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Don’t Be Fooled, “Made In America” Is A Marketing Tool Today

Last updated on March 25, 2022

In this article, I want to help those that still think items advertised as made in America guarantee something is made here in the United States or The Totalitarian State of Canada.

First, don’t hate the messenger. I’m a proud American, veteran, and as screwed up as we are, I still love this country. I am not, however, willing to bury my head in the sand and ignore the facts. No good can come from that type of behavior.

To make myself sound smart (and old), I can say I’ve been in the transportation and logistics industry for almost forty years. The truth is I drive truck. I’m a blogger though, so I must be smart. Besides, my mom told me as much.

Now that you understand the source, take everything from here down with a barrel of salt.

Years Of Deliveries – A lot Of Questions Asked

One of the coolest parts of my job is seeing how things are designed, built, shipped, and even marketed. I ask a lot of questions.

Story Time

Oh no, I feel a story is coming on. Sorry, I can’t stop the story, it must get out.

Just last week, and something like this happens every week, I made a delivery and asked questions. I delivered several large commercial coolers (refrigerators) to a place that builds these types of coolers. They’re the kind you see in stores and restaurants. These particular refrigerators are specifically made for the pet food industry.

Anyway, I asked if these were returns or if another company helped with the manufacturing of their products. The guy unloading my trailer said they’re getting a lot of returns from companies that cannot find enough product to fill their coolers. If a company buys a cooler and can’t fill it, I guess they ship it back.


What’s this have to do with making things in America? Nothing really. As a prepper, anything involving the supply chain is interesting to me, but I’m just demonstrating that a trucker can learn stuff. 😉

It’s also another warning sign of the supply chain disruptions we’re all experiencing.

I deliver all sorts of parts and ingredients that come off container ships from Korea, China, or Taiwan that our US manufacturers use to make the things they sell here. Paints, chemicals, dyes, fasteners, papers, metals, everything.

Something as simple as a paper label might be made in New Jersey, using glue from China, ink from Germany, and paper milled in Georgia.

Then chemical ingredients are used to make the inks and adhesives, and the dyes used in the paper, all come from somewhere else. Then the tooling, packaging, printing… Well, you get the point.

The FDA’s Broad “Made In America” Requirements

From what I’ve read in my research, the FTC uses terminology that leaves a lot to be misinterpreted. Another issue is what’s included in the requirements. Much of what I mentioned above, I.e., chemicals, ingredients, tooling, packaging, printing, designs, funding, etc., are unclear at best, and at worst not mentioned at all.

The FTC says,

For a product to be called Made in USA, or claimed to be of domestic origin without qualifications or limits on the claim, the product must be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S.

Federal Trade Commission – Complying with the Made in USA Standard

So the assembly of the product must take place in the U.S. and a “significant” amount of the total manufacturing cost must come from U.S. parts and processing1. That’s an extremely broad requirement that’s not even enforced in any “significant” degree.

Made In The USA – It’s Complicated

Requires that a product be manufactured in the U.S. of more than 50 percent U.S. parts to be considered Made in USA for government procurement purposes.

Buy American Act —

Regulations over country-of-origin claims get pretty complicated, and boring because we’re dealing with the government. There is a multitude of acts, regulations, and laws to make things as complicated as possible, and therefore worthy of government theft of its citizens’ hard-earned money. You know, for our own good.

We have the American Automobile Labeling Act, Buy American Act, The Fur Products Labeling Act, Textile Fiber Products Identification Act, The Tariff Act, and Wool Products Labeling Act. Then we have the Customs Service and their requirements, as well as all the other countries we import from. It’s complicated on purpose.

Where’s The Money Going?

Here’s an argument I’ve heard, and it makes some sense, actually.

Sure, many foreign cars are made here in America, but the profits are shipped overseas.

Well, I agree to a degree. In that regard, I’d rather buy a Chevy than a Toyota, but I would NEVER insist or even suggest you do so. That’s not my place, living here in a free country. Right?

How many people Americans are those foreign plants providing employment? How many people in those American communities rely on those plants for their local economy, including all the support companies such as parts manufacturing? I would mention taxes, but we know that the burden falls on the hard-working people, not the rich and certainly not large companies – but I digress.

Virtue Signalling

It’s frustrating to see a bumper sticker or hear someone criticize others in order to make themselves feel good. Here’s a feel-good stat for your next bumper sticker: China is our top foreign creditor owning about $1.1 trillion US debt (About 5%) as of early 20202.

The United States imported $4.6 billion in agricultural goods from China and China produces 97 percent of U.S. antibiotics and about 80 percent of active pharmaceutical ingredients used in American drugs3.

So keep thinking you’re helping your country (Or hurting China) by paying more for less as literally trillions of dollars are owned and sent abroad. I mean, if it makes you feel good.

It’s A World Economy Now – Like It Or Not

It’s a world economy, and it’s really too late to fight it. The “Made In America” sticker is a feel-good marketing tool. Just my two cents, I hate it as much as anyone. It’s actually beyond marketing, it’s social programming or social conditioning. And it seems to be effective.

Was “Made In America” The Beginning Of Cancel Culture?

While “Buy American” bumper stickers are a form of virtue signaling, the “Made In America” marketing smells like the beginnings of what we consider today as “Cancel Culture”.

I don’t have anything to go into detail about, it’s just an observation during a time when tech giants are canceling the right and everyone seems to be canceling an entire country.

Buy American Cars – Keep Jobs In The US

Or, Maybe We Should Compete Again In A Market We Used To Dominate?

Image - Out of a Job Yet? Keep buying foreign!
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I think it is smarter to buy American but for the right reasons. To me, and this is only an opinion, that doesn’t mean to keep jobs here in America – for the most part. The way to keep jobs here in America is to make better products at a cheaper price. That’s competition.

Then it might be a good idea to educate the market. That’s marketing. I don’t mean to shame one another over our buying choices, that’s just stupidly following the social programming. Don’t be a robot, try thinking for yourself. If you do, you get issued a blogger license. ~joking

Don’t say, “We can’t compete with the cheap labor of other countries” and then insist Americans pay more, often for just an average product, as if it were their patriotic duty. Especially when, as you’ve just seen, the Made In America rhetoric is typically BS.

The companies are not paying their share of taxes, and, in the case of cars, the union employees are paid $35+ an hour4, work less than ten months a year and the cars cost what houses should be.

I live in metro Detroit, I’m from a long line of union autoworkers, and I deal with the plants and employees (To find one you have to weed through all the non-employee temp workers, but that’s for another article), and I understand the sentiment.

You see, I’m on the side of truth, even when it is inconvenient. I’ll take a few hits from that truth because emotion has been programmed into so many of us. Marketing at its finest in the form of social conditioning.

What I Think – Buy American – Buy Local

As I said, you do you. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting you do something because it’s something I want. With everything I just wrote now, allow me to tell you what I think.

I think it’s great to buy American for the right reason. We can buy American because we get a better product. We can buy American because we want to feel like we’re doing something. Which of those two sound like the best reason, if we’re being honest with ourselves?

Buy American because it probably wasn’t made by a twelve-year-old.

Buy Local – It Still Matters

I LOVE the idea of getting our eggs, meat, and produce from locally – sourced businesses. Buying crafts, repairs, and everything we can from local markets and businesses. There’s true community support as well as understanding more of what went into our food and the things we consume.

We develop community and relationships by buying local. We can generally trust the foods we buy locally. I feel it is healthier to buy honey from a local beekeeper than to order imported honey through Amazon. I’d rather buy local lumber than to buy from a big box store that buys from anywhere the price is lowest.

Wrapping Up

Disagree? Finally, someone disagrees. Feel free to make your case in the comments below. Even if you do agree, your comments are welcome.

See ya, Brian

Footnotes / Sources / Citations

  1. Staff, The Premerger Notification Office, and This blog is a collaboration between CTO and DPIP staff and the AI Strategy team. “Complying with the Made in USA Standard.” Federal Trade Commission, 16 July 2020,
  2. Team, The Investopedia. “How Much U.S. Debt Does China Own?” Edited by Michael J Boyle, Investopedia, 9 June 2021,
  3. Team, The Investopedia. “How Much U.S. Debt Does China Own?” Edited by Michael J Boyle, Investopedia, 9 June 2021,
  4. Noble, Breana. “Gm, UAW Battle over Worker Pay from Temps to CEO.” The Detroit News, The Detroit News, 26 Sept. 2019,
[GM union employees] $90,000 average pay of hourly employees. That includes wages, bonuses and profit sharing but not benefits, according to the company. Skilled trades employees are paid an average of $122,000 a year.

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About This Author

Brian D. Hawkins is a late-blooming thought leader in his mind. So please don't disturb his happy thoughts. It's all he has.

Brian D. Hawkins has been a blogger for over twenty years, having written thousands of public articles on dozens of websites. He currently blogs for and his personal blog at

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