Obama's SOTU speech:
Early on, he said:
Let's remember how we got here. Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores.
So why did he sign three free-trade agreements (Panama, Columbia, South Korea) last year?
But there's good news:
We can't bring back every job that's left our shores. But right now, it's getting more expensive to do business in places like China. Meanwhile, America is more productive. A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home. Today, for the first time in fifteen years, Master Lock's unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.
Apparently, workers here are now being paid less than those in China. Time to celebrate!
And this is pathetic:
So we have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back. But we have to seize it. Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.
In other words, no government policy, like tariffs, to be enacted. Just hope and pray that somehow
, business will stay here.
Back in the mid twentieth century everyone thought that manufacturing would become automated and everyone would lose their jobs. No one knew that all the jobs would be going to China and be lost anyway. By automating our factories all of the manufacturing is coming back here. All the jobs at these factories are decently paid technicians. One problem in this plan. Americans aren't trained to be technicians.
It's called an engineering degree, and it is one of the few really hard college degrees left in the United States. Having a mechanical engineering degree would be excellent preparation for a job maintaining an automated factory. 10 years ago you would have been overqualified for the job, but these days, that might be what it takes.
Unfortunately our public school system doesn't really prepare students very well to go into an engineering program, and a relatively small percentage of the population seem to have the talent and drive to complete such a program.
The gulf between the old world of mass unskilled factory labor and the new world of ultraskilled factory technicians grows wider and wider ...