Asia Wins Again and Again While The USA Loses

I have been in sales for a long time. High end automation. Over the years I have watched the decline of manufacturing (and discuss it here often enough) and always listened as those folks responsible for NAFTA, CAFTA and every other “SHAFTA” they could think of to enrich corporations (to the detriment and loss to the American worker) as they told us that we will focus on high-tech manufacturing and allow general industry and heavy manufacturing to go off shore.

It was for the betterment of the country, don’t ya know?

I have sold multi-hundred thousand dollar machine tools and virtually every type and level of automation (including robotics, etc). I even had some very good years in 2003 and 2004. But, I knew it was slowly dissolving… disappearing into other lands. With our government’s help (doing the bidding of the Corporations that own them lock, stock and barrel), they dismantled one key industry that we had superiority in and allowed China and other Asian nations to develop their engineering and products until we cannot compete. In most, if not all cases, their high-tech manufacturing is protected by their government, where here, not so much (not at all, in actuality).

In Manufacturing and Technology News, Richard McCormack shows us how we lost the advantage and explains who has it in his article U.S. Precision Machine Tool Industry Is No Longer A Global Competitive Force:

U.S. producers of some of the most technologically advanced machine tools are in trouble, according to an assessment by the Department of Commerce. Sales of high-precision five-axis machine tools are declining. U.S. share of global exports is in a freefall. Foreign companies in China and Taiwan have caught up with U.S. technical capabilities, rendering stringent U.S. export controls moot. U.S. companies are being purchased by foreign rivals. A lack of training programs has created a shortage of skilled workers able to use the complex machinery. Commercial and U.S. government customers prefer foreign machine tools. Export controls are hampering foreign sales. The entire U.S. machine tool industry spends only $1 million a year on research on five-axis machine tools.

These are some of the findings from a “Critical Technology Assessment” conducted by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security.

U.S. producers of five-axis machine tools had sales of $253 million in 2008, down 11 percent from 2005 sales of $284 million. That was before the U.S. machine tool industry suffered a meltdown in 2009, when domestic consumption tumbled by 60.4 percent, according to the Association of Manufacturing Technology.

Sales of five-axis machines to domestic customers from U.S. producers declined by 19 percent from 2005 to 2008, from $242 million in 2005 to only $195 million in 2008. There are six American companies dedicated to producing five-axis machine tools, and at least 20 in China. Five-axis tools are used for the production of precision components in the aerospace industry, in making gas and diesel engines, automobile parts, and throughout the medical, textile, oil, glass, heavy industrial equipment and tool industries. “Many other industries are discovering the advantages of these machines,” says the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

This is not new, but devastating, nonetheless. It happened with robots (only a handful of US manufacturers to compete with very good foreign brands). It happened with PC Board chip mounting equipment. It happened with 3 Axis routers (similar to the 5 Axis stuff Robert discusses). It is happening, even tho we were told that it was this stuff we would keep. We would let the small, mass-produced stuff go offshore and focus on high-tech, leading edge products and manufacturing.

Again, we find that either they made ANOTHER monumental mistake (does it seem like our government is the most inept entity on the face of the earth, or what?)…. ORRRRRR…. they do this shit intentionally. I have to ask folks, can our leadership make THIS MANY mistakes? Do we continually elect the most ignorant and foolish leaders or are they intentionally doing this stuff? For the life of me, I find it hard to believe they are this stupid.

Whatever. Its leaving the US, no matter what the reason. And so is another highly touted industry: the solar panel building companies.

Evergreen Solar Heads To China ‘As Quickly As We Can’

If you can’t beat China and can’t get the U.S. government to understand what you’re up against, then you may as well join them.

That is what Evergreen Solar has decided to do, shifting production of solar fabrication and assembly from its factory in Devens, Mass., to Wuhan, China.

Evergreen Solar CEO Rick Feldt went to Washington, D.C., and met with Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. He told them Chinese government policies made U.S. production uncompetitive. But the Obama appointees do “not quite [have] the understanding that we think is necessary about what’s actually happening in this industry,” Feldt told financial analysts on Feb. 9. “The United States keeps talking about keeping jobs. You go to the President’s State of the Union Address and he said, ‘I want to keep jobs in the United States.’ It’s easy if you say it, but you’ve got to do something to do that.”

Without an adequate response from the U.S. government to counter competitive forces working against domestic production, “we are going to China as quickly as we can,” Feldt told the analysts. “The issue for us is just how long does it take to get there. We’ve got the China operations underway as we speak.” The company expects to spend $50 million this year on its Wuhan, China, facility.

Now read the rest of the article and think about that for a minute. Think about this statement:

In response to the Chinese competitive challenge, Evergreen Solar has two options. It can try to counter China’s advantage by reducing its costs in Massachusetts as low as possible, or “get to China as fast as we can,” said El-Hillow. “We’ve tossed internally about becoming more aggressive in Washington, trying to get them to understand the situation that we face as a solar manufacturer and leveraging our wafer technology. There’s no silver bullet here. It’s an incredibly tough situation.” Added CEO Feldt: “The issue for us is just how long does it take to get [to China].”

And you would think that since the government offered Big Money to help them get started, they would have some sort of patriotic duty to stay… some small bit of conscious that would do whatever they could to stay here, or, our government do more to help level the playing field. But, no, this company took that money, developed the processes and manufacturing systems with that money, and now will do whatever it can to get out of the USA.

And you silly rednecks think that the problem is “liberals”…

In 2007, the company received $23 million in grants from the State of Massachusetts to build its facility on state-owned property in Devens. It also received $17.5 million in low-interest loans along with a 30-year lease on the property.

For now, the company will keep cell manufacturing in Devens. “We think we’re extremely competitive making wafers any place in the world,” said Feldt. “We have this fixed investment in cell manufacturing so it comes down a little bit to cash versus GAAP accounting depreciation [and] amortization.” Even if the company continues to improve its Devens, Mass., plant “it’s not all clear to us that we’d be better off by buying a whole new set of equipment in a salvaging operation in China and scrapping the equipment we have here. These cell lines are not easy just to pick up and move — of course it’s possible — so we’ll have to play that one by ear. We think that we will continue to reduce wafer and cell costs efficiently that would make sense given our fixed investment here. Of course if it doesn’t we would take other action.”

You may not give a damn about manufacturing. But you should give a damn about how money is taken, used up then the corporations shit on you by going elsewhere. THAT should bother you. But that is the entire problem across the board. These very same big corporations don’t give a f#ck about you. They don’t care if you or some little chinese f#cker make the shit that we gobble up.

THEY DON’T GIVE A F#CK ABOUT YOU (see the Carlin video to understand), yet they are considered “persons” by the courts in this land. These very same corporations that will take the money and run are considered the same as you. Can you believe that shit? And how do they get by with it? They own the “parties”, especially the leadership within those parties.

Let me explain something to you by using some old guy’s own words. I know most of you think that this guy isn’t worth hearing about, but it might help you in your search for “why” (go to the link to read the entire thing, well worth the education). I want to focus on a couple of points that he addressed regarding political parties and how they culminate in what we are now experiencing first hand (we should have paid attention to this old coot):

From: Washington’s Farewell Address

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but in those of the popular form it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and the duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true— and in governments of a monarchical cast patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest instead of warming it should consume.

Did the man wake up, dig out from his grave and write this yesterday? Either that or he predicted what would happen. Whatever. The man was right and if we were to seriously believe in the Constitution, we would dissolve those two complicit evil and murderous parties that have melded into one monster that is (from every indication) purposefully tearing America apart and giving the crumbs to the rest of the world.