Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cracks in Washington

There are cracks in Washington!  Cracks in Washington landmarks from the earthquake (August 23, 2011).  The debate over doing or not doing more infrastructure work can now end.  Infrastructure work is needed in Washington!  And in other locations also!

I wish the shaking of the earth could have shaken up the thoughts in the heads of politicians and bureaucrats so that real information and understanding could enter.   Real information about our huge unemployment problem, how it came about, and how to solve it.

It must be emphasized that a few politicians do understand what has to be done, even without a shakeup from an earthquake!  These politicians are doing excellent work but it is very difficult for them to bring additional colleagues on board.

I wish the earthquake had cracked the censorship that prevents all discussion of real information and understanding:

+  How we got to our present situation of 15 million unemployed, and impossibly high government deficits

+  What we have to do to get those good folks back to work, and by solving the unemployment problem also solve the deficit problem

What really happened?  What is the real cause of our huge unemployment problem?

The real cause of our unemployment problem began 50 years ago.  Yes, 50 years ago. 

Censorship is working to try to make you believe it is a recent problem.

50 years ago, individual U.S. manufacturers began to get the bright idea that they could increase profits by having the manufacturing work done in low-wage countries such as China.

The transfer of jobs, the movement of jobs, occurred on the initiative of the manufacturers involved, not due to any external forces, global trends, or technological developments.  And we have had a steady drumbeat of manufacturing jobs being sent overseas every year for 50 years. 

Censorship is working to try to make you believe that somehow jobs "disappear" or "migrate" due to external factors, rather than through any fault or mistake on the part of business or government "leaders".  Censorship is using those words in an effort to confuse the American people as to how the problem developed.  

The word "disappear" and especially the word "migrate" are absolutely false descriptions of our situation, and are being used to prevent understanding and solution of the problem.

The people who started making decisions 50 years to send manufacturing jobs to overseas locations were trying to save money.  But while looking at the supposed benefits, they forgot to look at ALL the costs. 

They forgot to consider hugely damaging costs that their own companies would suffer:

+  Send the manufacturing away and you tend to send away or lose the engineering edge and as a result you tend to send the research and development away and then you have lost your ability to innovate and create new products. 

+  You send your manufacturing away and send the engineering away and then you don't have the ability to manufacture new products, whether developed by your own company or another company.

+  You lose critical mass and then the whole system shuts down.

What is "critical mass"?

Probably the term critical mass is best known in relation to nuclear power.  If you want to generate electricity using nuclear phenomena, you need enough nuclear material to be present to allow a self-sustaining process to exist.  Otherwise the nuclear phenomena die out and you can't generate electricity.

Similarly, for a prosperous America you need an active and vibrant manufacturing sector with new products coming out to keep up with the times.  In short, you need critical mass.  You need the availability of:

+  enough companies with various types of expertise to do the research and development,

+  enough companies to be able to find the skills to develop the manufacturing methods, and

+  enough manufacturers who have the different skills required to make the subcomponents and components of existing and new products.

We have a further problem that no one foresaw 50 years ago or even 30 years ago.  That problem is China getting so full of itself that it wants to take over the world and make everything for the world.  It is actually imaginable that China could do this and in the process put every American manufacturer out of business. 

The censorship may be coming from a China Lobby, or from U.S. manufacturers who have billions invested in factories in China, or both. 

In any case, if we don't crack the censorship and allow discussion of the real cause and the real solution of the present unemployment problem, America as a nation is in very serious trouble, trouble that will not go away.

The only way to solve the unemployment problem is to admit that it was a huge mistake to allow manufacturing jobs to be sent away.  Get it out in the open.

And then proceed with a bold and forceful plan to get the jobs back from overseas.  Forget political correctness.  Forget the nonsensical idea of "building better relations with China".  Tell China to go jump in the lake.  Put on tariffs and/or foreign sales taxes.  Create incentives such as reduced corporate taxes to encourage manufacturing jobs to come back.

The one bright spot in the whole situation is that, slowly, jobs are coming back, even in the complete absence of any definite jobs plan on the part of the government.

Immutable economic forces, related to our huge negative balance of trade in manufactured goods, are causing manufacturing costs in the United States to drop, and costs in China to rise.  U.S. manufacturers are seeing the opportunity and are bringing jobs back.   Foreign manufacturers are seeing the United States as a good location for new manufacturing facilities.

But there are 15 million or more people who want to eat every day and have a roof over their heads.  Unemployed people can't wait five to ten years for jobs to appear.

The government has to act.  That is what governments are for.  I say that the politician who promises to cut ties with China, and put tariffs on manufactured goods from countries that don't buy from us in equal amounts, will be the next President of the United States!

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