ability to supply our troops?

This is why Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) are pushing for an increase in American Defense Manufacturing.     I have been following the ‘Buy America” campaign and have talked about Senator Murphy’s proposals before. The campaign is simple, rebuild our economy by investing in American manufacturing.  Put people to work, and now protect our supply lines to our troops.  Senator Murphy said  “we should not be solely relying on out-of-state suppliers”.

Currency manipulation is one of the biggest problems in trading with China. “Due to currency manipulation the raw materials costs in the United States are the same as final price of Chinese steel” said Congressman Tim Ryan.  Bills to fix the currency manipulation from China have been introduced to Congress for many years. The problem is that they cannot get the bill through both houses in one Congressional term, therefore the bill dies.

Congressman Mo Brooks continued by saying that outsourcing effect the our country in two ways.  It “weakens families incomes (job losses) and weakens the country’s ability to pay to protect our country (loss in revenue)”.

Senator Murphy continued by highlighting some of the key points from the new report, Recommendations to Strengthen America’s Defense Industrial Base and Ensure National Security.  The major points include:

  • fixing the Chinese currency manipulation problem;
  • increase long-term federal investment in high-technology industries;
  • develop domestic sources for important natural resources;

The report refers to seven other recommendation that will help to mitigate this potential risk to our National Security.  Now we need Congress to take swift action to pass this common sense solution to rebuild our manufacturing base and protect our troops.  

Senator Chris Murphy Pushes ‘BUY AMERICA’ Campaign Into The Senate

senator chris murphy

For decades now vulture capitalist like Mitt Romney have been taking good American jobs and shipping them overseas.  Bain Capitol was well known for this and this could have been one of the reasons he ultimately lost the Presidential election.

People overwhelmingly agree that we should increase manufacturing throughout the United States.  During the campaign President Obama said he want to create one million new manufacturing jobs right here at home.

With over 20 million still out of work, bringing jobs back and rebuilding the greatness that once was American Manufacturing should be a top priority.  For Senator Chris Murphy, it is.  He actually ran his campaign for Senate on this very principle.  As a Congressional Representative from Connecticut, Murphy created the “Buy America” Caucus whose sole purpose was to push for policy changes to boost American Manufacturing. 

“I believe our economy cannot recover without a strong manufacturing base” Senator Chris Murphy 

Senator Murphy in partnership with the Alliance for American Manufacturing highlighted four areas that need to be changed that will bring jobs back to the US and help create new long-term jobs

1. Stop the currency manipulation from China by passing Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act. China continues to manipulate their currency to ensure that their costs are cheaper.  Senator Murphy said “We’re already in a trade war with China, we’re just not fighting it. We need to get more serious.”

2. Tax Reform.  Provide incentives for companies who bring jobs back from overseas and stop subsidizing companies who are outsourcing jobs.

3. Invest in our infrastructure.  One of the issues with American manufacturing is the ability to products to our trade ports.  By building better roads, bridges and trains, manufactures can quickly and easily move their products across the country or around the world.

4. The United States Government needs to practice what it preaches by buying American made products.   Currently the ‘Buy America’ law states that 50% products bought with taxpayer money be made domestically. Senator Murphy says that number should be at a minimum 60% but would like to see it closer to 75%.

Senator Murphy also pointed out that the current ‘Buy America’ law has one very large loophole that must be closed.  If the government buys a product, lets say a gun, but that product is not going to be used within the United States, the law says that it does not have to be made in the USA.   This loophole has been exploited by defense contractors and the DOD. Think of how much money the US Government spent over the last decade fighting two wars.  What would that have done for our economy if we made all of those guns and ammunitions right here at home?  If you remember weapons manufacturing during World War II was one of the way we pulled ourselves out of the Great Depression.

To fight back against this stagnant economy we must start by investing in America, and American Manufacturing.  We need to start building more products and selling them throughout the world.  We need to show that products made right here at home are better quality and economical.  The Alliance for American Manufacturing just opened their new office in Washington D.C. that was built and furnished with American Made products.

Labor unions have taken a beating in the media recently over reduced membership numbers.  Do you want to see unions growing stronger again? If so then we must all start to insist on American Made products.  When American Manufacturing once again flourishes the membership numbers will grow with it.  Oh and that thing that the Republicans are always screaming about, the national debt, that will go away on its own when we increase our GDP.

So if you want to reduce the debt, put millions of people back to work and support labor across the country the answer is simple, BUY AMERICAN!

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