Archive for July, 2009

The Oldest Remaining Circuit Board Maker in the USA Closes

July 31st, 2009

Bartlett Manufacturing of Cary, IL had been around since 1952, according to Manufacturing News. The USA used to produce tens of millions of circuit boards, but is down to a just a trickle due to misplaced trade policies.

As a former executive stationed in Asia, I know full well how easy it is for them to export to the USA, but how hard it is for American manufacturers to export to Asia due to their government protectionism. This is what we call “free trade”, but the truth is it is only free coming here.

According to Mr. Bartlett, a former Marine Captain, “The industry has been crippled beyond repair”, and “Our kids are going to be fluffing dogs and doing toenails while the Chinese are making leading edge devices.”

Again and again I get requests for electronics items, but the fact is the vast majority are made in Asia. These circuit boards are the guts of all electronics items. Without these makers we cannot make the electronics devices we use every day.

Mr. Bartlett had been holding out hoping for change in Washington, but upon seeing no real difference recently, has given up.

You can read his passionate and meaningful interview at:

Special thanks to Bob Hall, our reader and song writer of Dollar to The Giant for pointing this story out. His song is available on at

Todd Lipscomb

Founder of ( your source for made in USA items.

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Think About History: Who Made the AM6 Zero Fighter Aircraft?

July 25th, 2009

The other day I drove past a charity car wash being run by local Marines. My Ford (made in USA of course) did not really need a wash, but I decided it was for a good cause and pulled in.

One of the young Marines and I got to talking and he was very excited about his new sports car. I did not want to burst his bubble, but when I heard who made his new car, I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking him a bit about history.

The very same maker of his sports car built the AM6 Zero fighter plane, which caused havoc for the US forces early in WWII as a fighter and even more so late in WWII as its roles changed. When the war started this aircraft carrier based plane was surprising maneuverable and long range, which took American makers over a year to surpass. Late in the war, superior planes made in the USA dominated the sky, but the zero was turned into a very effective suicide bomb — the kamikaze. Kamikaze planes were used to attack scores of American ships, Their pilot’s willingness to fly this long-range, agile plane into our ships proved to be a difficult, terrifying weapon to counter.

Yet, here I was talking to a young guy who obviously did not know much about history. Think about Marines that not that long ago were riding ships that were under attack by kamikaze planes, hearing the alarms, and wondering if they were going to live through the day. I bet they never thought their grandsons would be buying cars made by the very same company who made the AM6 Zero – Mitsubishi.

Todd Lipscomb

Founder of ( source for American-made goods.

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CIT Group Bankruptcy Would Hit American Manufacturers Hard

July 22nd, 2009

Not that many people had even heard of CIT Group before last week, as they focus on financing for small and medium sized American manufacturers, not consumers. However, many products made in the USA are touched by them as over one million firms borrow from them or other specialty financing groups like them ( does not borrow from CIT Group or have any other debt).

As small business creates 70% of new jobs, losing a key financing firm would have a devastating chain reaction throughout the economy.

Somehow Washington considers Wall Street to be “to big to fail”, but a firm like CIT Group that has a huge direct effect on main street is not going to be helped. Naturally, any government bailout is harsh medicine, but why the difference in treatment? Wall Street knows how to lobby and they work hand in hand with Washington.

As of late this evening, indications are CIT Group’s bondholders might be coming up with a $3 billion dollar further loan at the astronomical rate of 13% according to the Wall Street Journal online. This would allow CIT Group some time to sell off assets and focus on core business. The good news is this may mean a chance for survival for this key financer of American-Made products. The bad news is with their largely scaled back operations one can only imagine tens of thousands of small business will be affected. This might mean delayed investment, scaled back operations, layoffs, or even some small firms closing.

Keeping access to financing for small business to vital to keeping products made in USA and therefore our economic future.

Todd Lipscomb

Founder of (, a resource for American-made products.

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Unemployment Surges Across Our Nation as De-Industrialization Takes Its Toll on The USA

July 18th, 2009

Per today’s LA Times online, the top five USA states with the highest unemployment (a dubious honor) are:

1)      Michigan at 15.2%

2)      Rhode Island at 12.4%

3)      Oregon at 12.2%

4)      Nevada at 12%

5)      California at 11.6%

California has lost 760,000 jobs in the last 12 months as small businesses and manufacturers have closed or left the state. Ironically, the unemployment rate would be higher except for immigration away from California, which historical had been a recipient of folks in previous downturns. Unfortunately, the local and state government has made it a lot harder to run a business here over the years.

These official unemployment rates always understates the true unemployment rate as it excludes those working part-time that want full-time work, have given up searching, etc.  Meaning the real rate is closing on 20% in these states.

This downturn is worse than usual, and will continue longer with more pain than natural recessions because of de-industrialization. The last few decades has seen thousands of factories close because of this work being shifted overseas to nations with lower wages, little environmental controls, low worker and product safety standards, etc.

The stimulus plan has been a failure because it creates very little private sector employment. No factories have opened because of the stimulus plan, so how can it possibly succeed in causing more Americans to become employed?

Plus, the hundreds of billions of dollars we ship abroad every year is money that could have been spent here, employing more in the US.

The real issue is trade, and our government’s lack of long-term vision. Every other major nation looks out for their people and imposes real trade barriers to support their long-term growth.

Free trade is only free coming this way. Just try to export something to Asia.

It seems like products being made in the USA is over, but we can make a difference. WE  can turn this around by buying American-made goods.

Todd Lipscomb

Founder of ( a resource for made in USA products.

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The 40th Anniversary of America’s Moon Landing is Approaching

July 12th, 2009

One of the USA’s greatest moments was 40 years ago on the 20th of July. The Apollo 11 moon landing is something wondrous that even to this day no other nation has matched.

Here are some awesome facts about it, according to the new book Voices from The Moon by Andrew Chaikin, and keep in mind this was before computers could do too much, and there was no Internet:

-The flight was 240,000 miles each way!

-The Takeoff burned 10,000 pounds of fuel a second.

-600 million people across the globe watched the landing on television.

What an amazing America-made triumph! A victory for every American! You can bet nearly every part of that craft was made in the USA.

We need that dynamic energy here the USA again, except this time to turn our nation and economy around! Just as those brave men can get to the moon and back, we rebuild the industry of the USA and make America great again!

Todd Lipscomb

Founder of (, a source for made in USA products.

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Attempt to Tax Internet Commerce Actually An Effort to Destroy Small Competitors

July 9th, 2009

Catalog publishers and small Internet retailers have something in common in that we do not have to try to calculate and charge customers their local sales tax on interstate orders, if we have no physical presence in that state. All of the USA’s tens of thousands of communities have different sales tax systems, so hiring people to try to calculate it and pay each location would bankrupt most small Internet retailers.

Efforts to tax Internet retailers and customers in this way have been defeated multiple times, but once again at the request of the large chain stores, congress is considering a tax on them. Catalog publishers apparently have a better ability to lobby congress as they are being conveniently ignored in this effort.

The huge retailers claim “fairness” in their efforts to levy this unbearable tax upon small Internet retailers. In fact, we already have an unfair disadvantage as rising energy costs have caused UPS, etc. to substantially raise shipping fees beyond our ability to pass those costs to customers.

The big chain stores know the small Internet retailers are already at a disadvantage, and are using this effort in an attempt to kill us. Why? We provide better service, specialized products, better selection, and often lower prices. For example, where else but can you get all these made in USA products? Certainly not at Wal-Mart, Target, etc. The big retailers cannot fight us in the light of day, so they are using this dark method to attack us.

Please take two minutes to contact your representative and say “No Internet Sales Tax”.

Link to Senate:

Link to House of Representatives:



Todd Lipscomb

Founder of ( your source for American-Made goods.

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Watching Our Young Patriot Grow

July 8th, 2009

It was a fun 4th of July, particularly as this was the first time our three year old daughter was really into it. She was looking forward to the celebration and even made a little Red, White, and Blue hat with some help. At the event, she danced and skipped to the bands before the fireworks and was thoroughly impressed during them.

This year she has a concept of America and will talk about it anytime she sees a flag. The fun things are an easy way to start to teach here about our country and what it means to be a citizen of the USA.

The harder parts are in the years to come – teaching her, and later our infant son, our history and the important values and responsibilities of being American.

Any thoughts on the topic would be most welcome.

Todd Lipscomb

Founder of (, a source of made in USA products.

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USA Unemployment Rises to 9.5% and Broader Rate Spikes to 16.5%

July 2nd, 2009

The American economy lost 467,000 jobs in June, putting the official unemployment rate at 9.5%, a 25 year high. However, the news gets worse as the broader unemployment rate, which includes those that have given up looking for work, has surged to 16.5%. That is nearly one in six people out of work!

Other disturbing economic news has come out recently –This year only 20%, one in five, of new college graduates had a job upon graduation! That is down from 50% just a couple years ago.

The reason this recession, soon to be depression, has hit us sharper, harder, and faster than any in living memory is the loss of good industrial jobs and the rise of the so called “service economy”. I know firsthand from my days as a financial executive at a major computer component maker that factories are hard to close, but service jobs can be eliminated in days. Meaning that as factories have been moved to Asia, and local economies made more dependent on easy to eliminate service jobs, it allows for more intense downward economic trends. A factory is worth millions, even tens of millions of dollars or more, so a corporation does not want to see it idle. However, there is nothing like that holding back the termination of service employees. In short, the decline of American-made products has put the US in a situation where we are no longer of in control of our economic future.

To hide this distinct, negative change to our economy, the government has encouraged bubbles in tech stocks and housing prices to artificially stimulate the economy and consumption. The hangover from these booms will show the truth about America’s economic decline – even a modern economy needs industrial jobs.

The good news is that we can each truly make a difference by checking labels and purchasing products made in America. Every item bought that is made in the US keeps folks off the unemployment line that much longer.

Todd Lipscomb

Founder of, your source for products made in the USA.

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