Friday, September 17, 2010

Government purchasing

Please read this post in conjunction with my basic position paper "What is this blog all about?".

All levels of government, from the smallest village council, to the biggest Federal departments, must ensure that all goods purchased are made in America. 

This means everything, from aircraft carriers to cars and trucks to paper clips. 

If our governments at all levels do not have confidence in American products, American competitiveness, and American workers, who will?

Purchasing officials often appear to work in a sealed bubble environment, cut off from all outside knowledge and context.  What do purchasing officials do at night?  Do they go home?  Do they watch the TV news?  Do they see reports of high unemployment?  Do they put two and two together in their brains and conclude that it might be a good idea to purchase from American sources, and give work to Americans?

If a given item costs 10% more when purchased from American manufacturers rather than Chinese manufacturers, buy American!  The slight extra cost will be more than made up by increased tax revenue to governments from American manufacturers and American workers. 

If there are no American manufacturers able to offer an item, offer very low interest loans to entrepreneurs who are prepared to re-open existing factories or create new factories. 

The biggest scandal is Department of Defense purchasing from overseas sources, such as Country XYZ.  The first issue is that our defense technology becomes available to Country XYZ.  On the basis of this issue alone, there should be no overseas purchasing.  Secondly, what happens if we get into a war with Country XYZ, and we have no other source of the item or items provided by that country?  Obviously, on the basis of military, strategic and technological considerations, we must purchase all defense equipment from American factories. 

The other issue is cost.  What percentage of our military budged is saved by overseas purchasing?  1%?  2%?  The saving is inconsequential.  What is consequential is the loss of U.S. jobs.  Again, if the government would mandate purchasing from American factories exclusively, there would be a tremendous overall saving for the government because of increased tax revenue from American factories and American workers.

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