5 myths about US manufacturing

Here are five common assumptions about modern-day American manufacturing that you ought to rethink.

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Nov 5, 2013 1:14PM
My dad worked as a machinist and kept an end mill bit in his tool box from 20 years ago made in Germany it still worked like a charm. The company started buying Chinese end mill bits and they were barely making it 8 months and the German items were only 4x more.  I believe one of the biggest problems is shortsightedness.
Nov 5, 2013 9:55AM
well  I  am  a  supervisor  in  the   mfg  sector......   young  help  DOES  not  have  the  work  ethic  nor  the   common  sense  skills   that  WE  need  in  the   mfg  sector.
Nov 5, 2013 12:35AM
Absurd nonsense article. The trade imbalance alone tells the true story. $400 Billion negative trade balance with Communist China alone and growing. Walk through any parking lot and simply count the foreign verses US Cars then consider the foreign content of US Cars. Walk through any major retailer and examine the labels.  It's China over and over again..
Nov 5, 2013 2:37AM
Read Adam Smith.  Those countries with a competitive advantage in a particular area of expertise or resources will gain in market share in those areas.  The USA, in the 50's through the 70's had competitive advantages in many important raw resources, a highly skilled workforce and was a master of innovation and management in manufacturing. 

Our educational system fell behind in the late 1960's and we wasted a lot of valuable resources in fruitless wars, especially Vietnam and Iraq and, probably, Afghanistan.  While our military has been skillful at tactics in recent years, it has been sadly lacking in high level leadership, as have our politicians. 

In the meantime, Wall Street and other financial manipulators (the biggest banks) and military-industrial profiteers (whose forerunners/mentors did an awful lot of theft during WWII), still steal and thieve with little likelihood of being held to account (except for a few scapegoats here and there).

The unions, who fought so hard during the 1920's through the 1940's to gain some leverage with managements, had later leaders who used their members' hard-fought gains to enrich themselves through crooked schemes and outright theft.  They were also co-opted by the ultra-wealthy management-owners who schemed together (and still do) and worked hard, especially since Reagan, to undermine them.  The UAW and Teamsters and other large unions partly screwed themselves, unfortunately, and we still have a feudal system in almost all companies--where both the workers and the investors have little or no say in how their companies are run.

It is encouraging that some companies will be coming back to the USA, but unless there are major changes, from Congress to companies, and a realization that the ultra-wealthy are screwing all of us over, expect things to only continue or get worse.  The greed is way beyond what it was in the 1980's when Gordon Gecko--in the movie-- famously said 'Greed is good'.  There is also far too much money in the intelligence/surveillance business, as Edward Snowden and other whisteblowers have illuminated for us.  The unparalled disparity in wealth and, thus, power here is undermining our society.  Eventually, even the ultra-wealthy, ultra-conservatives will pay a price beyond a little extra taxation, as history has shown.  Bill Gross at Pimco, and Warren Buffett, are telling the truth.  For all our sakes, I hope you all out there are listening.

Nov 5, 2013 10:59AM
It's funny how one "point" of this article is stating how US goods are NOT overpriced, then they go on to talk about $400 Red Wing shoes and $12,000 Trek bicycles.....
Nov 8, 2013 8:22PM

I'd suggest it's more a matter of core VALUES not skills. I've been a full time skilled factory worker for 27 years. I spend much of my free time and my own money improving my own education. This has helped me move up quickly and helped me earn the respect of my employer & coworkers.

But as for the young workers just entering the work force, none of them seem to value their educations. They spend their break time on Facebook (or Gossipbook as I call it), and after work they rush home to their Play Station or Xbox. They have no interest in improving their educations ... to quote Ozzy Osbourne they're on the "Road to Nowhere".

Nov 5, 2013 3:29AM
When I was in trade school I worked in a factory assembling air conditioners. The money was decent but it was a mind numbing boring job. I worked the night shift and let me tell you, I was so tired it's amazing I didn't get hurt. They always had a hard time attracting new workers. I worked there for almost 2 years and I saw no fewer than 30 people rotate in and out for the job next to me. Manufacturing is a tough business. I think many people realized that it was not a glamorous clean job and they left to go elsewhere. Nowadays many people would love to have that job. But that company closed when they shifted production to China. It costs them $22.00 to make a 5000 BTU unit there as compared to $76 here. Want a $99 air conditioner? It has to come from China.
I would like to take this moment to thank all the "captains of industry" for shipping manufacturing to the cess pool known as China, I just love buying some total POS made in China and a week later it breaks.  Now I just go out of my way to buy American/European.
Nov 9, 2013 6:27AM
Aren't we missing the point. this isn't a Republican or Democrat thing it's an American problem. Our cities are being destroyed, our American brothers and sisters are being put on the welfare lines, so some of us can save a dollar? In reality you never save that dollar because you now have to pay for that unemployed worker...Wake Up.. we are all in this together. We've allowed wall street and corporations to tell us every reason under the sun why our jobs are leaving, but the only real reason is money... if you can rig  it to move your labor overseas pay pennies, bring it back here to make dollars, so be it, but when our Government give them the incentive to this, is treason. We the everyday hard working Americans of all races made this country great. One more thing we never had a supply and demand economy, we've always a demand and supply economy, meaning we demand they supply, its time start acting like Americans first and show some loyalty and respect for our great nation. Let's save our own jobs by buying American made and clean up our Government from greedy politicians. There but for the grace of God go I....think about that the next time you put you fellow worker down.
Nov 5, 2013 12:40PM

Where I live in Maine we had shoe shops (factories), paper mills, and fabric production. These places are no longer here at all except for a couple paper mills. Other manufacturers have left the Northeast and built  overseas factories as well.

If this article assumes workers would rather work in retail, more lies. In fact this article is full of lies so I'm going to discount the writers facts and called it bogus.  

Nov 9, 2013 9:59AM
good - then bring back the factories that were closed and tax the pi$$ out of  ALL IMPORTS.  Goods & services.  Just enough to pay off our $17trillion debt.
Nov 5, 2013 9:30AM
And of course GM and Delphi filed for bankruptcy and emerged as LLCs WITHOUT their pension plan, which they left so underfunded the PBGC took it away. Retirees can for the most part expect 40-60 cents on the dollar, if market conditions continue to be pumped up by massive money laundering...I mean quantitative easing. But I wouldn't count on it. That's American automotive's commitment to its lifetime workers. Nice. Real nice precious.
Nov 9, 2013 5:58AM
Is this some kind of proper gander put out by Obama? this is all nonsense .. no stereos, no phones, no air conditioners, no plates, no silver ware, no toys, no clocks, no computers, most of the clothes,  no TVs ,no washing machines, no tools, on and on and on .. I lived in the same house for 40 years and when I moved I figured let me buy everything new .. what a joke.. I bought all new plates , knifes, forks , even a can opener.. has 3 can openers and they were the most expensive ..not one ever worked .. MADE IN CHINA... the only things we make hear is aircraft , and guns and tanks bullets .. space craft .. etc ,etc ,etc.... because the other countries are to stupid to make these things.. I guess if you want to buy a AK 47 your in luck but if you want a can opener .. well forget it???????
Nov 9, 2013 7:49AM
Assembled in USA with genuine CHINESE parts is not the same as Made in USA!
Nov 5, 2013 10:52AM
Yeah, not like the US ever embellishes their data.....
Nov 5, 2013 6:21AM
we build lots of weapons, missiles, **** that blows **** up, **** that kills, military gear.  The war machine has to keep turning.
Nov 9, 2013 9:54AM
"Myth No. 3: Foreign-owned, non-union car factories killed Detroit"

Of course that's what killed Detroit. My father-in-law was a victim. When Chrysler had to close their plant in Detroit, my father-in-law was laid off from a supervisory position that he had had for twenty years. He ended up in Alabama at a Toyota plant, making 30% less, supervising people making $12.00 an hour, part time, no benefits. You can imagine how productive they were. Pretty much like working at KFC. That was in 2009. Bet it's not much different today.
Nov 5, 2013 1:34PM

Very good article, the States and local manufacturers need to get together and train people to fill these skilled and semi-skilled jobs. I am not going to talk about the pitiful wages, that's for another day.

My friends have just been over from Ireland and that country has just been through a very rough patch. But they had the foresight to continue training people in the high tech field. They are now poised to reap the benifits. Here in my home state of Michigan they concentrated on training Pharmacy Techs, 99% never got a job as a Pharmacy Tech, because the Pharmacies will not employ you without a years experience. Because the Auto-Industry is now flying high the smaller Manufacturers need trained operators, pity the trained unemployed Pharmacy Techs cannot do it.  

Nov 9, 2013 12:10PM

That's a laugh.  I was rebuilding locomotive engines..but that job went to MEXICO..then I got hired to inspect electronics for Tyco..but THAT job went to China.


There was once 13,000 machinest at the GM plant in La Grange, IL.  When I attended school in 2004,

there were 600 left!  600!?  OK..glad to hear our manufacturing jobs are secure.


Remeber H. Ross Perot..and his "giant sucking sound"...of jobs leaving the US.  Guess he was right.

Nov 9, 2013 7:48AM
Recently needed a new power tool.  Local hardware no longer carried such items to my dismay, went to a discount chain store, no luck.  Next to Home Depot and Menards found the displays and began looking.  Good tools can't be found anymore, all are manufactured off shore, of six brands there were no domestic built units.  Since they are all built in China I purchased the cheapest one, they are all of questionable quality.  Hand tools are all branded off shore....seems they are made of inferior materials too.  Try buying clothing and shoes, very very hard to find any domestic products, it actually makes shopping difficult.  I just bought a pair of Red Wings for work, very good quality and they last, $180 compared to Walmart at $70.  It takes 3 pair of $70 shoes to last like Red Wings.  There is something to be gained by producing here vs abroad, its too late to reverse the trend.
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