In The Marketplace: Why ‘American Made’ Matters (part 3 of 5)

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Colin Balfe, director of The Marketplace by TheBlaze, and is part of a series of stories highlighting businesses in TheBlaze’s eCommerce channel. In this five-part series on “American Made” small businesses, we learn about the people behind the shops in The Marketplace by TheBlaze. Read Part 1 of the series HERE and Part 2 HERE.

The Marketplace is a collection of remarkable people, extraordinary small businesses and excellent products. It’s the feeling you get upon entering a general store in a small town. It’s the handshake and smile you receive from a shop owner who has been working 16 hours straight, five days in a row. Beyond that warmth and within their work ethic is a passionate pursuit to fulfill their own version of the American dream. Learn their struggles, celebrate their triumphs and support their dream to strengthen American manufacturing.

CONSTITUTION QUEST

You’ve probably heard about Constitution Quest, the board game that’s sweeping the nation with Constitutional literacy. What you might not have realized is that the creators of the game aren’t part of some big conglomerate in the gaming industry. Instead, they’re a regular American family, fired up with the entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for our nation’s Constitution.

“Our passion for the Constitution has grown over the years,” says Pam Barret, co-owner of the business.

The Barrets’ dedication is also what caused them to commit to producing the game 100 percent in the USA. You may ask, what’s so important about that? To the creators of the game, they had no other choice.

“We never considered having this American curriculum made anywhere besides the USA.” Pam says. Every time a marketing “expert” urged them to manufacture the game overseas for a higher profit margin, they politely refused.

“Just because we want to be entrepreneurs doesn’t mean it’s only about the money,” Pam says, adding that many of their customers have applauded their commitment to producing the game entirely in the U.S.

“Our customers feel personal pride in supporting American workers and American jobs, and they want the dollars they spend to directly benefit American communities,” she says.

At The Marketplace, we’re proud to work with “Made in America” businesses like the Barrets. They have found a way to make the Constitution engaging and fun for the whole family!

WE THE PEOPLE FIGHT TYRANNY GAME

Like the Barrets, Robert and Brenda Snizek discovered one of best ways to teach kids is to make a game out of learning, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. Brenda is a part-time math instructor at Montana State University and her husband Robert works as a medical case manager helping people with acquired brain injuries in their recovery process. The Marketplace is proud to have them as a part of our small business community.

Robert and Brenda view themselves simply as concerned parents. As parents of teenagers, the Snizeks saw the need for a tool to help teach their kids the difference between liberty and entitlement and between freedom and “free” stuff.

Combining what they know about education with what they believe in their hearts about teaching kids, the passionate duo has created a new kind of game that teaches this invaluable lesson.

“People don’t know what modern-day tyranny looks like,” Brenda says. “So, we built a tool to teach just that, both liberty and tyranny.”

Throughout the process of creating and distributing their game, We the People Fight Tyranny, the Snizeks have remained committed to making their product in America.

“We love America!” Robert says. The game represents the Snizek family’s investment in our country’s future in several ways.

“First,” Robert explains, “by manufacturing it here, we support working families. Second, the content of this game teaches why individual liberties are worth defending—which is the first step in preserving America’s future.”

Brenda adds, “We’re trying to make a difference in the world by shaping and teaching the next generation.”

And they are succeeding. With each game they sell, the Snizeks are creating a generation of youth that is not afraid to stand and defend liberty, because they not only know what they believe, but why.

We’re proud to support small businesses that provide ways for our youth to engage in truth and history and are helping to build the greatest force for liberty our country has ever seen.

TIMBERWORKS TOYS

For the younger set, we present Timberworks Toys, another amazing small business that is 100 percent committed to staying “American made.” In fact, it’s what got them started.

“Really, it all started on a weekend in 2008 when my wife told me how much she hated that the toys she wanted to buy for our son were made in China,” explains Chris Heston, owner and manufacturer at Timberworks Toys. Chris’ wife encouraged him to make some log toys for their son in his wood shop.

Already busy as a custom cabinetmaker in Columbia, Mo., Chris started making log toys for his son during father-son time on the weekends. All of a sudden, they were extremely popular with his cabinet clients.

“They would come in to meet with me about designing their kitchen cabinets, and they would be ‘sidetracked’ by the toys,” Chris says. After several clients started requesting his creations for their kids and grandkids, Chris decided to turn the toys into a business.

What started as an effort to create quality, made-in-America toys for their son has turned into a thriving family business for the Hestons. Chris’ son continues to be responsible for much of the success of the business.

“He is so creative, smart and innovative,” Chris says. “I designed the parts necessary to allow him to build a bridge for his toy cars, but he was the one who wanted to build a bridge with his log toy set in the first place – he did the rest!”

Of his business, Chris says, “Owning my own business means a sense of following my own destiny,” and he’s keeping it American made.

In light of the national conversation surrounding the rights of free speech, religion and self-defense, Mercury One is thrilled to announce a brand new initiative launching this Father's Day weekend: a three-day museum exhibition in Dallas, Texas focused on the rights and responsibilities of American citizens.

This event seeks to answer three fundamental questions:

  1. As Americans, what responsibility do we shoulder when it comes to defending our rights?
  2. Do we as a nation still agree on the core principles and values laid out by our founding fathers?
  3. How can we move forward amidst uncertainty surrounding the intent of our founding ideals?

Attendees will be able to view historical artifacts and documents that reveal what has made America unique and the most innovative nation on earth. Here's a hint: it all goes back to the core principles and values this nation was founded on as laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Exhibits will show what the world was like before mankind had rights and how Americans realized there was a better way to govern. Throughout the weekend, Glenn Beck, David Barton, Stu Burguiere, Doc Thompson, Jeffy Fisher and Brad Staggs will lead private tours through the museum, each providing their own unique perspectives on our rights and responsibilities.

Schedule a private tour or purchase general admission ticket below:

Dates:
June 15-17

Location:

Mercury Studios

6301 Riverside Drive, Irving, TX 75039

Learn more about the event here.

About Mercury One: Mercury One is a 501(c)(3) charity founded in 2011 by Glenn Beck. Mercury One was built to inspire the world in the same way the United States space program shaped America's national destiny and the world. The organization seeks to restore the human spirit by helping individuals and communities help themselves through honor, faith, courage, hope and love. In the words of Glenn Beck:

We don't stand between government aid and people in need. We stand with people in need so they no longer need the government

Some of Mercury One's core initiatives include assisting our nation's veterans, providing aid to those in crisis and restoring the lives of Christians and other persecuted religious minorities. When evil prevails, the best way to overcome it is for regular people to do good. Mercury One is committed to helping sustain the good actions of regular people who want to make a difference through humanitarian aid and education initiatives. Mercury One will stand, speak and act when no one else will.

Support Mercury One's mission to restore the human spirit by making an online donation or calling 972-499-4747. Together, we can make a difference.

What happened?

A New York judge ruled Tuesday that a 30-year-old still living in his parents' home must move out, CNN reported.

Failure to launch …

Michael Rotondo, who had been living in a room in his parents' house for eight years, claims that he is owed a six-month notice even though they gave him five notices about moving out and offered to help him find a place and to help pay for repairs on his car.

RELATED: It's sad 'free-range parenting' has to be legislated, it used to be common sense

“I think the notice is sufficient," New York State Supreme Court Judge Donald Greenwood said.

What did the son say?

Rotondo “has never been expected to contribute to household expenses, or assisted with chores and the maintenance of the premises, and claims that this is simply a component of his living agreement," he claimed in court filings.

He told reporters that he plans to appeal the “ridiculous" ruling.

Reform Conservatism and Reaganomics: A middle road?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio broke Republican ranks recently when he criticized the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by stating that “there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker." Rubio is wrong on this point, as millions of workers have received major raises, while the corporate tax cuts have led to a spike in capital expenditure (investment on new projects) of 39 percent. However, the Florida senator is revisiting an idea that was front and center in the conservative movement before Donald Trump rode down an escalator in June of 2015: reform conservatism.

RELATED: The problem with asking what has conservatism conserved

The "reformicons," like Rubio, supported moving away from conservative or supply-side orthodoxy and toward policies such as the expansion of the child and earned income tax credits. On the other hand, longstanding conservative economic theory indicates that corporate tax cuts, by lowering disincentives on investment, will lead to long-run economic growth that will end up being much more beneficial to the middle class than tax credits.

But asking people to choose between free market economic orthodoxy and policies guided towards addressing inequality and the concerns of the middle class is a false dichotomy.

Instead of advocating policies that many conservatives might dismiss as redistributionist, reformicons should look at the ways government action hinders economic opportunity and exacerbates income inequality. Changing policies that worsen inequality satisfies limited government conservatives' desire for free markets and reformicons' quest for a more egalitarian America. Furthermore, pushing for market policies that reduce the unequal distribution of wealth would help attract left-leaning people and millennials to small government principles.

Criminal justice reform is an area that reformicons and free marketers should come together around. The drug war has been a disaster, and the burden of this misguided government approach have fallen on impoverished minority communities disproportionately, in the form of mass incarceration and lower social mobility. Not only has the drug war been terrible for these communities, it's proved costly to the taxpayer––well over a trillion dollars has gone into the drug war since its inception, and $80 billion dollars a year goes into mass incarceration.

Prioritizing retraining and rehabilitation instead of overcriminalization would help address inequality, fitting reformicons' goals, and promote a better-trained workforce and lower government spending, appealing to basic conservative preferences.

Government regulations tend to disproportionately hurt small businesses and new or would-be entrepreneurs. In no area is this more egregious than occupational licensing––the practice of requiring a government-issued license to perform a job. The percentage of jobs that require licenses has risen from five percent to 30 percent since 1950. Ostensibly justified by public health concerns, occupational licensing laws have, broadly, been shown to neither promote public health nor improve the quality of service. Instead, they serve to provide a 15 percent wage boost to licensed barbers and florists, while, thanks to the hundreds of hours and expensive fees required to attain the licenses, suppressing low-income entrepreneurship, and costing the economy $200 billion dollars annually.

Those economic losses tend to primarily hurt low-income people who both can't start businesses and have to pay more for essential services. Rolling back occupational licenses will satisfy the business wing's desire for deregulation and a more free market and the reformicons' support for addressing income inequality and increasing opportunity.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality.

Tax expenditures form another opportunity for common ground between the Rubio types and the mainstream. Tax deductions and exclusions, both on the individual and corporate sides of the tax code, remain in place after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Itemized deductions on the individual side disproportionately benefit the wealthy, while corporate tax expenditures help well-connected corporations and sectors, such as the fossil fuel industry.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality. Additionally, a more complicated tax code is less conducive to economic growth than one with lower tax rates and fewer exemptions. Therefore, a simpler tax code with fewer deductions and exclusions would not only create a more level playing field, as the reformicons desire, but also additional economic growth.

A forward-thinking economic program for the Republican Party should marry the best ideas put forward by both supply-siders and reform conservatives. It's possible to take the issues of income inequality and lack of social mobility seriously, while also keeping mainstay conservative economic ideas about the importance of less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate studying economics at Tufts University. He is a contributor for Lone Conservative, and his writing has appeared in Townhall and The Daily Caller. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Is this what inclusivity and tolerance look like? Fox News host Tomi Lahren was at a weekend brunch with her mom in Minnesota when other patrons started yelling obscenities and harassing her. After a confrontation, someone threw a drink at her, the moment captured on video for social media.

RELATED: Glenn Addresses Tomi Lahren's Pro-Choice Stance on 'The View'

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this uncomfortable moment and why it shows that supposedly “tolerant" liberals have to resort to physical violence in response to ideas they don't like.