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Where is rage over loss of U.S. manufacturing?

Published: Fri, January 29, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.

Fair-trade legislation and incentives to rebuild the nation’s manufacturing base are prescribed.


The Vindicator/Robert McFerren



YOUNGSTOWN — Where is the rage? wonders an editor who has covered the devastation of the U.S. manufacturing industry.

Industries have disappeared at an alarming rate because of what Richard McCormack considers unfair trade and foreign currency manipulation.

Recent stimulus and jobs legislation coming out of Washington, D.C., have only made the decline worse, said the editor and publisher of Manufacturing & Technology News, who spoke Thursday at a Williamson Symposium hosted by Youngstown State University’s business school.

The Virginia-based editor said the bills contain few incentives for creating private-sector jobs, while they add to the nation’s mounting debt.

For example, he said last year’s $787 billion federal stimulus bill contained just $2 billion that encouraged long-term, private-sector jobs. That item provided loan guarantees for green-energy products.

“Manufacturers think it has backfired because they think they have to pay the bill,” McCormack said.

The result is increased borrowing from China, he added.

He wondered why the nation’s small manufacturers haven’t been able to make their voices heard and why average Americans don’t seem to care that good-paying manufacturing jobs have been lost by the millions.

Making of shoes, clothes and furniture has been shipped overseas, while new industries such as cell-phone production are being set up in other countries.

When asked by an audience member what a trade war would look like if the U.S. enacted tariffs or other protections, McCormack said other countries long ago targeted U.S. industries.

“We’re in a trade war, and we lost,” he said.

He advised about 60 business and union leaders at the symposium to begin reading the federal bills and push politicians to support fair trade and incentives to create manufacturing plants in the U.S.

“We want our country back from financiers and multinational companies,” he said.

The message resonated with those in attendance.

Ed Rumble, owner of Jet Stream in Niles, said he was unable to send in a reservation for the event but came anyway because he wants to become more involved.

China is the main competition for his 30-employee company, which manufactures parts for plumbers and electricians. Rumble said those competitors can ship products at unfair prices because of how their government handles its currency pricing and subsidizes those companies.

“It’s a little depressing,” said Rumble, who said his seven-year-old company is doing fine by keeping its costs down and focusing on service.

But he added that he believes in the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans.

“We can bring it back. I have to believe in that. I made an investment in that,” he said.

McCormack said legislators such as U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon, support manufacturers, but more help is needed to create national policies that are driven by manufacturers, not large retailers that are focused on delivering low-cost goods.

“We were No. 1 for a while, and we got complacent. We have to reinvent ourselves,” he said.



1glbtactivist(320 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Our Trade negotiators let the other countries win when they did not require monetary exchange rates be fair too. I guess US businesses like wal mart wanted the money. They move from country to country depending on who has the best monetary exchange rate at the time. Now China does. US workers lost out again.

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2Fattkidd(45 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Foxtrot: How do you think we got a middle class? There wasn't one before WWII. It was manufacturing. It's not dead, it's just been given away in exchange for a string of beads and shells. We simply do not have to let other countries dump their products in ours. It's as easy as that. Japan, China, Korea, all have import duties on US goods. We don't. See the difference? The only way to turn this country around is to end free trade, implement fair trade based on workers rights, environmental protections and living wages. We cannot borrow our way to prosperity whether that is the gov't, small business or the American consumer. We're maxed out. The only way to spur growth again is to spur wages and that won't come unless we fight for manufacturing. The only way it is more economical or profitable to make something half the world away and ship it here to sell is if the owners are allowed to exploit slave labor, lax enviro regs, currency manipulation, lax safety regs and cheap/subsidized fuel. It is unsustainable to think we can continue forever importing all of our finished goods when those same products can be made at the point of consumption.
IF manufacturing is dead, then we're dead and we just better get used to being just another third world country. Which also means our $1.5Trillion annual spending on defense of the empire will have to end which means we will have even more unemployment. It's a downward spiral, unless we fight to bring manufacturing back.

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3VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Fattkidd is right...we have given away our future by being "considerate" to other nations and their desire to become like us. Now, we are scrambling to become like them, while organizations like the UN continue to browbeat us as being non-conformists. International organizations only have one goal, and that is to make us become what they envision the entire world to become, but this leads to declines in our life style, our culture and our economy.

The world is now seeing what can happen when the US economy suffers. Socialist nations such as China are the ones who are exploiting our decline and are becoming models for other nations to follow.

Our leaders need to understand, they work for our welfare, not the world's, so quit giving away our manufacturing, our jobs, our 401k's and our future.

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4pjm2012(1 comment)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Both views offer intersing opinions. Fattkid is right. We have given up much of our future; but only our future in manufacuting.

How long will this area lament over the loss of manufacturing jobs before it wakes up to realize that the future is not in manufacturing? We need to adapt. Pittsburgh did it years ago.

I do understand that we need work for the masses however, the days of working for lucrative wages at gm/delphi are over; an unfortunately harsh reality.

I do not agree with the notion that "if manufacturing is dead, then we're dead." It is arguments such as this that are inhibiting our growth and perpetuating the theory that this area is only good for manufacuting.

Its over...time to change

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5roscoepc(20 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

You ask, where is the rage?
There is probably plenty of rage in the souls of our dead ancestors.
Those who faught with pitch-forks and shovels and DIED for workers rights in the 1930's.
They knew that it took extreme measures to protect what they had, and get what they deserved.
These were the hard lessons they learned from the lives they left, before coming to this country.
They have plenty of rage for us now, because we have failed them by not fighting for what
has been taken away from us so skillfully and gradually, hoping we wouldn't notice.
Now, it's too late to fight. We should have started fighting in the 1970's.

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6Cynic(3 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

What kind of jobs do you suggest, grinding the burrs off castings, or other low skill jobs? The low skill jobs, low pay jobs have been sent elsewhere. Would you like them to come back? Maybe you would like a union to require the low skill jobs to be paid wages paid high skilled workers earn.

The fact is Youngstown should stop saying it is other people who took the jobs and look to themselves and figure out how they can compete with the rest of the world. It is not with low skill jobs, strident unions, or high taxes.

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7casper77(136 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

People don't care about anything except how cheap they can buy something. In Japan , they have loyalty in their country and buy their own products. In this country if you make a good wage with benefits ,people want to take it away from you because they don't have the same. Instead of saying ,why I can't have a good wage,they want to drag the people with the good wages down to their level instead of rising up to their. Their mind set is , if I don't have it,you can't have it.If people start buying USA ,the companies would have to bring the jobs back to this Country.

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8paulydel(1598 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

We need to increase the tariffs on goods made overseas by US companies and coming into the country.

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9justsayin(42 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago


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10ytown01(23 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Washington has sold out the middle class that made this country great.Keep the borders open allowing illegals to drive down wages drive up health care and social program costs. Remove all anti trust laws to allow mega international corporations. Then follow Walmarts lead who just happens to be the 7th largest trading partner with China just behind the UK.They finance half of the business on US middle class tax payers money supporting their employees need for welfare and medicaid due to the part time status of about 60 % of their workers.
Then Walmart sucks in the gullable American public with the falsehood of promoting products made in the USA and cheaper pricing.All while demandind such price reductions that mandate production overseas. Taking our jobs to China. If You want to save US Jobs you can start by boycotting Walmart and get everyone you know to stop shopping at Walmart. Then Buy American. It may cost a little more on some items but we can begin to rebuild the middle class tht no one in Washington really wants. None of us have any representation be you Republican, Democrat or Independent . The Republicans are the party of no and have no direction to offer other than the wit and wisdom of a drug addict tax evader named rush . The extreme leftist of the Nancy Pelosi Democrats are the party of open borders and big government. God bless and help us all and the United States of America

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