Skip to comments.Why FREE TRADE was never the answer.
Posted on 07/28/2003 6:36:40 PM PDT by RaceBannon
There has been a few threads on here where Free Trader enthusiasts have defended their view, and have been responded to by those who feel that Free Trade is not helping the American Economy, in fact, is part of the reason we are NOT going to see a great recovery any time soon.
I am one of the latter. The following is a cut and paste job, taken from my own comments on these threads, which I feel tell my side of the story.
Some of the points are repeatd, 3 and 4 times. That is because I feel they are the forgotten reasons and ideas why we are in what I believe are dire economic straits.
Feel free to comment.
I am an Associate Degreed Engineer, specializing in Machine Design. I know 5 CAD languages, and have also taken courses in 4 programming languages. I was a machine mechanic for an aerospace company for 15 years before getting my degree.
I have seen the face of industry change in the last 15 years. I first worried about what I would do for a living when the Berlin Wall came down, for the area of the country I lived in was heavily dependant on Military Spending from the federal government. Other main industries were aviation related either jet engines or parts of aircraft or engine assemblies.
We were promised a "peace dividend", some way the lack of spending in these job fields was going to be replaced with Government support or spending in some other field in a way that would employ us or something, I could never figure out what this "peace dividend" was anyways. Many of the politicians told us that our reduced economy was going to pick up again when the industries that were mainly defense related switched to a more diversified base of technology. We all knew that meant lower pay and fewer jobs, but we also knew it meant work...if that switch of technologies ever occurred.
Then came the call for more technical work, computer work, as the PC became a household item, and also replaced the paper filing systems of Companies we worked for. I never worked in a computer room, so I never benefited by this change, but in the mid-90's, I did take courses hoping to catch in on this tech boom in some way.
It was around this time I found that the work of diversifying technologies was not taking place, and what I saw taking place scared me. It was work leaving the state to the south, to the historical non-technical states where Cotton was king, and tobacco was grown in high quantities. People were told to move to where the jobs were. I stayed; I saw some openings still here and hoped to remain.
That is not wrong, that is the market, that is capitalism, and the work stayed in the country and it was Americans that profited from it. It was tough luck for some of us up here, but hey, it stayed in the country. But is the loss of an American Company to another American the real problem here? NO, we are talking about the loss of jobs OVERSEAS to companies that do NOT put their profits back into Americans pockets, but instead put the profits into the pockets of foreign governments and foreign individuals.
The jobs remaining here didnt happen, because I saw something else: jobs not just leaving the state to go south, but jobs leaving the state to go overseas to a Communist country that declare themselves to be our mortal enemy!
I have a memory of 2nd grade. We were in a Social Studies class and a substitute teacher was leading the class, and we started talking about how American companies were setting up companies in foreign lands to allow the people of those countries to make their own clothes and goods. Until then, I assumed, these people either wore sandals or went barefoot, and we brought them clothes for the first time maybe, but they must have had their own methods of making clothes before we showed up!
As it turned out, as the lesson went on, we were told that these American Companies went to these foreign countries to set up complete companies to provide jobs, too, for these people, people who had a lower standard of living, but doing the same work in these new factories as people here in the US did.
It became obvious to me, that if these people lived a much lower standard of living, they needed lower pay, the companies would pay them lower wages, and still make the same product as good as ours made in the US were made.
It didnt take a genius to make the next logical step here: If they were making the same product there cheaper, they were soon going to sell it back to us at a lower price that our own workers could not compete with, thereby putting us out of business, one company at a time. I asked her, What will happen 20 years from now, though, when they will be making it cheaper then us, wont they put us out of business?" She said I was a real John Bircher! And guess what? Does anyone here know of any major textile industry in your neighborhood? I mean one that is still in operation. Does anyone here doubt that what I asked her 35 years ago is true and worsening? WE ARE GIVING AWAY TECHNOLOGY to 3rd world nations and we are making ourselves unemployed when we do it!
I told the teacher this, and she remarked, "Wow, Jim, you're a real John Bircher, arent you?" I had to ask my Mom what that meant and if it was an insult, and she told me yes.
Now, being unemployed for 20 weeks now, this time, and seeing no end in sight in the short run, I have had some thoughts run through my mind on some things.
We have been sold a bill of goods concerning FREE TRADE and treaties that promote Free Trade, things like GAT and NAFTA.
Here's why: Whatever happened to the American spirit that stands up to challenges and takes people through adversity and hard times?
It was regulated out, it was killed through corporate profit that called on cheaper labor to do the high skilled work, it was killed by increased costs and licenses and fees...It was also killed by Unions raising wages over the top and corporations giving millions away in bonuses while the people who did the production got laid off.
It got killed by over regulation; it got killed by the creation of laws designed for revenue, not right and wrong.
Horatio Alger is almost impossible today, for it is not pluck or ability these days that can make a man, it is circumstance and divine providence in marketability of your skills. Thank the last generation of congress critters for that, and thank the present batch for not seeing it.
Allow me to succeed in the things I am already capable of doing without having to fear regulation and I can succeed tomorrow in a few things right off the top of my head, but my present brainstorm are pipe dreams, I could not afford the insurance for my designs. If all that mattered was gumption and effort, we would all be millionaires.
One of our greatest competitors is China. China has a controlled economy and a rising standard of living. In fact all these economies that we are off shoring our jobs to do not practice free trade at all, yet they have a rising level of prosperity.
They are prosperous because of capitalism exercised by corporate Western companies, who in order to compete in the world economy, outsource the manufacturing to cheap labor nations, and then sell the product completed to westerners at high prices at extreme profits! Capitalism at it's finest!
It certainly proves capitalism works, but my argument is, what are we supposed to do now? If we arent making things at a salable cost rate, what are WE supposed to manufacture for ourselves? Where does OUR employment come from?
IF it costs too much to run a company here that can make an item at a profit because of overseas competition, what am I supposed to produce? And how am I supposed to pay people to work for me if all my costs are eaten up because of payroll that while 1/2 the American norm, it is still 10X the World standard wage?
That is what I see is going on here in America. We are letting in competition who did not pay for the right to do business in America or who did not pay for the right to do business with corporations that depend upon the American market.
Know what else burns my buttons?? THEY didnt even invent these new technologies that made us prosperous in the first place, nor did they invest in all the new machines or processes that took years and millions to develop!
And we just went over there, set up OUR machines, sent in OUR people to teach them how, they pay them slave wages compared to ours, put ourselves out of business all in the name of competition to wipe us out of the market!! We are selling them the rope to hang us, and we are making the rope ourselves!
And some here say we are whining?? As far as I am concerned, we are the only ones who are seeing this in the light that it is. My only guess is, the cheerleaders for this world economy are those who either never got laid off or havent yet because they entered the work force in such a unique field there is no present outsourcing yet.
The rest of us swallowed the line we were taught in the 1960's: That aviation was here to stay, that the US was the leader in manufacturing, that all these factories are here to stay because up her in CT we make jet engines, helicopters, and all the little mom and pop machine shops that make parts for Pratt and Hamilton and Kaman and Sikorsky will always be employed because there will always be newer jets and such, you live next to an international airport so you can always get a service job that pays well, move freight for Emery or TWA or whoever...
And none of that lasted past my 30th birthday, but that is what I was raised to believe, be trained to live under, direct my education towards...
And since then, due to such a rancid record of steady jobs due to all the temp jobs I had, I have never been able to get the BS, and have had 10 jobs in the last 3 years alone.
I cannot get a job washing dishes around here, did you know that? All the Mexicans are doing that. Not a joke, all the restaurants hired Mexicans for $9 or $10, something I would really do if it meant a steady job long enough to get back into school and take a few more courses top get my BS, only, no one hires AS degreed engineers in CT anymore. There are too many BS degreed people looking for work, they dont need me.
What I want, is my country to stop giving away technology to people who didnt do anything to earn it and are only going to use it against us economically by putting us all out of work because they pay their workers slave wages or support their failing industries through govt subsidies instead of making these new companies COMPETE in the free market like we are forced to!
Someone I know looked up the number of IT jobs in Connecticut for me. He found 53 on one website. Oh, Goody. 53 in CT. That means of the 500 that got laid off in the last 2 years from CIGNA alone, and the new graduates, about 250 more, there are how many people per job? 13 people for each job?
Now, add in the people who lost jobs from Aetna and The Hartford. And Pratt. And Sikorsky. And Hamilton Sundstrand. And the banks.
Are we seeing a pattern here?
Some might call this a paranoia that other countries are economically trying to bankrupt us. Yes, I do believe that India and China is trying to do something, but only because they are involved in self preservation in the world economy. It is a normal action of a country to protect its own economy through tariffs and fees, it protects its own citizens from under priced goods entering and putting their own countrymen out of work because of the cheaper goods coming in at a rate that you cannot compete at!
Many IT jobs are being outsourced to India for the cheap labor that India provides because of the lower standard of living, and the high standard of education.
What India sees is an opportunity that comes once a millennia, that the technology that rules the world will be handed to them on a silver platter by the west, all they need do is provide the labor to make it run for a few years, gather capital and knowledge, and then use it and make it themselves, prop up their economy as they grow while we wither down to serfdom due to the economic bubble being burst on us. And we GAVE them the technology to do this, they didnt earn it, they didnt discover it, they didnt develop it, they didnt design it, they didnt make it, WE GAVE IT TO THEM!!!
Some believe the only answer is to just re-train. Well, getting my Engineering Degree was retraining. If I knew how to weld right now, I could have applied for at least 10 jobs I saw in the last 3 months alone around here. I was a machine mechanic for years, building flight test rigs for Kaman, operating them, and inspecting parts while under test, these jobs were for simple assembly of machines, but they needed some welding somewhere.
So many people here would just respond, Well, just go to welding school dummy". yeah. Degreed Engineer, just drop all education I had previously, to go to welding school.
With what money? I am unemployed!!
Too many brain childs out there think they can throw out simple statements of encouragement that have nothing to do with the reality of the situation. And those 10 jobs? I would have been the new welder, with an engineering degree, who would have been told, You are just going to leave this job as son as the economy picks up again", like I have been for the last 2 years.... Not joking, I have been turned down for $10 an hour jobs that I begged for! Can't hire a mechanic with 15 years experience because he has a degree and was an engineer for the last 7 years?
Some say to just relocate, work will be wherever I go, just not where I started!
1st, it is just my pay that had to account for being able to leave. And I am unemployed.
2nd, I had several offers that were supposed to pan out and I gave them an honest chance, technologies that were not tied in to the local manufacturing base, and each never took me on perm.
3rd, I needed a place to move to and the ability to move and a place to move to. Conestoga wagons and a plot of land to carve out and farm are a little rare these days. The days of going to a plot of land with a rifle and an ox to plow the field are gone.
4th, this problem may be stronger here, but it is coming to a company near you any day, and you know it, and where are you going to move then?
5th, If I was married I would have two incomes to rely on when these times came. Plus, I only got my ASME in 93, no one was hiring me as an engineer then, nor was there any out of state offers coming in to take. Together, I had no means to leave the state, either on my own or with a wife.
Either way, the recognition of the terror coming does not make the terror acceptable, it is still the terror, and the economic policies that feed the terror are what is the problem, not the desire to move when I hear the lions roar.
Our politicians are feeding us to the lions, and they are calling it rain on our crops. The passing of laws that allowed H1-B visas was supposed to allow only the highest educated people to work in this country to fill the place of someone who did not exist here before, not take the place of someone already employed here. It was not supposed to replace American Citizens with foreign nationals just to benefit the profit margins of companies in competition with foreign markets.
Since I stopped being a mechanic, and got my ASME in 93, I have had the same average wage for the last 10 years.
In fact, I used to have a steady job while I was a mechanic, but since I got an engineering job, learned 5 CAD languages, and 4 programming languages, I have had more than 30 jobs in the last 7 years.
Seen more than half the companies I worked for in the last 8 years go belly up. Not a joke. Even the steadiest job I had is almost closed, Kaman Aerospace. Got laid off from Colt when they had to hire a team of lawyers to defend themselves against the lawsuits. Video Terminal company I worked for is defunct.
The rest, except for one, is overseas. China. One company is a fastener company, another is a jet engine manufacturer, and another went to Mexico. All the small companies that made parts for these companies went out of business.
Thanks to NAFTA. GATT.
Someone asked me, "What I'd like to get is an explanation of why "entire technology groups" disappearing is bad".
This needed to be explained??
Where do certain materials come from? Isnt it true that we cannot just mine a hole in the ground to get Bauxite? How about Copper? Arent we supposed to go to a particular spot where we know there is Copper? Now, if someone wanted to deny us Copper, they would be starting a war if they cut us off, or they would be causing undue influence on our way of life if they controlled it and raised its prices above that which we pay.
Now, that same logic applies to industry. Any industry. If we cannot make a bearing in a cost effective way in this world, where is the logic to send the means and knowledge to make bearings to another country where competition does not exist?
We are sending away the means to produce the most basic materials we use in industry! This is not about singular items like sneakers or IT programmers; it is about entire means of creating anything.
The machines we send over to these countries are used to create other machines. These new machines are going to, if not already, be used to create the competition for our remaining industrial goods, to be operated at slave wages by people who did not have to be trained in high tech skills to operate, but only told when to press a button, thanks to Computer Controlled Machining.
We are not sending over looms and combines to people to allow them to live better, we are sending over complex CNC machines and devices that are used in Aerospace, Automotive, and computer industries, and they are being setup by us, used by them, and they are not worried about profit in making their business run, they have governments run their businesses, and that means profit is not the motive! At least not where the operation of the company is concerned!
What product am I going to make that cannot be reverse engineered by a geek with a set of verniers and a tape measure and calipers and shadowgraph??
Even if I did design something unique, since we handed the technology of machine tools and the methods to produce to these slave labor countries, my new product will only exist in competitive form in this country for no more than 3 years. Once it makes it overseas, and is recognized as a commodity that greedy westerners will buy, it will be copied and mass produced for pennies on the dollar, and we GAVE THEM the means to do so!! They didnt develop it!! They didnt design it!! They didnt spend the money necessary to finalize the design or methods; they just copied what they saw or outright bought the machines that the originating company used to make this product!!
Goodness! People are so stupid!! We are handing away the store on this stuff, the technology we are giving away is not just intellectual, it is a the physical machines we used to make widgets, buttons, fabrics, filters, oils, sheet metal, (did you know that? Even the simple sheet metal bending industries are losing work to China?? The simple press brake is going to disappear because a SLAVE can learn how to bend metal just as well!!)
A lack of profit from where we are concerned makes or breaks a company. Overseas, Profit is the long term goal only if it means they make enough machines to outsell us in the market. People are stupid, these technologies are not single use when taken in a whole, and they are entire industry wide! 5-Axis CNC machines, VTL's, borers, lathes, bridgeports, all CNC controlled, means that they now have the means to make high quality materials and devices at costs where the US cannot help but fail in competition, and not one of these countries developed these technologies in order to compete in the open market, they either bought it from someone, or they bribed someone to bring it there! And now, there is so much over there, it is impossible for the US to ever recover with a living wage as we are used to.
Some fools try to claim that all it is going to take is some genius with a brainstorm to create a new device or technology and open up a factory and VIOLA! We all have jobs here! All that does is showing me that most people here never worked in a factory, or do they work in mechanical engineering. I can copy almost any device, and if I am paying people slave wages, and if I already have the machines in place to make things that I have a drawing for, I can reproduce any product in a similar fashion and maybe improve upon it and sell it for a cost that will immediately put that American genius out of business in his 2nd year.
We are not dealing with people who live in the Stone Age! We are not dealing with little Coolies pushing/pulling rickshaws! We are dealing with industrial giants who have purchased the most modern machines the world has to offer, and in case you didnt know, American companies are NOT buying new machines at any rate similar to China or India!
We are dealing with an industrial powerhouse that is using our hard earned gains and are turning it against us, and taking away the factories that we worked at and leaving us with no places to work at! The industrial skills that many of us trained for are no longer needed on the scale of the 1970's, and it is not because of a catastrophe, it is because our government allowed it to leave, and to make matters worse, we sent this technology to countries that are our sworn enemies and are using these machines operated by people who are working at slave labor wages, and in some cases in China, literal slaves or prison inmates!
And you cheer leaders of Free Trade say this is a good thing!
You are the traitors here.
This is what amazes me most about the free trade cheerleaders. None of them work in manufacturing, so all they do is quote some pundit or Limbaugh.
Limbaugh is an ignorant man on this. He thinks all this so-called Free Trade is going to be a boom for us! He shows he never worked in a machine shop or factory. It does not take a rocket scientist to see, you can copy a product. When you learn how to operate the machines, all you need is a monkey to press the buttons nowadays.
And if you have government sponsored purchasing of machines, and government sponsored operation of companies to cover losses, you have humans who are better educated than any generation and capable of following instructions...VIOLA! Any product can be made at a cheaper price when it is made by a slave!
That is NOT FREE TRADE! That is NOT market competition!! That is NOT capitalism!
These companies, in order to stay in business, moved to a socialist government run country that props up industry with government money, and that is not what Capitalist countries can compete with, especially when those socialist countries pay slave wages.
Plus, we are handing these economic competitors our technology which they did nothing to design, develop, or contribute to, and they are using it to take away our jobs and our job futures. And if you dont see it coming, you need to drink some more coffee or something...
It just amazes me; the CHEERLEADERS for FREE TRADE must have NEVER worked in a factory or in Engineering, for NONE of them see the danger in allowing these technologies abroad! Why in the world do they think companies had what were called TRADE SECRETS? Why do they think people sign statements agreeing that they will not give away company plans and product designs to competitors?
IT IS BECAUSE IT WILL BE USED AGAINST THEM!!
And now, in my lifetime, I have seen entire industries go overseas, the earliest one I remember is textile, and I used to ask my parents, why are we giving away our machines? Why dont we make THEM build their own machines? We had to develop our own, why are we giving away the means to make clothes to people who are going to put all the remaining textile manufacturers out of business?
Now it is Jet Engines (Pratt & Whitney), airplanes (Boeing), computer hardware, electronic devices, automotive parts, textiles, clothes, processed wood products, faux wood products, plastics, molded devices, intellectual work/math and sciences/Drafting and Design/Computer Coding/Accounting/what ever!
Can anyone tell me an electronic device: television/radio system/calculator/VCR/DVD/Video Camera that is made in the United States?
My Gosh, what were people thinking??
There is not ONE technological industry that will remain American because we gave away the technology to copy it all and the recipient countries did not have to invest a dime in development of these technologies, all they had to do is let it get so easy to use a trained monkey could press a button when the light came on and remove a part from the spindle, and that is all it takes to get a slave to run a CNC in China!
Can someone tell me honestly, where would a person go to mass produce a product that required 15 machining steps, 25 separate parts each, and an assembly line of 10 people for each shift to make 10 units a day including all hardware from scratch nowadays?
Unless a company is backing this brain child, it is useless to even imagine it, the laws that restrict manufacturing, the laws that insist on needless health concerns, the training, the amount of scrap for the first units until the work force is trained, the lights, the rent, the demand for pensions and benefits, the necessity of paying into government programs of unemployment, payments into retirement programs employees insist on, health care insurance . . .
What schmuck wants to get into that? On HIS OWN dime? Only to be bought out after 3 years and see his brainstorm go overseas if he gets bought out at all, for China doesnt HAVE to obey US patents, do they?
While we can whine about losing our high paying job, the problem is that we are losing the ability to produce!!
The machines necessary to make things are moving to China!! The replacement costs of new machines are prohibitive unless you have a market for it, only if you cannot make it cheaper than a slave can, you have no market!!
This is why I scream at this: Most people who are the free trade cheerleaders must have never worked in manufacturing in their life. They have no clue as to what is happening to us!!
Todays engineering populace is more educated than any before, only there are no new jobs opening up because the factories are moving overseas!
The same goes with IT, the brains are going overseas.
We all went to school; played the game, paid our dues, and then the people who had to power to make the decisions yanked the rug from under us!
We are NOT competing against capitalist countries on the whole, we are competing against socialist/Fascist countries that use government funding to support, create, and provide for the companies that they take from us. These are NOT private individuals starting up machine shops in China, it is the Chinese government!
These are not companies spending their own money to develop and design and trouble shoot the machines to make the product, these are countries that have purchased the materials and machines to make all products from scratch, run them by slaves, LITERALLY, and then have the government supply all monies to keep them from going under.
Good God!! That is NOT free market, that is NOT capitalism, that is NOT free Trade, it is SOCIALISM!! It is a form of Fascism!! And we are not doing anything to stop it or defend our own countries ability to produce or provide for our own selves!! They are literally using slave labor to run the high tech machines and we cannot compete against that using our Free Market Capitalist ideals!
The cat is out of the bag. People are all human and all capable of thinking. Now that we gave away the technology to make these products, and educated their new leaders, and then gave them the machines to do it and through all this provided the profits to buy more machines and materials, we have signed the manufacturing death warrant for our nation!!
Why in God's name is this so hard to see for some people??
Let's see... We design and build a machine capable of cutting steel, we design and build a product using that previous machine, and we mass produce it, make a profit from it, only to sell the metal cutting tools and production tools and the technologies necessary to repeat the previous processes to a country that does not engage in free market competition because the government props up the business and prevents it from operating at a loss...and you say we can compete against that?
Humans are human. They can be educated to run complex machines. If we design through our own efforts new technologies that give us great advances that cause our people to advance in technology and culture, what in the world are we doing giving away these technologies to other countries that are our ideological enemies?
WE spent the money to advance these technologies, to develop it, to debug it, using monies from profits, not government, losing our shirts in the process in a capitalist society where the fittest survive only to give it away to a communist nation that pays its workers of these new companies in rice bowls? And you say that is what we are able to compete against?
I got a news flash for you: My friend from High School runs a small machine shop; He just had a new machine put in. When the guy came to install it, he told him of his recent trip to China to install a new machine there. Once the machine was leveled and wired in, they brought down the worker for this machine...removed his shackles and handcuffs...did you get that? He was hand cuffed; he was shackled, barefoot, and brought out of is cell to run the new 4 axis miller.
We cannot compete against this type of manufacturing. This is not a backward country trying to use a crude lathe to make cheaper table leg. This is an industrial giant using computer controlled machines where all a person has to know is what button to push and when thanks to developments in CNC technology. And they pay them in rice bowls, and when he makes a mistake they make a new part until they fill the quota for good parts because they can afford the training curve to run the machine right to eliminate errors.
Socialist Countries propping up their companies is NOT FREE TRADE; neither is American Companies moving off shore, providing the means and personnel to run these companies that formerly employed Americans Capitalism, either!
Not one of these countries developed these technologies themselves, not one of them spent the money to do the research and development to achieve the high quality that these products are now, and not one of these countries started these companies with an individual who is competing solely on Free Market Capitalist Ideals!!
This isn't about whining, it is about giving away the company store to those who are trying to destroy us economically!! It is about giving away the means and technology to compete against ourselves!! That is not sane!!
We are not talking about an individual or group of individuals starting up their own little version of Microsoft in the open market, we are talking about Socialist Governments using Government funds to support all the waste and error that would bankrupt any other company by buying all the machinery from us, the instructions on how to use it coming from us, and then demanding that we use this new company to provide a product, thereby depriving an American competitor a chance to make the product at a cheaper price only they cant BECAUSE THESE FOREIGN COMPANIES ARE USING SLAVE LABOR!!
Capitalist companies cannot compete against that because we are liable for our losses in manufacturing through human error, we use our own money not the governments, and when we go under, it is our tough luck.
Not so in China or Malaysia or Thailand or India or Mexico....
Recently, Black and Decker announced they were moving operations overseas. Yes. Losing jobs in manufacturing is bad because entire technology groups are disappearing, and it is way more than Black and Decker. If you just arent in the field, maybe thats why you dont know.
Okay Cheerleaders, chime in and defend socialist countries supporting these companies with government funds, and lets see what happens 5 years from now when the Black and Decker American people are thrown out on their ear and the technology they imported becomes property of the STATE!!
Lets see what went there: Mechanical knowledge, electrical motor technology, battery manufacture and power use technology, recharging technology, plastic manufacturing, molding technology, assembly jobs, electrical jobs, admin jobs....Well, since no IT went there, maybe it is ok??
Recently, someone remarked to me the following:
"I say that we DO NOT prevent the loss of jobs overseas. I suggest that we put our creativity to work creating the next-big-thing resulting in jobs that we will eventually export again 20 years from now. I will say this once more. IT is NOT special. Engineering LABOR is NOT special. We have never in this country exported out ability to CREATE, and we never will. Manufacturing and Service Industries will be long gone, and I cannot argue that they should not be gone. This country does not do that kind of work with the efficiencies and economies of scale that other countries do the next best thing? It is diversity in manufacturing that makes a strong production force, not a singular industry making a singular product unless that product expands across the market like a bearing manufacturer."
I responded: It is the efficiency of American Labor that made the technology of this world!!?? What kind of stupid statement was that?? Those countries are not efficient, THEY USE SLAVES!!! They pay them 1/20th what we make and still charge the same for the final product!!
Your lack of experience in the world of manufacturing is quite clear here, for in almost each post of mine, I have stressed how it is particular fields of manufacturing that Connecticut was dependant upon,(Aerospace defense, Jet Engines, engine controls) and now that those fields have gone overseas, we are facing major unemployment and recession. Because those jobs went overseas. And you say they should??
Just because your most easily transferable skills are only now relegated to service yourself, FLYING A TAXI or FLYING A TRUCK, (This person is a Pilot of a Major National Airline), does not mean that the rest of us, with real skills that make factories run; mechanical, electrical, assembly, inspection, engineering, all of which I have practical experience in; should just sit back and let this happen to us just so you can sit back in do your overpaid service job while the people who actually did the work in creating the product you are flying in get tossed out in the street.
Some have said it here earlier, and it is so clear now, YOU HAVENT GOT A CLUE as to what is happening if you are openly calling for jobs to go overseas in manufacturing and production just so creators can prosper here?? You show absolutely no practical knowledge in how production mostly works, and it aint through people with degrees, it is though people with practical experience in the trades making experienced decisions in improvement and future designs, not kids out of college with grandiose ideas.
I have no doubts you can run rings around me concerning pilot skills, but you dont know a thing about manufacturing and the market for goods and the production of those goods.
Your ideas are allowing foreign nations to put us out of business. New Creations can come from the smallest group of people, and with the right capital, that small group of people can create a trained work force that are not creators and keep them employed for a lifetime, but according to the real world, these new ideas will be invented here, maybe, but produced overseas.
Did you catch it? 20 people here have a brainstorm, and 5000 people in China have a job!! What good did that do? There was no practical benefit for these creators having an idea of it is more economical to produce widgets in China because we propped up their government efforts to create an industrial base like we did!! There was no gain in jobs in the US because of the ideas of 20 people if we send the work overseas!!
If only 20 people have a brainstorm, what does the rest of the people do for work if it only goes overseas? And with the accumulated knowledge that China and India are rapidly gaining because of American Companies begging to send over work and machines to do that work, what in the world makes you think those Indians and Chinese aren't going to have ideas of their own?? Are you totally ignorant of the fact that American Companies are filled with OLD technology machines, and overseas companies are making money hand over fist and buying new machines while we are scraping to pay the light bill?
You are under a serious delusion to think that just because we are Americans we are the only people with an idea. You really dont understand this, do you??
My profession stands between nothing, nor was I condescending. You as a Pilot, have skills the rest of us here almost know nothing of.
That being said, My skills are what makes industry run: Mechanical understanding, machining, programming, electrical understanding to a small degree of circuits, hydraulics, production work with my hands, milling, drilling, turning, and in the last 7 years, mechanical design, CAD, and programming languages taken also.
The world of manufacturing revolves around those skills. My Skills.
NOT piloting. NOT your skills.
While you have some knowledge of how an economy works in theory from your own observations, you never were one of those making it run from a manufacturing side, and it is those jobs we are losing, not pilots. Creative capitalism only will succeed when there is genuine competition between companies, not between companies and socialistic governments that prop up their side with money to cover losses, while true capitalist companies have to resort to cutting spending and/or payroll. All I hear from the "Cheerleaders of Free Market" here is that if we all smile and work hard, we will succeed. It may take time, but we will prevail.
Wrong. We do not live in the dark ages, and one main reason is we gave away the technology to our competitor nations. We provided them with the machines to do it, educated their engineers, their technicians, even paid for the machines to move there, and provided them with the contracts to give these companies a reason to be moved in the first place.
You guys keep repeating some mantra that all that matters is if people buck up and work hard. That is no longer the case, we live in a country filled with capitalist companies competing against nation/states that are socialist and prop up their companies with government funds.
THAT IS NOT FREE MARKET CAPITALISM.
As long as American Companies move overseas, in any small way, they will continue to fund and provide the weapons of industry that those countries will use against us economically, and many of them will use slave labor or inconceivable lower wages than we here are used to receiving. That will kill all domestic competition, for most companies cannot even keep the lights on for the same costs of production that these overseas companies operate at! And that is without considering payroll.
The natural progression of these things is that we will have to lower our standards of living to what we now call 3rd world. The American Dream of 2 cars will be a myth, unless you were one of the lucky few that had 20/20 vision and got to be a Navy Pilot. (No Offense, really)
My point is, it is no longer about hard work. We do not live in the 1800's, we are an industrial society, with an industrially trained populace, whose companies that provided employment went to some overseas nation for 1/200th the cost to do business, only their profits still went up according to their books, and that means they really made a killing!
If I remember correctly, Adam Smith believed in Tariffs, and this is one reason why.
And it is also one of the reasons we need to close our borders. Americans WILL do manual labor, I know, I keep applying for it. Only, I cant get it. I would be happy to work 2 jobs to stay solvent, but at the pay rate they are offering now at Stop & Shop, and since they also limit their part timers to 15 hours a week, I cannot afford to live on $275 a week...Unless I can get the OTHER $7 an hour job for 40 hours a week, too.
I stand by my prediction: In 5 to 10 years, all the companies that opened up in China will be run totally by the Chinese, and all monies that came into those companies will go to China, and the companies whose name is on the door will be thrown out on their ear, and will be facing bankruptcy due to the loss of the job market that they thought their China run ops would give them security in.
Due to the influx of new machines, new technologies, new money, we will be shoved aside, and it is because of people who were "Cheerleaders of Free Market" nonsense.
What you are missing in our arguments, (probably our fault for not wanting to type so much), is that this freedom, which all here want to experience, has been sold to the lowest bidder. We do not live in the 1800's where we can take a rifle and shovel and axe, go clear out a spot for a cabin in spring, a clearing for a field before summer, and keep the trees we cut down for firewood for the winter anymore.
We are locked into a technology driven system, where we are responsible to learn these technologies in order to be 'productive'. It is NOT a matter of effort to keep ourselves productive and safe anymore.
That is the main point. The dreams and wishes of the 'Rugged Individualists" and the " Cheerleaders of Free Market Capitalism", on this thread, all seem to be people who do not hold, nor have they ever held, positions requiring the knowledge and experience which those of us who are pointing out the errors and effects of this so-called FREEE TRADE>
In other words, it seems to me, you are all standing on the sidelines cheering us on, reminding us to be optimistic, while none of you ever played the game.
Yes, you are benefiting from your previous experience, and I as a Former Marine appreciate what you did and went through, but pardon me for saying, you didnt learn the skills we need to make this country manufacture goods at a profit, nor did you learn skills that enable the prosperous capitalist to manufacture a new idea. I did. So did a few others.
I am not saying your opinion does not matter, but it sure matters less, for you are not one who has been thrown out of a job that you were doing well at, only to see that job go overseas with hundreds of other co-workers losing their jobs along with that.
You are not dependant on those job skills that you excelled at as we are, (In fact, unless you are now flying a taxi, your hard earned skills are a white elephant) and to re-train on peasants wages is not always an option, in fact, it rarely is.
We have lived lives that reflected our income, and only the most frugal of us lived Spartan lives on a high income. Thankfully for me, I never earned enough to afford a house, for I would have lost it already. I have already gone chapter 7, 7 years ago. I may have to do it again; I am going in for surgery Wednesday to rebuild my rotator cuff. I plan to sue to recover the losses, but that will be collected almost a year from now, and I still have bills with no ability to work for the next 3 months!
You are sitting safely on a pension that will pay your bills, and if you are married, your wife's income will see you through, but you must admit: It was more than effort that got you your position as a pilot. Much of it was natural ability that 99% of the world does not have, eyesight considered alone!
I do not have that luxury. I have many marketable skills, 5 CAD languages, classes in C, FORTRAN, VISUAL BASIC, PASCAL, and not one offer. Programming jobs are leaving this state. Manufacturing is at it's lowest rate here since the recession of 1993, and I heard from some state worker on the radio, we have the same percentage of unemployed now as we did then, with even less companies to hire now as then if the economy picks up.
Sweat and blood works in the civilian world only when there is a market for it, and the mantra that we should all just open up businesses with zero capital falls on deaf ears here. I havent got a penny to do that, nor does any family member I am related to.
The issue here is not to cheerlead on the unemployed as myself, the issue here is for the government to wake up and spot what their policies have wrought! In 5 to 10 years, all the factories that Pratt & Whitney and Boeing have opened up and controlled in China will be totally Chinese run when they throw us out on our ears! And Pratt & Whitney and Boeing will be forced into bankruptcy.
And dont be surprised if Mexico doesnt try the same thing, seize the factory, throw out the Yankees, and keep the factory running for themselves since they now have trained workers, brand new machines, and an entire European and South-East Asian market to sell to themselves. And we gave them the means to do it, too. I dont care who started it, European companies going to the Far East first with Pratt forced to do so to compete or not.
It happened, and it is getting worse. Every temp agency I have contacted in the last 2 years has told me they are scrounging for work, and the biggest complaint is there is no work because of outsourcing to remain competitive because some competitor outsourced first!
We do not live in the 1850's where Chinese labor meant railroad or stevedores, it now means CNC machines and electronic devices that we used to make, and they make it pennies on the dollar. I told you of my friend who had an associate tell him of going to China to set up a machine, and the man they led down to operate it was handcuffed! He was a PRISONER!! He worked to stay alive, not for a wage, and we cannot compete against that low standard of cost to do business!
It used to be we could brag about American Made products. It was more than spirit, it was productivity, and we have handed away the technical means to keep up this productivity by selling machines to China, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Canada, you name it. A technical product, made in the US, can be copied easily by any trained engineer and inspector, and maybe even improved upon, and then manufactured at a cost that we cannot compete at!
When the foreign governments support the companies and prevent them from operating at a loss because the government provides all monies to operate, that is NOT FREE MARKET CAPITALISM!! THAT IS SOCIALISM and it is not people like me who are endorsing SOCIALISM!! It is all who dismiss with the wave of the hand the reforms we are calling for.
WWIII without a shot.
And that is the crux of the issue. We handed the technology to people, who, just like us, live and breathe and read books and have ideas, ideas that a smart person can put to work if he has the right tools and the right capital...capital equipment which we gave them, and capital monies propped up by socialist/Fascist governments desiring to build up their own country's economy, to the expense of other countries, as it has been from the dawn of time.
This is how things used to be in other countries, before American industry agreed to outsource a percentage of production to the buyer nation. The reality is that there are very few American-only markets left. If you want to sell abroad, you have to play by the rules of the buyer. But that is allowing the top level management to make money in the name of the company, while allowing the workers who used to do the work to go beg bread. That is part of the issue, the work used to be done here. Airplanes WERE an American item to be bought, and there was nothing wrong with that!
Excusing away cheaper prices as a benefit of exporting technology, by default allows for unemployed Americans who used to make it here. People who had jobs had income, and the more that was made here, the more money we had to spend. Since jobs are going away, there is less income, and even now we cannot afford the foreign imports. I would exchange a little higher prices for some jobs any day, besides, some jobs didnt pay much because the skill level was not needed to justify high wages in the first place. People afforded things in the 50's and 60's and 70's because they had work, saved money, and spent wisely, not because of cheap imports.
I have earned my right to make these statements because of my efforts and desire to see it through, but dont tell me I dont have a right to make these statements or that I am just complaining. I am spelling it out from someone who is not just someone who HAS gone through it, but someone who is and has been living it for almost 10 years now.
My perspective on it may be more negative than others, but it is also more realistic than most, too.
What I see as the main cause of all this, and it isnt free trade so much, it is the idea of Western Technology being handed to foreign nations with government run companies in a fascistic manner, propped up with government funds to cover losses incurred from the lack of experience of the new workers.
In other words, we are not being outsourced to able people, we are being outsourced to nations that prop up their companies, contract for twice as much work to be done so that in filtering out products that fail inspection, they still have enough products to release that fits the specs. For example, in China, they are ordered to make 50 engine casings for the F-100 engine. They dont cast 50 cases or even 51, they cast 100 or 150. That way, they have the material to try to learn how to make the part, and all errors in manufacturing are paid for by the government, not the company.
Has anyone here ever thought of that? That is NOT FREE TRADE and that is sure not CAPITALISM! That is FASCISM of a sort, that is SOCIALISM, it is a planned economy, it is government propping up failed industries in order to make a final product and give their people time to produce on a scale that is competitive with the west. Name one industry in the US where the government props up that industry on a grand scale to make sure they can compete and pass the learning curve. The only one I can think of is AMTRAK and that is because trains are a vital industry to the national security. Jet engines are not unless you are making them for your military, and Pratt engines made in China are CIVILIAN engines for jet liners, not fighters.
So, think on this a while, this is why people like me lament these free trade agreements and outsourcing. It does NOT represent free market capitalism, it is capitalism against Fascism, and it is private industry against Government spending to compete in the market.
Do you all remember how much of this started? We did it as charity, we sent down textile industries to 3rd world countries to help them lift up their economies.
Did these countries develop their industries themselves? NO. We did it for them, and that is not market capitalism. They did not spend the money to develop these industries, they did not force themselves to learn how to do it themselves, they took world welfare from us, they did not do it through hard work, and they did it because of corporate and federal greed.
Did the market keep them afloat the first few years? NO, their governments did, and that is not market capitalism.
Remember my story about my 2nd grade substitute teacher?
Did you know the rubber for Converse Sneakers used to be made in Naugatuck Connecticut? Where is it made now? Want to see a whole bunch of abandoned factories? Come up north. Ever hear of New Departure? They used to make parts for ACDELCO. Know where that work went? Mexico. I have some floor space I can rent you if you are interested in Bristol. 100,000 sq feet of it. Parking for 500, too.
Companies in my old home town on the canal are abandoned; they used to employ over 2000 people, making electrical tinsel, paper, valves, chucks for lathes and drill presses. All gone to China. Except for the paper mill, but a Chinese company owns it now, did you ever hear of that recently? (I was told it was Chinese, I have to check)
I worked for a company that did stamping and progressive die; I did some drafting for them. 5 years ago was my first time there, short term work, they had 200 people in there, all immigrants off the boat from Poland or Central America, had a special bus for them paid by the company. All making minimum wage only. Know where they make stuff now? China. The shop floor is a ghost town.
Pratt & Whitney. Jet engines. In the 70's, they had over 75,000 people working at 5 plants in the state. Southington is closed. Middletown is almost closed. East Hartford is open and running, but total employees there are about 10,000 total.
Hamilton Standard, valves for engines, fuel controls, astronaut back packs, zero-g toilet, high tech prop technology, 25,000 people in 1976. 3000 now. And that was only 5000 before 9/11. Connecticut is the only state I know of with negative growth, we lost a federal congressman, Maloney (Thankfully). But still, jobs here are scarce, and one reason is foreign nations are propping up their work with government money, and that is not free market, that is Socialism or a form of Fascism, and that is not Free Market Capitalism.
So, people who are calling us whiners for pointing all this out and saying we are just doom and gloomers, explain how a government supported industry can honestly compete with a private controlled industry, when the government industry does not have to worry about profit or loss, while the private industry does?
Then tell me how that is Free Market Economics. Tell me how a government supported industry, like Jet Engines in Poland and China, tell me how that is Capitalism.
Not one of the countries that we are now in economic competition with had any industrial base to even compare with ours...until we started to give it away or sell it to them.
No one gave it to us, we created it through hard earned dollars, and it WAS capitalism then, it WAS honest trade, and it WAS good work!
It was NOT socialism, not Fascism, not government running of companies to prevent losses, it was men whose fortunes were risked to make better products competing on the open market, improving quality to make a more salable item to the public...and we just handed the keys to the candy store to the children, and we are left with the cavities in their teeth....
Good Grief, doesnt anyone remember what a CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT with a company is? It was to keep company secrets from competitors. How in the world can we then hand things over to our international economic rivals who do NOT play by the rules that WE do?? We have been abandoned by corporate greed and planned policies by the left to de-manufacture our country, either through deliberate plans or through drastic solutions to upcoming world economics.
Some people here have called folks like me a whiner. Whiner because I "didnt move" when I never had the money to move, "didnt retrain" while all the while I was retraining to remain competitive in my field, sound like a quitter when all the while, I was not the one creating my situation nor was I trying to stay in it
I have shown more determination just in surviving through this than any of you so-called heroes here that think you are taking the high road calling us whiners, I havent quit yet, nor am I quitting, So take your accusation and go home. I would love to see you go through half what I have been through in this state looking for work and keep your so-called optimism. My outlook is not defeat, it is reality. And don't tell me you live by the grace of God unless you have been tested. I have been tested like you cannot imagine, and I am well aware that the only chance I have of surviving anything is by His grace while you yourself have probably not even been through 1/10 of what I have professionally.
It is time for people to take stock of what is going on in this country and smell the coffee! In phone calls with different agencies, I have been told they receive 500 resumes A DAY!! I want anyone here to tell me they have that competition. And dont try to be so smart and tell me to move. You need money to move. You also need a job to move to, and every out of state job I have looked into told me that I have twice the job competition in those states with more jobs, like California or Colorado.
My only hope and source of optimism lies in knowing that God loves me and sent His Son to die for me. He promised He would never leave me nor forsake me. All I have is thanks to Him, and all I am going through is teaching me to turn to Him for all my needs, physical and spiritual.
I have nothing in my flesh that I can trust. My education has done me nothing. My good looks have done me nothing. My physical strength has done me nothing. I have been brought to the point that all I have IS God, and nothing else.
And while I am sounding the alarm about this world and decisions made, I am awaiting a spiritual body, and a home eternal. I want to leave this place like you cannot imagine! :)
God didnt tell me to quit when it got tough, nor did He tell me it would be easy. In fact, He told me it would get worse. And it did. And I can be seen through it all if I place my whole being in His trust, and turn to Him for all things, and to say thank you, for times like these, for they will bring a reward of His blessing, either in this life soon, but surely in eternity for trusting Him now by faith. But I would be a fool to not see where it all came from, and to not do what I am supposed to do, in this world's sense, to stop it. At the least, I can shout it from the rooftops.
"Communists and socialists feel sure that setting up international free trade systems which impose regulations chuck full of intrigues, redistribution plans, arbitrary law, and interdependence schemes, will win out against the conservative interests of every free nation. What could be better than to use free trade to reverse the advantage of the relatively free, moral, prosperous, and strong nations of the Earth, so that the tyrannical, amoral, poor, and weak nations of the socialist bloc might get the upper hand? What could be a more cunning approach than to market the idea that those who oppose free trade are enemies of freedom?" http://www.newsmax.com/commentarchive.shtml?a=2000/6/27/105655
I don't agree with what's happening, but I'm not sure what can be done about it.
The one question that nobody ever seems to address is this: What would the U.S. economy look like today if all the things we currently import from overseas were made here?
Wait until Moore's law keeps actualizing itself in 50 years. Computers/robotics will become so advanced, that manufacturing in the US will cease to exist.
I am pro american business, but alot of "american" businesses are not. Capitalism is about making money, but it's also about being beneficial to the community. What these nimrods on Wall Street don't get, is that it is only profitable in the long run if only a few companies move tech/manufacturing jobs overseas. They benefit because there are still enough americans with money to buy their products, that makes up for the 5,000 they layed off. However, if everybody does it, who are they going to sell to in the end? A nation of telemarketers does not an economic giant make.
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