We Don't Make Anything Anymore

by Russ Roberts on February 9, 2006

in Myths and Fallacies

The worriers like to complain that we don’t make anything anymore.  America is being hollowed out.  Soon we’re going to be left doing one another’s laundry.  Boy, will we be poor then.

At the heart of this concern is the belief that manufacturing is the key to an economy’s success.  You have to make stuff.  You can’t just move it around or sell it.  A nation of services is a poor nation.

In fact, there is no gold-medal industry that is the key to economic prosperity.  In 1900, agriculture employed 40% of the American work force.  America was pretty prosperous in 1900 relative to the rest of the world.  You might have thought that farming is the road to material well-being for a nation.  You would have been wrong, of course.  Today, agriculture is 2% of the American work force and we are seven to thirty times richer as a nation compared to 1900.

But there is a second confusion in the worriers’ worries, one that I deliberately made in the previous paragraph.  You want to distinguish between employment and output.  We grow a lot more food today in America than we did in 1900.  You also want to distinguish between total employment in a sector and that sector’s employment as a proportion of total employment.

Manufacturing employment as a proportion of total employment has been falling steadily since 1950.  Even the level of manufacturing employment, the absolute number of workers in manufacturing has fallen dramatically from its peak in 1980:

Manempl_3


Over the last five years, manufacturing employment has fallen even more dramatically, from about 17 million to under 15 million workers.  But manufacturing output is rising:

Outms_maxThis series from the BLS starts in 1987 and you have to realize right off that it’s a guess at best.  It’s aggregating cars, refrigerators, bed frames and computer chips to get an overall index of total output.  But it’s the best we can do.   

The index climbs about 50% since 1987.  It dipped in 2001 with the recession, but total output has already outpaced the level of 2000.

The bottom line is that we aren’t being hollowed out.  We still make stuff.  A lot of stuff.  A lot more stuff than we did 20 years ago.  We’re just doing it with fewer people.  How?  Productivity.  We’ve found ways to make workers more productive so even though fewer people are doing the manufacturing, they’re producing more.  Technology and innovation, spurred by the carrot of profits and the stick of losses has allowed that transformation.  It makes us richer.  It frees up a very scarce resource, people, to go do other things creating new products and services.

The unions don’t like it.  A smaller unionized work force makes their lives less pleasant.  They have less power.  So they desperately want us to be worried that the economy is being hollowed out and that we don’t make anything anymore.  But we aren’t being hollowed out.  We still make lots of stuff.  Not that that’s the key to our prosperity.  But even if you think it is, the basic premise is false.  We’re making more stuff.  We’re just doing it with fewer people than before, which is good.  It means we can have more of other stuff.  Productivity along with trade is the road to wealth.

(HT to Dale Bodine for raising the issue)

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{ 33 comments }

mark adams February 9, 2006 at 12:30 pm

To think that at the beginning of the industrial revolution, the luddites were concerned that an economy could not survive on making 'stuff' alone. We needed to grow food, mine ores, chop wood and other worthy pursuits. We could never all be employed just making 'stuff'.

I'd say that times have changed, but really they haven't.

Perry Eidelbus February 9, 2006 at 1:56 pm

"We don't make anything anymore" ranks up with the 1980s myth that "The Japanese will surpass us and wind up buying all of America."

Apparently the American workers at Toyota's five U.S. plants (plus several more that make individual parts, and two more auto plants to be built by 2010) don't make anything. I guess programmers in Redmond and Silicon Valley don't make anything. I guess the wealth facilitated by investment banks here in New York don't count as "anything."

We're not just making more stuff with fewer people, but better stuff that leaves the unions behind. It's easier for them to appeal to government for more regulations and more tariffs than to keep up with the times. A while ago, I had a funny encounter with a couple of Larouchers.

http://eidelblog.blogspot.com/2005/08/face-of-enemy.html

The link is to my blog entry about them, and it includes a couple of pictures of their posters. Why should we shift our economy back toward railroads, water power and steel, when that would only bring us backward? Or is deliberately destroying decades of advancement the Larouchers' idea to "recreate our economy"? It fits so well with Keynesian economics' strivings to create jobs just for the sake of jobs.

Fitting in with your touching on agriculture, Dr. Roberts, is the Larouchers' patently false claim that the U.S. imports "most of its food." It's the perfect opposite, actually. The U.S. is the largest food exporter, and we do that with a tiny fraction of our work force.

John Dewey February 9, 2006 at 2:08 pm

A few lines from page 2 of today's Wall Street Journal:

"Overall, manufacturing output is up 12% from 2002, according to the Federal Reserve. Some sectors are clearly doing better than others. Business equipment is up 26% from 2002, information processing equipment is up 47%, and defense and space equipment is up about 31%."

"Thomas J. Duesterberg, president and chief executive of th Manufacturers Alliance, says many U.S. manufacturers have survived by shifting low-margin products overseas, while keeping production of their most advanced products in the U.S., often in scaled-down but highly productive production facilities."

From the mainstream media, though, we only hear about GM and Ford layoffs, and that everything sold at Wal-Mart is made in China.

Kevin February 9, 2006 at 2:23 pm

Wow, so if we'd kept manufacturing employment at past levels, and brought on this sweet productivity, we'd now be making enough washers, dryers, buggy whips, and whatever for all of Earth, Mars, Venus, and about 9 other planets.

oops, where would the consumers come from?

spencer February 9, 2006 at 2:54 pm

Over the last quarter century the growth rate of industrial production of information technology equipment has averaged 22.6%. The growth rate of all other industrial production averaged 1.6% over the same period.

The interesting thing is that the fed weights the share of the various sectors in the index of industrial output by the nomincal value of its output. So despite the stronger real growth of IT, the sharp drop its it prices means that ITs' share of industrial output has not changed much in years and years..

William Polley February 9, 2006 at 3:11 pm

Good post. It's always worth remembering that the share of employment in one sector or the other is not going to be fixed over decades or centuries. We get so good at making the stuff we have been making that we use some of those resources to make new, previously unimagined, stuff.

One of the arguments of those who think we're being "hollowed out" is that labor force participation is dropping. So one of the things that I've been studying lately is the behavior of labor force participation across different demographics. Teenagers are the one group where labor force participation has really taken a sudden and drastic turn. In fact, the turn almost parallels the recent sudden, drastic drop in manufacturing.

Might the largest change in the labor market in the last few years be that fewer teenagers sign up for their union card right after getting their high school diploma? Are more of them in universities or community colleges?

While I don't think that more schooling explains all of what we've seen lately, I am less worried than most of the worriers. If we are truly at the beginning of a shift from one type of activity to another, it makes sense to see the change occurring among young people first.

Strophyx February 9, 2006 at 4:09 pm

We still live with Ned Ludd's legacy today. In its benign form we classify industries into "primary" (agriculture, mining), "secondary" (manufacturing), and "tertiary" (service) sectors, based on whether they extract "real" value from nature, simply refine and reshape things, or do something else. In its more malignant form we worry that we've fallen into the nefarious grip of specialization and that we're not growing enough wheat, extracting enough oil or producing enough automobiles in a particular, arbitrarily defined area. Last time I checked, such places as New York City, Hong Kong and Zurich don't have a lot of good farm land, oil wells, steel mills or automobile assembly plants. Yet somehow, even with such seemingly insurmountable handicaps, they manage to muddle along.

Shadow Hunter February 9, 2006 at 4:24 pm

William hit on the truth. The Luddites were right. There is massive unemployment compared to the old days. It's just that all those unemployed children seem to do o.k. going to school. All those unemployed elderly seem to like retiring. If this keeps up we'll have more stay at home parents and God know what else. Just horrible all this unemployment.

Mike February 9, 2006 at 5:09 pm

Kevin stated that:

"Wow, so if we'd kept manufacturing employment at past levels, and brought on this sweet productivity, we'd now be making enough washers, dryers, buggy whips, and whatever for all of Earth, Mars, Venus, and about 9 other planets.

oops, where would the consumers come from?"

I simply can't understand if this is a sarcastic comment or not. If not, then you need to rethink the meaning and importance of productivity.

Yes, now we are making more stuff, because people want more stuff. If for some reason we are able to make enough stuff to satisfy people's wants, productivity gains still make us much wealthier. It would take fewer and fewer people to produce the things we wanted, and leave that much more time for enjoying leisure, high culture, etc. than we had before. Your comment commits the same error in thinking that our blogger is raising the issue over.

To see that, consider that if we devoted all of our human efforts on the earth to producing one item only, say astroturf, I am pretty sure we would be able to make enough astroturf to wrap around the earth dozens of times over. However, we do not want all of that astroturf, so productive resources are freed up to do other things (such as playing on said turf). If the only thing we ever wanted was astroturf, then great, we'd only need a few people to make it.

Kevin February 9, 2006 at 6:43 pm

Bit of an arcane joke there, Mike, but we're on the same page — when people complain about decline in factory jobs, "Everything made in China", offshore outsourcing … I'm always fascinated that they are completely unaware of the ramifications that would result if employment patterns remained static, and the labor force maintained the same composition, and we did not export less productive work. (eg, should Americans be spending their valuable talents making cheap plastic toys, $10 irons, $80 TV sets, etc? That's what they want??)

alex February 9, 2006 at 6:51 pm

The complaint that "we don't make anything anymore" makes sense only because of the current account deficit. Most of it comes from a trade deficit in manufactured goods. Our vaunted surplus in services was never all that big, and has been shrinking in recent years. We're certainly not, and won't be, a net exporter of mineral resources. And we're actually running a deficit in food. So we've got to manufacture things in order to supply our own demand, or to export in exchange for other manufactured goods.

liberty February 9, 2006 at 7:26 pm

>We still make lots of stuff. Not that that's the key to our prosperity.

Unless by stuff you mean overall productivity, which is the key to our wealth and prosperity. But Shhh, so long as most Americans don't know that then the democrats can keep telling them that the key to prosperity is the Union Job and keep convincing Americans that the Democrats are better at the economy than the Republicans. How can so many Americans think that?? Its like thinking that the wolf is better than the dog at guarding the pups (it might be true, given their enthusiasm, if only they didn't destroy what they are supposed to protect).

John Pertz February 9, 2006 at 9:36 pm

"The interesting thing is that the fed weights the share of the various sectors in the index of industrial output by the nomincal value of its output. So despite the stronger real growth of IT, the sharp drop its it prices means that ITs' share of industrial output has not changed much in years and years.."-Spencer

Could you clarify. I am having difficulty understanding your analysis. You may be making an interesting point but I dont understand because the end of the post is ambiguous.

Wild Pegasus February 9, 2006 at 9:56 pm

All of you have missed the point of the "we don't make anything anymore" argument. Manufacturing provides well-paying jobs for workers without much formal education and without exceptional intelligence. A competent and punctual person with an IQ of 90 could have made a solid living in a factory 40 years ago. He could have bought a house and supported a family. Today, that guy is going to be bouncing around $9-$10/hr. service temp jobs and will probably rarely have health insurance.

- Josh

99 February 9, 2006 at 10:07 pm

Too tired to google, but last time I looked the value being added by American manufacturing was at an all time high, and was still easily the highest figure for any nation.

One thing that always struck me about the "the basis of wealth is making things" (or, many years ago "growing things") argument is the great fluidity between agriculture, manufacturing, and services. I mean, agriculture and manufacturing are the same thing. Both cases involve using brainpower and tools to convert nature's bounty into something people can use. But when you think about it, this is also what services are. If I agree to grind your wheat into flour, am I engaging in manufacturing, or am I performing a service for you? I guess it depends on how we structure the transaction. But the point is it's just a matter of how we describe it.

99 February 9, 2006 at 10:19 pm

***All of you have missed the point of the "we don't make anything anymore" argument. Manufacturing provides well-paying jobs for workers without much formal education and without exceptional intelligence.***

There are plenty of service jobs that do this, too, and don't require a college degree. One could work as an auto mechanic, or as a carpenter, or as a landscaper, or car saleman, or realtor. I believe today's economy easily creates much more opportunity, and many more varied, interesting and well-paying jobs, that the "golden era" of yesterday. While it is true that there may be many fewer well-paying manufacturing jobs than in, say, 1960, previous generations had to deal with similar dramatic drop in previous "staples" of American labor such as skilled artisan jobs, or the shopkeeping trade, or small scale farming.

I think much of the problem with the precariousness of the living standards and economic security of the non-white collar elites in America has to do with government policies that have made three "deal-breaker" necessities, healthcare, quality housing, and quality public education, a lot more expensive than they need be. In other words I think the problem is not so much on the wage side as on the ***cost*** side (and I blame Really Stupid Government Policies for this).

Kevin February 9, 2006 at 11:46 pm

**** So we've got to manufacture things in order to supply our own demand, or to export in exchange for other manufactured goods. ****

Actually we don't have to manufacture goods for export in order to exchange them for other goods. We just need to trade money for those imports. And we create new money ourselves. I mean this:

- Scoop some dirt, rocks, and wood out of the ground, and slap it all together to construct a building.
- Sell ownership of that pile of reformatted dirt to a foreign entity. For money.
- Now we have money, which we can trade for imported manufactured goods.
- I suppose some of what went on here may have counted as "manufacturing", but most of the value created is in design, construction, and real estate expertise. In any case, no material good is exported.

- We transfer title of an asset to foreign ownership, but who cares? The asset did not even previously exist. We "lose" nothing but dirt and labor. The dirt and labor come together to create wealth, which is exchanged for imported goods.

I don't see a problem with any of this.

Perry Eidelbus February 9, 2006 at 11:51 pm

alex: a trade deficit is not inherently wrong. Now, you bring up that the U.S. surplus in exported services has been falling, but the latest indicators are that it went up from 2004 to 2005. It's hard to say where it will go from now, but it's only natural that it would fall in the last four or so years, as the rest of the world's economies continue growing and export more of their own services. I call that a good thing, because they're producing more. Meanwhile, many foreigners have a high propensity to save, so they like to take a good percentage of the dollars and throw them right back into the U.S. economy.

Josh: someone who doesn't wish to improve his skill sets, well, deserves to be left behind. 99 is completely right that there are plenty of opportunities out there, if someone is willing to work hard and improve himself.

Russ Roberts February 10, 2006 at 12:06 am

Alex,

The US consistently runs a large trade surplus in food, not a deficit.

Kevin February 10, 2006 at 8:59 am

Am I hallucinating or is Don's TCS column an elaboration on my previous post? I guess great minds think alike!!

John F. Opie February 10, 2006 at 9:57 am

Hi -

Comment on Spencer's post and its follow-up.

The reason that the Fed constantly re-weights the relative importance of industries lies in the whole controversy about chain-weighting.

The problem arises when you have great disparities in growth rates between industries, with relatively small industries showing very, very strong growth rates (US semiconductors, for instance, growing 25% per annum in terms of volume) and the rest of the industries growing ca 5%.

If you keep constant year values and volumes, as economists like to, then within a reasonably short period of time (4-5 years) you end up with absurd statistics, like having the semiconductor industry accounting for 95% or more of total US industry output.

Hence the Fed's move to chain-weighting the industrial statistics and to take the extreme position of changing the weights every month.

Makes life kinda hard for statisticians and economists, but it really does remove the kind of massive hedonic distortion that really typifies high technology, short product cycle and high productivity industries like semiconductor manufacturing. The adjustments made give a better picture, in real terms, of how important any given industry is for the US economy at that given point in time, which is what politicians demand to know from the Fed.

drtaxsacto February 10, 2006 at 10:27 am

This is an important point that most political figures fail to grasp. In my state there is a lot of discussion now about "workforce training" with the eye on training people for jobs that may not exist in 5 years. In the early 1970s I was visiting an excellent trade school in Oklahoma. They had one class on key punch operations. I had just helped to install a revolutionary (then) device called the magnetic tape selectric typewriter (which was an early word processor from IBM). I asked the director why he was training these people in a skill which I thought would soon become obsolete (as a result of magnetic tape). He said NCR gave us a bunch of machines. Not a very good way to do workforce training.

Mcwop February 10, 2006 at 11:35 am

While iPods are not manufactured in the U.S., the design, and marketing are "manufactured in the U.S. Also the profits go to Apple, which is a U.S. based company. A lot of the music that goes onto the iPod is manufactured in the U.S. too.

happyjuggler0 February 11, 2006 at 12:18 pm

Good point on the iPods. The actual part of the manufacturing where people physically slap stuff together is the smallest value added part of the equation. The rest is in those service McJobs like engineering, design, basic R&D, advertising, distribution, lawyers (yes, they aren't all ambulence chasing leaches), management etc.

So we can outsource the actual low value added/low wage manufacturing, show a trade deficit in manufacturing as a result, and not truly be hollowing out America. Putting things together in a mind-numbingly repetitive process isn't really that good of a job, although unions have managed to coerce the pay of such workers far more than supply/demand factors would ordinarily warrant. They are also coercing themselves out of jobs at places like GM and Ford while others open up new factories in right-to-work states.

save_the_rustbelt February 11, 2006 at 1:57 pm

And the former manufacturing workers all got high value service jobs, just like Bill Clinton and George Bush said they would.

McDonalds
Wal-Mart
Home Depot

It bothers me a bit that so many conservatives are dismissive of most blue collar workers. Many of you are only a generation or two removed from a shovel.

susan trotsky February 12, 2006 at 1:54 am

You won't have long to wait until the world gets sick of financing your deficits and the dollar collapses then we'll see how much your value added goods and services can fetch on the market in euros or yen. I'd say be ready for a steep decline in living standards and for that smug glow to come off your collective rosy cheeks. No-one, repeat no-one, wants your crappy dollar or your overhyped goods and services. Conservatives are so thick.

Kevin February 12, 2006 at 7:44 pm

*** No-one, repeat no-one, wants your crappy dollar or your overhyped goods and services. ***

Hey, I want some of those crappy dollars! If you got any of those nasty dollars cluttering up your commune Susan, send em my way!

suan trotsky February 13, 2006 at 1:31 am

Will do Kevin. They will be slightly tainted: we here in the commune use them for toilet paper and shredding for stuffing in our environmentally friendly futons. Though why you'd want more dollars to buy you own debt beats me.

Mr. Econotarian February 16, 2006 at 12:41 am

If we were not exporting low-skill labor offshore, we would be giving it to robots.

You can't become rich without becoming more skilled. Period.

The US still beats most OECD countries on labor force participation, despite recent US decreases.

However it is true that youth unemployment (not labor force participation, but people 18-25 who want to work) is high. US black youth unemployment is about 26%. Reasons are probably a combination of minimum wage, poor performance by public schools, and the drug war.

Fritz December 31, 2007 at 11:13 am

Youth unemployment is high because no one in their right mind wants to attempt to make a living at some poor-paying, soul-sucking service job. Many young people have the freedom to choose whether or not to take these jobs, and they increasingly choose not to.

People don't just need jobs. They need jobs that provide meaningful work that will provide a reasonable standard of living for their efforts.

If I lived in a ghetto, I'd sell drugs and shoot it out with rival gangs, too. At least I'd have my pride. How much self-esteem can someone derive from being a Walmart greeter?

flurries March 1, 2008 at 8:09 am

If the US is making all of this stuff… where is it? Most of the consumer goods are made in other countries. Why does the US have such huge trade deficits?

Ed Burley July 8, 2008 at 11:18 pm

I'm posting here at this point only because the last two comments on this thread are so absolutely idiotic that they deserve a response, even if no one ever reads my response.

First of all, youth employment is high because no business owner in their right mind is going to give some barely literate, disrespectful, moronic dumbass public-school educated doofus a job at $7.40/hour, when they can employ a man or woman who is looking for a part-time job to supplement their family incomes.

Secondly, to paraphrase John Galt in Atlas Shrugged, "there's no such thing as meaningless work, only meaningless people who refuse to do it."

Thirdly, I wonder exactly where Fritz lives, because it is obvious from his comment that he is either stupid or lives somewhere that is run by socialist politicians who have driven all the business out of the area. In most communities, and I do mean MOST, there is such a thing as "an industrial park" that usually has anywhere from 2 to 12 manufacturers in it. It is true that many of them are small, and have less than 100 employees, but truth is, America was built on, and continues to thrive on, small business, that typically employs less than 100 people.

With the internet, and the public funding of libraries, there's no excuse for people to be this stupid when it comes to economics. Before you speak again and prove to all involved what a moron you are, try reading something other than the local UAW rag, put out by people who have no clue about economics.

dan August 20, 2009 at 3:57 pm

You must be living in la la land. Do your self a big favor. Get the figures on how much of our market segments are own by imported (engineerd & and assembled) products today compared to 30 years ago. Then look at the other industrialized countries and you will notice if they make the products that they have over 70% of there market segment on key industries. Even the off shore companies that assemble here have over 70% value of all the components made offshore. Hell take a look at Lowes or Homedepot they also found out that we will take anything. Do you really think the Elux refrig. are putting Germans out of work or did the German companies realize that if they build it in a third world country and usa will still take it! Go to “open free trade Europe” once and see Sony 3X higher in price then here with there own products at lower prices. Do you think they are doing free trade with Japan? Hell no! Managed trade yes! Try to import food products at cheaper prices to France once and they will start burning tires in the street. Not to mention locking up CEO’s in offices. The European mindset is “we don’t care how good your products are, you are not going to take over our market and put us our of work”. We have a lifestyle that took thousands of year to make and we want to maintain it. But no! in the USA both mom and dad must work to get in a neighbor hood with good schools and work harder and harder intill we drop. That must be why Microsoft and others ask for green card status for Iran and India engineers. Why? we don’t have any here? BS! Oh ya china-mart was good so everyone could find stuff cheaper so they have the illusion that they have the same buying power. There is and end game to that reasoning and we have hit it today! I remember a computer prof. telling me we won’t have to make anything 30 years ago. I told him it will get easier to send files off shore then mfg. plants. Ha! what do you think is happening now! I remember the dot com bluff! No brick/mortor, no machines, etc. Just pure gambling and speculation. You know I predicted this event happen today. Why! because the minute the politicans got on TV and said that the economy was good because housing starts are good, I thought oh no. Let me see all the China $ can back for investments and the only place they could put it was in mortgages. Sure buy this $300,000 house with zero down. So let me understand this! Banks have no risk right! They just sold the mortgages 10x over and everyone took a cut. The bubble busted and banks said “hell Mr. Sam better bail us out or the country will go into depression”. Just like sending my kids credit cards. No risk on the bank, because if you default the new goverment law says you owe them for life. In the old days banks took on there own risk and the tax payers did not bail them out. How many bank execs are in jail for this scam? Do you blame them? You mean we did not have any industrial growth to invest in? I guess not! Poor banks.

Enough ranting! Now the last industries on the block are in play! Let’s see the pharm companies had the politicians sign a law that said you can’t buy pills from Canada. These companies are the last ones kicking back right? Hell they have the same pills in Canada! Market protection? Health Care insurance protection. Hay! why can’t I deduct every dollar I spend on health care 1 for 1 on my taxes today. Isn’t the goverment worried about their citizens health needs. Oh! I understand! that’s what my 401K plan is for. After I am broke then the gov. will give me something. Funny! if I never wanted to work, even in good times, I will end up the same as the 12 children welfare families. Hell thier kids go to college for free and I can’t even get my own tax free account to save for mine.

Remember when you spit out and say industrial output you better put in actual dollars of product made here (includes usa components) and adjust for inflation over 30 years then compare it to the market segment overall value to get your percent.

One last thing! Service is just that service! Those called soft products. Soft product usually services hard products. Hard product you added value to when you sale, then and only then can soft product make $. This country is the big dog now. but when we can’t buy anymore watch out! No one is going to care how many jets and tanks we have. They will be dictating to us.

Tell me somthing? What do you think I will cut out first since I am out of work. Cell phone service, less insurance, less going out to eat, put up an old time TV antenna. I have to fix my car but I don’t need a new computer?

I remember when Japanese cars came to the usa. Junk! then the Jap government gave them $ to retool 5X over to get it right. Us? we had the bean counters in Detroit looking at the quarterly gamble on wall street running Detroit “not the engineers”. Did you ever hear anyone say go out and buy BMW stock or Toyota stock to make $? Did you know that GM makes half of BMW’s transmissions. Don’t worry they will import from China with 150K mile warrenty bumper to bumper. Did the UAW get out of control yes! But are they also the reason anyone working today has health care insurance “yes”.

When ever you have a transfer of industrial power going to other countries you sold it off for geo-political influence, or some special interest group took a cut. Remember when you call in for your unemployment benifits don’t press one for spanish!

Ya! Ross Parot was right in the debate on TV. The great sucking sound of jobs happen and it will take 8 to 10 years to get some of it back.

We need some very smart business people back in Washington and I don’t mean bankers. When the third generation young poor black guy yells, listen to him. Someone work in automotive that’s way he’s north, but that someone could stand on his feet and make a living. Now your telling him to work in service right. What service McDonald’s? What the hell do you thing is going to happen.

This recession is being played by the media as a hiccup. This depression will last a long time unless we get back industry. No rich country in the world can be rich without industry. By the term rich, I mean strong middle class buying power.

One of the big reason industry has servived in Europe is that they do invest heavy in automation and the goverments ease the burden of the investment. I have to laugh when the southern congressmen say let Detroit go under. They get the off shore companies free land freed buildings free roads and no taxes for 10 years. I think one of the Toyota plants just came do on the 10 years and they said they were going to move unless they got another 10 years. Way not tariff the importers that give workers free gov. heath and the other gov. social free benifits. Yes import tariff would run about 3 to 5 thousand per car. Is not that free and fair trade? At least Parot would have gotten it right would have never made deals for other countries to sell here unless we had the better deal for our workforce and companies. Not us. Our politicans come cheap!

The only thing to due is vote every politician out. and put in new ones. Keep doing it until they get the hint. Continuity? Do you really think anyone scared for their job or losing a house really cares? Also, give them the cheapest HMO. Remember we are the investors! Only we know whats good for our politicians.

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