Posted by: Frank | December 1, 2008

What Happens When The U.S. Stops Manufacturing?

I like Mitch Albom’s column in this past Sunday’s newspaper. It is scary to me how short sighted everyone seems to be about the auto industry, which in large part is the manufacturing industry in the United States. It’s pretty easy for armchair quarterbacks to say to just let the auto industry die when it isn’t your own job, or the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people that you are responsible for, on the line. Says Arrington:

Does this mean our cars will be built in China? Yeah, it does. There’s no avoiding that. U.S. workers are just paid too much to build cars any more. Detroit may become the center of the car design world, with highly skilled and highly paid workers designing the iPod of cars, but the parts will be built elsewhere, and assembled elsewhere.

So, I wonder if the Chinese will be willing to manufactuer U.S. tanks and other weapons for us? You do realize that it was the auto industry that manufactured most of the tanks and airplanes during the World Wars, right? Don’t forget that it was manufacturing, first during the war and then after, that brought us out of the Great Depression. Not everyone has the ability to get a college degree, so what jobs are there for those people? Can the United States survive only on a knowledge economy? Says Albom:

But if you let us die, you let our national spine collapse. America can’t be a country of lawyers and financial analysts. We have to manufacture. We need that infrastructure. We need those jobs. We need that security. Have you forgotten who built equipment during the world wars?

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