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Should the Defense Dept. "Buy American"

Moms View Message Board: The Kitchen Table (Debating Board): Should the Defense Dept. "Buy American"
By Ginnyk on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 05:05 pm:

In today's NY Times I saw an article: Congressman Duncan Hunter, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, inserted a clause in the House version of the Pentagon budget that countries which failed to hepthe U.S. in the Iraq war should not benefit from U.S. miitry contracts, and is, in essence, a "Buy American" clause that would raise "domestic (i.e., U.S.) content requirements or Pentagon purchases from 50% to 65%. (Which means that at present 50% of the content of U.S. military equipment is not made in the U.S.)
The article noted that the Defense Dept. and Pentagon are very much against this clause, and manufacturers of military equipment say it would raise the costs greatly (at least in part because our labor force is paid more) and cause extensive delays if they are required to have 15% more U.S. content in U.S. military equipment.
For example, at a Raytheon plant in Teas which assembles missles, 95% of the machine tools used in that plant were not made in the U.S. but were imported.
I don't know about you, but my opinion is that as long as we are going to spend so much money on military equipment(and I do believe our fighting personnel need to be well equipped and well supported), it seems to me that money should go into the pockets of U.S. citizens and companies, not foreign companies and workers. Some of the manufacturers say the U.S. can't (or at least at present doesn't have) the technology to provide some of the equipment, but if we weren't already buying it from other countries, we would certainly develop the technology. And, I'm not too comfortable about having other countries have so much control over our U.S. military equipment manufacturing - seems to me in the long run it is strategically sounder to be able to control that line of manufacturing ourselves to the extent that we can. I do understand that we can't totally go it alone in this kind of manufacturing - for example, we pretty much have to import titanium. But still, it bothers me. I have been concerned for years that as we let our steel industry go down the tubes in favor of importing cheaper steel that we were potentially putting the U.S. in a bad position if we ever had to go to a war footing.

Comments? Reactions?

By Karen55 on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 05:35 pm:

Ginny, I think I feel exactly the way you do on this one.

By Dana on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 06:13 pm:

Yes, in theory, I believe we should use American equipment.

However, I must say I have little faith in the American pride in production. Todays America is out for "what's in it for me" rather than doing a good job and willing to sign their name to their "craft".

And if we (Americans) are willing to put our best efforts forth, we expect good compensation for such. Thus raising the price. I'm not sure that "doing a good job" for the simple reason of "for our country" would fly here in the US--in the majority. I don't think that production/mfg companies could afford to decrease their wholesale price and still employ their employees if that meant decrease in pay or. Things are so dang expensive here, we (the working American) need everything we earn just to pay for daily expenses. Also, we are spoiled into thinking we deserve the finest things life has to offer.

Since when did the avg cost for a starter home require 1/4 to 1/2 a million dollars, and since when did the average American think that everyone should be driving a car that cost $34K as their everyday car? I'm not saying everyone, every American, but statistically that is where the American range lies.

I for one would be so happy when modest needs were all that was needed to keep a family happy and going well. The idea of returning to an America where most moms stayed home...not working so they can afford that expensive car/house/day care. What's wrong with having something just nice or sufficent, not extravigent?

When America returns to those ways, then perhaps American made products will be part of our American purchases.

DH comments often that America is falling behind because we no longer manufacture things. We are a paper making country. All of our money comes from something that is not tangible (banks, credit cards, insurance, services, stocks, etc.) What made America strong in the past was the industrial age when America was the producer of all sorts of items: tools to machines. We no longer offer the best, if any at all in certain areas.

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