Whether addressing those issues would do enough to render moot the wage disparity that's sent many jobs to China -- the jobs the late Steve Jobs famously told President Obama "won't be coming back" -- is questionable. Whatever progress we make, we can be certain that we won't revert to the smokestack manufacturing nation of the 1950s.
So what are we to do? It's my personal belief that our culture lends itself to enhancing our role as technology incubators and innovators. Obnoxious as we may find the me-first consumer culture we see on TV everyday -- or hear in back-talk from our teenagers that would've got us a whack in the backside -- there's something to be said for a people who won't blindly follow someone because they have a fancy title. Consensus is as consensus does, but sometimes you need Clint Eastwood to get the job done.
Thus, I believe we should streamline the R&D tax credit, as EETimes's George Leopold has written on our site. We should also enhance laws aimed at stopping technology transfer to China. It's no good if something invented stateside makes money for overseas interests. I'm also down with readers who want to reduce bureaucracy and regulation.
Your views may differ, but it's up to all of us as citizens -- and as engineers -- to make our voices heard.
Once again, what government needs to do is to "not get in the way" of development. Government bureaucracies are typicaly collections of those who are not able to perform well enough in the business world or in industry, and so they get into government, where mostly they just need to show up, and not to think. At least that is the way it looks in this city, and from the comments it is probably similar elsewhere. The best that that part of government does is provide guidlines that can be helpful, but more typically the bureaucrats do not think, or consider a particular situation, they only recite a script, which may or not apply, as the other postings point out. THAT is the part of government that we need to remove, or at least bypass, so that actual business can thrive.
I had a similar episode with regards to a furnace installed by a state licensed pro, but not licensed by my city (the city requires all such pros to pass a city test to do business here), who also did not get a permit, which was required. The code enforcement folks were all concerned about that and it became my problem. Either the guy would get licensed in the city or I would have to get another pro to take out the permit for inspection. The ultimate result was that months after its installation the original guy's mentor took out the permit and the installation passed.
Now here're the problems: 1) I was forced to commit fraud by law, by getting a person other than the one who did the work to pull the permit. (2) The city knew that the person taking out the permit did not do the work and so they inspected knowing that fact. (3) They did nothing to protect me as a consumer and forced me to deal with the problem under threat of fine and punishment for something that the person I contracted with did, or rather did not do. Why not deal with him directly? (4) They failed to ensure the health and safety of my tenants because they refused to inspect the installation until the permit was pulled (what if it was done wrong?).
So, the question must be what the purpose is for permit regulation. It cannot be to ensure the health and safety of people. It cannot be to protect consumers. It cannot be to help ensure that pros are properly qualified. It must have some other purpose. My guess is that it has everything to do with limiting liability exposure and protecting the tax base, and NOTHING else. BTW, Mike Holmes in his TV shows have shown as much. That may be the case with regards to other regulation, such as that for industry.
Most if not all of our problems stem from the undue influence of special interests that have appropriated control of our government for their benefit. The solution is to forever dissociate politicians, in fact all civil servants, from benefitting from all money and compensation that are currently available due to their job
a) publicly fund elections exclusively, (b) make it illegal for politicians and their staff to accept jobs in businesses that they affected (one revolving door), (c) implement term limits, (d) make it illegal for pols, their staff, family, and all civil servants to ever lobby for any compensation (the other revolving door), (e) tax the wealthy enough to control their power, including not taxing work at a higher rate than speculation, (f) make it illegal for politicans, their staff, their family, and all civil servants to use insider information for profit, and (g) Repeal the benefits for elected officials and make them deal with life as we do and end early retirement and double-dipping for all civil servants.
SMART regulation instead of 'no regulation' seems to be the intelligent theme of these comments. Let me tell you about my $5,000 ditch. I built my own house. Due to a state regulation I had to have this 250 ft ditch dug to drain "all that rain" from my roof, which was 150 ft away, and the ditch is uphill from my house. Also, the soil is sandy which has absorbed all of the runoff for years and years now. The ditch does nothing. The purpose of the ditch was NOT to drain water. The true purpose of the ditch was to enable an inspector to put a checkmark on her clipboard. I was with her when she did that, she went away happy. A happy bureaucrat.
What I don't see here is suggestions about HOW to effect smart regulation. Is your local candidate shouting the he will try to reduce paperwork and regulations? Did you vote anyone out of office because they didn't do anything about EPA fines where you work? "They" should do something about these suffocating regulations. Who are "they" and who are we going to vote in or out of office so "they" will start reducing regulations? Until we support candidates who are promising such, we will all have our own $5,000 ditches.
Tim, that's what was so gratifying about all the comments I received to my original question on our LinkedIN group. Rather than being politically extremistic on either side, the vast majority of the comments were intelligently thought out and even nuanced. I might be biased, but it verified for me that engineers are smarter than the average bears....
I came to this thread because the email news letter stated the readers said the solution was to reduce regulation and made it sound like the thread was dominated by the right wing pundits wanting to eliminate regulation and allow the corporate pirates full sway to do their worst to society. However, after reading through the comments, it's apparent to me that what's being said is that we need smart, effective regulation. Regulations and tax law that not only protect the environment and worker safety but encourage (force) corporations to pay back society for the special status awarded them by c orporation law in providing the benefits to society that justified creating the law, namely opportunity and jobs.
I'm in agreement with Dave Palmer on his point at German manufacturing, in that it's not all about regulation. (OTOH, one would not be incorrect to say that their current industrial status was facilitated by the green field situation they faced in 1945/46.)
I'm also in agreement with TJ about ending the H1-B program, which is a subsidy program for employers at the expense of US engineers.
It's a bit more complicated than the entire system is dysfunctional and adversarial. For example, on the adversarial side, I told the Code Enforcement department head that their job is to help develop a better society, through helping property owners maintain their property, and got a blank stare. Owners of a small book store were not allowed to sell certain coffee products because they would have been forced to install a grease trap, which they don't need for making coffe products. Then there's the examples of bureaucracies helping people comply shown in programs like "Hoarders", in which inspectors work with people to make their homes livable again.
Perhaps some of the problem is that so many regulators/inspectors are rewarded like police who are rewarded for tickets rather than the effects of good policing, such as a reduction in accidents or improvement iin public safety.
Sysdesign, just to let you know, this posting didn't work. For some reason, the spaces between words are missing. It probably occurred because you didn't write the posting in the posting window. Please repost.
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