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American-made HDTVs now coming

If you’re like me and you’ve been holding on to your old American-made tube-type TV in hopes there will someday be an American-made HDTV, your time has come!

Element Electronics has announced production of flat screen TVs will begin in March of this year at its Detroit, Mich., factory.

According to Mike O’Shaughnessy, president of Element Electronics, the decision to produce in American was an emotional one, and “maybe even a patriotic choice.”

O’Shaughnessy has roots in the Midwest, growing up in a small, blue-collar town in Ohio, and says his company has been planning the move back to the states to produce HDTVs. But don’t head out to Target or Sears to pick one up yet, or you’ll end up with an imported one.

There’s no firm quote yet on what the new American-made TVs will cost, but word has it that it will be “essentially the same price” as the ones made in China.

Another great thing about Element Electronics: it is an American company and not some mere subsidiary of a larger foreign-owned conglomerate. That means that not only will the production jobs be here, but the profits and tax base will remain here as well.

Element Electronics, being an American-owned company based in Minneapolis, Minn., won’t be sending profits to foreign lands to reward foreign owners, foreign investors, and foreign stockholders.

What about the domestic content of the future American-made HDTVs? Again, we’ll have to wait and see, but Element Electronics says that along with the initial 100 jobs created, there are plans down the road for expansion which will lead to more job creation for Element’s “factories and their suppliers.”

O’Shaughnessy says other factors leading to the move to America were to shorten lead times in its supply chain, create quicker responses to the American consumer, and reduce waste.

I’m fairly certain that the waste reduction O’Shaugnessy referenced wasn’t a monetary one (although it might in the end contribute to realized profits in the future) but domestic facilities owned by domestic companies tend to reduce the waste of wealth creation in this country.

Friedrich List, a German economist who also lived in America for several years and wrote “The National System of Political Economy” in 1841 before he died in 1846, once said, “The power of producing wealth is infinitely more important than the wealth itself.” With American companies producing in the United States, we retain the power to create wealth, which is in turn distributed within the national economy for the benefit of all Americans.

The last time there was an opportunity to buy an American-made flat screen TV was back in 2009 when Popular Mechanics featured “Five American Manufacturers Doing It Right.” For a short time, Olevia brand TVs were being made in the USA, but before I even found out about it, the company had filed for bankruptcy and moved production offshore again.

Let’s not allow this to happen to Element Electronics. Profits are the lifeblood of any successful economy, so let’s make sure this U.S.-owned company has the necessary profits to pay the higher American wages we demand in this country.

A successful American electronics industry will boost our economic stature throughout the world, and has the potential to reduce the trade deficit we currently have, contributing to a higher American standard of living.

According to a September 2011 Trade and Globalization Report by the Economic Policy Institute, our trade deficit with China grew over 32 percent from 2001 to 2010 in the computer and electronics parts industry, costing our country over 900,000 jobs in this sector alone.

With this announcement of a new HDTV factory by Element Electronics, we finally have a chance to start reversing the wealth-draining, job-draining trend or our growing trade deficit.