“Buy America” legislation is the wrong way to put America first


A large part of Donald Trump’s stunning upset against Hillary Clinton was the rise of the working class American who has long been left behind by the political elite. Overbearing regulations and high taxation drive good jobs out of the country, where businesses can get the job done for cheaper. Now that the controversial Republican businessman has gone from longshot to President-elect, expect more discussion regarding stopping the outsourcing of jobs and bringing work back home.

“Buy America” legislation is again front and center in Congress. Although Republicans often adopt the America First rhetoric, it is the Democrats who are pushing the legislation to force businesses to prefer American products versus foreign-made products.

Is this a moment of hypocrisy for the Republican Party as it rides in on an America First wave?


The problem with the outsourcing is that Democrats fail to understand why it’s happening. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) criticized opponents, including Speaker Paul Ryan, because this legislation would apparently be a job creating opportunity. Technically, this isn’t wrong. Forcing the purchase of American products creates demand which requires a supply to accommodate it.

The problem is that government force doesn’t fix the problem, as is the case in most instances. It actually often makes it worse. In this case, simply forcing businesses to buy American neglects the reasons why businesses stopped buying American in the first place.

Furthermore, what will the American economy gain by forcing businesses to participate in a bad market?

Senator Brown defends the “Buy America” legislation by stating it not only is a job creator, but it is an opportunity to support and expand domestic manufacturers. But why have businesses long opted to outsource their business?

Labor is cheaper, regulations are not as intrusive, and government is significantly scaled back. Businesses have limited budgets, they’re not governments. Just as American consumers do, businesses will shop for the best deal. If one location has a better deal than another, wouldn’t you go there?

What if Congress passed legislation forcing you to buy at a more expensive store chain as opposed to a smaller and cheaper location? This is in essence where businesses are at.

So how do we fix it?

Government in America needs to be scaled back. For a country that was founded on economic freedom and encouraging innovative prosperity, it has become a burdensome empire of onerous regulations. While the other countries may not be better than the United States, the market conditions make operating cheaper and more efficient.


No matter how good intentioned the Democrats’ “Buy America” legislation is, forcing businesses to purchase a certain product is unamerican. If we want businesses to operate here at home and have a prosperous economy, the government needs to back off. Businesses, just like consumers, should be allowed to shop around where they like. With this in mind, we should work to scale back the tentacles and overgrowth of a far reaching government.

An American economy unobstructed by bureaucracy will encourage businesses to remain at home, instead of seeking business elsewhere.

Chris Dixon is a liberty activist and writer from Maine. In addition to being Managing Editor for the Liberty Conservative, he also writes the Bangor Daily News blog "Undercover Porcupine" and for sports website Cleatgeeks.

Latest from Economics

Thanks for visiting our site! Stay in touch with us by subscribing to our newsletter. You will receive all of our latest updates, articles, endorsements, interviews, and videos direct to your inbox.