Go to Home Depot and you will find all the housewares match. They are not particularly nice or durable, their design is determined by what is cheapest to build, they leave little room for individuality, but they match.
One way to make it in manufacturing housewares is to do custom manufacturing. This is a viable business. But to do it, you need customers who can support it. I can tell you that no household buys my stuff who doesn’t make $200,000+ annually, at least in Massachusetts. That is the level that you need to have any disposable income to spend that will support an American manufacturer.
I wrote a post a long time ago here that detailed how to have a middle-class life you needed a $250,000 income at least. I got a lot of pushback with the usual suspects telling me how you could do this or that cheaper, don’t do this other thing, stay home, turn down the heat, etc. But if your object is to support a middle class of manufacturers (or dog walkers, or drivers or whatever, really) there is no point in doing it cheaper. You need to spend enough to support the workers.
Once they have the money, the next thing they need is the confidence to know what is nice and what is crap. Maybe education can help here. My problem with the left is that it has turned racial equality and anti-poverty into an excuse for terrible taste. Like nice things, neatness, order, beauty, these are tools of the white bourgeoisie to keep the black man down, so crap is good. So even if they come out of college where they were required to take art history or something, they are just confused. Those who are newly rich are terrified of making mistakes, and more terrified of getting called racists. They need to be able to have and protect nice things without getting abused for it.
Finally operating a business is really hard here, and it must be impossible for new businesses because there is little commercial real estate. It never gets improved or developed because in Boston the tax rate is incredibly high for commercial. It’s a progressive angle on taxation to go after those who have (business) to ease up on the poor homeowner. But the result is to have lots of people who can’t afford the housing because their incomes are too low. Their incomes are low because business develops too slowly.
PS Economic development ideas from both parties are pretty weak when it comes to building this area.
Both parties have an establishment that believes in free trade and free movement of labor with minor differences around the edges. Both look to education as a way for those who aspire to the middle class to leave the lower class behind. The Democrats just look to subsidize it. Either way, there is an abandoned lower class who deserve their fate.
If you work out the process, even if it’s presented in good faith, there’s no end to it. The pool of lower cost competition never ends. Build the robots… eventually the robot-building jobs will be outsourced too. Bring in the immigrants… but the supply is effectively endless. The immigrants you purport to lift up today, tomorrow you will be undercutting without mercy. There are very good people in Romania willing to do any white collar job that you can do by wire for $5/hour.
So I don’t believe that free-trade and open borders is actually designed to lift anyone into the middle class. The real aim of this program is to have a master class which will be taxed and then the money spent on the poor. But we have seen that this doesn’t really work. Much of the money dissipates in the general heat loss of government programs. When it does get spent, it goes to generalized programs like college loans, where there is no proof that they will make you any wealthier. Public/private mandates like affordable housing are so gamed by now that 95% of the benefit seems to accrue to developers.
And if you do just hand out the money, it’s much less than you made from working and in addition, all the pride of work is gone.
The Trump response has been to propose tariffs and protections but like his efforts to restrict immigration, they are not followed up and may not be fruitful even if they were. Much of the poor in America benefits from cheap and mediocre products for the lower class to clothe and house themselves.