Throughout our country's history the types of products and services we produce has transitioned over time. When we began as an agricultural and timber producing nation, who would have ever predicted the industrial revolution forcing us into manufacturing and industry? Who would have expected the tech boom (and bust) of the 1990's?
Today our country is still in the middle of another economic transition. This transition is not so much due to our old favorites of industry and manufacturing becoming outdated; but rather because of changes in the political climate itself. As one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world the United States still has the ability to produce products that are as good, or better than anyone else in the world.
You may be wondering, "If that is the case then why are all our manufacturing jobs moving overseas?" Politics is the short and simple answer.
Although America continues to be a great innovator, and a leader in bringing new products to market, our businesses simply cannot afford to have their products manufactured in this country. Ask any CEO, if all other factors were equal, where he or she would prefer to have products produced or assemebled. Most all of them will reply that this country would be the first choice. All aspects of the process - from initial tooling, to pre-production, to quality control and oversight are easier when conducted here in the United States.
If we look at the manufacturing industry and compare the United States to other countries in the real world we see that things are not equal. Since the industrial revolution this country has seen tremendous growth in the humber of union workers. Today some of the biggest unions include: public sector employees, manufacturing, and service jobs (janitorial, housekeeping, etc,). Although throughout their history union membership levels have fluctuated they still remain powerful organizations, even today while seeing memberships decline.
For a variety of reasons an American business can have its newest products produced overseas and shipped half-way around the world back to this country for less than it would cost to produce them domestically. Businesses have no other choice. Unions and government like to demand that private business keep jobs on American soil to preserve manufacturing jobs with little regard for how much doing so would cost businesses and in-turn consumers.
The reality of the modern American economy is that we are stuck between legacy manufacturing jobs and the new tehcnology, management, and services sector. The government can continue to dump money into domestic manufacturing grants forever, but it is simply money down the drain. When grants and tax incentives run out domestic manufacturing no longer makes economic sense.
We the people of the United States need to make a decision whether we want to smoothly continue along the path transitioning to our new economy, or whether we want to continue to cling to manufacturing jobs from the past.
If we decide that manufacturing is still important to us, then the government needs to get out of the way. Immediately scrap burdensome environmental regulations, scrap all the additional regulations and taxes that prevent profitable manufacturing, stop supporting union labor, and stop artificially propping up industry by providing short-term tax incentives and grants.
If the people believe we need all those regulations and taxes to make things "fair" then ok, but its time to kiss manufacturing jobs goodbye - for good. We cannot have things both ways, as the unions continue to lobby for their members (actually all unions ever lobby for is the union leaders - making members happy enough so they continue to pour billion of dollars into the union) they are destroying our economy even further. The destructive influence of the unions are preventing the natural transition into new products and services that has enabled us to adapt and overcome throughout our history.
Really it boils down to two choices: Productivity and prosperity, or government and gloom. There really is no having it both ways.