View Full Version : american made?

C. Tate
09-19-2003, 11:08 AM
I have read many posts on this site which complain about manufacturing jobs going to other countries. I have also read many posts discussing the cheap and effective import tools that have been purchased.

You cannot make $25.00 and hour as a machinist buy $25.00 calipers (or any other cheap tool) and demand %12 annual return on your 401k and expect to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S. .

Forrest Addy
09-19-2003, 12:52 PM
Yup. have your cake and eat it too. It's a dliemma and I sure don't have an answer.

09-19-2003, 03:38 PM

[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 11-16-2003).]

Greg Parent
09-19-2003, 03:47 PM
Small companies also fill niche markets that the larger ones ignore due to low profit margins.

I tried to find a large (10 inch +) trolling lure for Lake Trout. I found out that outside of big lures for muskies, it is a very small market. I had to make them myself and am now the president of the Pelagic Bait Fish Tackle Company.

09-19-2003, 04:17 PM

[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 11-16-2003).]

09-19-2003, 05:09 PM
I have worked for General Motors for 28 yrs. When I started GM had 52% of the market, they had around 900,000 workers. GM today has about 150,000 employed. We blame the loss of workers of Japanese imports. Not true. The imports only filled a market that was being over looked. GM today tries to hang on to a 28% market share. They are competing in the markets now but were forced to this because they didn't listen to the buyers. 900,000 workers buy a lot of cars, 150,000 workers buy a lot less.
You can't fault buyers for trying to get the most for their hard earned money. American companies didn't listen until it was too late. Now they are trying to catch up, but most of them are only moving to get cheaper labor and laying off the people that would buy their products.
Some day the cheap labor will dry up but no one will be making enough money to buy the product. One big mess and no way out. With World markets will come World order and then where do we go from there?

Sorry for the long post but had to vent. Ron

09-19-2003, 05:12 PM
I have worked for General Motors for 28 yrs. When I started GM had 52% of the market, they had around 900,000 workers. GM today has about 150,000 employed. We blame the loss of workers on Japanese imports. Not true. The imports only filled a market that was being overlooked. GM today tries to hang on to a 28% market share. They are competing in the markets now but were forced to this because they didn't listen to the buyers. 900,000 workers buy a lot of cars, 150,000 workers buy a lot less.
You can't fault buyers for trying to get the most for their hard earned money. American companies didn't listen until it was too late. Now they are trying to catch up, but most of them are only moving to get cheaper labor and laying off the people that would buy their products.
Some day the cheap labor will dry up but no one will be making enough money to buy the product. One big mess and no way out. With World markets will come World order and then where do we go from there?

Sorry for the long post but had to vent. Ron

09-19-2003, 05:20 PM

[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 11-16-2003).]

09-19-2003, 06:05 PM
It's all about greed! Why is the US government allowing big companies (like Microsoft, Intel etc) set up shop in Inda and China!

Read an article in the summer that said they pay a US engineer about $65/hr in wages and benefits. They can now get the same done in India for about $20/hr US!

Why don't they penalize these companies more since most of the money is going off shore anyway? More taxes, tariffs or something? That way it forces them to keep some jobs here??

That's what the US did to Canadian softwood. Big ass 20% + tariff, slapped on our wood.

Competing is on thing, but when the playing field is not level (cheap labour there), that's a different story. I see industialized nations becoming more of a 3rd world country in the future, as countries like China grow in power!

I totally agree with the statement that people who are out of work will not be in a purchasing position for goods. What goes around comes around.


Greg Parent
09-19-2003, 06:12 PM
I am a one man operation with a one model product line.
I make a common pelagic bait fish lure called the Lake Whitefish. It comes in two sizes with two different hook options.
They are pricey but they work. The lures are made from plate aluminum and Eastern White Cedar. They are built to last.

I agree about the difficulty of beating the price of mass produced flies but it is another crystal clear example of 'You get what you pay for!'

09-19-2003, 07:16 PM
There's another problem with making things in the USA. INSURANCE! Make that $25 caliper and if someone pokes themselves in the eye with it, they sue you for a bazzilion dollars for not having adequate instructions or safety notices.

Here in Texas, we just passed a referendum that limits punitive damages to $750k. That's a start. Maybe "suits" won't be in such a hurry to file FAT or IDIOT damages.


09-19-2003, 08:55 PM
Jason: you say "Competing is on thing, but when the playing field is not level (cheap labour there), that's a different story. I see industialized nations becoming more of a 3rd world country in the future, as countries like China grow in power!"

The USA has become a sort of 3rd world country or colony. When a country sends it's raw materials to another country for processing and return, it is almost by definition, a 3rd world type country.

There are only a few wealth producing activities, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and , most important education. I may have missed a few, but things like transportation, hamburger flipping, lawyers, politicians are just recirculating the money. We have lost so much Ground on manufacturing and education that I fear for our way of life.


09-19-2003, 10:26 PM
Funny how some people want to blame the hourly worker for the jobs going overseas. I mean, hey, we should be glad to work for peanuts while the execs sit on their asses for millions a year. I mean, who are we? We're just the ones who do the work and make up the companies and keep the execs employed.
Why the hell should we expect a good wage for a job well done? One of the big problems is the pay differential between the highest paid hourly worker and the top execs at any given American company. The execs play golf, have martini lunches, and screw the secretaries, while getting millions a year plus million dollar bonuses. They then have the gall to tell us that we expect to much and they just can't afford to keep manufacturing here in the states.
I quit buying Husky and Stanley tools about 3 years ago, when I found out they were back to having them made in Mexico, China, and Taiwan. They get the tools made overseas for a fraction of the cost of making them here, but do they pass the savings on to the consumer? Hell no. They charge as much if not more for then now than they did when they were made in the USA, even though the quality and manufacturing cost are much lower.
I have always supported buying only those tools that are made in the USA, partly because we make the best tools for the best price, and partly because it keeps jobs here in the States. Yes I have bought products made in China over the past 13 years, and NO I have not been very satisfied with the quality. It seems harder and harder to get a decent quality anything anymore. Seems everything is now a Cheaply made Chaiwanese or Mexican POS.
BTW, I never minded paying more for American or Canadian quality. A good product that cost more is still a good product. A cheap POS is still a POS and will cost you much more through replacement costs.
Sorry about the longwinded rant. I sure get sick of people blaming the workers for what corrupt politicians and greedy businessmen do. Guess I'll go and see how hard it is to shove that camel through the eye of a needle.

Guess this is what happens when lawyers and greedy rich bastards run a country.
What a shame to watch this once great land go down the toilet.

09-19-2003, 11:14 PM
Jaymo, sometimes we have no choice but to buy non-USA made products.
If your vehicle is a 1985 or newer, chances are there's more foreign parts in it than "Made in USA" parts. Do we buy Toyota? They're assembled here but the parts are not made here. Most Chevy, Ford and Chrysler's are assembled here but most parts are NOT made here. Check the list of origins on the window sticker. Chances are, it's longer than the options list.
Go to any store and try to find "Made in USA" products. The pickens are slim. You can't even go grocery shopping and walk out with all USA products.
There's just no way to be completely American and live the way we do. Many products are not there.

09-19-2003, 11:29 PM
You can start by not even entering a Wal-Mart.

If you go in, and randomly sample 100 items throughout the store, and if you can even find 10 made in USA I will be very surprised.

I think they deliberately have a "no USA products" policy. If not political, it is economic.

Jim Hubbell
09-20-2003, 12:11 AM
A fellow in this neck of the woods started a moggot farm for fishing bait. He passed on and now his son runs it. Sells maggots all over the world. Not only bait but for pollinizing certain crops. I set up the needed refrigeration for him.
Since I can't do much my son and his boy run our company. Doing very well and could use more hands. Can't find someone who will work to our likes. Good hands are hard to come by.

09-20-2003, 12:12 AM
You guys have overlooked one important group that is very much to blame-stockholders.

They demand three things,profit,profit and profit!And who are they?You and me and everyone in my nieghborhood.Like I have said in previous posts about Enron,don't blame Bush,or dare I say it,Clinton,instead blame the stockholders,they are responsible for the whole clusterf---,just like the great depression we have everyday greedy people who know nothing about economics let alone the stock market,yet they invest,or more properly throw money at companies like global crossing and enron all the while never paying attention to those annoying annual reports and when the company and its stock go bust and they lose their collective arse they blame everyone but them selves.Well TFB!

Oh and the insurance thing,I worked for a small company that made a hand operated machine for cutting picture framing mats,the machine had a small razor blade that did the cutting and even though you would have to take the thing apart and lick the cutter to get cut they had to carry liability insurance to the tune of $2mill,this cost $125,000 a year,and god help you if you ever for any reason have a claim,f---ing crooked b-----ds http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//mad.gif Rant mode off!

09-20-2003, 12:22 AM
I have come to the conclusion recently that everything manufactured today is disposable. You can't afford to pay to have it repaired because it would cost more than a new one. When I said everything I mean everything.

I have recently made the decision to start buying older item and rebuilding them when they need it. One example,any of the riding lawnmowers (yard tractors) will wear out in about 4 years even if you maintain them properly. I am buying a 1982 cub cadet that is in good condition and when it needs repair fix it, all parts are available. That will be a better deal than buying a new one for about the same price and throwing it away in 4 years.

I wouldn't trade or sell the tools that I have had for 30+ years for anything made today. Today they are junk compared to what was available.

I bought a Maytag Neptune washing machine for $1000 and figured it would last me the rest of my life. I have had it for 4 years and it is junk. There have been 3 recall on it and now the main bearing is bad. Poor seal design, Maytag wants $450 to repair it. I will buy an older machine and use it. Have always had Maytag washers and dryers and have had excellent service from them prior to this one. The new ones are junk.

The same goes for the automobiles today. Buy and older one that you can work on and you will save a lot of money in the longrun. Bought a 1992 Dodge 350.

We are loosing jobs in this country and we will pay dearly for it in the years to come. Service will be the only saving grace that we will have to keep the economy going. Mom and Pop shops will return in the near future and I also think they will be a success.


Rich Carlstedt
09-20-2003, 12:41 AM
Hot topic to say the least.
It is totally wrong to place the blame on one person or group. This is a massive problem that we as a country must face, and do so with our eyes wide open. To even get close, we must understand "Economics", or we are beaten before beginning.
Everyone has an answer, but they may be wrong

Take for example the "Steel Tarriffs" that were placed on Foreign Steel last year....Yes, it did save our steel mills..they stayed in business, but what happened is that those who bought the cheaper steel STOPPED, layed off "fabrication"employees and now bring in prefinished steel assembleys..So who lost ?
Everybody, because the world will continue to seek "lower prices "
If you do not believe this fundamental fact of economic law, then any comment made here is useless
I have yet to meet a man, who buys a car by going to a dealer and saying I'll take the Blue one..and never comparing prices.
The solution to OUR epidemic loss of jobs is to strive for lower production costs here and not buy foreign made products.
Don't feed me that crap that you can't find American made products...they are made, but you are not buying..BECAUSE YOU DON"T LOOK
Case in Point...American made shoes..look at your feet..are you buying xxxx or some other "hot "shoe used by a NBA star ?
or are you buying Wolverine, or Edmond Allen shoes, both made here in Wisconsin...I am

When was the last time you told a store manager "I am not shopping here if you do not support America"?
I bet no one here has done this, so why put all the blame on Walmart or any other corporation.
Another case in point...Washington DC and your politicians hollering the DRUGS are more expensive here and we should import Foreign drugs... and you say yeah !
Well guess what baby...its the same as steel..next our world leading drug companies will be laying off American workers and bring in Foreign drugs because you wanted them...
See what I mean ?
Its all around us...putting the blame on any one other than YOU.. is a game..like lawyers play ...pin the tail on the donkey...
Only we are the donkeys.
Simple solution...only buy American and pay the price.
When employees push a broom for $19.50 an hour ,you may laugh, but I cry.

09-20-2003, 12:58 AM
C. Tate:
No one up here in Canda makes $25/hr. unless they work in government, a big union, or sell dope to yuppies.

I blame money grubbers like Bill Gates, all big business, Banks, Insurance companies, and the users of NYSE, NASDAQ or any other stock exchange for all the losses of jobs here in North America. Don't you realize you can't make a 60,000% profit on a $300/pr. of nikes unless you use slave labour? God bless the greedy bastards, eh?

Personally I don't buy cheap tools. The only cheap tool I had I bought for $1 at an auction. I buy lots of Starrett, Mitutoyo, Moore, Mercer, Taft-Peirce, Beckman, Fluke, Hakko, blah, blah, blah. Mostly American, the odd Canadian (not much made here anymore), Euro, and Japanese. Not because they are this or that make - I buy what I determine to be the best period regardless of name brand preferences or bull**** "country of origin" issues.

Now I have been forced to comprimise due to enormous prescription drug bills. You cannot begin to believe how pissed off this makes me. No sir, I don't like it.

09-20-2003, 10:53 AM
I believe much of the blame for loosing manufacturing jobs must go to the beurocracy. Constant rules aand regulations have forced many company's to quit business. Witness the machine tool builders. Can't say they didn't keep up with progress. Sheldon produced many fine and innovative tools as did Clausing. But the price of castings and other materials went thru the roof.
I have a friend that owns a small company packaging and selling Honey. He came back from a meeting with the EPA fuming. They have put so many restrictions on his business that he's lucky to stay in business. The meeting was about discharges from factory's. When you pass a bread bakery the EPA directed that they clean up the air that's discharged [so you can't smell the yeast bread cooking]. This is supposed to hurt the enviornment.
We are taxed damned near to death and the government wants more. That's our fault for demanding more services. The Social Security system's a joke and any time someone mentions changing it all hell breaks loose.
I could rant bout this stuff for the rest of the day still nothing will ever get done.

09-20-2003, 11:03 AM
I think the root of the economics problems again lie with regulation.
he is apparently a rule ( at government level) that REQUIRES traded companies to maximize profits to stock holders. And that seems to mean immediate profits. THe business type magazine occasionally refer to suits where the company failed to take advantage of profits (short term) even though their long term goals would probably have better served the stock holders.

Thats one reason companies "sell" their good names and reputations to produce some POS and improve the "bottom line" a while.

When a man or a company sells his honor, he become a whore selling to the first customer. Hell that is a very good analogy- we have fewer whores because the armatures have driven the good gals out of business. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

09-20-2003, 09:32 PM
Have to say a couple of things.

GE will no longer "sub parts" to small companies unless they intend to set up shops in a few of their select third world countries. A local shop killed the off shore competition for years in price and quality, but lost the job because they did not set up shop in Mexico or China.

Second thing. When you talk about US companies bidding against Chinese companies, the US companies are bidding against the Chinese governmen, and their industrial subsidies. Same with mexico, russia, asa, almost the whole world. Anyone who thinks that the competition is against "free and private owned" companies off shore has not followed the history of it all, or is now reading it all now. The only real free bidding between companies is US and a major part of Europe, and Europe is losing it as well.

3. restrictions. I will state that environmental and worker health restrictions are necessary. Without them is how manufacturing, especially machining, got its bad name, and without them, they earned it. Compare the quality of life here in the US and in Europe with China, asia, mexico, and Russia. We can fish our waters more now than in in the past, have less problems with drinking water, better air than 90% of the worlds manufacturing countries.....

a friend of mine went several times to China to "set up shop" (GE mandated, another company). Noted the computers busted up and sitting by the river. Watched a man get a hand torn up, and noted the several workers with injured eyes, missing digits, bandages. Coolant poured on the ground, and smoke in the cities enough to cause breathing problems. Also noted the government officials around him, and also in the shops checking up on things on a constant basis, and even taking part in getting bids.

Yes, we have too many regs in the US, and right now there are bills to look this over going forth in congress, and several pres. candidates harping this message - get manufacturing back here!!!!!! Will take small and large companies to really speak up though, especially the many small companies!!!!!!!! Too easy to sit and complain, hard work to get up and move, but in our area, they are doing just that, and showing up at these presidential candidate rallys IN FORCE, and are being quite vocal to our senators and congressmen!!!!! I live in New Hampshire, have met Edwards, Dean, Lieberman, Kerry, Graham, and Kucinich. Common message from all - hope it carries.

09-20-2003, 09:44 PM
I am old enough to understand what is going on but hopefully young enough to see it get better. I have two kids, both teenagers, who are being taught about things like quality, craftsmanship, reliability and other such things.

One of the biggest problems in this country is that the younger generations of weenies out there (for the most part) would not recognize quality if it bit them in the ass.

The consequence of this is that they accept substandard crap which has a service life measured in months instead of years. They have come to accept the fact that the fan they bought last year is getting old, that the TV they bought 3 years ago has seen its better day (and really needs an upgrade to HDTV anyway), the computer is old at 14 months and the car (which is leased) will be swapped out in a year. They will buy the same products over and over again for the rest of their lives !


09-21-2003, 10:22 PM

14 years ago when I first started selling computers as a VAR my first PC ws $689 (wholesale for a 386-40 & MoBo) My first K6 (166Mhz) was...$689 for the chip, My First Athalon was $1200 (900Mhz), My latest 2100XP+ was $189, a 2500XP+ Barton $149, a 3200XP+ Barton was $449, the 2GHz Opterons are $900 (twice as fast as a P4-3.2Ghz).

The sad truth to all this is...speed kills bank accounts. No, you can't win the computer race - as you buy it, it is obsolete. But it is the ONLY products on the market that increase in quality/speed and get cheaper with time.

Sorry, I like the concept of more for less later! This is the result of heavy world wide competition http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

[This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 09-21-2003).]

09-22-2003, 06:51 AM
I hope you don't expect the democrats to bring back jobs because it won't happen.
The problem lie within the american consumer, Most consumers want to make big $$
but won't spend their money on expensive american goods.
As a stockholder in in CAT,GM, SCX and a few others I can assure that 99 % of stock holders want long term returns which means you need a well run,motivated company producing a good product to achieve this.
I will also lay blame with management, they often do not listen to employees sugestions nor will they not promote someone experienced
who has come up thru the ranks.
And finally culture comes into play, most people don't care, it's easier to just use credit to buy a new one rather than to take care of an item so it lasts.

09-22-2003, 10:22 AM
I think.. I do... I love my country..

I bought a new Ranger truck in 99.. I found out later it was mostly Japanese.. It was a fine truck.. The 94 ranger lowrider I am driving is a fine truck, with a Mazda 5 speed and who knows what else.

The trucks are made in Louisville KY.. So they tell me with parts out of boxes.. This is one way the makers can disguise the actual whereabouts the parts come from.

I don't know what the answer is. I try to purchase american products to support my country. I fall victim to the made in america label only to find out it was boxed in america.

We are lowering out standards daily, giving away jobs and our money to the people who "HATE US".

It should state where the product is actually made, I'd buy canadian, English, or other known allies products before the 3rd world countries for the simple fact of how they treat their people.

09-22-2003, 10:42 AM

[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 11-16-2003).]

09-22-2003, 10:49 AM
Capitalism without regulation will naturally evolve to a society of very rich and very poor. Socialism without personal incentive for gain will lead to stagnation and apathy. Regulation of capitalism is a form of socialism. If we you don't have a little socialism you may wind up with a lot of socialism.

Pay our elected leaders more. Allow them no outside income period. Drastically limit their campaign funding.

You fill in the connection between these paragraphs.

I know this is an overly simplistic commentary on a complicated problem. But food for thought.

09-27-2003, 06:19 PM
On a similar note:


09-27-2003, 08:58 PM

Grumpy Jenkins liked the Vega. He won a lot of drag races with his.. I built 3 V8 vegas, two Monza Spyders, two V8 pintos, and several other fun toys. I had one factory V8 vega that had a 4 cylinder. the title said V8.. that was how they were able to race them in the super stock class. Sell so many of the V8s in them. the cheating devils......

I liked the pinto, it had a rear fill gas tank, for some reason crushing the filler neck shut and compressing the violatile gas makes them explode. (smashing it into the rear axle) Imagine that. I am seeing the same reponse about the Ford Victoria police cars.

The small overhead cam motor they used in the pinto is still in use but much changed over the years. They sell forged pistons and other speed equipment for it cheap for hobby racing.

Yes, the auto market responded too late with too little in the way of cheap cars.. Remember the corvair, they had pre-warning... it was a sports car to compete with the renault, the Volkswagon, and some other rear engined imports. It was actually a pretty nice car, just had strange Understeer to get used to, like a Porshe.... I never noticed it till someone pointed it out to me..

Kinda like pushing and pulling motorcycle handlebars to get through corners fast. I never noticed I did that either...

Detroit has still not learned, now they have joined forces with the Japanese... I smile every time the "TUCKER" movie comes on. I think it portrays truth.. Mostly anyways..

09-28-2003, 07:41 PM
Just read in the paper this last week that the Indian Motorcycle Company has ceased production and laid off their entire work force at their Gilroy plant. The future of the company is in question at this time. The article states that " ...the board decided last week that it couldn't afford to continue manufacturing. Given the steep fixed costs of its assembly line and design studio..."

Sorry to see another company shutting down.


09-29-2003, 04:46 PM
I was not promoting the Democrats in my statement. These are the only people putting on a campaign for president and putting forward campaign issues right now, and the only ones on the campaign trail that do NOT require a 1000.00 per plate minimum to meet them.

A good republican, or even the pres himself should be putting out the campaign issues right now. I know Geo is working, but a simple position paper put back on the table summarizing his stances for '04 would be helpful.

Carry on....

09-29-2003, 05:21 PM

[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 11-16-2003).]

09-29-2003, 05:54 PM
Big companies have big coffers to draw from. They also move slower and can't react to market changes as effectively as small ones.

One big choke hold for all companies is the cost of business. Right now benefits cost companies big bucks and the trend is rising. Not so much is salaries.

Some is due to tort lawyers, but healthcare is pretty much out of control. Generally, anything the government can do, private industry can do better (that assumes checks and balances to keep the nefarious in check).

Interesting enough, small businesses make up the majority of the GNP for the US. The large companies get all of the press time, although.

I agree that it appears that corporate stock holders are getting undue attention from companies as they cater to month to month profit earnings. Hard to balance long term interests of the company with the short term interest of the investor. A mindset change from instant payback to long term earnings need to take place.

I also agree about buying USA. I buy USA when the tool or product matters to me (we make some of the best!). I'll shop elsewhere when a throw-away is required.

That being said, I do spend money on quality imports, too. My lathe is from Austria and my pleasure car is a 911 from Germany. You can't or should not buy everything from USA because it violates the principle of the "better mousetrap".

We saw that as a big time example with the auto industry falling on their face when customers finally had a chance to buy quality cars at a fair market price from other countries. Fortunately, the US companies got back on the ball, but they still seem to suffer from an attitude and the recovery time has been long and painful. Competition keeps us sharp!

The USA can compete and we have some of the hardest working people in the world. We just have a shifting landscape (business wise) and we need to be keen about adapting to the changes and seizing the opportunities that pop up (vision). We still are on the cutting edge of the world and the benchmark of success (as well as some of the biggest hearts).

09-29-2003, 11:20 PM
debequem, just a short comment pertaining to stock holders. There are basically two types, traders and investors. Traders are in it for the short term and trade on price trends while investors are in it for the long haul and are concerned with consistent earnings and stability. Unfortunately most pundits miss this point. The news media like traders are only interested in day to day events and thus miss the long term perspective. A big driver in how management reacts is the type of incentive package it is presented with where the emphasis is either on short or long term objectives. Of course, like all things, this is a mutlivariant equation and generally solved emperically.

Neil Peters