BOSTON (CBS) — Each year around this time we hear the mantra about buying products made in the USA.
“Buy American” sounds great on the fourth of July. But it’s far from reality.
The government told us just yesterday the nation’s trade gap – which measures the difference between imports and exports – increased in May to the highest level in six months, as imports dwarfed American exports.
The U.S. trade gap with China approached an all-time high.
Of course we like everything from foreign-made cars to clothes to computers. Never mind oil.
You know the line by now – they say we don’t make anything in America any more. That’s obviously an overstatement. But it does contain an element of truth.
Particularly when we see numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau showing that we imported nearly $4 million worth of American flags last year.
That’s right. We import American flags.
And the vast majority of them come from – wait for it – China. 94% of them in 2012.
To be clear, we still make most American flags here in America. But the Chinese flags can be cheaper. And most of the American-made flags stay here.
And let’s remember we couldn’t celebrate the Fourth without Chinese fireworks. The Chinese after all invented them.
The Census says we imported over $200 million worth last year – almost as many fireworks as we made here in the USA.
So before you start beating the drum on buying American you won’t need to look any further than your neighborhood 4th of July celebration.
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