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  • #16
    Import items don't bother me so much,a quality product is a quality product no matter where it is made.This is the USA and we have ALWAYS traded goods with other countries.

    What is new however are old line US companies trading on the reputation they made for themselves in the past to sell cheap product now for a high price.

    Vise-Grip went to China,did the price go down and the quality stay the same?Nope,are they paying US scale wages to the Chinese workers,also Nope.

    Same with Cleveland Twist Drill,Mexican drills at US prices.

    Now if the quality of those two products had remained the same I wouldn't mind them being import under a US badge,but it's not the same.

    And it's not just the US doing it.I recently bought some Fasto huck rivets,two cases infact.Fasto was/is a German company known for quality.The new boxes of rivets-Made in China,but I still paid the "German quality" price.I just hope Hans the QC inspector checked the wire stock the Chinese made the rivets from.
    I just need one more tool,just one!

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by gregl
      Just having returned from an 8700 mile cross country trip, I have a new understanding of Made in America.

      We went through Waterloo, Iowa, home of John Deere. It's a town that looks worn out. Too many of the homes are vacant, left behind with the 1980s loss of some 13,000 manufacturing and food-processing jobs, a loss from which the city will never recover. In spite of the museum-quality collection of classic middle-American residential and commercial architecture, Waterloo's broken windows, dark apartment buildings and empty factories hint at an America that has more problems than anyone celebrating the flag at Mt. Rushmore would want to think about.

      Throughout New England we saw the closed mill buildings, some of which have been converted to other uses -- boutique apartments, artists lofts, or just hangouts for transients and graffiti artists. In Greenfield, M.A., once a center for America's industrial strength, the 19th century Greenfield Stamp & Tool building now houses only memories of it's original tenant.

      But we also toured the Starrett factory (which I reported on elsewhere on this forum) and the Stickley furniture factory in Fayetteville, N.Y. In both places we saw proud workers creating quality products, the cars of 600 employees in the parking lots of each. And we thought about those 600 jobs and the benefits they brought to their holders as well as the chain of other people who are directly or indirectly affected. And it gave me a new respect for the people who make things and the importance of supporting their efforts. When I see that Starrett indicator priced so much higher it's Asian counterpart, I'll remember the quality I saw being put into it, and I'll also see those workers who are earning a good wage, supporting their families and contributing to the American economy, and I won't complain about the price when I write my check.
      What's a shame is if you had wanted to tour the offices of law firms,insurance providers,and government you wouldn't had to even leave home since they are so plentiful.

      There was a war between the productive class and the un-productive class and the un-productive won.
      I just need one more tool,just one!

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      • #18
        Hmmm, maybe shop class should be reintroduced into the highschools. Maybe the problem is that we are letting a bunch of ignorant politicians make the policies and laws to protect us from ourselves.

        Maybe the reason the foreign manufacturers are doing so well selling their goods to the USA is from our younger generations having either no manual skills or theoretical education with no hands on experience combined with no motivation.

        Perhaps the reason is that corporate America has no loyalty towards the worker and the younger generation realizes it, and has no motivation to put in an appropriate effort.

        I remember there was a story (not fictional, I just don't remember all the details) several years ago that a small business in the Philadelphia area needed welders and general shop workers to fulfill a multi-million dollar government contract. He couldn't find anyone local that had basic shop math skills or basic shop knowledge, he advertised at many community colleges and what trade schools he could. He even offered a decent wage and benefit package and added an incentive for workers to move to his area. End result was that he was unable to get anyone who had any basic knowledge and had to let the contract go. This entire story was published in the newspaper sometime 4 or 5 years ago. Pretty pathetic that our country can't even provide trade training in high school and through community colleges and that the motivational level of many or the younger generation is so low that they wouldn't enroll anyway.

        Bottom line is that it is now and has been a world economy for a long time. Worldwide, the level of quality needs to increase. To stay nationally competitive, we have to change the work ethic, trust and loyalty between corporate America and the worker, a two way street. We need as a nation to make the accountants understand that sometimes it is just plain good for a business to treat the employees well and not treat them as just a number.

        Next.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by dlsinak
          Hmmm, maybe shop class should be reintroduced into the highschools.

          I remember there was a story (not fictional, I just don't remember all the details) several years ago that a small business in the Philadelphia area needed welders and general shop workers to fulfill a multi-million dollar government contract. He couldn't find anyone local that had basic shop math skills or basic shop knowledge, he advertised at many community colleges and what trade schools he could. He even offered a decent wage and benefit package and added an incentive for workers to move to his area. End result was that he was unable to get anyone who had any basic knowledge and had to let the contract go. This entire story was published in the newspaper sometime 4 or 5 years ago.
          Sounds fishy to me.
          We have shop classes in all 3 of the high schools my kids have attended- and I mean right now. Yes, the shop class now also has a CNC router and is teaching CAD/CAM, but they still do woodworking, machining, sheet metal, and welding.
          In fact, they had a pretty decent shop class in the middle school in Bellingham Washington my kids went to.
          And we have a whole network of GREAT community colleges and technical schools in Washington State, which are government run, so they are cheap, that have welding, machine shop, and manufacturing technology classes.

          I have been hiring kids with 2 year AA degrees in welding for almost 20 years now, from community colleges, and they are well trained, ready to work, and have good skills.
          I have never had a problem finding these employees- I just call up the instructors at the community college, and ask em to send over their best kids- I have probably hired 20 kids this way since the late 80's.

          Now maybe Philadelphia is totally different- I dont know- but in California, and Washington, where I have done business, this story would be complete baloney- the real story would be, the owner wanted to pay minimum wage, for experienced welders or machinists, and the potential employees laughed at him.

          Its absolutely true that we have FEWER kids who learn to weld or run machines- but thats because 5 kids in sneakers with I-pods, running 2 million dollars worth of CNC mills, can put out the same amount of product it took a 100 guys running bridgeports and southbends to do in 1955.

          I know one man shops that crank out more product than many small factories used to in the sixties. Ox, over on PM, works alone, except for some help from his teenager- and he makes as much stuff as 20 guys used to.

          So there are not the jobs for 10,000 grads a year in machining, but where I live, a good machinist or welder still finds work.

          Comment


          • #20
            To all,
            My original post was not made to fuel a heated discussion about global trade politics, but hopefully only to keep a few more people from losing their jobs.

            Nonetheless, I would submit a few contentions:

            -"Nobody wins a trade war". Absolutely. Trade wars are more like to occur when trade imbalances reach extremes or when trade practices are "perceived" to be grossly unfair by either party.

            -US-Canadian trade facts (dated a couple of years):
            http://www.buyusa.gov/canada/en/trad...usacanada.html

            -US-Canadian trade balances
            http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/...1220.html#2009

            Contrast that with other trading partners
            http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/...5700.html#2009

            (All above references are USG figures.

            -The stark reality is that if it is considered legal and allowable, any US-based, multi-national corporation, which under US law, has the same rights and privileges as human persons(and then some), will relocate plants and factories to countries with the lowest labor (and other) costs in order to maximize profits. If not feasible, low cost labor will be imported, if it can be done.

            -No life, liberty or pursuit of happiness is safe as long as Congress is in session (-Mark Twain?).

            Have a safe week.

            Dave A.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by John Stevenson
              Only if you still have the facilities / machinery and the skill set to run it.

              .
              Sorry John this is bull, the chinese had none of this and the rest of the world sent it to them anyway.

              Me personally, I have always treated Canada as family when it comes to trade and the quality of there products is on par with true US made stuff. I have no problem trading with most of Europe, they generally make good quality products and follow decent trade practices. The Asian countries have never practiced good trade. Most all of the stuff that has been sent to China has not decreased in price but the quality has suffered terribly. Of all my mechanics tools 95% of them were and are made in the US. My machinist tools, about 85% are American made. If I need something once I might go to harbor freight, if I'm gonna use it over and over its gonna be good quality period, if I can find American or Canadian made that comes 1st, if I can't find it there, then European it is. If I can't find it then I go directly to Craigslist or Ebay and find quality used. I refuse to buy the newer crap from China. When I found out about Vise grips, I went and bought 5 new sets. I just bought a set of Snap on screwdrivers that were American made (I asked) only because I couldn't find screwdrivers that were a little cheaper that weren't made in China.

              I have watched as 100's of people I know have lost there jobs to China in the last 10 years. So I try to do my part now. Heck the German company I work for has started to buy the tooling from the country that the plant is in. American plants get American or Canadian tooling, the German plants get German tooling, the plants in the UK get tooling from the UK. The higher ups have decided thats the best way to run the company and its good for them publicly as well as financially.

              I do most of this now out of my own good conscious. Knowing that the job I save may be a friends.

              Comment


              • #22
                Usa made at usa prices- I went to a local store a cupple weeks back to buy a 3mm tap. They had one, chinese made, hss, and looked ok but not quality. They wanted $11 for it. I said at that price you can f---in keep it. Nicely, of course.

                I was trying to get one locally- then I made a call and found one about a 20 minute bike ride away. It was a nice day, so off I went. Got a quality, made in usa, brand name, for $4.

                This story about the cost of a quality tool is an exception, except to say that yes, there are those businesses who are buying cheap crap and expecting high dollar for it. Maybe that's their policy, thinking it will help them stay in business, maybe they're trying to balance the teetertotter of 'how much can we gouge them for before they won't shop here anymore'- as far as I'm concerned, they can go out of business. Of course, many times the business is hurting and needs a customer base willing to spend the proper dollar for the reasonable quality thing in order to survive.

                I would buy locally if I could find it, firstly, secondly if I could fit it into the budget, and thirdly if it wasn't a blatant ripoff. For me, beyond the ripoff, the real rub is- if I'm not working or not making a good wage, then in general I can't afford the more expensive product. If it was for work use, that's another story- you can't afford to not have good tooling. The message here is simple- to our governments, to our employers- if we can't afford our locally made products, you can't count on us to support our local industries.

                I see the whole story in spades right now where I work- the crew is well paid, and everyone pulls together and gives a good effort. We've been doing well, even in the face of the latest recession. Now there's been a change of ownership, and everyone can see that the new policies aren't going to support the flow we had before. Nobody is happy, and you can imagine what that's going to do to productivity. Now management will see that they can't afford our current wages- I don't want to think about this anymore. I guess we've all been lucky so far ( me for only the last couple months or so) to have had a good employer who cares about the workers and treats them fairly and with respect. We have actually been buying our own products so far, since we can afford it. Don't know what the future here is going to be-
                I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by koda2
                  -US-Canadian trade balances
                  http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/...1220.html#2009

                  Contrast that with [China]
                  http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/...5700.html#2009

                  (All above references are USG figures.
                  Very interesting data. That says the US imports about 75% as much from Canada as we do from China (~$180 Billion), but we export 3 times the amount of goods to Canada as China.

                  So we have a 4.5X trade imbalance with China, but close to parity (10% imbalance) with Canada.

                  In other words, we import roughly the same amount from Canada and China, but export virtually nothing to China.
                  Last edited by lazlo; 11-01-2009, 03:27 PM.
                  "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                  • #24
                    A couple weeks ago I stopped for a train at a crossing I counted 118 containers heading to the new Prince Rupert B.C. container terminal. I doubt that they were empty maybe full of money on it's way to China.

                    Terry

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by lazlo
                      Very interesting data. That says the US imports has about 75% as much from Canada as we do from China (~$180 Billion), but we export 3 times the amount of goods to Canada as China.

                      So we have a 4.5X trade imbalance with China, but close to parity (10% imbalance) with Canada.

                      In other words, we import roughly the same amount from Canada and China, but export virtual nothing to China.
                      Does that mean China has over-capacity in finished goods and doesn't need our stuff, or that China has found our costs too high and buys stuff from Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea, or that Canada sells us a lot of natural gas and logs and we sell them a lot of, of... well, something. Fertilizer, I'd guess.

                      Those links only tell us if we are in the red or black, not what we're buying or selling.

                      The links also don't mention that China is doing this with far more trading partners than the US. Here's what it tells me - The Chinese mean to own the finished goods market for as long as we're pleased to give it to them.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by koda2
                        The VIN number on my Tundra indicates it was "made" in the US. On closer evaluation many of the drive train parts, etc, were "made" in Japan.
                        When we were car shopping last year, the cars from the various manufacturers were itemized to a decimal point to country of manufacture, and no car (either from the Big 3 or from Japan) was 100% made anywhere. The dealer sticker is required to show the percentage parts breakdown by country.

                        The American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA) requires that in order for a car to be marked Made In USA, it must be assembled in the US, and at least 75% of the parts content must be from the US or Canada. Apparently the Canadian content was pushed by the Big 3, because they had a lot of parts made in Canada.

                        So according to the AALA listings, the Toyota Tundra is 80% US/Canadian, and 20% Japanese. That's by "value" of the parts -- I don't know who determines the value:

                        "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          The average Chinese worker makes $100 per month the average western world worker makes $100 a day. Unless we learn how to make what he can't we're toast. Putting up a wall doesn't work in the long run, look at the USSR, you just get left behind. It's survival of the fittest, something the USA use to be good at. Now it thinks its top dog standard of living is a god given right. History will prove differently. Adapt or die.

                          Phil

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by lazlo
                            Very interesting data. That says the US imports about 75% as much from Canada as we do from China (~$180 Billion), but we export 3 times the amount of goods to Canada as China.

                            So we have a 4.5X trade imbalance with China, but close to parity (10% imbalance) with Canada.

                            In other words, we import roughly the same amount from Canada and China, but export virtually nothing to China.

                            What we should be aware of, and what makes the example of Canada further different from China, everytime a dollar leaves the US in exchange for a consumable, (final consumer goods), that's not only a dollar lost, but also a potential other dollar lost in domestic business.

                            It's one thing to import $100 bazillion in product direct to the consumer, and never to see that money again; and another thing to import $100 bazillion in raw material, (timber, textiles, plastic pellets, etc) and generate some further wealth and jobs through comsumer goods manufactured domestically.

                            Take, for instance, Melamine, we could have imported it directly and put in our pet food by ourselves, instead of paying the Chinese to do that.



                            Gary
                            Gary


                            Appearance is Everything...

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Mcruff

                              I just bought a set of Snap on screwdrivers that were American made (I asked) only because I couldn't find screwdrivers that were a little cheaper that weren't made in China.
                              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                John Stevenson
                                Only if you still have the facilities / machinery and the skill set to run it.


                                Very correct about the large machinery like forges and foundries John...we`ve seen them scrapped and the foundries shut down and the equipment sent out to be recycled...they will never make big equipment like this on this side of the pond again in my lifetime.If the US stops buying from China ...who will keep servicing the debt...it is a huge Ponzi scheme...if the Chinese stop buying T Bills the whole thing comes crashing down.If they continue to buy them you devalue the greenback and pay them back in worthless dollars and suffer the consequences of massive inflation..hmmm there are no good alternatives.
                                Last edited by deeman; 11-01-2009, 05:19 PM.

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