Browsing through a small, upscale kitchen shop while on vacation, I looked at a fancy immersion blender — you know one of those hand-held mixers that looks like a stick.

The box’s label told me that the blender had been designed in Italy. And that it had been “Made in PRC.”

I found it interesting that the company chose to emphasize the location in which the product was designed, while avoiding saying straight out that it was made in China.

I didn’t buy the blender or anything else in that locally owned store in Homer, Alaska, but the visit did prompt some thoughts about our attitudes toward “Made in America” products.

I wondered specifically about whether supporting a local retailer who sells imported products does more to bolster our local economies than focusing on where the products are manufactured.

One example in Kansas is the online sales tax exemption. For years, Kansans were able to buy from online companies instead of local stores and avoid paying sales taxes on their purchases.

A new law is designed to apply sales taxes evenly, eliminating the break that online, out-of-state companies have had. But Republicans and Democrats in Topeka are arguing about whether small, non-Kansas companies should be exempted.

The debate seems less about setting a level playing field than scoring political points.

The same is true of debates raging about tariffs and U.S. trade policy. The politicians and many of the pundits seem to ignore the reality that Americans experience every day.

When I lived in Lafayette, Indiana, three of the larger private employers in the county were Caterpillar, Subaru and Wabash National.

Few of us in Tippecanoe County believed that those who worked for Japan-based Subaru were less American than those who worked for Lafayette-based Wabash, which built trailers for semi-trucks.

The taxes paid by foreign-based companies were no less important to the local economy than those paid by American companies. The paychecks were just as vital to local families.

Further, foreign sales of Caterpillar products were as vital to the company — and the local economy — as domestic sales.

The international weave of foreign-based and domestic businesses is what’s commonly known as the global economy.

Most companies that manufacture and sell products in the United States use a mix of foreign and domestic parts and materials. In some cases, parts and material are manufactured abroad and assembled here. In other cases, parts and materials are engineered or manufactured here and shipped elsewhere for final assembly.

Also, services such as computer programming and engineering may be accomplished in one country and used by others a half-world away.

Financing and sales also have international components for most businesses.

It’s worth noting that President Donald Trump used a German bank to finance more than $2 billion of his private business projects. And his company continues to use imported goods and labor at his U.S. facilities, and the Trump Organization also operates facilities in foreign countries.

U.S. companies that want to expand their product sales in foreign countries are increasingly building plants and hiring people abroad — just as foreign-based car companies have done in the United States for more than 30 years.

Framing trade rhetoric and policy as if the world looked like it did in 1950 no longer makes sense. It’s a political ploy that targets nostalgic voters. It’s not a viable economic policy.

A native of Garden City, Julie Doll is a former journalist who has worked at newspapers across Kansas.