Any project funded by February’s $789 billion stimulus package is meant to use only US made steel and manufactured goods. Any financial institution receiving bail out funds must give preference to citizens. Will these policies backfire? Opponents say these policies will have little direct impact on job creation, and could have very harmful repercussions by triggering a global trade war in which each country seeks to “beggar its neighbor” in a vicious cycle of economic decline. Proponents argue that these policies focus taxpayer money to yield the biggest benefit for American families, they help American business to compete with cheap foreign labor, and that governments the world over already favor their domestic industries. Are we subsidizing the inefficient, or sparking a much needed boost to the economy?
For the motion
University Professor of Economics and Law, at Columbia University and Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations
Bhagwati is a University Professor of Economics and Law, at Columbia University and senior fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign... Read More
Robert E. Maxwell Professor of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Economics at Dartmouth College
Douglas is the Robert E. Maxwell Professor of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Economics at Dartmouth College.Read More
United States Trade Representative (USTR) from 2006-2009
Schwab served as United States Trade Representative (USTR) from 2006-2009. As USTR, Ambassador Schwab was a member of President George W. Bush's cabinet... Read More
Against the motion
Leading Economic Analyst and Editor of Challenge Magazine
A former economics columnist for The New York Times, and current Editor of Challenge Magazine, Jeff Madrick is a regular contributor to The New York... Read More
John R. MacArthur
President and Publisher of Harper's Magazine
John is president and publisher of Harper's Magazine, the oldest continuously published monthly magazine in America. He has served in this role since... Read More
International President of the United Steelworkers
Leo is International President of the United Steelworkers, the dominant union in paper, forestry products, steel, aluminum, tire and rubber, glass... Read More
Where Do You Stand?
For The Motion
Increasing production costs on civic projects, like critical infrastructure repair, by mandating the purchase of higher-priced American goods costs taxpayers more while delivering less.
When American companies are mandated to purchase higher-cost American products, they hire fewer workers and create fewer jobs.
Without the ability to hire the best and brightest from around the world, American innovation will suffer while foreign markets become more competitive.
Against The Motion
“Buy American/Hire American” policies ensure American companies, and consequently American workers, are the beneficiaries of municipal projects funded by American taxpayers.
Buying American helps to sustain the nation’s industrial economy, which creates demand for engineering and innovation on American soil.
Many of America’s trade partners, like France and China, have enacted domestic policies that ensure state funds benefit national companies—the U.S. must do the same to remain competitive.