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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Y Woodman Brown
live & let live
10:33 PM on 02/20/2012
Bernstein is spot on. The current U.S. Manufacturing policy has become Swiss cheese. "...we're spending now on credits, tax breaks, and subsidies that we're not adequately evaluating..."

Our policy needs now to be refocused and restructured. Priority needs be on returning an healthy percentage of manufacturing to the U.S. This would also bolster supply chain enterprises.

As a rule of thumb, subsidies ought be terminated. In practice, subsidize by exception only; wherein that subsidy is actually an investment--as irrigation at Death Valley--in innovative technologies promising enough to generate new markets and substantial ROI. This is the only acceptable risk which may not be financed by private institutions.

Subsidizing exporters however needs be reduced to exceptional circumstances only. Exception = where ROI produces jobs and/or supply chain purchases. No subsidy where a percentage of profit--from subsidy--is sheltered off shore, paid-out as executive bonuses or share-holder dividends.

This isn't 'picking winners'. It treats subsidization as selective investment. Criteria = endeavors which directly contribute to socio-economic goals, e.g., green-energy solutions development, raising employment rates, ensuring that American profits are reinvested in American enterprise.

As for currency...the free float is inherently unstable (20 of 40 years spent in recession). Currency needs be grounded in an amalgam of our total non-depreciable natural resources (including education and labor). The dollar would then have deep tangible worth and be secure for attachment by other nations.
09:42 PM on 02/20/2012
1. I know that many people will find this hard to follow and perceive, but I feel that the continued problems in this country, problems that have been on going, are direct results of the War of Secession that was fought from 1861 – 1865, but strife was occurring before the official start of this horrific, costly conflict, one that has left lasting scars on this country’s psyche, economy, and social conditions. It has kept this country's leaders and citizens in a depressed, morose state of mind that reaches over generations. As a very young child, I remember my relatives and neighbors that had known some of the War veterans and could repeat word for word their personal accounts of the battles. I am not talking about just racial problems only. When one looks both closely and broadly at the terrible loss of life, suffering, and total destruction of this war, and the debacle of the Northern occupational armies (the most disastrous occupationary force in world history) under the hugely false term “Reconstruction”.
I know that many will not understand or agree with this. I urge you to read books about this occurrence, look at the appalling photographs, and study the mind boggling statistics. Then you will maybe comprehend the unbelievably heavy psychological burden and veil that this mammoth event with its long reaching tentacles of despair and still has on this country. I have spent a long time in forming this timely theory.
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02:56 AM on 02/21/2012
Injustice and Devastation have long half lives. I feel you are more than right about the americsn civil war.
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Kai-HK
Don't Share My Wealth! Share My Work Ethic!
09:34 PM on 02/20/2012
Mr. Bernstein:

Government-driven industrial policies have been/are/and will continue to be ruinous to the economies in which they are employed. No group of politically-biased technocrats can do as good a job hundreds of millions of market participants affecting supply-demand and determining the prices that ensure a more efficient allocation of capital to industries and products that make sense. The globe is littered with failed central-government industrial and infrastructure projects that are nothing but a waste: solyndra, high speed rail, solar, wind, etc

Industrial polices are failures in Europe, failures in Asia, and failures in the US. We must stop trying to prop up a last-century industry as a make-work initiative for low-skill and low-education workers.

You examples of industries and projects that we must target, advanced battery technology, smart grid, green energy, etc. are examples of stuff that need not be directed by the government if they are really viable and as history has already proven, is ultimately ruinous if they are not.

Although I do agree with you that we should support R&D…which is not a manufacturing function but a service industry function as Apple, Motorola, Intel, IBM, etc can attest….our service sector engineers invent things that are now manufactured overseas…the real value add is in the service sector value add of engineering and industrial design…not putting chips on boards, which is now done more efficiently by robots.
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Gunderan
Who let the Libertarians out without supervision?
06:26 AM on 02/21/2012
Fail fail and fail.If Kai-Hk(who i know from previous experience is functionally unable to read articles but insists on posting about them) had a brain he could be worth listening to.Germany,germany.Germany.Short concise answer to your arrogant short sighted uneducated rants
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Kai-HK
Don't Share My Wealth! Share My Work Ethic!
09:51 PM on 02/21/2012
Gunderan:

Germany? What about Germany? They exemplify everything I have been saying, which is an epic fail of industrial policy. Are you trying to make my point for me?

They have been an epic fail with the exception of the last three years. You do not find it strange that for three decades they have had near double digit unemployment, a sclerotic economy, very little NEW company formation, etc and then when there is a European financial crisis all of a sudden they briefly do well? That does not make you curious? They are only doing well now because they are free-riding on a devalued Euro and as part of the Euro-zone they benefit from the trillions of porkulus that has been dumped into the market. Do not mistake the last two-three years as vindication, if anything recent performance is the exception to their usual slow and blighted economic condition not the rule.
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Kai-HK
Don't Share My Wealth! Share My Work Ethic!
09:51 PM on 02/21/2012
In fact they just announced that their solar-energy industrial program was yet ANOTHER failure, another failure in a long list of many. And you must be excited about all those new industrial behemoths that have been created over the last 30 years such as….eh….oh…. That is right, those companies that existed in the 30’s basically make up the bulk of their manufacturing industry today with very few new industries. They also fail in new industries like bio-engineering, IT, genetics, etc…they are lame and struggling to stay competitive, having to resort to rolling back labor wages, protections and guarantees over the last decade to make up for lost ground due to their industrial policy.

Please pick a country that at least looks dynamic…

Next?

Kai
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Kai-HK
Don't Share My Wealth! Share My Work Ethic!
09:34 PM on 02/20/2012
Time to stop promoting physical manufacturing and promote the service sectors that support it instead: engineering, management, logistics, sales, marketing, advertising, accounting, legal, etc.

The best way to bring back manufacturing to the US:

a) Reduce corporate tax to 0%.

b) Reduce regulation

c) Role back union protections.

d) Remove the minimum wage. The real min wage is 0 (meaning no job).

Kai
02:07 AM on 02/21/2012
What are you selling "Kai"?......
09:33 PM on 02/20/2012
In order to get back on the manufacturing track we really need to look at what we say we want and the practices we are using. While they are meant to protect and help people, regulations continually destroy what they are meant to protect, jobs. Therefore, businesses and regulatory agencies really need to work together so that we can figure out the right course of action in making the united states a manufacturing powerhouse (http://eng.am/wJ61AM). If we don’t do that, then the goals of the White House or at least those that they’ve put forth will not be accomplished. A balance must be stricken going forward to have any hope of getting more manufacturing jobs back to the US.
ndtovent
Annoying wingnuts since 2001
09:29 PM on 02/20/2012
This actually should go against my political leanings (I'm a proud lib), but I think that are regulatory policies are over the top and have become ridiculous. It can take 10 years to get new road built because of all the environmental impact studies which have to be conducted. They could be completed in about one third of the time that most of them take. It can take 5 years to get a new factory built, up and running, or an existing one renovated because of regulatory hurdles. That's why Steve Jobs decided to build the factory in China and not in CA. He could get one up and running in 6 months. I'm all for environmentally safe conditions, safe working conditions, etc., but we Americans just go wayyyy overboard with regulation in some areas. Yet, other areas are severely under regulated. Boggles the brain.
02:05 AM on 02/21/2012
You do need to "vent"
Through the hole in your head

Apple's (and EVERY) manufacturer's decision to locate in China has exactly ZERO to do any "regulatory hurdle"....unless you count MINNIMUM WAGE.

Fact is...you can't legally work people 18 hrs a day for two dollars an hour in California...or any other state...(Not really sure about Walker's little "Hey dude" Facsist empire there in Wisconsin.)

And thank God (and the NLRB) for that.

Un-boggle your mind and try rooting for the home team a little.
TM
ndtovent
Annoying wingnuts since 2001
09:14 PM on 02/20/2012
In addition to R&D subsidies as a few others have mentioned on this thread, how about subsidies for vocational training for some of the many, many ex-employees in manufacturing on newer, automated machinery. Set up training curricula to teach them how to program and operate the newer equipment.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Mas
Blame has no expiration date
08:36 PM on 02/20/2012
I take your commentary at face value, meaning I'll accept your points. I have to ask, in regards to producing a product. For over 30 years we've had calculators, solar cell type, and have made no major advancement in applying that to other products for the consumer. For the hard of reading, that is "no major advancement" in applying that to other products. If I may, I do believe in our nation we do have a problem in the patent process of allowing industry to tie things up or buy the patent of a product then shelve the product or technology. To test theory I recommend the patent office on a yearly basis list new, renewed, and patents granted that are still active, then the American people (those interested in what is going on) will have a picture of industry. Those who will not care what industry is doing will use the information like a political football to muddy the information, but we should forge ahead regardless of their attempt(s).
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OneTop
Uh, is that a beer hall?
08:20 PM on 02/20/2012
Any thoughts on how America deals with being profoundly noncompetitive in 2 key areas, energy and health care?

*** Health care is 2- 3x more expensive than Europe with less coverage and worse results.

*** Average miles per gallon usage in America is 2x that of Europe.

I have to think that these 2 issues need to be addressed in substantive ways for any manufacturing policy to be effective.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
A level Head
Who will protect us from the protectors
09:20 PM on 02/20/2012
Get a map -- Look at Europe -- Now look at the US --

It should be clear that Europe with its tiny size has different transportation needs than we do -- There is a reason they get by with smaller less comfy cars -- that they have a better mass transit system -- OH

And perhaps check the cost of fuel -- The cost per gallon more than offsets the miles per gallon
ndtovent
Annoying wingnuts since 2001
09:33 PM on 02/20/2012
If you compare all European western countries (combined) with the U.S., there isn't that much difference in size or population. We could do what they do, probably better if there wasn't so much political resistance by thick-headed politicians.
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mrpotatohead
auto micro-bio: OFF
11:13 PM on 02/20/2012
Sounds like a lot of excuses to me. The reason we haven't fixed our problems is lack of will - nothing else.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
theprogressiveanalyst
Ignorance is a dangerous thing
10:51 PM on 02/20/2012
Obviously we need single payer modeled after any number of successful European countries. Re energy, we are making progress in alternative energy, but we need to do much more in conservation. One thing that would be a tremendous help would be an improvement in transmission efficiency of power. Either there has to be technology advancements so that the loss in transmission is reduced or, more likely, increase the % of power created on site. The latter can be achieved by solar panels and fuel cells. A company called Bloom Technology has created a fuel cell for large industrial and retail uses which uses natural gas. Because of the proprietary nature of their product, I haven't seen any info on how efficient their product is, but it has to be better than transmitting power from a dam hundreds of miles away.
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BigBearcatBill
This is the real Bearcat - a Binturong
08:07 PM on 02/20/2012
OK Jared and Dem Leaders, you know you would not want to invest a lot in this country by building and operating huge factories here UNLESS a great infrastructure is here BEFORE you invest. So that means we need to have our bridges/roads/water supply and sewage systems/railroads/airports/electrical grids/dams/levees/harbors and ports in great shape to get long-term corporate investment in manufacturing here. Lay those reasons on the table for repubs to deny or accept along with the fact that now is the best time in history to do all that work that is needed with low interest rates and high unemployment of construction and Trades workers!
11:14 PM on 02/20/2012
Cut the nonsense
No one in his mind would invest here.Theyd have to import the labor.
02:07 AM on 02/21/2012
So long now....leave your passport at the gate
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
JanusDaniels
09:09 AM on 02/25/2012
US workers stand among the most productive in the world. Management sucks.
12:14 AM on 02/21/2012
Isn't this what happened to Greece. Those sly bamkers convinced the leaders to borrow more and more because it was cheap to do so. Then raised the rates. Do you really want to fall for the banker's folly here too. Look at who is buying our debt. The Federal Reserve i.e. bankers.
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Liberals Are Intolerant
fiscal conservative, social libertarian
07:33 PM on 02/20/2012
I'm a manufacturing engineer. There is no easy answer. I see the cost reports comparing north American factory costs with China factories for our goods.

We need to stop manipulating our currency. The fed has been weakening our dollar for years, hoping that others will buy our goods. It isn't working and instead is driving up the cost of commodities. Meanwhile since China pegs their currency, they intentionally undervalue their dollar, so that their goods look dirt cheap. And, every other country has figured out some kind of racket that ensure they have the upper hand in trade, either by subsidizing key industries, blocking/ placing tariffs on our goods, or allowing zero emmissions controls.

Then you have the misguided labor movement, which has made it very challenging for companies to adapt to new product lines and demand, and of course makes the costs go up.

The only things that will bring this back are both bad:
1) we can no longer afford the oil to ship stuff across the ocean (or pay for our debts)... very very bad scenario
2) China somehow develops a middle class and undergoes some type of social revolution
3) we attempt to implement tariffs
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
jbrandimore
Calls 'em as he sees 'em
09:12 PM on 02/20/2012
Only #1 would be bad. China's developing a middle class might save the world economy.
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Liberals Are Intolerant
fiscal conservative, social libertarian
10:33 AM on 02/21/2012
I would actually like to see that too, but we are so in debt to these people that it worries me what type of clout they will command on the world stage.
ndtovent
Annoying wingnuts since 2001
09:18 PM on 02/20/2012
I agree with most of your post, except for the 'misguided labor' comment. I don't think they're that misguided anymore. Some have been unemployed for so long, they're willing to take pay cuts just to have jobs again. However, they do need to make a living wage. $200 month, about the average wage for factory workers in China, won't cut it in the U.S.
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Liberals Are Intolerant
fiscal conservative, social libertarian
10:32 AM on 02/21/2012
What's happening there is that they're slowly floating their currency. And, they're slowly developing a middle class. The wage costs will continue to rise and the exchange rates will adjust and that will bring about some changes.
07:28 PM on 02/20/2012
Intersting, you address helping or not but not hindering? Hard to have stringent import policies whne the countries it impacts most, you owe money to. Get the debt down and we will have more leverage.
10:39 PM on 02/20/2012
I would suggest we have less. China is rich in dollars from its exports just as Russia is from its oil sales. They need to convert their dollars into something tangible which is why they bought our mortgages (our inadvertent sucker punch). As long as we owe them we have by the shorties.....
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
killarneytim
Just common sense;not L or R
07:18 PM on 02/20/2012
The export/import bank is not a subsidy. It a gov. organization that works. It supports exports and makes a profit which is returned to the treasury.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
jbrandimore
Calls 'em as he sees 'em
09:13 PM on 02/20/2012
If the bank lowers the interest rate a borrower would otherwise pay, it's a subsidy.
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OMEGA MAN
A wise man learns from the mistakes of others.
06:14 PM on 02/20/2012
The trends in off-shoring and international trade that we have described are likely to accelerate. China currently employs around 120 million people in the manufacturing sector and, although some reports indicate that wages are rising in China, those wages are still only a tiny fraction of wages in the United States. Moreover, China is expanding its manufacturing base to low-wage countries across the globe through a series of overseas economic zones . The implication for American workers is that in order to regain ground, they will need to find jobs outside of manufacturing where wages are comparable to those in manufacturing.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
A level Head
Who will protect us from the protectors
05:33 PM on 02/20/2012
What nonsense ---- It is not necessary that Government take money and redistribute it in an effort to choose one Enterprise at the expense of another -- It is inefficient and your case in point, the Rail System is a perfect example.

The Federal place in the system is to put in place an IMPORT policy that recognizes that regulation in America creates an uphill struggle in the quest to become competitive.

And NO I am not asking that sensible regulation be retrenched, only that it be recognized as the cost that it is.

A sane policy would use duties on imports that reflect artificial cost factors imposed by policy and redistribution. It would apply an import duty equal to that cost on all imports. It would reflect labor regulations, clean air and water costs, and artificial money control inputs to name a few.

If in the course of business the Asians can bring a product here cheaper than we can make it here (within a well thought import policy) then great. We simply divert some of the product to Corporate R/D people and reverse engineer it, improve it, and build toward the next generation of that product.

That is what japan did in electronics and what China does in a myriad of products today.

What we do not need is Uncle "investing" in products that have no market unless artificially supported. that simply takes from Capital that could be used to drive productive products.
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Merseysidefella
euro no, proteccionismo sí
07:30 PM on 02/20/2012
That is all theory and talking points.
Everything that free market fundamentalists say would not work in the US is already working in Germany. Industrial policy works - and how!
We have a Wal Mart and Kentucky Fried Chicken economy and Germany has a VW, Audi and Lange & Sohne (the most beautiful watches in the world) economy.
Free market fundamentalists sound just like marxists : the world is seen through the eyes of orthodoxy of ideology. It does not matter that people suffer, die, go broke, whatever as long as things are done according to orthodoxy, and purity of ideology.
One day we will have the civilization of LOVE and of sharing the abundant resources that are loaned to us during our short stay in this beautiful Earth.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
A level Head
Who will protect us from the protectors
09:12 PM on 02/20/2012
I live in the real world -- When I was a teen perhaps I lived in a fantasy dream world
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
A level Head
Who will protect us from the protectors
09:13 PM on 02/20/2012
I do hope that ONE DAY your ideal comes true -- Unfortunately that day is not today
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Viper
Former repub, still repenting
07:53 PM on 02/20/2012
So then you are against the 30 billion southern RED states have paid to get "socialist" country auto assembly plants in their states?

Or the redestribution of wealth from our blue states to red states for 50 years who get 50% more back in Fed money back than theye pay in, our red welfare states that are Greece except w/o the Blue state welfare?

You have know problem with the rest of the world paying their MFGs 18-19% export reabtes, spo thye can sell here at no profit, pay no taxes and make 18% back in thier home country.

You have no problems that the communist party of China owns a 51% interest at a min in every company doing business there.

You have no problems with every ountry in the world having a national industrialization plan and interest free loans for MFgs.. but us?

You have no problem with the massive subsidies of asian countries such as Communist china. which then use predatory pricing to destroy our industries...

You have no problem with the rst of the world having single payer healthcare at 1/3 our private employer based helath insurance, not in the cost of the goods sold...

Or Asian/China with 25% import tarrifs and the rest f the world with anti outsourcing regs, such that when a company cust jobs , it cust them here.


Regards
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
A level Head
Who will protect us from the protectors
09:06 PM on 02/20/2012
In order of your paragraphs -- 01 - I do have an issue with using tax dollars in that manner -- 02 - Io have a problem with that in the broad sense -- 03 - I do not have an issue with that -- That is their concern not ours - We combat that with tariffs -- 04 -- I have no problem with that -- 05 - Nope No problem -- Again we address that with an import policy -- 06 -- Nope - See last sentence -- 07 -- Nope -- 08 - Nope
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
A level Head
Who will protect us from the protectors
09:09 PM on 02/20/2012
You obviously do not understand what I am writing about -- BUT --- In a nutshell - We address IMPORT concerns with an Import policy -- Basically that amounts to a tax on widgets that will reflect the artificially created advantages of importation -- BUT that does not punish for advantages that are not artificially created -- It has nothing to do with colored States -- that is a domestic issue