In this time of economic doldrums, there's one thing all of us should be doing. It is buy American at every possible opportunity.

That's not always easy, but it still should be a goal.

Walk through any clothing store whether it be Wal-mart or Macy's and you'll find its very difficult to find American-made merchandise.

There are no small appliances made in the United States anymore.

Even cars from the Big Three automakers have a seal on them showing what percentage of the vehicle is made here and what percent is made abroad. For example, if you check that seal when you shop for a car, you might find 60 percent of the car was made in Detroit and 40 percent of it was made in Canada.

No matter what politicians tell us, manufacturing is the backbone of our economy. Without manufacturing, we have major problems.

We no longer have Bethlehem Steel, the Zinc Company, or even Keystone Lamp. But fortunately we still have many plants in our country which do manufacturing and we must continue to support these companies and do our best to keep those jobs on our soil.

Whether you buy something simple like a stapler (Swingline is an American product) or major appliance, check where it is made. Even a product that reads "Assembled in the United States" is better than those made in foreign countries.

Sometimes buying American means paying slightly higher prices for the product. It's better to pay more for a product manufactured here and providing someone with a sustainable wage than having the firms pay ridiculously low hourly fees in Third World countries.

We're in a global economy, but we as a nation have placed ourselves at a significant disadvantage by letting so many jobs disappear from our towns and cities. There's a lot of blame to go around regarding why this happened, but the bottom line is that we have to salvage what still remains.

That's why it is so important to "buy American" every chance you get.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com [1]