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Archive for May, 2012

I just bought a Systemax desktop PC, which is assembled in Ohio, USA.  I needed a new computer for the office and resolved not to buy another Chinese box, whether it be a Mac (see my other disparaging posts about Apple), an HP or a Dell. I understand that most of the components of pc’s these days are made in China and other parts of Asia.  However, assembly, sales and support are a significant part of the price tag of a pc.  Even if we can all increase the relative share of our consumer purchases that stay in the US by 25%, it would be a giant improvement. So I went on computersmadeinusa.com and found a listing for Systemax computers.  They are a small company out of Ohio and assemble all their products there.

The PC has a 1.2 terabyte drive, Core i5 Intel processor, and about 8 gigabytes of RAM.  It cost $550.  This is about the same price I would have paid for a Dell, which is made in China.  The support is 24/7 from the US also.  The PC itself looks nice, similar to an HP or Dell, and came in a box covered in stars and stripes.  They have all kinds of other models up and down the price ladder. Check out http://www.systemaxpc.com/  I will not buy another Chinese pc again!

I will update this post if I have any problems with the computer or any additional raves.

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I recently reviewed a great new book that aligns well with the aims of this blog.  Buying America Back by Alan Luke is an easy-read paperback (printed in USA, of course) that echoes what I say here – that a healthy economy is based on a positive or at least neutral trade balance.  It quantifies the decline in our economy in parallel with the decline in our domestic manufacturing and the rise of imports.  Did you know that the value of our imports each year is greater than the entire production of our domestic manufacturing??  Crazy and unsustainable!  So if you want to back away from the precipice, buy this book, read my blog and start caring about buying American.  I also like the detailed country-specific trade balance figures in the second half of the book.  There were definitely some surprises, such as the fact that we have a 3:1 trade surplus with Egypt – who knew?  A small bright spot.

Also, check out www.BuyingAmericaBack.org for more info.

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I am lucky enough to live a quarter mile away from Aqua-Flo.  They’re a Southern California seller of irrigation equipment, drainage pipes, pond equipment, outdoor lighting, tools, and other supplies for landscaping.  I had always bought outdoor goods from Home Depot and was frequently dissatisfied both with the quality and the dearth of made in USA products there.  I had bought a drip irrigation kit at Home Depot and ended up throwing most of it out.  It was also not made in USA.

So one day, I was driving by Aqua-Flo and decided to check it out.  I thought it was a hydroponics supplier for marijuana shops, but I was wrong. There were aisles and aisles of pipes, hoses, valves, and drip irrigation gadgets of all sorts.  There were all sorts of made in USA landscape lights that I drooled over.  I had been recently converting most of my yard to drip irrigation from sprinklers, which is quite easy.  All you have to do is unscrew the riser and add a new 1/2 inch pipe with an octopus-like top from which 6 nozzles exit.  Onto these, 1/4 inch drip irrigation lines can be connected which end in whatever nozzle you choose.  I’ve been doing this gradually and it’s been quite fun but it also lets me take better care of my fruit trees with less work in the long run.  Practically all the supplies I’ve bought for this at Aqua-Flo are made in USA (I think all) and I’ve saved money over what I would have spent at Home Depot, since I would have had far fewer choices. I also enjoy being recognized when I go there.  They always ask me if I have an “account” with them, which I don’t, but they say, not to worry, since they see me a lot and give me their contractor pricing anyway.

I don’t know if Aqua-Flo does online sales.  I don’t see an online store on their website.  However, they may be a good resource for finding made in USA landscaping supplies.  Most of the stuff I see online when I do google searches is imported and cheap quality.  This is the kind of store – geared to professionals but willing to sell to the public, putting quality ahead of price but ending up with prices comparable to Chinese-made Home Depot crap.  I’m sure there are stores like this in your neck of the woods.

Here is their link: http://www.aquaflo.com/

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Dear Apple,

I’m disgusted by the fact that all your products are Chinese.  I used to love Apple, but I can’t stand your company now.  You are traitors to America and our economy.  You employ 1 million Chinese and 30,000 Americans and are held up as some kind of ideal company.  Well, you are not.  You are an example of what’s wrong in this country.  I regret that I own some of your products, but I do my best not to buy any more.  If you were American, I would be gifting Apple and touting them to everyone.  Instead, I tell everyone how much I despise Apple and how they should never gift Apple or other electronics that are made offshore.  Hope you change your ways or go bankrupt soon!

Please add your comments to give this open letter some punch!

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