Time for Obama to End Timidity on US Tech Manufacturing Jobs

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has Apple even asked America?
RogueMoon   1/30/2012 10:03:27 AM
Interesting thought: What if Apple did open a FoxConn-type of plant here in the US?  Given the widespread poverty and desperation for jobs, there would be a line around the block to apply for a live-in factory job.  12 hours shifts?  No problem!  Go to Detroit.  Go to Kansas City.  Go to any major city over 500,000, and you will have unskilled laborers in droves.  It's time to break the mold of conventional thinking about what American's will and won't do.  China wants us to keep doing what we're doing. Nothing.  Roll over quietly, let them take all of the jobs, take all the know-how and factories, and one day a few years from now, the country is a third-world country.  It's not too late.  Stop this foolishness now!

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Only harsh measures will work
RogueMoon   1/30/2012 9:58:03 AM
I've seen this trend for almost 20 years.  Global outsourcing is the wave of the future. It's ok, we'll be a nation of consultants, we don't want low-paying menial jobs.  Well, two (possibly three) economic crises later, we're seeing the fruits of this corporate empty-headedness.  Bottom line is I completely and wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that Apple doesn't have the obligation to bring work back to the US when they can get it more cheaply overseas.  They ABSOLUTELY have the obligation to do so.  Like all American companies, they DO! We're so afraid of a trade war that we don't realize that the war was already started 15 years ago.  We're losing that war.  Badly.  Look around!?  The easiest solution is to do what all other countries in Asia and Europe do.  High protective tarriffs against imports, high taxes against companies that have more than 10% of their workforce overseas, and finally lush government subsidies to support strategic industries back into the US for good.  We HAVE to level the playing field.  We're already in crisis!  the government is already going broke.  Let's spend what's left on us to try to save OURSELVES!  It's too late for soft measures.

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FOXCONN is not the best model to follow
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   1/30/2012 9:34:25 AM

Lets trust our American instincts and evaluate our work ethics when thinking about why we don't want to work 12 hour shifts and live in a dormitory-style housing, ala, FOXCONN.  Remember, FOXCONN was forced to put up jump-nets around the dormitory perimeters to catch all the suicidal jumpers off the rooftops.

(  TIME magazine - http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2012/01/12/why-workers-in-china-are-threatening-mass-suicide/  )

Meanwhile, just about every design engineer I know DOES work 10-12 hours fairly regularly, and always to the unhappiness of their spouse. It s the nature of our development work coupled with the nature of the design engineer.  We put in the long hours when we are fascinated with our work, as opposed to being driven by an oppressive force.  Think of the carrot vs. the stick mentality.

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Re: R&D outsourcing? No way
Tim   1/29/2012 4:42:25 PM
There is a funny thing with the Chinese mold shops.  I have toured multiple tool shops in China.  Not one of the shops had any metal working machinery from China.  They have some of the world's best equipment,and all of it was made in either the US or in Europe.   The operators running the equipment were all trained internally, so the skill was only as good as the best instructor available. 

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Re: R&D outsourcing? No way
jmiller   1/28/2012 9:29:37 PM
I think you hit the nail on the head when you mention American innovation.  That is something that I have just not seen from China, Mexico or India.  They might be able to put the same screw in a machine a thousand times a day.  But to come up with something out of the box just doesn't happen.  But I still struggle with the idea that we have to train all of our children to obtain those skills.  In some cases we have children that would make very good dirch diggers.  And if ditch digging is what you're good at.  I hope they will be able to find a job doing that so they can be happy.  Rather than being forced to go into a profession that they will not be happy at because that's the job they can find here in America.

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Re: R&D outsourcing? No way
jmiller   1/28/2012 9:26:00 PM
I agree its probably unlikely that those jobs are coming back.  Which is unfortunate because nearly every experience I have had with cheap labor, whether in Mexico or China has resulted in lower quality.  Whether it be tools with the part numbers in backwords or having to nearly rebuild the entire tool when it gets back to the states.  In the endm the cheap labor and quality that corresponds to it, is not worth it.  There;'s something to be said for a worker that can read, think and alert you to a quality problem.  And you can only find that in the United States.  Too bad we won't build more stuff here.

Ozark Sage
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Re: The Engine of Prosperity and Growth
Ozark Sage   1/28/2012 6:21:46 PM
Alexander, per my previous reply on battery power in respect to overland energy distribution and grid replenishment I should like to point out the sepecifics of public misconception and deliberate misinformation.   

First as I previously stated the grid system itself is out dated and needs to be redisigned using new methods of modular fullment to reduce cost, improve relability and safety, eliminate high lines and reudce maintenance.  Current build methodology will not hold up in bad iceing, floods, hurricanes, fires, or wars.  In fact I question why the grid even exists other than thats how Mr. Westinghouse designed the first overland, overhead, distribution system out of Niagra Falls to distribut Mr. N. Tesla's multi-phase power.  Markets exploaded and on going invention became suppressed or couldn't raise capital. Go see the orilional success it is still working. 

Jumping to 2012, we are still using cross country distribution (thank God without Edison's and Wall Streets perfered DC telegraph method and designs) but, really havent moved forward.  Why?  We have stand-alone generation capability and know how to use it, or do we?  Or are we reluctant to explore the true value of new technology fearing the selfish control methods applied by the J. P. Morgan's of the world and the fossil fuel community?  

Truth-the fumes kill us but we need transportation and are willing to pay the up charge for exhaust converters, the fracing destroys our water supply but continues even as do the earth quakes it causes, yet we need to grow food. So grid loads continue to rise worldwide, but clean energy generation has been surpressed for??? shall I count the ways...

I believe a NEED prerequisit such as on a ship at sea is not there.  Nor do we understand the alternates available to us.  Thoes such as ZERO, COLD, FREE, FUSION or E-Cat technologies.  And, why don't we undestand or use such technologies?  Technologies that have been known and hidden away from the public for at least a century and are here NOW.  These eneryg systems are safe, make NO polution, are very buildable, genrate limitless power,  are afordable and provide the keys to safe tranmutation of spent fision fuel.   

It is my contention that the R&D, Engineering, Scientific and ALL OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES should demand, world wide, patent restructuring and government coperation to make this happen!  IF this happens we may truly look forward to a renaissance of new discovery and invention.  

Should this happen it would require considerable reguatory changes but, the patent office MUST CHANGE FIRST.  In reality, the U.S. Patent office at this time, in the history of the USA, to be seen by the public detramental to our common competive worldwide well being as a nation.  Should this change; the virtues of free enterprise will again prosper and invigorate the populations of our planet.

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Re: R&D outsourcing? No way
Tim   1/28/2012 5:00:43 PM
US manufacturing does benefit from cheap labor in that some European companies source product here in the US to avoid high labor costs and stiff organized labor rules in Europe.  Granted the copanies are not US based, but the jobs are here.

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Re: The Engine of Prosperity and Growth
williamlweaver   1/28/2012 1:28:57 PM
Jon has identified the problem in spades. I live in Pennsylvania which is gifted with unnamed tons of iron oxide. --Not the iron oxide ore that you mine to create steel, but the iron oxide that was once steel and has now been reclaimed by the environment. Billy Joel laments Allentown, my wife recalls the teaming mills of Pittsburgh, and my family and I now enjoy bike rides as a benefit of our Rails to Trails program which permits us to pedal past scores of abandoned manufacturing campuses around Valley Forge -- the same railroad beds that previously transported the products of enterprising american workers.

Let us academics argue over how to get all of the toothpaste back in the tube. Manufacturing is gone. Corporate taxes, Environmental Regulations, Arbitration, Pension Obligations, Healthcare, Political Contributions, Multilingual Signage...these are the only structures that remain after manufacturing has departed. Pouring more money into STEM to produce more scientists and engineers would only serve to feed the structures I listed above. I'm all for raising domesticated livestock for food, but as an educator, I'm not for educating humans so they can be consumed by the Federal Behemoth. 

Something very magic happened in 1776 after legions of free thinkers escaped the onerous regulations of old Europe for the New World. The Founders were mortally afraid of handing too much power over to an all-knowing Federal Government. And now, some 235 years later, we spend our energy arguing over where to focus the powers of the Federal Government to best solve the problem.  In the present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.

Dave Palmer
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Re: The Engine of Prosperity and Growth
Dave Palmer   1/27/2012 5:02:45 PM
There's an idea that reducing corporate taxes will increase corporate profits, and that increased profits will result in job creation.  The problem with this is that -- as the article points out -- companies are under no obligation to create jobs in the U.S.  They can invest their profits anywhere they want.  And their allegiance is to their shareholders, not to the U.S. public.  Reducing taxes may result in job creation, but there is no guarantee that the jobs will be here.

In fact, as long as China has a massive population of internal migrants from the countryside who are willing to work under poor conditions for little money, there's a good chance that the jobs won't be here.  Why should the U.S. forgo tax revenue -- which could be used to finance research and development, education, and infrastructure projects in our own country, not to mention to pay down our massive debt -- simply so that companies can create additional low-paying jobs in other countries? This may be in the interest of these companies' shareholders, but it is clearly not in the long-term interest of the U.S.

As to the idea that regulation is what's keeping companies from creating jobs in the U.S., there ought to be some congnitive dissonance here.  If companies are supposedly staying out of the U.S. because of excessive regulation, what on earth are they doing in China -- which is, after all, a socialist country?

China has all kinds of laws and regulations affecting foreign investments.  On the World Bank's list of 183 countries for ease of doing business, China ranks 91st.  For comparison, the United States is number four (behind Singapore, Hong Kong, and New Zealand).  Foreign companies don't go to China because of the business environment, but in spite of it.  They are willing to put up with the many restrictions which the Chinese government places on them in exchange for access to cheap labor and a rapidly developing economy.

Companies are in business to make money, not to promote the general welfare.  If you recall your U.S. history, that's what we formed a government for.   Unquestionably, private enterprise excels at creating economic growth.  Government has an important role to play in making sure that growth translates into prosperity.

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