Quick pull out your nearest pair of undies that still have the tag on them (cuz I know some of you nasty dudes out there wait till your tighty whitey's are black). Look at the tag. Where were they made? I've got a better one next time your wife, Girlfriend or Sister go shopping take a look at the tags. Next time you're out buying anything remotely useful Look hard at the labels. Notice something? Well if you're paying attention, you'll notice something amazing NONE OF THEM ARE MADE HERE!!!
No. Mexico, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, hell The forceps I used for sutures were made in Pakistan of all places. So where are all the awesome things Americans used to make? Well they're gone. See most of the factories are closed. Most of them are pretty well rotting. Hell Only people that are really making big things are Boeing and GE. Lockheed Martin only makes Military planes, McDonald Douglas is gone (consumed by Boeing). The major Car manufactures Ford Chrysler and GM pretty damned close to closing their doors. Chrysler is now partially owned by Fiat. Anheuser Busch, which makes Budweiser is no longer owned by Americans. Hell even the Empire State Building of all places, is owned by the Chinese.
Are you scared or pissed off? Perhaps you should be a bit of both. Why should you be scared? Well your job is dependent on goods (and services) provided by countries that do not necessarily like us. China is not our friend. I could see Japan or South Korea, both of which have a long history dealing with America and Americans. But China really hasn't been our friend since Mao took power. If everyone thinks China is friendly they ought to go take a walk around the Chosin Resivoir, I'm sure you can find some mass graves of US Soldiers and Marines that would beg to differ. What about Pakistan. Gee I'm sure turning a blind eye to Bin Laden for 9 years is nothing to worry about.
I could talk about resources. Does it bother you that Saudi Arabia, who we defended in Desert Storm from a raving sociopath, happened to be where 11 of 19 men who perpetrated one of the worst Acts of terrorism in history. Does it bother you that the Straits of Hormuz where 90% og the Arabian Oil flows is under threat by Iran and if you go through the Suez well now you've got Somali Pirates. Now all this is without talking about the Soup Sandwich that is Palestine/Israel.
You should be pissed that we allowed this to happen. We were focused on the Soviets till the late 80's. Then all the sudden we didn't have this large bear waiting to rip us apart at the smell of blood (or periods. I hear they attract bears too). But when all was said and don we came out on top. We were number 1! So what happened? Where did it all go wrong?
Well believe it or not it went wrong a lot earlier than you'd think. It actually started in the Great Depression. The economies of the world went Kaput all at once, and it started actually in America, which was lending money to Germany, which paid England and France reparations, which money they used to pay America for war loans. When Germany stopped getting Money, well France and England stopped getting money and America stopped getting money. Keep in mind this was in the middle of one of the worst man made droughts in American history (believe it or not bad farming practices lead to the Dust Bowl, not actual droughts). The result. . . Great Depression. Well we decided that it was all the Fat Cat's and Industry's fault. We looked for a scapegoat rather than fix the fundamental problems with our Economy.
The problem is the great depression and the Internet Bubble and the Housing bubble and every other bubble you can think of didn't happen over night. People in all three cases were playing around with notional money or assets and when someone actually stopped and tallied what there actually was, it turned out there was a lot less (or in the case of debt more) than everyone thought there was. You have to make up that difference somehow right? Well get cheaper stuff till you recover your loses. Only problem is this isn't solving the problem this is actually the same problem in another venue.
Where are the manufacturing jobs? If you need something absolutely need something built today where are you going to get the parts? Not here. We have assets true, but those assets all rely on parts and materials that were built or gotten overseas. You can outsource tech jobs, but what about manufacture? The economy isn't going to crash tomorrow if you can't call Dell about a broken computer but it will crash if say China decides its not going to accept the dollar anymore for their products.
So whats the solution? Well for one I would strongly suggest that in big bold letters (with a flag) you see where every product for consumer use comes from. I would like to see every box with at least thumbnail sized flag on it saying this was made here. It may seem small but it tends to make people realize more than the faintly written words. Second, and this is key, let people build factories wherever the hell they want. If South Carolina is a Right to Work state (basically a Union can't force you to join in order to have a job) and Boeing wants to start building airplanes there. . . Let em. Likewise if the Big three want to flee Michigan and UAW. . . let em.
Third, and this is perhaps most important, stop using the stick so much on companies. Use the carrot. Taxes are a necessity, we can all agree on that, and we can all agree to pay them because we need the services Government provides (at least the Enumerated powers) but taxes will only drive people away. Every empire that failed did so because of their tax burden. They tended to fall because of the little things that, on a macroscopic scale caused great harm. If a company actually does wrong, then let the laws that are on the books take care of it. There's no need to add another layer of regulatory mess because that will only slow down the people making things and also conversely the people actually trying to catch criminals.
Ultimately though we have to recognize and encourage ourselves to figure out what is absolutely vital to the economy. We as a nation need to sit down and have a talk. What do we need. What can't we live without? Once we figure that out the next goal should be how do we make certain that we control that. The means by which these things are achieved or obtained must remain in America. Do do any less is only inviting disaster. Lastly we must keep a tally on WHAT WE ACTUALLY HAVE!!! The trading on the margins has to stop. If you don't have it then why trade like you do?
Of course this won't happen until we have a real crisis. Then we'll realize how much trouble we're in. OOps.