Polls show that a majority of the American public wants the government to buy more American-made goods. Pictured is a Chrysler Jeep assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio.
Most Americans want the government to buy American-made products, even if it means they are more expensive, the poll shows.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that 63 percent of Americans want U.S. agencies to generally buy American-made products, even if they are significantly more expensive; 62 percent believe the government should strictly buy American-made vaccines. But this intention wanes when it comes to other types of safety equipment, such as masks: 53% believe it is possible to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) from abroad, while 41% disagree.
The poll also shows that Americans like to buy American goods, but some reconsider when it means individuals have to pay more for them.
The poll found that while 69 percent believe it is at least somewhat important to buy an item that is made in the U.S.; 37 percent say they would not pay a penny more for it. 26 percent are willing to pay only 5 percent more, while 21 percent are capped at a 10 percent premium.
There are exceptions, however, in the case of Scott Brewster, 50, a restaurateur in Dothan, Ala. He is willing to pay half the price for American-made goods and points to the current shortage of computer chips as proof that the United States should produce more of what it consumes.
“If war breaks out, we’re going to have to scramble to make things – and the higher-end stuff like microchips, we’re out of luck.” He warned.
President Biden signed an executive order aimed at closing loopholes in existing “Buy American” rules, which cover about a third of the $600 billion in goods and services the federal government buys each year. The U.S. government is the single largest buyer of goods and services in the world.
The communist virus (coronavirus) pandemic highlighted risks to supply chains, including many that rely on leading Chinese producers. In the early stages of the crisis, hospitals struggled to find enough gowns, gloves, protective screens and masks to protect medical staff.
But efforts to establish domestic factories ran into a price problem. U.S.-made goods often cost more than their foreign counterparts, so many producers wanted government policies that would somehow offset the price gap. Some advocate providing subsidies to domestic producers or imposing restrictions on cheaper imports.
Earlier this month, for example, a group of 50 U.S.-based mask manufacturers – many of whom started in the wake of the Communist virus pandemic – sent an open letter to the Biden Administration asking the Defense Department or the U.S. Department of health and Human Services to “provide funding to support increased production by small business manufacturers” and to “explore formal partnerships with domestic U.S. manufacturers as part of continued efforts to address COVID-19 and future pandemic preparedness planning.” .