Should we as consumers think of buying "American made" first in our buying decisions?

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The answer to this question is a matter of personal opinion.  Different people could legitimately have different views.  I will provide an argument on each side of the issue.

On the one hand, we can say that people should make it their first priority to “buy American.”  If we can buy a product that was made in America, we should do it even if there are better, cheaper products made in foreign countries.  There are two main arguments for this view.  First, we can say that we should do this for patriotic reasons.  We should want to support people in our own country, not foreigners.  We should want to make America our first priority rather than thinking of our own convenience.  Second, we could argue that buying American is good for us as well.  If we buy American, that will increase the demand for products that are made here.  When demand for these products rises, there will be more jobs for American workers.  This will boost our economy, which will presumably make it more likely that we and our children will get good jobs.

On the other hand, we can say that we should look first at price and quality when buying.  For one thing, this is the capitalist, non-socialist way of doing things.  If we just blindly buy American even if the goods are inferior, we are rewarding American companies who do a bad job, simply because they are American.  This is like homeschooling your child and giving them good grades because you love them even when they do bad work.  We do not want to reward people who do not deserve it.  Secondly, it is not at all clear that buying American is the best thing for our economy.  If we only buy American goods, we will put more Americans to work.  However, what happens when we drive out foreign competition, making the goods that we buy more expensive and of poorer quality?  Don’t we hurt our country just as much by reducing our standard of living in this way?  By buying the best products, regardless of where they are from, we keep prices low and quality high, allowing Americans to have the best possible products.

Which of these arguments makes more sense to you?

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