October 11, 2018
Have we lost our way? A recent HFN magazine article by Allison Zisko shares how tariffs may raise the price of low cost goods from China. Question: what happened to our industry asking for things to be made in America? We haven’t just slid a little—the article states that 56% of furniture comes from China. Is anyone making anything anywhere in America anymore? And, why is this question relevant? I work daily to get consumers to shop local. Lives depend on it. Family owned businesses depend on it. What sense does it make to get people to shop local only to have them shop local and buy something from China that inversely was not made by someone in America and therefore hurt a local business (a local manufacturer)? Why are there “shop local” days but not a “make local” day? What’s the difference between shopping local and hurting a local manufacturer and shopping big and hurting a local manufacturer? Our community is gonna lose either way. If we’re gonna ask people to shop local, what about asking people to make local? If we continue to shut down production of factories in the U.S., why not shut down local shops too and just call it a day? We can buy Chinese made goods from an online retailer incorporated in Delaware whose majority owners are a shell company in Irelenad which licenses its intellectual property from the Dutch Antilles, right? This is a bad idea. This model is already wildly popular and is hurting our ability to have working, competent citizens with a tax base to support our communities.
We should be concerned about having young people that know how to make things (e.g. furniture) and having local revenue to pay for schools, roads, and safety—not about how much more my patent-leather Lazy Boy recliner with double-cup holders is gonna go up because of a tariff. If we had kept our efforts local in the first place, we’d not have to worry as much about these tariffs. I propose this; consider these tariffs a ‘speeding ticket’ for too quickly deskilling and destabilizing our local communities.