Seattle Times columnist: "Uncle Sam wearing a 'kick me' sign."
Kudos to Seattle Times columnist John Talton. In an article on the arival of "Bertha," a massive piece of excavation equipment manufactured in Japan, Talton took the opportunity to lament the decline of U.S. manufacturing.
Bertha will be used to tunnel the underground portions of a planned "Highway 99." Talton says that, unfortunately, the U.S. was once capable of building such equipment:
We once made such machines here. American machines bored the (second) Cascade Tunnel for the Great Northern Railway, an engineering miracle for its time, which opened in 1929. American companies made all the components for the Hoover Dam. Those days are gone.
Even more astutely, though, Talton gets to the heart of why America's manufacturing preeminence has faded:
The decline of American manufacturing was not an act of God or even a result of that murky word “globalization.” It has followed bad trade deals and Uncle Sam wearing a “kick me” sign while nations from China to Japan and Germany protected their manufacturing sectors. CEOs may justify their offshoring decisions by pointing to the growth potential in the developing world. But Japan and Germany are developed nations. What does that make us? A post-developed nation? If so, the ride is going to be unpleasant.
Well said, John.
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