What did you buy this week? Now - how many of those items were made in America? Not many, I bet. Because even if we wanted to, most of us would be hard-pressed to buy only American-made products.
While U.S. jobs are steadily shipped overseas, the tidal wave of foreign-made goods in our stores and in our homes has become as regular as the tide. And that's a big problem for our country.
Most industrialized countries across the globe, including China and Germany, have long had national manufacturing strategies and policies that maximize their export potential. Instead, the U.S. has let the wave of globalization wash over us.
We must take a stand for our country and our workers - because if we want to win the future, we can't lose the present.
We have to finally develop a national manufacturing strategy that will create jobs, increase exports and strengthen our workforce - a workforce that used to be the envy of the world.
As Chairman of the Populist Caucus, I've been a tireless advocate for strengthening American manufacturing. It's understandable why we have an appetite for cheaply made foreign products - times are tough and foreign goods are cheap. But that's exactly why I believe we need a real strategy that will encourage more production of quality, affordable American-made products.
It's long past due for our national leaders to come together and stem the tide of lost manufacturing jobs. And I urge my colleagues in Congress to put partisan politics aside, stop bickering over red herrings and pass a national manufacturing strategy that will create jobs in the United States and strengthen our competitiveness around the world.
Every single member of Congress has seen a factory close in their district or their state - and we've seen the devastation that comes with it. Once-thriving towns now stand empty. Desirable neighborhoods are barely hanging on. And I'm not just talking about the Maytag plant leaving Newton, Iowa. This has happened, and is happening, in communities across the country.
Over the last decade, the U.S. has lost more than five million manufacturing jobs. Sadly, most of these jobs will never come back. And our government's policies, or lack thereof, are largely responsible for this bleed.
Not so long ago, we led the world in manufacturing. Our products - strong, reliable, and affordable - were in stores and homes around the globe. Our workers and their ethic haven't changed. They remain the best. Isn't it high time for our government match their excellence?
Follow Rep. Bruce Braley on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BruceBraley