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Losing America's Livelihood
The New American ^ | 1/26/04 | William Jasper

Posted on 02/04/2004 9:36:33 AM PST by ninenot

Up to 14 million jobs … are at risk of being shipped overseas, two UC Berkeley economists said Wednesday in a research report.

Contra Costa Times October 30, 2003

“We’re trying to move everything we can offshore,” HP [Hewlett-Packard] Services chief Ann Livermore told Wall Street analysts at a meeting Wednesday.

Forbes, December 5, 2002

But as the US economy has slowly shifted toward service jobs, factory jobs have been steadily lost — in fact, in just the past 39 months, some 2.8 million have vanished.

Christian Science Monitor December 11, 2003

Will America be a Third World country in 20 years?

— Paul Craig Roberts, columnist-economist, January 21, 2003


John Williams has been shrimping since 1960. Together with his wife, Kathleen, he operates three shrimp boats out of Tarpon Springs, Florida, north of Tampa Bay. He has weathered recessions, squalls and hurricanes. But he is now facing a tidal wave that has already buried thousands of his fellow shrimp fishermen. It is a tidal wave of foreign shrimp — nearly one billion pounds of it — crashing onto the U.S. market from Red China, Vietnam, Thailand, India and more than a dozen other countries.
Last year Williams’ outfit, Gulf Partners, Ltd., hauled in about one million pounds of shrimp. “We’ve produced about the same amount of product for the past several years,” he told The New American, “but the price we get has dropped dramatically. Our gross revenue has dropped more than 50 percent. But our operational costs haven’t gone down; in fact, they’ve gone up.” According to Williams, who is secretary-treasurer of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, an eight-state coalition of shrimpers, the value of U.S.-harvested shrimp was cut in half, from $1.25 billion in 2000 to $560 million in 2002. Employment at southern shrimp plants dropped 40 percent.
The plight of America’s shrimping industry is symptomatic of the dire consequences potentially awaiting every U.S. industry. It also starkly illustrates how suddenly an entire sector of our economy can be targeted and hollowed out, if not completely destroyed.
For generations, shrimping has provided a good livelihood for several hundred thousand Americans in Gulf Coast communities from Texas to Florida. Then, virtually overnight, foreign producers almost completely took over the U.S. market and now provide 88 percent of the shrimp consumed in the U.S. And it isn’t because the foreign shrimp industry is more efficient or produces a better quality product. The real tsunami hit U.S. shrimpers in 2002, when the European Union, Japan and Canada banned shrimp from China, Thailand and Vietnam because of detected residues of chloramphenicol, a potent, broad-spectrum antibiotic suspected of causing aplastic anemia and other blood conditions. China, Thailand and Vietnam unloaded their shrimp cargoes on the U.S. market instead, even though federal regulations prohibit use of chloramphenicol in food-producing animals and animal feed products.
Shrimp fishermen like John Williams are fuming. “Another year like this and there won’t be any domestic shrimp industry left to speak of,” Williams told The New American, noting that he recently saw a repossessed $800,000 shrimp boat sell for $100,000 at a bank auction. “This is just plain wrong when a whole industry of hardworking, taxpaying American citizens can be put out of business like this by foreign competitors subsidized by their governments.”
What Williams finds even more galling is that our government is subsidizing his foreign competitors, too! Yes, the same federal policymakers who have slapped domestic shrimp producers with onerous regulations, are not only helping his foreign shrimpers with incredible trade privileges, but actually aiding them with loans, grants and loan guarantees as well. Through assistance provided by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Export-Import Bank and other foreign aid programs, “we’re not only giving them loans and subsidies, but advanced technology too,” Williams notes with exasperation.
In 2002 and 2003, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduced the Shrimp Importation Financing Fairness Act, which aimed to stop some of these policies that are aiding the destruction of our domestic shrimping industry. The Paul bill would declare a moratorium on federal regulations that are making U.S. shrimping non-competitive and end funding of federal programs and international institutions that provide financial aid to countries that are dumping their subsidized shrimp on our market.
Rep. Paul’s legislation names seven countries — Thailand, Vietnam, India, China, Ecuador, Indonesia, and Brazil — as the main dumping culprits. But paragraphs 8 and 9 of Section 2 are the real shockers in the bill. Most Americans would be stunned to learn what our political leaders are doing with our tax dollars. Those two paragraphs read:
(8) Since 1999 our Government has provided more than $1,800,000,000 in financing and insurance for these foreign countries through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and our Government’s current exposure relative to these countries through our Export-Import Bank totals some $14,800,000,000, bringing the total subsidy of these countries by the United States to over $16,500,000,000.
(9) Many of these countries are not market-oriented, and hence their participation in United States-supported international finance regimes amounts to a direct subsidy by American taxpayers in the shrimping sector of their international competitors.

That’s $16.5 billion. With help like that, is it any wonder that these countries are able to produce the glut of shrimp that is destroying our shrimping industry?

Different Industries, Same Story


What do Gulf Coast shrimp boat owners like John Williams have in common with tool and die makers in the Great Lakes region, sawmill owners in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest farmers, Texas ranchers, New England manufacturers, or California software engineers and computer consultants? The same thing that their business counterparts throughout the U.S. in virtually every industry share: the threat of extinction due to perverse government policies that penalize American producers and reward their foreign competitors. They are caught in a vise of regulatory policies that have driven their operating costs far above those of their foreign competitors, and U.S. trade policies that encourage foreign producers to dump their products on the American market. On top of that, the U.S. government pours billions of U.S. tax dollars into subsidies for their foreign competitors!
America’s tool and die industry is in danger of going the way of our shrimping industry. Why should that concern the vast majority of Americans who are not directly involved in this industry? Because it is essential to all manufacturing. The industrial machinery that is used to manufacture almost everything — from cell phones, toothbrushes and Barbie dolls to computer chips, medical diagnostic equipment and fighter jet engines — begins with tool and die makers. We cannot expect to sustain a modern society, let alone defend ourselves and maintain our prosperity and technological leadership, without them. But our tool and die industry is rapidly disappearing. In Michigan, about 34,000 tooling jobs have vanished in the last five years, according to state labor data. The National Tooling & Machining Association (NTMA) reports that about 30 percent of the country’s toolmakers have gone out of business since 2000 and many more are expected to follow.
“Guys that were earning $20 an hour two years ago making very high-precision tools are now stocking shelves at Wal-Mart,” said NTMA President Matt Coffey in a recent Detroit Free Press article on the plight of the tooling industry. Coffey estimates that there are fewer than 10,000 U.S. tooling companies today, down from roughly 14,000 a few years ago. Which could mean that 140,000 tooling jobs have disappeared nationally since 2000. This trend will prove disastrous for our country, if allowed to continue.
“One of the advantages our manufacturers always have had is that the toolmakers were here and were good,” Peter Morici, former chief economist for the U.S. International Trade Commission, told the Free Press. “It undermines the whole manufacturing base in the long term if they go away,” he noted. “When all these little toolmakers go away, they don’t re-open. Their sons do something else and that skill is lost. The decline of toolmaking is like the growth of a desert. Once it starts, it’s tough to stop from spreading.”
Mr. Morici’s comments echo the alarm expressed by Bob Davis, general manager of Modern Die Systems Inc. of Elwood, Indiana, in an interview with The New American last year (“Your Job May Be Next!” March 10, 2003). “Our government has set it up so that it is unprofitable to manufacture here in the U.S.,” he told this writer. Mr. Davis noted the tremendous disincentives to production posed by taxes, regulations, employee medical insurance, and labor union obstruction — the combined effects of which are driving many businesses into the ground, or out of the country. We are killing the goose that laid the golden egg. “Our country’s entire production capability will be stripped bare if this continues,” Davis said. “And with it will go all of the jobs and small and medium-sized independent businesses that are the bedrock of the American middle class.”

Shooting Ourselves in the Foot


America’s small- and medium-sized businesses traditionally have been a vital source of jobs, as well as a wellspring of creativity, invention and innovation that has propelled us to global economic and technological dominance. Limited government interference in the marketplace combined with a general acceptance of Christian morality was the key that unleashed the American entrepreneurial spirit and gave rise to our prosperity and the development of a large middle class. But the free enterprise system that made our economic miracle possible is being suffocated in a socialist swamp of regulatory red tape. U.S. regulatory costs — especially from regulations allegedly aimed at environmental and safety risks — are particularly hazardous to small and medium businesses.
The true extent of that hazard is amply exposed in an important study released in December 2003 by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). The comprehensive NAM study significantly noted that “compliance costs for regulations can be regarded as the ‘silent killer’ of manufacturing competitiveness.” The report revealed that the regulatory, tax and mandate burden is adding at least a staggering 22.4 percent (nearly $5 per hour worked) to the cost of doing business in the U.S. relative to our major foreign competitors. To appreciate the magnitude of this burden, consider that these external costs imposed by government are more than twice the average direct labor costs of U.S. manufacturers, which are 11 percent.
NAM President Jerry Jasinowski noted that the NAM study documents that “we are essentially shooting ourselves in the foot competitively by making it too expensive to make products in America.” What’s more, the regulatory agencies have negated many of the impressive gains in production efficiency of the past decade. “Taken together,” notes Jasinowski, “external non-production costs have offset a large part of the 54 percent increase in productivity achieved since 1990.”
“U.S. manufacturing has demonstrated the ability to overcome pure wage differentials with trading partners through innovation, capital investment and productivity,” said James Berges, President of Emerson, a St. Louis-based manufacturer of industrial equipment. “But when the additional external costs described in this [NAM] paper are piled on, the task becomes unmanageable, even in the best companies.”
In fact, the piling on can be worse than unmanageable; it is often fatal. Thousands of small and medium businesses already have been slain by this silent killer and many more will succumb to its deadly effects. (See sidebar.)

Driving Jobs Offshore


Even large corporations cannot absorb the crushing U.S. regulatory burden for long without losing competitiveness vis-à-vis foreign producers. However, large corporations have options not readily available to many smaller businesses: They can more easily move their manufacturing and processing operations overseas, outsource many of their service sectors to cheaper foreign providers, and import cheaper foreign employees under various visa programs. And that is precisely what they are doing, in huge quantum jumps that defy any historic comparison.
America is in the midst of an enormous job outsourcing boom that gives every indication of accelerating. In addition to the continued massive hemorrhaging of America’s manufacturing and blue-collar jobs that began two decades ago, we now have a huge and growing crisis involving the flight of millions of hi-tech and white-collar jobs. If appropriate action is not taken to address the factors propelling this massive exodus, it is not an exaggeration to say that America is headed toward has-been status. A much-quoted study by Forrester Research Inc. last year predicted that at least 3.3 million white-collar jobs and $136 billion in wages will shift from the U.S. to low-cost countries by 2015.
An October 2003 report by researchers from the University of California-Berkeley’s Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics suggests that the Forrester predictions may be extremely conservative. According to the Berkeley researchers, as many as 14 million service jobs are at risk of outsourcing.
The authors of the Berkeley report, Ashok Deo Bardhan and Cynthia A. Kroll, note that “the recent boom in outsourcing is causing growing apprehension in the U.S. that this may well be the largest out-migration of non-manufacturing jobs in the history of the U.S. economy.” (Emphasis added.)
Many of these jobs are going to India. By tabulating reports in Indian newspapers and business journals for the month of July 2003 alone, Bardhan and Kroll reported that they found “25,000 to 30,000 new outsourcing related jobs announced by U.S. firms. In the same month, there were 2,087 mass layoff actions carried out by U.S. employers resulting in a loss of 226,435 jobs.”
“The jobs being created in India and elsewhere are in a wide range of service sectors,” say Bardhan and Kroll, “such as geographic information systems services for insurance companies, stock market research for financial firms, medical transcription services, legal online database research, and data analysis for consulting firms, in addition to customer service call centers, payroll and other back-office related activities.”
In addition to the millions of U.S. jobs that soon could be leaving for India, China, Russia and other offshore destinations, there is the added threat to American workers from imported labor. Hundreds of thousands of American information technology (IT) workers have lost their jobs in the past several years to foreign replacements through the L-1 and H-1B visa programs. American software engineers, computer designers, technicians, electrical engineers and other hi-tech employees are being replaced by workers from India, Pakistan, the Middle East and China.
No other country in the world has adopted such reckless and suicidal immigration policies. Incredibly, the Bush administration is advocating an amnesty for millions of illegal aliens that dwarfs the amnesty proposals of Bill Clinton. Moreover, President George Bush and many members of Congress enthusiastically favor more outsourcing, more L-1 and H1-B visas, and more immigration overall. At a December 15, 2003 press conference, President Bush stated: “I have constantly said that we need to have an immigration policy that helps match any willing employer with any willing employee.” (Emphasis added.) There is virtually an unlimited supply of willing employees worldwide who would be more than happy to immigrate to the U.S., but how is that going to help put Americans back to work?
It won’t, says Jan Frelick, who has experienced the outsourcing and foreign “temps” up close and personal. Mrs. Frelick worked for computer giant Hewlett-Packard in the San Francisco Bay area but transferred to HP’s facility in the Sacramento area in 1990. As computer security administrator for her division and a member of the division’s business control team, she had a ringside seat from which she watched HP outsource droves of jobs. “Then, on August 24, 2001,” Frelick told The New American, “it happened to me. I wasn’t ‘downsized’ — the term they deceptively use — I was replaced. So were almost all other employees in many units. The IT Support Desk, for instance, which previously was staffed completely by Americans, is now staffed by people from India.”

False Solutions, Toxic Antidotes


The cheery advocates of globalization blithely dismiss concerns about massive job losses, the wholesale gutting of our economy and the flight of entire industries from our shores. Their mantra-like response is that the huge exodus of jobs, manufacturing, and technology is actually a good thing representing the elimination of obsolete remnants of the “old economy,” to make way for the higher value, cutting-edge technologies and jobs of the new global economy. These glib advocates are dealing in voodoo economics and globaloney social science. The jobs and technology we are outsourcing do not have to do with genuinely obsolete technology like buggy whips and whale oil lamps, as the globalists assert. They have to do with the production of real wealth, real products and real services that are essential to sustaining a modern, prosperous society.
Where are the wonderful new jobs the globalists keep promising? Hundreds of thousands of skilled and experienced white collar and blue collar workers — engineers, computer programmers, toolmakers, accountants and technicians — are unemployed, or have been reduced to taking near-minimum-wage jobs. Political forces, not market forces, are driving these devastating changes. As we have noted above, it is perverse government policies that are responsible for making American companies uncompetitive, subsidizing our foreign competition, outsourcing jobs and flooding our job market with immigrants and “temporary” foreign workers. America has gone through economic downturns before and seen periods of high unemployment. But the economy has always rebounded and the jobs have returned as businesses have revved up production. However, that is not going to happen with the thousands of businesses and the millions of jobs we have been losing.
The Bush administration and its allies in Congress — Republican and Democrat — have given no indication of reversing our disastrous course. Indeed they are proposing supposed solutions that would prove to be even more calamitous. They are saddling U.S. businesses with even more oppressive mandates and regulatory overkill, while pushing for more job outsourcing, more temporary worker visas, far greater immigration quotas, an amnesty for illegal aliens and the removal of virtually all tariffs.
Moreover, the president has staked out 2004 to push for completion of the so-called Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) agreement, a plan to merge the countries of the Western Hemisphere into a European Union-style common market. However, like the original European Common Market, the FTAA is much more than a trade pact. It has been designed to evolve into a supranational regional government, but in a much shorter time span than it took the Europeans to arrive at that stage. Like the EU, the FTAA’s central executive authority would be strongly socialistic and would gradually claim the power to overrule the national laws and constitutions of its member states. The FTAA Declarations, Plans of Action and Charter drafts call for regional “integration,” in accordance with the charters of the UN and the World Trade Organization. The FTAA would establish a bureaucracy of agencies to monitor, and eventually dictate, regional health, education, labor, environment, foreign aid, immigration and security policies. Like the EU, the FTAA is set up to acquire, gradually, full legislative, executive and judicial powers. As such, it is plainly a power grab disguised in the garb of a trade agreement.
The most frightening aspect of the proposed FTAA is the fact that its realization would spell the end to our national sovereignty and sweep aside constitutional impediments to the concentration of tyrannical power. But the more immediately felt effects would include a rapid dissolving of our borders and an enormous deluge of immigrants (both legal and illegal) from Latin America and the Caribbean. At the same time, billions of dollars of agricultural products, textiles, manufactured goods and other products will flood our markets devastating every industry sector in the same way that our domestic shrimp industry has been wrecked.
These so-called solutions are manifestly suicidal. If America is to be spared sinking into Third World status, we must completely reverse course. That means awakening and energizing a minority of the American public sufficient to compel Congress to: abolish the socialist regulatory monster that is destroying our country’s competitiveness; take back control of our borders and enforce sensible, reduced immigration; end all U.S. taxpayer subsidies to foreign competitors; and defeat the FTAA. It’s really very simple. Not easy, but simple.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Florida; US: Mississippi; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: economy; ftaa; gwbush; jbs; jobloss; johnbirchsociety; manufacturing; morebsfromjbs; outsourcing; ronpaul; thenewamerican; treaty
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1 posted on 02/04/2004 9:36:33 AM PST by ninenot
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To: Willie Green; afraidfortherepublic; A. Pole; hedgetrimmer; XBob; Elliott Jackalope; VOA; ...
Shrimp farmers, tool-and-die makers, and IT pros.

But they're not coming after ME!!! So who cares?
2 posted on 02/04/2004 9:37:58 AM PST by ninenot (Minister of Membership, TomasTorquemadaGentlemen'sClub)
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To: ninenot
Study robotics.
3 posted on 02/04/2004 9:39:06 AM PST by RightWhale
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To: ninenot
The real tsunami hit U.S. shrimpers in 2002, when the European Union, Japan and Canada banned shrimp from China, Thailand and Vietnam because of detected residues of chloramphenicol, a potent, broad-spectrum antibiotic suspected of causing aplastic anemia and other blood conditions. China, Thailand and Vietnam unloaded their shrimp cargoes on the U.S. market instead, even though federal regulations prohibit use of chloramphenicol in food-producing animals and animal feed products.

There is a simple free market solution to this problem - American consumers who get aplastic anemia from chloramphenicol will not buy these shrimp anymore.

4 posted on 02/04/2004 9:48:51 AM PST by A. Pole (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain , the hand of free market must be invisible)
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To: ninenot
I know some people who are afraid they will lose their jobs. If you spend your day sitting at a computer screen or a telephone, your job can be done by a very low paid person in India.
5 posted on 02/04/2004 10:06:08 AM PST by marcinrochester
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To: RightWhale
And what happens when Robotics jobs are shifted overseas? Really, this is getting out of hand. At what point do we stop not only shifting jobs overseas, but also giving them our tax money to take the jobs? If any job is to go outside this country from an industry in this country, it should only go to Mexico, Canada, or our true allies like England and Australia (I'm sure there are some others). Why Mexico and Canada? Reduce our flow of illegal immigrants from the Southern border, and Canada to build their economy back up so they can break from socialism. We should not give a single penny and harshly deal with companies that send our jobs over to these countries like China and India who have announced their opposition to us repeatedly. Neither of these two countries is our friend.

We need to sensibly handle illegal immigration by eliminating it. We need to handle illegal dumping that destroys our industries with swift and proper elimination. If they can't sell the junk anywhere else, then why would we want it here? This stuff is not rocket science. Why are we still having our elected leaders playing God with people's lives? Oh, that's right. They can get away with it. It's time to put a stop to it.

Paul
6 posted on 02/04/2004 10:07:42 AM PST by spacewarp (Visit the American Patriot Party and stay a while. http://www.patriotparty.us)
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To: ninenot
"But they're not coming after ME!!! So who cares?"

Actually we need to understand that this will accelerate.

As jobs are lost, social programs such as welfare, food stamps etc must increase to keep people at the minimum acceptable level of poverty. Fraud in social programs such as workers comp and insurance will also increase as people resort to desperate tactics to make a living.

Consequently the regulatory and tax burden of American labor will continue to go up on remaining jobs. This increased cost will cause even more jobs to be transferred overseas until either trade restrictions occur or wages go into free fall.

If wages are allowed to go into free fall ... the repercussions to the economy will be horrific. There will be disgruntled employees who don't understand. Some of these will result in shootings. Many companies will layoff people and hire new people rather than adjust their existing employee's wages down and put up with the resulting attitude problems.

We need to protect our industries now. Immigration needs to stop. Tarriffs need to go up.

7 posted on 02/04/2004 10:08:21 AM PST by DannyTN
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To: spacewarp
what happens when Robotics jobs are shifted overseas?

Won't happen if we learn robotics. Some of the kids are learning robotics. The rest hope to get a job in Hollywood, but who really needs yet another Starship Enterprise model maker?

8 posted on 02/04/2004 10:10:44 AM PST by RightWhale
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To: RightWhale
Study robotics.

Or Cosmetology.

9 posted on 02/04/2004 10:15:45 AM PST by templar
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To: templar
I am converted to robotics. The new space race is a robotics race just as the space race 40 years ago was a rocket race. Check out the Lego robotics kit and then call me childish--I am a child again. Robotics is mostly programming and so is something very suitable for cottage industry. Post industrialism is where we're headed, but we can be strong through robotics.
10 posted on 02/04/2004 10:19:56 AM PST by RightWhale
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To: ninenot
From the Article: We’re trying to move everything we can offshore,” HP [Hewlett-Packard] Services chief Ann Livermore told Wall Street analysts at a meeting Wednesday.-— Forbes, December 5, 2002

-----
Why? (Don't answer...It's rhetorical) I'll tell you why. Because all through the last 40 years or so, we've been raising taxes and imposing harsh regulations on our businesses. All the while the push is to become more competitive by reducing cost. Can you blame them for wanting to reduce their costs by moving ofshore. I can't.

Sure, Dubya has reduced taxes and showed regulations, but the impression is that HE drove up the deficit. With all the disenchantment among Conservatives, this puts the fear in businesses that he's vulnerable. And if he loses in November, it won't be to a Third Party Conservative (sorry Third Partyers.) It will be to an Ultra-Liberal DemocRAT. Whoa!!! Better get outta Dodge before that happens because that DemocRAT will not only raise taxes and impose more and stiffer regulations, but he'll make it illegal to move a plant out of the country too. That's instant death to a lot of our Industries.
11 posted on 02/04/2004 10:22:56 AM PST by gooleyman
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To: RightWhale; spacewarp
"what happens when Robotics jobs are shifted overseas?" - Spacewarp

"Won't happen if we learn robotics" - RightWhale

I agree that robotics can help minimize the labor problems. However whoever has the cheapest labor to manufacture robotics, the best and cheapest programmers and the most engineering capability is going to be at an advantage.

Also if we don't maintain our manufacturing base, there will be nothing to automate. We will have to build new plants from scratch, and much of the necessary knowledge will have been transferred overseas.

Automation and robotics are two fields that should be ultra ultra high on our protected and promoted industries.

However this alone is going to cause major shifts in the economy. Major categories of workers will be displaced as automation occurs and higher and higher levels of management functions are going to be automated.

How we deal with this is going to be critical. It has the potential to aggravate class differences. Retooling the workforce to available jobs is key. Supporting them during the transition is also key but it is a cost that many of my fellow republicans are going to see as unnecessary handouts instead of supporting the economy as a whole.

12 posted on 02/04/2004 10:24:16 AM PST by DannyTN
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To: RightWhale
Won't happen if we learn robotics.

Baseless assertion. Robotics is closely tied to computer programming and mechanial engineering, both of which have been outsourced.

13 posted on 02/04/2004 10:24:48 AM PST by GingisK
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To: DannyTN
Tarriffs need to go up.

Can we start calling tarriffs what they are, which are "taxes"?

So, you're advocating tax increases on Free Republic. I thought that was unpopular around here...

14 posted on 02/04/2004 10:31:19 AM PST by John H K
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To: DannyTN
However this alone is going to cause major shifts in the economy. Major categories of workers will be displaced as automation occurs and higher and higher levels of management functions are going to be automated

So why, again, is it perfectly OK for someone to lose their job to automation, and a horrible crime for someone to lose their job to an Indian guy?

15 posted on 02/04/2004 10:32:31 AM PST by John H K
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To: ninenot
Don't worry. The government will save us.
16 posted on 02/04/2004 10:34:57 AM PST by FreedomAvatar (#include disclaimer.h)
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To: John H K
Because jobs lost to automation are replaced by jobs repairing, installing, designing and building the machinery that does the automation. When jobs are shipped overseas, then there is no replacement of the lost jobs in our economy.
17 posted on 02/04/2004 10:36:53 AM PST by Elliott Jackalope (We send our kids to Iraq to fight for them, and they send our jobs to India. Now THAT'S gratitude!)
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To: gooleyman
FYI...under the radar news...

TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2004 05:18:58 PM ] MUMBAI: If you thought that the US Senate had finished with cracking down on outsourcing, think again. Things could just get worse for Indian software and BPO companies. On Friday, President George W Bush signed into law a Bill, which bars outsourcing by the US Treasury and Transport departments, though this does not apply to the whole Federal government as some reports had indicated.

However, another Bill, called "Truthfulness, Responsibility and Accountability in Contracting Act of 2003" (TRAC Act), introduced in the US Senate last year, could halt outsourcing by the entire federal government, if it becomes law.

The objective of the TRAC Bill is "to ensure that the business of the federal government is conducted in the public interest and in a manner that provides for public accountability, efficient delivery of services, reasonable cost savings, and prevention of unwarranted Government expenses, and for other purposes”.

The TRAC Bill refers to outsourcing as one of the components of "contracting out" which will be monitored by the General Accounting Office (GAO). The new Bill says that certifying agencies will have to be formed in each department to monitor all projects contracted out.

These agencies will have to report to the GAO that the procedures followed for outsourcing are fair and transparent. These procedures have been put in place to make outsourcing as difficult as possible.

Currently two per cent of all outsourcing projects from India are from the US government. Typically, federal projects are not offshored to India in a major way as they often fall foul of the "buy American” provision that sets minimum levels for domestic content in products bought by the US government.

The Bill does not, in any way, affect outsourcing by private US companies except to the extent that it fosters a protectionist climate within the USA. Meanwhile President Bush has signed the omnibus spending Bill making it a law. The Bill is accompanied by a revised budget circular (called A-76) which will prevent outsourcing to India, or to any other country by the Treasury and Transportation departments.

A copy of the new law, which is available with The Economic Times , does not refer to India or even to outsourcing directly, but will nevertheless affect almost all developing and emerging countries including India.

The most damaging part in the new law is the following: "An activity or function of an executive agency that is converted to contractor performance under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 may not be performed by the contractor at a location outside the United States except to the extent that such activity or function was previously performed by Federal Government employees outside the United States."

This clause will prevent any offshore outsourcing by the US federal government to any other part of the world. The law also revises a circular called A-76. The revised circular reads, "That in all public and private sector competition for more than 10 positions, a private sector offer would have to be 10% or $10 million less than the government offer to be considered."

What this means is that, if the positions of more than the 10 employees are affected, then the private sector offer would have to be 10 per cent less than the government offer. The A-76 changes have been dictated by the federal employee unions and industry associations.

US employee unions, like the American Federation of Government Employees, have hailed the provisions as being far more equitable to US federal workers. It will also affect small and medium companies in the US which benefited from outsourcing.

Source

As for private sector manufacturing companies...see the following thread:

Info on The American Competition Enhancement Act of 2003 Introduced by Mac Collins

18 posted on 02/04/2004 10:38:07 AM PST by ravingnutter
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To: RightWhale
Won't happen if we learn robotics. Some of the kids are learning robotics.

Disagree. Robotics relies heavily on software engineering and the ability to actually build something. America seems bound and determined to ensure only Indians can do that.

Now, inventing new kinds of ways to sue each other might be our path to salvation. :~/

19 posted on 02/04/2004 10:39:00 AM PST by FreedomAvatar (#include disclaimer.h)
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To: RightWhale
Really.

The robotics biz, begun here in the 1970's, is now almost owned by Japan and China--just like the machine tool biz from which it sprung.

Any better suggestions?
20 posted on 02/04/2004 10:40:34 AM PST by ninenot (Minister of Membership, TomasTorquemadaGentlemen'sClub)
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To: John H K
"So why, again, is it perfectly OK for someone to lose their job to automation, and a horrible crime for someone to lose their job to an Indian guy?"

Several reasons...


21 posted on 02/04/2004 10:41:34 AM PST by DannyTN
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To: John H K
Dear John HK

If you read the article, you will note that the US TAXPAYER is on the hook for over 16 BILLION we have shoved directly into enterprises which COMPETE with the US TAXPAYER.

Who are you trying to kid?

I'd rather pay a tariff so my neighbor is WORKING than pay taxes to finance the success of PRChina.
22 posted on 02/04/2004 10:44:05 AM PST by ninenot (Minister of Membership, TomasTorquemadaGentlemen'sClub)
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To: John H K
"So why, again, is it perfectly OK for someone to lose their job to automation, and a horrible crime for someone to lose their job to an Indian guy?"

Now there's a great question!

Fact is, though, a job lost to automation is still being done in this country, and it would at least be an American who programs the automation, who maintains the equipment, who transports the finished product, etc.
Not so for a job overseas.

But all you folks lamenting the loss of jobs: Do you look at the labels in your clothes and in your shoes, and only buy those made in THIS country?
Do you drive only American cars?
If not, you can point the finger at yourselves.

23 posted on 02/04/2004 10:46:30 AM PST by Redbob (Buy American, or shut up!)
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To: John H K
Can we start calling tarriffs what they are, which are "taxes"?

So, you're advocating tax increases on Free Republic.

I could support tariffs IF every dollar of tariff income to the government was offset by a dollar decrease in income taxes.

24 posted on 02/04/2004 10:54:32 AM PST by Deliberator
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To: Redbob
Most "American" cars are built with foreign components. Many "foreign" cars are actually made here in the US of A (my sister lives near a BMW factory in South Carolina) with US components. Its not our fault that management in Detroit puts out such crap.

Industrial employment is dropping WORLDWIDE (in Brazil, Mexico and most of Asia) due to higher worker productivity and automation. This is a fact of life that aint gonna change for you LUDDITES!

25 posted on 02/04/2004 10:54:59 AM PST by Clemenza (East side, West side, all around the town. Tripping the light fantastic on the sidewalks of New York)
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To: ninenot
NASA has a new line item in fiscal '05. The new space race is robotics, just as the original space race was rockets. Our home appliances are already heavily robotized, but this is nothing compared to what could be robotized. We will service the machines, as usual, unless we can robotize that as well. Robotics is the best post-industrial economy we can have.
26 posted on 02/04/2004 11:04:33 AM PST by RightWhale
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To: ninenot
now almost owned by Japan and China

Fuzzy logic caught on in Japan and China. So did cold fusion.

27 posted on 02/04/2004 11:14:40 AM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: GingisK
computer programming and mechanical engineering

Robotics is 95% programming. Our only competition in programming is India. In spite of some Japanese robots that got high visibility press, America is about a light year ahead of everybody else in robotics, and we ought to widen the lead.

28 posted on 02/04/2004 11:17:26 AM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: FreedomAvatar
Yes, you are exactly correct. But with the new NASA goals, robotics will see a strong emphasis. Robotics is not new, but it is seeing a rebirth now. The space race will be a robotics race, in fact, space exploration has been mainly robotics for quite a while, but it will be even more so as we build a manned base on the moon and then on Mars--using robotics. When the base is built by robotics and ready, then we will go there and occupy the station.
29 posted on 02/04/2004 11:20:51 AM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: ninenot
But they're not coming after ME!!! So who cares?

It's called competition.

In a free market, the job goes to the lowest bidder.

Unless you're a union thug.

30 posted on 02/04/2004 11:22:14 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Drug prohibition laws help fund terrorism.)
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To: DannyTN
whoever has the cheapest labor to manufacture robotics

Robots are cheap, the main ingredient is mental. This is something our post industrial cottage industry can do very well. There might not be any mass manufacture of robots. Each robot would be custom, even if the chassis is multipurpose.

31 posted on 02/04/2004 11:23:13 AM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: RightWhale
Robotics is the best post-industrial economy we can have.

Speaking as a computer programmer who not only studied robotics in college, but still dabbles in the field: There is no long term future in robotics. Short term suffers from the same problems as most IT area's, in that foreign competition will prevent Americans from profiting from it in the long term. Yes, you can do research, and maybe you'll even develop a useful design that people will actually want to own...but what then? The U.S. is rapidly becoming a post-industrial nation so your robots wont be BUILT here. It will be built on a manufacturing line in China, using software perfected by Indian programmers and firmware developed and tested in Russia.

And how about a career servicing those robots? Since robots are basically nothing more than computers with fancy appendages, you simply need to plug your robot into a phone line to have Sajif...erm, I mean "Bob", in India do your maintenance and firmware upgrades. Heck, if NASA can reprogram the Spirit rover...a robot...from millions of miles away, we surely don't need an "overpaid and unproductive" American to fix our own when one of those cheap Indians will do the same job at a fraction of the cost.

For the few people lucky enough to invent a useful and marketable robot be plenty of money to be made...but that's always beent he case with the inventors and visionaries. For the other 200 million plus working Americans facing economic collapse, robotics is about as useful as warts.
32 posted on 02/04/2004 11:46:31 AM PST by Arthalion
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To: RightWhale
...America is about a light year ahead of everybody else in robotics...

We are also light years ahead in software technology. I've seen firsthand the crap that passes for software from India. It dosen't make any difference. India is the Walmart of software, including that 95% portion of robotics. People want "cheap", not quality. You would be making a big mistake to place your bets in robotics. It is no different than the type of software I do. (Embedded) I check out the job ads regularly in all disciplines involving software. The jobs aren't there. They aren't going to be there.

Those who attend engineering school now are in for a shock when they discover that they will all be competing for a total of 150 in the entire Nation.

Have a nice dream.

33 posted on 02/04/2004 11:47:28 AM PST by GingisK
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To: Arthalion
You are right. I am looking at spinoffs from the new NASA space program. If we are foredoomed to a life of TV entertainment and hedonism, then robotics would only hasten our decline. It's hard to say what the work ethic is anymore; factory jobs seem to be passing into history.
34 posted on 02/04/2004 11:52:27 AM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: GingisK
they will all be competing for a total of 150

The nature of work is changing, and the idea of a job may be something also passing into history. Jobs were created with the American industrial revolution. The revolution is over, and jobs of that kind are nearly over. So what now?

35 posted on 02/04/2004 11:55:48 AM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: RightWhale
Please suggest a book on programming robots. I'm interested and have a few ideas. I have always wanted to build smart machines but don't know where to being to learn how.
36 posted on 02/04/2004 11:58:42 AM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: ninenot
More jobs are lost to protectionism than creative destruction. And the latter creates jobs, the former cannot.
37 posted on 02/04/2004 12:02:35 PM PST by Protagoras (When they asked me what I thought of freedom in America,,, I said I thought it would be a good idea.)
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To: John H K
Taxing foreigners is a very popular idea. They (foreigners) pay we (Americans) don't, I like it!
38 posted on 02/04/2004 12:03:11 PM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Unless you're a union thug.

Or a government thug.

39 posted on 02/04/2004 12:03:56 PM PST by Protagoras (When they asked me what I thought of freedom in America,,, I said I thought it would be a good idea.)
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To: RightWhale
So what now?

Sadly, I think I know. When all of the good paying jobs go away, with them will go our economic base. Even those low paying WalMart jobs that people complain about will vanish as people discover that even WalMart is too expensive for them. People will, however, still need things so you'll probably then see the return of the proprietorship...everyone will have their own little business providing needed goods to the people around them who require them, in exchange for their own goods (e.g. we'll lose 200 years of economic advancement). Those that don't have the skill to do that will starve. The government will implode from the loss of tax revenue, welfare and SS will end, people will die by the millions, our military will rot, and our nation will disintegrate.

My wife tells me that I'm a pessimist. I say "Why take chances, arm yourself anyway".
40 posted on 02/04/2004 12:06:17 PM PST by Arthalion
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To: DannyTN
Actually we need to understand that this will accelerate. economics and freedom.
41 posted on 02/04/2004 12:06:56 PM PST by Protagoras (When they asked me what I thought of freedom in America,,, I said I thought it would be a good idea.)
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To: jpsb
What I did was go to amazon.com and search on robotics. There is a lot of stuff, I picked out a couple of the cheaper books. Actually, I'm not entirely new to this field, did some work years ago in LISP and Prolog. Check out Lego, they have a starter robotics kit with most of the types of devices in the box that one should learn how to program. Legos in space!
42 posted on 02/04/2004 12:07:22 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: Arthalion
I see the same thing. If we continue to see life as something that appears on our TV screens and in our malls, it is just a matter of time.
43 posted on 02/04/2004 12:11:00 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
In a free market, the job goes to the lowest bidder. Unless you're a union thug.

Or an American engineer, generally not a member of a union.

The basic problem you are overlooking is that the outsourcing bypasses labor laws that are tightly coupled to the standard of living that is commonplace in the US. It is simply impossible to be price competitive when the employment rate in India is below what someone makes at the minimum wage here in the US. Do you honestly expect college-trained engineers with thirty years of experience to work below the minimum wage? Perhaps you expect us to reach the ripe age of 54, then retrain in what? Making picture frames?

Under these circumstances, people in this country are out of their minds if they attend engineering school now. This will place the US in the position of obtaining all high tech artifacts from third world suppliers, including the weapon systems that are supposed to make this Nation independent. Do you honestly think India and China are going to supply this Nation with first-line systems, or will they keep those for their own military? It won't take long before this Nation is a third world consumer.

BTW, establishing global independence of this nature is exactly how global governance can and will come to fruition.

Finally, I expect there is nothing about your job that makes you immune to outsourcing, unless you are a plumber or something. We all can't be plumbers. Others on this thread have pointed out that if you don't get upset when your fellow citizens' jobs are outsourced, there is nothing to stop yours from becoming history either. It boils down to what the Jews said following WWII: They came for the gypsies, but I wasn't a gypsy, so I didn't care. They came for the infirm, but I didn't care because I wasn't infirm. They came for the outspoken, but I didn't care because I was not outspoken. They came for the intellectuals, but I didn't care because I wasn't an intellectual. When they came for me, there was nobody left to care.

44 posted on 02/04/2004 12:11:44 PM PST by GingisK
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To: RightWhale
. So what now?

The future is the way they live in Mexico, or Peru, or Pakistan. Get used to the idea of living in a third world country. The decision has been made to place you there. You seem to accept the idea, because you sure do accept the implementation.

The solution: Say "To hell with the rest of the world". Keep our manufacturing and the jobs in this country, and let the others build their Nations they same way we built ours: By building our own Nation.

When a company places a factory in a third world country, let the products be sold in that country at price appropriate for that country. Prohibit those products from being imported for use here until that local standard of living matches our own. The world's economy really can be built up without destroying own own.

45 posted on 02/04/2004 12:21:44 PM PST by GingisK
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To: RightWhale
Please tell me I don't have to write LISP code, I like C and java. But I'll do Cobol, fortran or even Basic if I have to, (Ada and pascal with a gun to my head) but LISP. I don't know jack about LISP and have heard it sucks.
46 posted on 02/04/2004 12:25:08 PM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: GingisK
The solution: Say "To hell with the rest of the world". Keep our manufacturing and the jobs in this country

Don't expect a repeat or a continuation of the American Industrial Revolution. That was a one time event and it isn't coming back. Vigorous space development could be the replacement, but it's not being set up correctly.

47 posted on 02/04/2004 12:30:44 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: jpsb
JAVA is good at this time. Aside from that it probably doesn't matter which language is used. Use libraries or create your own device drivers. Who knows, maybe some fast machine language drivers would be marketable.
48 posted on 02/04/2004 12:34:54 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: ninenot
Last night I was troubleshooting AOL software on my uncle's computer. The tech was in India.
49 posted on 02/04/2004 12:37:54 PM PST by Vision (Always Faithful)
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To: RightWhale
Just picked up Robot Building for Beginners
by David Cook. Thanks for the encouragement, been wantng to do something like this for a long time. I am a working programmer and hopefully my job is safe but knowing enbedded programming and Robotics would be a big plus. Also I own a bar so my customers can have a good time "testing" my robats. It will be fun.
50 posted on 02/04/2004 12:39:52 PM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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