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From An Industrial Economy To A Paper Economy – The Stunning Decline Of Manufacturing In America

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Industrial - Public DomainWhy does it seem like almost everything is made in China these days?  Yesterday I was looking at some pencils that we had laying around the house and I noticed that they had been manufactured in China.  I remarked to my wife that it was such a shame that they don’t make pencils in the United States anymore.  At another point during the day, I turned over my television remote and I noticed that it also had “Made In China” engraved on it.  It is still Labor Day as I write this article, and so I think that it is quite appropriate to write about our transition from an industrial economy to a paper economy today.  Since the year 2000, the United States has lost five million manufacturing jobs even though our population has grown substantially since that time.  Manufacturing in America is in a state of stunning decline, our economic infrastructure is being absolutely gutted, and our formerly great manufacturing cities are in an advanced state of decay.  We consume far more wealth than we produce, and the only way that we are able to do this is by taking on massive amounts of debt.  But is our debt-based paper economy sustainable in the long run?

Back in 1960, 24 percent of all American workers worked in manufacturing.  Today, that number has shriveled all the way down to just 8 percent.  CNN is calling it “the Great Shift”

In 1960, about one in four American workers had a job in manufacturing. Today fewer than one in 10 are employed in the sector, according to government data.

Call it the Great Shift. Workers transitioned from the fields to the factories. Now they are moving from factories to service counters and health care centers. The fastest growing jobs in America now are nurses, personal care aides, cooks, waiters, retail salespersons and operations managers.

No wonder the middle class is shrinking so rapidly.  There aren’t too many cooks, waiters or retail salespersons that can support a middle class family.

Since the turn of the century, we have lost more than 50,000 manufacturing facilities.  Meanwhile, tens of thousands of gleaming new factories have been erected in places like China.

Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

At this point, the total number of government employees in the United States exceeds the total number of manufacturing employees by almost 10 million

Government employees in the United States outnumber manufacturing employees by 9,932,000, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Federal, state and local government employed 22,213,000 people in August, while the manufacturing sector employed 12,281,000.

The BLS has published seasonally-adjusted month-by-month employment data for both government and manufacturing going back to 1939. For half a century—from January 1939 through July 1989—manufacturing employment always exceeded government employment in the United States, according to these numbers.

You might be thinking that government jobs are “good jobs”, but the truth is that they don’t produce wealth.  Government employees are really good at pushing paper around and telling other people what to do, but in most instances they don’t actually make anything.

In order to have a sustainable economy, you have got to have people creating and producing things of value.  A debt-based paper economy may seem to work for a while, but eventually the whole thing inevitably comes crashing down when faith in the paper is lost.

Right now, the rest of the world is willing to send us massive amounts of stuff that they produce for our paper.  So we keep producing more and more paper and we keep going into more and more debt, but at some point the gig will be up.

If we want to be a wealthy nation in the long-term, we have got to produce stuff.  That is why the latest news from Caterpillar is so depressing.  In addition to the thousands of layoffs that had been previously announced by the industrial machinery giant, it appears that a fresh wave of layoffs has arrived

Hundreds of mostly office employees received layoff notices at one of the largest Caterpillar Inc. facilities in the Peoria area this week, just as the company announced plans to close overseas production plants and eliminate thousands more positions.

A total of 300 support and management employees at Building AC and the Tech Center in Mossville this week received job loss notifications that included severance packages, 60 days notice and mandated Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act letters.

During this election season, you will hear many of our politicians talk about how good “free trade” is for the global economy.  But that is only true if the trade is balanced.  Unfortunately, we have been running a yearly trade deficit of between 400 billion dollars and 600 billion dollars for many years…

Trade Deficit 2016

When you have got about half a trillion dollars more going out than you have coming in year after year that has severe consequences.

Let me try to break it down very simply.

Imagine that I am the United States and you are China.  I take one dollar out of my wallet and I give it to you and then you send me some stuff.

After a while, I want more stuff, so I take another dollar out of my wallet and send it to you in exchange for more products.

But that stuff only lasts for so long, and so pretty soon I find myself taking another dollar out of my wallet and giving it to you for even more stuff.

Ultimately, who is going to end up with all the money?

It isn’t a big mystery as to how China ended up with so much money.  And when we can’t pay our bills we have to go and beg them to let us borrow some of the money that we sent to them in the first place.  Since we pay interest on that borrowed money, that makes China even richer.

This is why I am so obsessed with these trade issues.  They truly are at the very heart of our long-term economic problems.

But most Americans don’t understand these things, and they seem to think that our debt-based paper economy can just keep rolling along indefinitely.

In the end, history will be the judge as to who was right and who was wrong.

  • Satirist 1976

    Hillary is a sincere, experienced, and kind leader. However what sets her apart from other presidential candidates is her ability to be tenacious and resolute in difficult circumstances. HRC has devoted 41 years of her life to America. The American people should reciprocate her steadfast adherence to ethics and excellence in service by electing her president.

    Below are a few of her accomplishments.

    Played an instrumental role in brokering a cease fire between Hamas and Israel.

    The Clinton foundation has improved the lives of 400 million people in 180 different countries.

    She secured $21 billion dollars in funds to redevelop the World Trade Center site.

    Hillary spearheaded an investigation into human rights abuses perpetrated under the Patriot Act.

    What is critical is Hillary will improve upon Obama’s mostly successful policies. The economy is gradually recovering. The unemployment rate is at 4.9% Also the number of new unemployment claims is at 40 year lows. Millions of Americans who do not have access to critical healthcare now do. During Obama’s tenure Americans have become more cognizant of the need to implement gun control laws and to end the marginalizing of minorities.

    Trump ridicules people with disabilities, is a xenophobe, and has misogynistic tendencies. Trump University was a scam that robbed Americans. Trump also built a golf course in Scotland that desecrated the environment.

    Hillary is the only clear choice.

    • Joe in OH

      You are a fine satirist indeed!

      • Satirist 1976

        Thank you sir

      • Mike Smithy

        Why should Zero Hedge have all the fun? It’s nice to know that “The Economic Collapse Blog” has it’s own version of Million Dollar Bonus.

        • Cheyenne

          MDB keeps Zero interesting but he’s annoying also.

          • Mike Smithy

            True. However, The Tyler’s have a great sense of humor and love to yank our chains.

    • max gon

      Whatever you are smoking is has to be some kind of super quality stuff.

    • aldownunder

      Totally off topic waffle and waste of space

      • retired22

        Just another jerk looking for attention!

      • LIZ THE SHIZ

        maybe the Dingos ate your baby

    • David

      4.9% unemployment? lol so many people believe the lies this Obama administration tells us. they “FIX”, altercate or flat out lie about the real state of our economy.

      they use the stock market as a banner to beat down anyone who dares to say we are economically in decline.
      Retailers are buying back their own stock in an attempt to prop up their declining sales so they don’t lose their investors.

      ” why how could we be in decline? Just look at those stocks “Soar!!” just because some investors are doing well doesn’t speak for the entire economy as a whole. vast numbers of Americans are not doing so well financially. Our Manufacturing jobs are gone because of NAFTA and Hillary Supported it. I personally believe Hillary will not make POTUS as her Health is declining very rapidly.
      Trump will be our next president.

    • Doug Crawford


      • watchmannonthewall

        Are you saying the person might have a concussion?

        • retired22

          How about a non existent ego that needed to showboat for some attention!

      • retired22

        The Dip Shioot got what he wanted.
        He made outrageous statements that drew attention to himself in an attempt to let us know that he exists!

        • jaxon64

          Satire –look it up, all of these replies make the readers of this site look like a bunch of uneducated dolts…I’m feeling kind of embarrassed that I share about 95% of the viewpoints with people who don’t understand simple wordplay….

    • Paul Patriot

      So, I guess you don’t like freedom, the Constitution, Capitalism and free markets……I guess you also love the ” seperation of church and state”, as long as those annoying Christians stop shoving their religion down people’s throats by praying at a graduation or having the audacity to say that this nation has a judeau/Christian heritage, I guess you also love big government, and love living in a police state, for sure you love socialism and Marxism, you have no problem with the 60 million children murdered s once roe v wade all in the name of “freedom if choice”, and I am sure you have no problems with men going in woman’s bathrooms and showers because they “identify; as female, and I am sure you are 100% supportive if Hitlery in her goal to disarm law abiding citizens of their Inalienable 2nd Amendment rights, all in the name of “public safety” ?????

      I encourage you to read more history to learn from it So that we don’t repeat it, get a Bible and find out what you’d Creator expects from you.

      It astonishes me how someone could think so.s one like Hitlery, with her liberal, progressive, collectivist, anti-Constitutional world view would be good for this nation……Oh well, I guess you don’t like living free, or you are ignorant to the fact that there are things that have made this nation the beacon of liberty the world over and those things need to be preserved….

      • jaxon64

        Look up the definition of satire……you must hate April Fool’s Day also.

    • Mike Smithy

      Pure comedy gold. Too funny.

    • Rhino Horns

      Do I know you as “Million Dollar Bonus”, or one of the “Tylers” from ZeroHedge? hehe

    • jakartaman

      Hillary is a vile repugnate human being.
      She has more blood dripping from her hands than Jack the Ripper.
      She is a Proven Liar
      She is a proven Criminal
      Ask anyone who has worked or been near her – not one good word. She is a B-tch
      She is a lesbian
      She is married to a sexual criminal and supported him against many women. Billy and Hillary’s charity is nothing more than a pay for play piggy bank

    • GSOB

      You’ll get more of the same,
      only more


      cough cough choke


      you are a paid troll for the DNC

      • jaxon64

        Satire…look it up

    • Richard O. Mann

      I guess there are people out there who really do believe. Neither candidate does anything for me, but one will be elected. Maybe. If the elections happen.

    • none

      I just love this kind Post!
      It helps illustrate Michaels viewpoint of repeating anything liberals say.
      My parrots question. After watching the same problems for 50 years. Has she solved any of them? What has she accomplished?

    • jaxon64

      Best satirical reply I’ve read here on TECB–unfortunately, it does not speak well of our average commentor/reader at this site, that your humor went right over so many heads……

    • krinks

      The Clinton Foundation solicited donations for Haiti and used said funds to set up a clothing factory in an area not touched by the Hurricane to sell said clothing to Target and Walmart. You or I would be in prison for fraud for doing this. Justice and unbiased reporting are for Republicans only though aren’t they?

    • Harlock

      Love the satire. But I’m scared by how many people believe what you wrote is true.

    • Troy Berkely

      h ah aha ha aha ha aha aha aha aha aha aha ahahahahahahaha haahahhahaahahah hahahahahah hahahaha hahaha hahaha ha aha ha ah aha ah ah ah ahhahahhahahhahah HA ha ha ha ha ha ha! You so funny!
      Thanks you made my day!

    • digitaltexan

      “Played an instrumental role in brokering a cease fire between Hamas and Israel” — the Middle East is in chaos. Israel is in more danger today than ever.

      “The Clinton foundation has improved the lives of 400 million people in 180 different countries.” — It mostly improved the lives of Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. All very wealthy people now that have never had a productive job.

      “She secured $21 billion dollars in funds to redevelop the World Trade Center site.” — Taking money from all tax payers and then giving it to a small group is not a laudable accomplishment. Yes I am sure WTC is a wonderful place but it is $21,000,000,000 of expense on a building 99% of all Americans will never set foot in.

      “Hillary spearheaded an investigation into human rights abuses perpetrated under the Patriot Act.” Words, no results.

      “What is critical is Hillary will improve upon Obama’s mostly successful policies. The economy is gradually recovering. The unemployment rate is at 4.9% Also the number of new unemployment claims is at 40 year lows. Millions of Americans who do not have access to critical healthcare now do. During Obama’s tenure Americans have become more cognizant of the need to implement gun control laws and to end the marginalizing of minorities.”
      — Gradually is right, slowest since WWII. Unemployment is low because the administration is measuring the wrong metric. Those not working that could is at an all time high. They are disenfranchised from employment and locked in eternal poverty by Obama’s “mostly successful policies” More Gun control laws is a joke. This administration won’t even enforce the laws we have on protecting classified materials and illegal aliens. “end the marginalizing of minorities”Really? Race relation have been set back by this administration by 50 years plus.

      There are more holes in your talking points than our southern border.

      • Dlanor

        Good. That’s why it was satire.

  • JF

    Funny he mentions pencils. I remember the Eagle Pencil Co when I was a kid. It was located in New York City just a block from where I lived. The place took up and entire city block.

    • SnodtBlossom

      I’m from the NYC border. I remember the open shopping mall that became enclosed. Then it got 2 stories and a wing. The drive-in became a 13plex theatre.
      Oh how time change.

  • Chief AL. TO.

    Mike, I agree with your article but I think you may have embellish some when mentioning that your pencils and television remote had the “Made in China” insignia on them.

    None of my 5 television remotes have a country of origin visible on them. The same holds true for over 20 various pencils I looked at.

  • demand ha virtually collapsed

    as Amerika shift from an industrial goods producing economy to a more gov’t/welfare public sector driven economy,where u simply hand out checks to the masses who in turn buy Chinese crap ,consequently destroying any demand in the system for anything other than a monthly check/handout from gov’t

  • Greboada

    In my opinion, you’re missing one piece in the puzzle.

    United States has already reached the level where statistics are fake. You check unemployment vs labour force numbers, you realize that numbers are being faked more and more for the last 10-15 years.

    It’s the same path that Greece followed.

    The future is easy to predict: one moment the whole thing blow up and there’s no money anymore. They’re living in Greece that, right now, with middle class surviving and looking for food in garbage containers.

    That will happen some moment in US and in other countries in Europe.

    But… what’s the missing piece?

    You don’t see big riots in Greece now. People have accepted the new situation. They survive, support each other, do their best to handle the situation. But Greece is quite a united society.

    US is not. Neither France, for example.

    In US blacks think that whites are guilty of every problem they have. And that’s now. What will happen when there’s no money anymore? What will happen when 15% of the population hates the rest and when welfare money vanishes and hunger appears?

    You don’t have this problem in Greece, that’s why Greece is not such a violent place, after all. But you’ll have it in US.

    Chinese talk about interesting times. We think we’re living them. But they’re yet to come.

  • guest

    Indeed we are sending the money to China in return for their (usually cheap) goods. You neglect to mention however that many of those factories in China are owned all or in part by Western and U. S. corporations. When The CEO of GE appeared on stage with Obama after Obama made him an economic advisor to his campaign and appointed him chairman of his so called Jobs Creation Council GE had 5 billion in overseas income sitting in foreign banks that they hadn’t paid a penny in tax on to the U. S. government because they wouldn’t bring it home. GM builds cars in China. They build cars in Korea. Ford builds cars in Europe and owned part of Mazda. Harley Davidson builds motorcycles in China. Nissan builds cars in the U. S. and Mexico. A company bought the Schwinn bicycle name and sells “Schwinn” scooters here in America that are made in China. I could go on but we can all cry a river. The UAW and most other unions endorsed Bill Clinton and he signed NAFTA into law. They also endorsed Obama. He spent his whole second term negotiating the TPP using military/national security classification to do it in total secrecy. Now he’s trying to jam it down our throats just like the Health Care Destruction Act. The unions will endorse Hillary and if she can ramrod it through congress she will sign it and they will cry a river. The coal miners union endorsed Obama even after he made it clear that he fully intended to destroy them and now they are crying oceans. The American people have been shooting themselves in the foot for forty years. .

    • tacoma

      Read my post.

      You say ‘shooting themselves in the foot …’ Well yes and no. America believe in and practice capitalism and free market for 70 plus years. It’s a national religion, an unquestioned ideology. Well this economic system has only one, ONE, final goal. Make as much money. For business, profit maximization. Harvard Business School teaches the fine art. NAFTA is based on profit maximization. China trade (and remember there is no free trade agreement with China) is based on profit maximization. You can’t practice capitalism only when everybody win. American corporate capitalism dictates transfer of work wherever in the world for profit maximization. This is the result. Now that millions of workers have no work, they want to reverse capitalism, re-create the lost jobs. Well, do they want to return $15 trillion dollars worth of great and inexpensive products they bought that were make in China the past 20 years?

      It is truly fantastic that Americans today want reversible capitalism, like reversible religion. There is no such thing. You either buy another ideology like Europe’s social-democratic system, or you invent a new system. You know, this is exactly what China did. It invented its own new economic system that beat out America’s.

  • alan

    To keep the share holders happy they had to move off shore. Now no one is working to buy anything they will have to turn to prison labor to make things even cheaper. Then when that doesn’t work the old fall back…blame Putin.

  • Chino_Mart

    It takes a commitment to find and purchase made in usa items.

    Instead of Samsonite or American Tourister luggage made in china, corporate garbage, purchase Tom Bihn made in Seattle or Red Oxx made in Montana.

    Instead of made in China men’s dress shoes try Allen Edmonds made in Port Washington WI.

    There’s 1000s of other examples. Nearly every product has an american made equivalent but most of the time it’s not going to be found at walmart, target, kohls, macy’s or any other traditional retailer.

    Buy small business, buy local, buy usa. They are out there you just need to use the web to locate them.

    • Chief AlW. TOM.

      Very true.

      Speed Queen. Premium quality washers and dryers wade in Ripon, Wisconsin.

    • SnodtBlossom

      I’m happy to buy Chinese goods. If I bought American, I’d only be paying higher to support jobs in America given to foreigners who become competition in quality of life.

  • Doug Crawford

    This shift in manufacturing has been in the works for many years. It started (believe it or not ) during Regans tenure. With the fall of the Soviet Union, came an oportunity for globalist interests to make their dreams come true. In a sense it was a good idea to develope all nations. But the reality is the richest would not be so rich. Then came NAFTA, looked good on paper. But again reality set in. America started losing jobs and money at an incredible rate. Since most Americans carried a lot of “unsecured debt” a huge risk became apparent to the banks. So what did they do? They encouraged people to take money out of their homes to pay off this unsecured debt.Easy qualify low interest loans.. Because they knew back then like in the early 90s it was a sinking ship. And if things went bad everyone could declare bankruptcy, and save their homes but discharge the unsecured debt. So they tricked us into turning our unsecured debt into secured debt.. They knew then there would be no return to the days of America leader in manufacturing. With NAFTA and GAT. it could only slowly grind downward…..

    • watchmannonthewall

      “For half a century—from January 1939 through July 1989—manufacturing employment always exceeded government employment in the United States, according to these numbers.”

      Let’s assume Michael’s numbers are correct. Are you saying that for 42 years, 1939-1981 when Raegan took office, there was a constant lower ratio of government workers to manufacturing workers in the U.S., which only began to come into equilibrium and that government workers only eventually surpassed those in manufacturing due to some action implemented by Reagan? Seems a kind of incredible inference!

      I would have thought the numbers likely began moving toward one another during the Johnson era when the idea of “Big Government” became acceptable.
      It seems plausible manufacturing employment first exceeded that of the federal government in 1939 as the U.S. was gearing up manufacturing for WW2, as prior to that it was primarily a farming society. It also seems logical, to me, that as “The Great Society” took shape those ratios would have reversed and moved in opposite directions as the rate of hiring in goverment positions would have greatly exceeded that of hiring in manufacturing.

      • Doug Crawford

        I did not write of any action by Reagan. Just pointed out the geo political situation at the time and how it applys to our present ,lack of manufacturing jobs and high debt. MY point, they knew it was comming. Its was planned.

        • watchmannonthewall

          Thanks for the explanation. I agree with your assessment. Since I was a late teen/early 20’s I have had an aversion to allowing government officials opportunities to sit around talking to one another about how to solve problems, which is why I live in a township where the officials work out of their own homes. Government is overhead and overhead likes to create layer upon layer of misallocated resources to justify its position and growth.
          The same applies to industry leaders or to central bankers who also sit around and engage in hypothetical machinations as they attempt to figure out a way to control us, only in these cases they may be thinking out 5-10-even 20 years. I was never good at chess, planning only about 1, maybe two, moves ahead! It is tough to prep for events planned out years in advance, especially when one is not used to thinking along such lines!

    • Raymond Chow

      You phucking Democrats are full of it. GATT and WTO was signed by Clinton and remember the “most favored status” with China by Clinton? During Reagan’s term there was minimum trade with China. Reagan impost tariff on Japan for dumping. The fall of the Soviet Union was during Reagan’s term and start of free trade world over didn’t start until Clinton.

      • Doug Crawford

        IT GOT WROTE WHILE BUSH WAS IN OFFICE(NAFTA) Clinton signed it. and while reagan was somewhat protectionist, the fall of the soviets was the key element to globalization.Thats when the banksters made their plans… The truth will set you free, and dont ever call me a democrat!! BITCH!!!

        • SnodtBlossom

          I flagged you.

          • Doug Crawford

            YOUR SO VICIOUS !!!

          • SnodtBlossom

            Uh huh 😉

      • GV

        not like the republicans opposed GATT and WTO, etc.
        democrats = republicans

    • Lorungee

      And “unsecured debt” is being increased daily. Groceries, gas, cigaretts, ect, put on credit cards because there is not enough household cash to pay for these things. All this is “unsecured”. So….you’re right, the banks fooled a lot of people to turn “unsecured debt” into HELOCS, (home equity loans) “secured” by your homes. If you default on those….they take your house. If you default on a credit card…you declare bankruptcy. If everybody who has a gross amount of credit card “debt”, defaults, what will happen ? Ans. the banks will fall. Then, all they do is declare a bank “bail-in”, and take all your deposits. It’s come to the point where I would like to see this happen.

  • chakley

    its not a transition to a paper economy, its a transition to a digital economy.

    • aldownunder

      It’s a fake economy

      • chakley

        wish i could say the digital stuff i bought this past year was with fake money.


    America is becoming a land of opportunity for everyone but Americans, well not everyone but just about 80%. Most jobs being created today don’t support a family, medical insurance if the company offers one, usually is where the employee pays a lot for a little.
    Some of the people who run this country are a “clear and present ” danger to the well being of America. On September 11, 2001 Muslim extremist hijacked and ” crashed” planes into the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon, causing enormous loss of life and property damage. During the economic downturn beginning in 2008 (actually started before but wasn’t noticed by the masses until it affected them personally ) people that control the banks, mega corporations, wall street, housing industry, etc.., crashed America’s economy in a enormous way, causing millions of good people to suffer.

    • watchmannonthewall

      I have to wonder about the date for the Twin Tower destruction since it has come up this is he same date the U.S. govenment overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran in the 1950’s. Coincidence? Perhaps not!


        The main point of what I Was saying is that are economy is (crashing). At times our greatest threat don’t always come from the outside, but from within. We Americans have got to unite, put aside our differences and fight the darkness that is spreading across this once great nation.

        • watchmannonthewall

          I agree with you but the real issue is “What are we going to unite around?”
          I have been to church and the doctrine of “unity” is always held up as the reason why we should accept false doctrines, allow bad behavior, let the leadership do as it wishes so no waves are created or accept being taken advantage of by others in the assembly because the leadership doesn’t want to correct someone about stealing from others, publicly. All these are violations of God’s Word!
          If one can’t get an agreement among those who have supposedly committed to following the precepts of loving God and neighbor as laid out in scripture by those supposedly in covenant with God, how in the world are you going to come up with something everyone can rally around in this nation to have unity when every man does that which is right in his own eyes, and is essentially his own god?
          It isn’t going to happen and so one must begin to question some of the premises one orders his life upon! For myself, I attempt to order my life on God’s Word and find there is precious little unity even there as many simply do not want to accept what God very specifically said, though they will freely use His name. “Many will come in My name…and mislead many!” Did He lie? No. It is all around us! It is the reason for the state we are in!

    • SnodtBlossom

      I just got a new job in an engineering company. Amazingly they immediately offered me a choice between free health insurance and a pay-for lower deductible plan.

      • Paul Vosper

        and in one month your out of a job ,take the health plan and run !!!!!!!!!!! ………..

        • SnodtBlossom

          I’ve been w/them over 2 mo’s now

          • GSOB

            So open your bible.


        you sorta missed the point of what was written.

      • LIZ THE SHIZ

        wow, you must have really impressed [WINK :] your boss sounds like a marriage proposal

        • SnodtBlossom

          that wasn’t my direct boss’s doing

  • tacoma

    America manufacture a great deal of things. Today! Trillions of dollar worth. Check: grown and prepared food, mining and energy, industrial tools, housing and construction, aerospace. Biggest of all – weapon systems. The thing is, much of the mass production is done by machinery requiring only a maintenance crew. Non mass production of advanced goods hire a lot of people, but left a whole lot more not qualified behind. They become jobless or work at lower paid service jobs. The old saying goes: How many more doctors do you want?

    Today, the rest of the developed world can make just about anything America can make, including the most advanced and sophisticated. Japan makes photography equipment no American company can, but which Europe can. Europe can match America on aerospace one-on-one. It has rockets to launch bigger and better. It can make vehicles, ships, industrial tools, power systems, and weapons just as good, many better. For mass production China does a whole lot better, which is why it got the business. Watch out, China is getting into more sophistication. Already it can match Europe’s high-speed locomotives. It’s ‘Hollywood’ is bigger than Hollywood. It e-commerce Alibaba is bigger and fancier than eBay. It can do great software. It designed and made the world most powerful supercomputer, using home-grown chips and software. A shock to both American tech experts and government after it banned exports of Intel advanced chips to China to prevent it from doing exactly what it did.

    You can’t stop smart and motivated people anywhere in the world.

    The current situation is actually a return to normalcy. The decades after the War were very abnormal. No one country can dominate everything for decades as America did. That time has passed.

    So America must accept current and projected reality, where its share of wealth and dominance will continue to decline. The American Dream of vast opportunity and immense wealth of the past is finished. It can define a new dream but it will be much like the dreams of the world’s developed and developing countries. American is just one of many.

    Only after this painful acceptance can the U.S. begin to reform and restructure everything. I mean everything. There are pitiful few signs of such an acceptance as politicians continue to promise ‘bring the jobs back’.

    No jobs will come back. Welcome to the 21st century.

    • Peter

      “So America must accept current and projected reality”
      Wrong it should never accept competing with slave labor and no environmental standards. Why should we compete with places that use their government so steal your intellectual property and manipulate their currency to their advantage. There is nothing normal about this.

      • tacoma

        Ha ha ha! Your brain has been washed. And it ain’t by the Chinese government. Go get real and educated for your own sake.

  • davidoski

    The decline in employment does not mean a decline in manufacturing. Manufacturing is good -check some data about the manufacturing OUTPUT – what the decline in employment means is AUTOMATION of most jobs in manufacturing.

    • Peter

      Are you on crack, take a stroll though places like Detroit. It wasn’t automation that created that mess.

    • Paul Patriot

      Yes, but with automation (robotics) and “lights out manufacturing” it will require less human beings to do the job, and is the future for sure. Robots do not need to sign up for the “affordable health care act” (obummer care), need no vacation, need no sick days, etc.

      I worked for Siemens, and they are continuously automating trying to do more with less human beings.

      I was in manufacturing for many years, everything except the really small and/or job shops are going towards automation.

      Then you have a lot of “American made” products that are made up of foreign parts, and partially assembled here using a few US made parts.

      • Chief AlW. TOM.

        I too am employed in the manufacturing / formulation field.

        We are currently starting up our 3rd fully automated production line. Fillers, cappers, labelers, coders, jug packers, case sealers, robotic palletizer, stretch wrappers and L.G.V. forklifts. One person to oversee everything.

        This takes away many low wage jobs but also creates jobs. Jobs for the people who build, service, maintain, Install and repair the equipment. Contractors who build the buildings to house the equipment, etc.

        One must change with the times or get left behind underemployed at a low wage job on Obama Care.

        • LIZ THE SHIZ

          jug packers = bras ?

        • Paul Patriot

          Thanks for your comments,. The challenging part is being 50 years old and going back to college to get some more updated education, (I did that with chic programming and AutoCad/solid works) and it did nit really get me anywhere, because none of the MANY companies I applied to, wanted to hire someone that did not have extensive “experience” in programming or drafting, even though I have been in the industry fir many years. A lot of the higher paying jobs need either a degree and/or specialized experience, with a certain program language, machine, etc.

          I used to work for Siemens Energy as a set up/ Inc machinist, plant closed and I went back to get a degree in manufacturing technology, hasn’t really helped much, perhaps because of my age.

          You make some great points though.

          • Chief AlW. TOM.

            At 53 , I feel the same challenges. Fortunately my company invests in our on site training and improvement.

            It is either sink or swim.

    • True Grit

      Remember about 12 years ago the gomernment labeled hamburger jobs Manufacturing jobs? You don’t hear any more about it but but thats what they did.

      • Bill G Wilminton NC

        I don’t believe that this statement is accurate…….

  • mesohony

    Funny, my pencil d i c k was made in China too

    • SnodtBlossom

      That IS funny 🙂

      • LIZ THE SHIZ

        perhaps that’s your boss sending you a cryptic message just like Anthony Weiner

        • SnodtBlossom

          I think he & I made breakthru’s today after I semi-winked about coming to him if I have issues. If my co-workers hadn’t suddenly & bizarrely huddled around me around lunch time, maybe I would’ve gotten an invite

          • GSOB

            Make sure they know you can open your bible to show them versus too.

  • themacabre

    It all ties in to the continual increases in the payroll taxes and government regulations….we’ve made it too expensive to manufacture here (Europe has the same problem).
    We should eliminate the payroll tax and go to an import tax…it would even the playing field for domestic manufacturers…today you hire someone here and it’s 15.2% tax right off…the same company hiring someone in China it’s 0%…what would you do? And we have much tougher regs for environment and labor protection that do not exist in China. That is not fair.
    Our tax code is a relic from a different era and not designed for a true global environment. Fixing this is not hard…but will take time to correct.

    • Peter

      Nonsense… you can reduce taxes to zero, and you still wont be able to compete with slave labor and no environmental standards. I worked for a company that moved to china, we were told if the employees paid us China would still be cheaper. Before WW1 when we had no income tax, our roads and schools was paid for by taxing places like China. We understood it was economic suicide.

      • themacabre

        You obviously read nothing I wrote…import taxes on Chinese products would make a big difference by greatly increasing the price of chinese imports.

  • John

    Chinese products are very good like the iPhone 7.
    next will be Chinese aircrafts at 1/3 the cost of a Boeing or an Airbus.
    they build high speed train, tank, and Chinese submarine
    Chinese workers live in a one room condo with cold shower and work 16h a day.
    many Chinese workers will be replaced by robots

    hello America? , wake-up…. China will soon be #1 country.
    come to China and live the Chinese dream.

    • Orac4Prez

      They have already replaced a lot of people with robots! Darn Chinese workers are too demanding, wanting luxuries like sleep and too lazy to work for more than 16 hours a day. Slackers!

      • Jerry C

        Blazing Saddles-(after a Chinese migrant collapses from exhaustion working on the train tracks) The foreman says, “Doc the man’s pay for lying on the job!”

        • LIZ THE SHIZ

          excuse me while I whip this out

    • SnodtBlossom

      The current population of China is 1,383,475,387
      The current population of the United States of America is 324,545,631
      Guess who has to work a lot harder to support the masses.
      The average Chinese person is a lowly educated farmer who likely doesn’t have a refrigerator.

      • Jerry C

        The top 10% of educated geniuses of China is more than the entire population of America.

        • SnodtBlossom

          that is statistically incorrect


    This is one reason unfortunately why so many people sell drugs and illegal fire arms. While I disagree with people doing this I can certainly see why this is done. Most jobs being created in today’s economic environment hardly pay the bills.

    • aldownunder

      Supply and demand (unfortunately)

  • ali

    Heaps of paper that China has amassed over the period will also be worthless at some point. So if dollar goes down so does China. Joke is on them.

    • aldownunder

      That’s why they are buying so much gold, and assets in other countries as possible (paid in USD)
      So they can dump the useless paper on someone else so it’s not their problem

      • ali

        True but how much of 3 trillion dollars reserve they can dump?

    • tacoma

      You think the Chinese leadership is stupid?

      • ali

        They were stupid enough to build up 3 trillion dollars reserve. They are stupid enough to continue trade in dollars. China is a reason that dollar is still floating.

  • Paul Thomas

    Hasten’s is closing 126 stores by Halloween.

    • SnodtBlossom

      Never heard of them.

  • Orac4Prez

    It sounds like successive US Presidents and congresses have been busily supporting policies to grow the Chinese economy. I wonder when someone (in congress or a President) will look to manufacturing in the US again. I’m outside of the US but I always thought the first priority of an elected official would be to their constituency? Silly me! Of course pencils wont help, but high tech goods, once a high point of the US economy have been shipped offshore with the jobs and intellectual property.

    • SnodtBlossom

      I always thought that Australia was a lot more interesting than to need to stick one’s nose in other countries’ politics.

      • Orac4Prez

        Oh, we have US “everything” in the news. Plus we get front row seats in exciting events like the Chinese-US standoff in the South Asian (China) Sea. We have US admirals demanding we take more of a stand in opposing China.

        • SnodtBlossom

          The answer is easy. Change the channel or shut it off. Personally, I rarely watch tv.

          • Orac4Prez

            Turning off the TV doesn’t stop the impact of US policies. (or others) Our politicians have been kowtowing to their US masters for years! Its good to know what is happening in the future – even when we don’t have any control over the actions of your leaders! Of course, you now have access to the great “Murdoch” press, who famously said “our job is not to report the news, it’s to shape opinion”

          • SnodtBlossom

            You think the USA is your master. No wonder you are unpopular and have time for this.

          • Orac4Prez

            🙂 Coming from an authority on unpopular….

          • SnodtBlossom

            These are my countrymen. You are a jackleg foreigner.

          • ali

            I liked the old athiest Snodtblossom more than the new nationalist one.

          • GSOB

            Read your bible so that your heart my have a chance to get in on your posts.

      • LIZ THE SHIZ

        that’s because in Australia Dingo’s eat you nose


      You nailed it.

  • Paul Vosper

    ” I LOVE IT “{!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ………. go baby go , the downfall of the usa system is the fault of people in the country ( usa ) they let the system walk all over them and did nothing to stop them !!!!!!!!!! . I for one ,do not feel sorry for stupidity that usa people are feeling .

    • stu-pid

      What did you do to stop it?!


    It is my understanding that the interest we pay on our debt to China covers their entire Defense Budget.

    • tacoma

      Not quite. The U.S. Treasury owes China $2 trillion. With an average interest rate of 3%, interest payment is $60 billion per year, $80 billion at 4%. This is merely 1/10th of the U.S. Defense Budget. But of course calling this Defense is a lie. America needs no more than $200 billion for defense. The other $600 billion is for war. That’s why the wars are non-stop.

  • retired22

    The problem has always been a banking & financial system based on a pyramid swindle.This was how it was designed from the very beginning.!`
    We are now seeing the now obvious end results.This pyramid scam is in it’s last phase of the decay due to the fact that the bankers are running out of wealth to loot at the bottom of the pyramid.Loot meant to be scimmbed off of the top by the F.I.R.E industry with the Central Bankers leading the charge.
    The only way this financial scam can keep going is by finding new sources of wealth to exploit around the world
    This is getting to the point where it is impossible to do!
    With a global population that needs to be fed & has grown from 1.5 billion people to 7.5 billion in a 100 years there are no new resources that can be abused by these financial parasites!
    Naturally our real economy has suffered,…the financial sector has sucked most of this wealth out of economy & lined the pockets of the Bankers & financial swindlers,…just as it was meant to do!

  • Steve Hansen

    There is a reason why everything is “made in China”. No one would buy the stuff if it was “made in USA”! It would be way to expensive. People want the price to be as low as possible – think Black Friday!

    Which is quite understandable! A LOT of people is living paycheck to paycheck!

    How could it be possible to bring home those jobs to the good old America? A trade war perhaps? It’s not possible to compete with China. The cost of “Obamacare” alone is a lot higher than the total cost of an employee in China, just to mention one thing.

    Anybody who want and can afford to pay twice as much or probably more for about everything?

    Perhaps they bring the jobs home when robots can do the job…! But then again, what about the people?

    It seams there’s to much people and not enough jobs on this planet!

    • True Grit

      Competition lowers prices. if we had 200 Automobile manufacturing companies instead of 3, one of them would come up with an employee profit share program instead of $50/hr union wage or just less profit and sell the autos for less and that would force the others to lower their prices.
      if the autos were sh*t, no one would buy them and that would drive that company out of business. Product excellence and safety comes from a desire to sell those products, not Government regulation and protection of oligopilies
      By the way, We have been in a trade war for 20 years.
      The US Government is just too stupid to know it!

      • JC Teecher

        Not too stupid to know it. Just controlled by a shadow government that has an end goal to all the destruction of the middle class….all three sub divisions of it.

        A systemic, controlled destruction, that has been in the works since the inception of the Federal Reserve, a little over a Century ago.

        • aldownunder

          Exactly get rid of the middle class,so the people will do whatever is needed to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads

      • Steve Hansen

        We already have the competition – from foreign companies…! The US Government is not stupid, they just don’t care…!

  • JC Teecher

    As a young college student in the mid 70’s, I did not come from wealth, I came from hard working farmer status heritage. I had to work without tax payer backed college loans. Even though I did not work in the textile and furniture business, many of my friends and family did.

    The money was not great, but it was fair with some decent benefits for those that punched that time clock regularly. Then NAFTA, and even worse, was the favored nation status concerning trade with China.

    All those relatives and friends started seeing their jobs start dieing off in the mid 90’s. NAFTA had the reverse affect on textiles that had companies already in the Central American countries like Honduras, where the largest textile company in our area hired tens of thousands, in 27 different facilities in USA, and Honduras. The whole thing went south and not just with the location.

    One chief financial officer that I knew through dating his daughter was only five years away from retirement. Lost his job, could not sell his house, and no one would hire him because of his age. He eventually had to cash out his retirement to keep the house payments going and then eventually lost the house and was living on early SS to support he and his wife that had been a homemaker and never paid in, to be allowed any SS. All while living with one of their daughters and her family, just to survive. With all dignity lost, he withered away and died before 70.

    That huge Textile Company? By the year 2000, it had filed bankruptcy and closed all facilities, which took thousands of workers, working all three shifts, in our county; completely out of the workforce.

    Some company, somewhere, was making all those products that the consumers wanted and needed, but it just was not in USA.

    • sistersoldier

      Good Morning JC! Your area sounds extremely similar to the decline in our area steel mills. The outsourcing of steel to be produced by China and then the landslide of cheap steel being imported back into the west left thousands of shattered dreams, blighted and condemned homes and bankrupt businesses as a memorial to their demise. The businesses that thrived and depended on the steel industry were casualties of the “greed war” that is still behind the escalating ruin of the middle class and the American dream. Ironically it is the local colleges and universities that are now towing the line to keep the communities from being completely obliterated. Sport(s) venues are also another life line (college and pro) with the service industry coming in at a relatively close third place which are anchoring livelihoods in this volatile economic climate.

      • JC Teecher

        Well, well, sister soldier, it is good to see your voice again. It seems you haven’t been around here much, lately, and I do enjoy reading your posts.
        Your spiritual insight is a blessing to many, and we find much good info on the topics response, as well.

        You have hit the proverbial “nail on the head”, that explains one of the biggest problems for Americans, which is the “greed war”.

        A blessed good morning to you as well.

    • SnodtBlossom

      old fart

    • tacoma

      “and even worse, was the favored nation status concerning trade with China.”

      Most of the world countries were going to vote for WTO membership for China at the time. If the U.S. go along then it must assign MFN status to China because MFN is a requirement for all WTO members. Conversely, China must assign MFN to all WTO members. If the U.S. refuse there were enough votes to give China WTO entry anyway while the U.S. will be isolated by its refusal. Isolation means all nations can do business with China on MFN terms except the U.S.

  • DJohn1

    In 1966, I received my honorable discharge from the USAF. I was 25 at the time, soon to be 26.
    I almost immediately accepted an apprenticeship in the composing room of a daily newspaper. This training lasted 5 years.
    In 1969, we started automation of the printing trade with primitive computers of the time. Our first effort was with two IBM 1130 main frames and six level input tape and 8 level output tape.
    It was basically a failure.
    The industry of newspaper production went on to the tune of billions of dollars in an effort to do away with skilled labor in my trade.
    In the process they shot themselves in the foot as computers developed far beyond anything they ever dreamed of in both PCs and Mackintosh machines.
    Newspapers themselves became somewhat obsolete.
    This automation has happened world wide in every trade and profession out there. It is still going on. I trained and learned many new computer skills to go along with the basic knowledge of the hot type trade that I had gained in my apprenticeship. When I retired I had Superuser status at the same paper I had started at years ago.
    When they invented the assembly line they took the skill out of building many products. I believe the result was the Great Depression of the 30s.
    Two factors are now doing the same thing. Automation of assembly lines has caught up with us. Using cheap foreign labor with currency ratios of about 10 to 1 is the other factor. Neither of which will ever go away anywhere soon.
    Basically we went from a 48 hour week to a 40 hour week and skilled trades went to either a 35 hour week or even a 32 hour week at higher wages to compensate for the lack of hours. This was done through labor and skilled labor unions.
    None of which now matters because the Unions under a Republican Reagan were done away with for the most part except in government jobs.
    This was basically done by stacking the labor board with Republicans and making decisions that were not even lawful.
    The result is the current situation which will end in an inflationary depression the likes of which we have never seen in history.
    Every effort declared by Trump can only make things worse.
    Everything he is attempting to do will make the purchasing power of the dollar go down the toilet.
    So who amongst the laboring classes will win? Who amongst the Social Security and Pension classes will win?
    Even with a COLA in place this current government has made a mockery of keeping up with inflation.
    So if the democrats are against the laboring class who is for them?
    Basically the increases in the health insurance system and the mandatory insurance laws put out by the government guarantee that no one wins period, even the rich people in charge of retail industry will fail.
    The basic problem is no one has discretionary income amongst the laboring classes of this country. So they either go further in debt to the credit industry or they go without.
    Well, credit cards have upper limits on them and you are buying basically at 80 cents purchasing power on the dollar when you go credit cards.
    I see a basic collapse of the entire retail industrial base within the next few months. Possibly as soon as sometime in September. More likely it will occur in November after the election.

  • Chief AlW. TOM.

    Very simple.

    Survival of the fittest.

    Times change. Change with them or get on a blog and cry about having nothing.

    Read “Who Moved My Cheese” It’s the USA workers problem in annutshell.


      Hope some one nukes one maybe two of our cities, then maybe us Americans will stop fighting amongst ourselves and unite against the real enemy.

  • Alberto Francis

    Been watching this writing on the wall for some time now, however i believe we can turn it around. We need to start teaching our children again the value of producing goods. First and foremost we need food, clean delicious water, housing, and non-fossil based fuel.

    We need to become independent from the cooperate neo-liberal elite that have lied and misled us for decades leading to the current decay we see in USA

  • Americans eat paper.
    How novel.


    allergic to the TRUTH !!!!!!!!

  • Richard O. Mann

    The Beast known as industry follows the cheapest labor. That’s it’s nature. The US was the greatest manufacturing country in the world, until other countries started to become industrialized, and the Beast went to them because their labor was cheaper than in the US. I understand that China is loosing jobs to Vietnam these days. When I hear anyone saying they are going to bring jobs back to America, I have to laugh. Once industries leave a country because of cheaper labor elsewhere, it’s very unlikely it will return. It’s just the nature of the Beast. Oh, unless you become the country with the cheaper labor.

  • HeyAHuman

    Good luck getting American companies to pay employees $12 per hour to make pencils.

    • goldminer

      Actually there are still many pencils made in the USA. General pencil, Write dudes, Made out of real cedar wood. not the rubber crap that comes out of China are USA made. Also Tree Smart recycled wood pencils are USA made Just look for the made in the USA package. Yes some Pencil makers have closed up plants in America like Ticonderoga and gone global. But I don’t think it was solely because of wages.
      If not for overbearing Government regulations, Forced strong armed Obama scare, and the highest tax rates in the world. Business would not be fleeing the USA in droves. BTW Business is not the only thing fleeing America. The expatriate rate is the highest ever. Even with the exit tax. rich people are leaving the USA by the thousands.

  • Black

    We can all be UBER drivers and rent out the closets in our houses

  • lame-O

    Guess what?! The pencils suck too. I work in our local school district and the pencils will not sharpen. They fall apart and do not keep a point. I seriously think this is a communist plot to disrupt learning in out schools. Maybe, that’s because we don’t use real lead anymore?! I’m being serious here. Ask those that are around the public schools and working with kids needed pencils to complete assignments.

    • goldminer

      There are many American companies making pencils made in the USA. General Pencil, Write Guys, Tree Smart to name a few. Your school dist is just cheap. They buy cheap pencils from china so they can pay teachers full time wages for part time work. 180 days or so a year is part time!

  • robert

    Lawyers. The problem in 7 letters. They make the laws, they make the judges who make laws. They file suits and more suits bankrupting people and companies. They are parasites. Things cost a LOT more because of lawyers. They are the lobbyists. Many of the “journalists” you see on TV are lawyers. They have made the system of government complex, abusive and unresponsive to citizens. And we have more of them than the rest of the world combined. Start there with a fix for what ails us.

  • billtheguy

    Michael, as I have also commented, as a country we need to produce something to sell. I hate the term “the banking industry” They do not produce anything tangible; and the term “service industry” it also doesn’t produce anything tangible. The next president who ever it is will not be able to create real jobs unless they understand this. By the way, I liked Hillary’s orange pantsuit. She better get used to that color. If we are all true Americans, we must insist she stand trial for her crimes.

  • ter ber

    Just like Essau of old, we have sold our birthright for a measly stew of beef and lentils. The USA then proceeds to kick God out of our children’s future by telling them they share a common ancestor with chimps, bananas and turnips. We legalize the murder of 60 million of them before they can open their eyes. Judgment is upon America, and our stupid decisions prove it.

  • Mondobeyondo

    This. Will. Not. End. Well.

    An economy based on “Would you like fries with that?” is not one that can, nor will lead a global economy.

    Can America get it back? Yes. We have the people.
    Will America get it back? Nope. We don’t have the will or the desire.
    So Mondo, what does this mean for America?
    Come on, you’re smart people. You can figure that one out.

  • Preacher62

    There is only one judge and his name is not history. (Psalms 75:7) “It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall.”

  • Lazarovic

    Good article, very insightful and very worry-some. Buy silver and gold bullion as a hedge. When the paper is worthless, you’ll have something still valuable.

  • GoldBug

    China wants the interest, US print more normal

  • DB200

    Good article Michael. The examples you give bear resemblance with the Roman Empire in the 2nd/3rd century.

  • Fedup

    There are only a few advantages to reaching the age of 75. If one has been observant and involved for the adult portion of those 75 years and one’s memory does not fail, history is clear…..clearer and more accurate than that printed in history books.

    Unions and the ACLU were useful and necessary when initiated back in the 30’s and 60’s, respectively. Unfortunately, like all good organizations begun with good intentions, when they have achieved their goals, they fail to disband and instead, find the money pleasurable and find other causes to champion in order to perpetuate their existence. Few recall the labor strikes against the steel mills during the 70’s. The steel mills shut down because of the demands by the unions. This opened the doors for Japan to buy our scrap metal, melt it down and sell it back to us so we could make shoddy automobiles with grossly overpaid union labor who retired at the ages of 45 with pensions and benefits twice the value of most white collar salaries. This also allowed the Japanese auto makers, Datsun and Toyota to wedge a toe in the american market and quickly prove the greater quality and durability of their products, at a much lower price. That was the beginning of the U S manufacturing decline. To compete, U S companies had to find cheaper labor and opened factories in cheaper labor markets.

    When Pearl Harbor flung the U S into WWII, we had factories and the patriotic spirit to immediately convert them to the war effort. We ultimately prevailed and the Germans were defeated. If that were to happen now, we have no operational factories and no patriotic spirit.

    Truth be known, our present day weapons are dependent on parts made in foreign countries. A pearl Harbor would not be required to defeat us. Simply refuse to sell us firing pins for our rifles, electronics to operate our missiles, ships and vehicles and we would look like the sailors on their knees in front of the Iranian Navy boats. Boats slightly bigger than many Bass Pros use in tournaments. We are already at the mercy of any country who wants to take us over, but why would anyone want the burden of taking care of us with the lazy attitude at least 50% of our population displays?

  • DigitalThumb

    The US is not alone in this. Britain was once known as the workshop of the world, British goods were coveted because they were built to high standards. Not anymore manufacturing is at only 12% of output. Like the US good paying manufacturing jobs have been replaced with casual low paid zero hours contracts. Germany on the other hand stuck with engineering and are reaping the rewards.

  • Dlanor

    Suppose Asians were to suddenly exchange all their dollars for an Asian reserve currency, and then decline to accept American dollars in payment for all future contracts.

    How would Americans produce to provide for themselves or to have anything with which to trade? How many American technocrats would then pick up and move to Asia? To how many Asians would we then have to sell out our national resources?

    What kind of dream cloud are American snowflakes trying to live on?

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