You need a new pair of jeans. You’re standing in front of two stores, both offering excellent quality jeans. One store offers them for $35; these jeans are made offshore somewhere, and the retailer is based in a distant state. The other store offers a virtually identical pair for $38; these jeans are made right here in L.A., and the retailer is also based in L.A. What do you do?
Trick question — it doesn’t matter. You’re an individual consumer, overwhelmingly concerned with your own pocketbook.
But what if you’re the government, and you’re concerned not only with getting the best price, but also with trying to create jobs and generate more money for the local economy? Then it gets a bit trickier. Which is to say, we’re going to have to do some math here, folks: Just how much is that extra $3 getting us?