IT Employment

Is the U.S. tech industry oiling its own guillotine?

Intel chief Andy Grove sees a troubled future for the U.S. technology industry. Learn why Grove thinks radical action is needed to spur a renaissance in high-tech manufacturing.

In the future, will Andy Grove be viewed as a prophetic visionary or a misguided agitator? The U.S. better hope that it's the latter -- or change its current economic policies -- because when Grove looks into the future he sees a U.S. tech industry that is likely to be severely diminished.

Grove, the former head of Intel, is best known for his quote, "Only the paranoid survive." His paranoia was once aimed at staying a step ahead of competitors in the PC wars of the 1980s and 90s, but in recent years Grove has expanded his purview to focus on the future of the larger tech industry and he is deeply concerned by what he sees in the U.S.

Grove has been telling anyone who will listen the last couple years that the American technology sector is in decline and he has proven himself eager to diagnose its ailments. Unlike other tech leaders, these days you won't hear Grove calling for a bunch of extra H1B Visas or other short-term tactics to buoy the tech sector. Instead, Grove has turned idealist, some would even say, "protectionist."

The patent mess

When Grove received a lifetime achievement award at the National Inventors Hall of Fame induction ceremony in May 2009, he told the audience, "As we celebrate the accomplishments of the last 50 years, I can't help but wonder if the next 50 years will be equally productive. I'm dubious."

In that speech he decried the U.S. patent system, explaining that in the early days of the transistor there was much more cross-licensing of patents and a greater spirit of companies building upon the same technologies -- even among fierce competitors. "Patents themselves have become products [today]," said Grove. "They're instruments of investment traded on a separate market, often by speculators motivated by the highest financial return on their investment."

Grove compared the patent system to the derivatives that led to the 2008 collapse of the U.S. financial markets and suggested that the patent system should use Thomas Jefferson's basic assertion that "The true value of an invention is its usefulness to the public," as the guiding principle for fixing the patent mess.

The decline of U.S. manufacturing

However, Grove has become even more passionate about another issue: The decline of the U.S. manufacturing sector, especially in tech. He has attacked the current American ideal that a continual stream of startups can provide all of the jobs and innovation that we need to build a healthy economy and maintain our leadership in the tech sector.

In a guest column for Bloomberg, Grove recently stated:

"Americans love the idea of the guys in the garage inventing something that changes the world... Startups are a wonderful thing, but they cannot by themselves increase tech employment. Equally important is what comes after that mythical moment of creation in the garage, as technology goes from prototype to mass production. This is the phase where companies scale up. They work out design details, figure out how to make things affordably, build factories, and hire people by the thousands. Scaling is hard work but necessary to make innovation matter. The scaling process is no longer happening in the U.S. And as long as that's the case, plowing capital into young companies that build their factories elsewhere will continue to yield a bad return in terms of American jobs."

He pointed out that Apple has 25,000 employees but it outsources its manufacturing to a Foxxconn facility in southern China that employs 250,000 workers to build Apple products. And this 10-to-1 ratio is essentially the same for Dell and other high-tech companies that use Foxconn, a company that now employs 800,000 workers -- more than Apple, Dell, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and Sony combined.

The common refrain in the U.S. in recent decades has been to devalue and dismiss manufacturing jobs and hang our hats on the fact that most of the high-end knowledge workers remain in the U.S. for these tech companies, and that those jobs are much more valuable and much less commoditized.

Grove challenges that line of thinking, saying:

"Not only did we lose an untold number of jobs, we broke the chain of experience that is so important in technological evolution... abandoning today's 'commodity' manufacturing can lock you out of tomorrow's emerging industry... Transferring manufacturing and a great deal of engineering out of the country has hindered our ability to bring innovations to scale at home. Without scaling, we don't just lose jobs -- we lose our hold on new technologies. Losing the ability to scale will ultimately damage our capacity to innovate."

The example that Grove uses to illustrate this is batteries. The U.S. makes a fraction of the Lithion-Ion batteries used to power the world's computers and electronic devices. The U.S. lost the battery race a couple decades ago when it started shipping the manufacturing processes for consumer electronics to Asia. But now, Lithion-Ion batteries are going to be used to power electronic automobiles and that market could quickly dwarf the electronics industry and the U.S. is out of the game before it even begins.

Andy Grove speaking at the Computer History Museum in 2009. (Photo credit: CNET/James Martin)

Grove's solution

You can find a lot of people who agree with Grove's assessment of the state of the American technology industry. However, where the real controversy is over his prescribed remedy. Grove concludes:

"Long term, we need a job-centric economic theory -- and job-centric political leadership -- to guide our plans and actions... The first task is to rebuild our industrial commons. We should develop a system of financial incentives: Levy an extra tax on the product of offshored labor. (If the result is a trade war, treat it like other wars -- fight to win.) Keep that money separate. Deposit it in the coffers of what we might call the Scaling Bank of the U.S. and make these sums available to companies that will scale their American operations. Such a system would be a daily reminder that while pursuing our company goals, all of us in business have a responsibility to maintain the industrial base on which we depend and the society whose adaptability -- and stability -- we may have taken for granted... If what I'm suggesting sounds protectionist, so be it."

Such a radical proposal has naturally drawn intense criticism, especially from free market proponents.

Peter Cohan of DailyFinance responded, "It would immediately raise taxes on any business that uses workers offshore, and those higher taxes would be passed on to U.S. consumers of those products in the form of higher prices. In theory, such a move would be popular with those who were hired through the proceeds of the tax. But those same people would also be paying higher prices for products made overseas."

James Altucher of The Wall Street Journal wrote, "I wish Grove could point out one country in the 100,000-year history of mankind that flourished because of protectionism."

Sanity check

What's interesting to me about Grove and his crusade to restore the U.S. as a high-tech manufacturing center is that it's a stunning departure from the Andy Grove that ran Intel in the 80s and 90s. Sure, you could argue that Intel was a chip manufacturer at its core and Grove is sentimentally attached to that idea and simply doesn't want to see that heritage lost.

However, this is the same guy that once lobbied vehemently for H1B Visas to allow more foreign workers (often working for much lower wages) into the U.S. to fill high-tech job openings. It's also the same Andy Grove who was almost anti-idealistic in the past. He once stated, "Technology happens. It's not good, it's not bad. Is steel good or bad?"

Now, he's suggesting that businesses have a "responsibility" to the society and communities that germinate them, and that part of that responsibility involves employing as many of its citizens as possible in the valuable work of the corporation. Make no mistake, he also believes it is imperative for the future success of the company itself to have closer control over its manufacturing processes. But, at its heart, Grove's message is one of altruism and civic responsibility as much as economic incentive. And maybe that's what's most appealing about it -- especially in an age of soulless robot CEOs who speak in nothing but platitudes and cliches.

Contrast the message of Grove with the reign of former HP CEO Mark Hurd, who decimated and demoralized his workforce at HP in order to maximize profits, and was almost universally praised for it by Wall Street bankers.

That said, I have my doubts about Grove's recommendations. Altucher is right. Protectionism has rarely ever worked for any economy, not in the long run. In fact, it has typically caused more harm than good when viewed in retrospect. And, that's when looking at economies hundreds of years ago that moved at a comparative snail's pace. In today's highly-connected global economy, protectionism is even less reasonable.

Still, something must be done. U.S. companies need to be incented -- both economically and culturally -- to build their products at home whenever possible and to train U.S. workers to take the lead in the kinds of next-generation high-tech manufacturing processes that Grove is talking about. The economic realities are brutal and will be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome in some cases.

But, the biggest issue may be the cultural and psychological one. The U.S. needs to champion and celebrate the companies that do show the kind of civic and community responsibility that Grove is advocating, and give them a regulatory and tax environment that help them flourish (that's the hard part).

High tech companies ship manufacturing and other jobs overseas because it's currently considered a best practice, and U.S. companies and public policy have greased the wheels to make it a turnkey process. In doing so, the rapid development of new tech products in the U.S. now funds a lot more job growth in China than in its own backyard, as Grove forcefully points out. To Grove, the situation begs a brutal analogy:

"The story comes to mind of an engineer who was to be executed by guillotine. The guillotine was stuck, and custom required that if the blade didn't drop, the condemned man was set free. Before this could happen, the engineer pointed with excitement to a rusty pulley, and told the executioner to apply some oil there. Off went his head."

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About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

312 comments
puertoricoman101
puertoricoman101

Then you shouldn't be driving one. Period. ...Unless you are willing to buy the "made in _______" version of course.

puertoricoman101
puertoricoman101

As far as I am concerned the U.S.A. has got exactly what it asked for. We simply do not want to bite the bullet and take a step back into living within our means. I think that the administration should seriously sit down and come up with a long term plan to wean America off of its arrogance and ignorance (the real root of the recession) and stop putting the blame on everyone else. "We the people", we are the problem! Take a look at our idols as a country, our T.V. stars, the garbage that we eat up 24/7 on the TV. We really need to grow up, maybe this recession is just what we needed to get our head on straight. I know that there is no magic answer, but I can't help but say to myself "You reap what you sew".

BobP64
BobP64

Andy Grove is dead on with this one. The biggest problem is that companies that operate in the US are NOT on a level playing field with companies that operate in other areas (e.g. China, Asia, India). Legislation such as Obamacare only exacerbate this problem, raising the cost of doing business here in the US even further. Should we have a global economy - sure, I'm all for that, but, ONLY on a level playing field. What I'm saying is that Company A, a US company, should NOT be able to build a manufacturing plant in China to avoid the health care and higher wages prevalent in the US. If it does so, it should be taxed at a rate equivalent to 2x the cost (per person) of those additional costs. This would make it economically UNFEASIBLE for any company to move manufacturing outside the US. Same goes for any type of "labor" - e.g. SOFTWARE. Make Microsoft PAY for that "labor" they use in India. Take the difference in (pay plus benefits) and multiply it by TWO - pay that in what we can call a "job tax". Of course, there would be NO such tax for work done in countries where they have equal or better benefits (i.e. much of Europe). Then, figure out how to get all the European countries to do the same. You'll see how quickly China and India go down the drain.

ANARCHYMM
ANARCHYMM

My concern is not only price but quality of a product. This is one of the reason why manufacturing left the USA in the first place. Remember? Like for many others "Made in the USA" was a deterrent for me. The USA is great on "making" money, not earning it through production of value. Focus and let the world move on.

cmcrisp
cmcrisp

Read the Tyranny of Dead Ideas by Matt Miller. One Dead Idea is that free trade is good for everyone. As currently practiced, it isn't. Both Miller and Hiner have the right idea. Protectionism is bad, but free trade as currently practiced ain't too great either. Unfortunately, whenever people talk about putting protections in place for workers, people scream "socialism". Whatever. Figure it out the hard way then that free trade hurts too.

richardowens
richardowens

Mr. Hiner, I find your articles interesting and captivating, as well as compelling. And most of the time they are very accurate. However, with that said, I will now be brutally honest. If your ignorance in writing is any indication of WHY our jobs are being thrown over seas, it's not a wonder why all these large companies do everything they can to keep those jobs out of our hands, as we have not been the leaders in education for several decades. Regretfully sir, you are proof. Most of your article is rather compelling, however... Being the OCD of details that I am, I must point out... LITHIUM-ION, it's spelled WRONG at both opportunities, I had hoped that the first time was a typo, but then it was spelled the same way the 2nd time as well, and to think about the fact that many people working in the technology field (myself included), read your articles on a regular basis, thinking that we are educated as well as the eastern parts of the world, concerns me deeply. It seems that you, being the Editor-In-Chief, should either use spell check more often, or hire someone(or someone else) to proofread ALL (Not just yours) articles before publication to the world.

VytautasB
VytautasB

Grove's solution is good. Just drop the "levy a tax" part of it. There must be other ways to encourage the growth of the kinds of jobs that Grove is arguing for. How about giving such start ups 5 years of tax waivers.? If the company is US and promises to employ only US people then why not waive their taxes for a while?

lestertrad
lestertrad

This is an important article, and this situation - only one symptom of an approaching Apocalypse for America - needs to be known and discussed by everyone. But I have a beef about an annoying tic you, an otherwise highly professional writer, seem to have developed: Can you justify your use of an expression like "a couple decades?" Do you put on a pair socks in the morning? Do you have one those new iPhone 4s? Introducing the spoken style into a written piece is legitimate if you do it to achieve a certain effect, but doing it systematically leaves you open to accusations of not knowing the rules of basic written English.

maxwell edison
maxwell edison

Is the United States oiling its own guillotine? My answer: yes it is. P.S. And people who want to try and maintain an image of political impartiality (but in reality, there is no such thing), better rethink such a pipe-dream, lest other people will chop off your heads.

brian.hadwin
brian.hadwin

The spiral. Consumers want cheaper goods so manufacturers cut costs by going overseas where the labour is cheap. Then there are fewer jobs, less item brought, more cost cutting, more overseas work, etc. Unfortunately long term free trade means cheaper and cheaper goods which equates to fewer jobs. The only winners are people who deal in money hence the dominance of the banks who get us to pay for their mistakes. America needs to produce what it consumes and make it honarable to make things not just honor and reward people who deal in money.

ron.jasper
ron.jasper

Instead of blindly taxing all overseas labor which one, doesn't get the jobs moved over here, two just raises prices for US consumers to pass the tax on, and three gets us labeled as protectionists. You execute a tax on overseas labor that gives them a loophole, you know CEOs love loopholes. You only pay the overseas labor tax if more than 80% of your manufacturing labor is overseas and make the tax painful so that 20% labor in the U.S. is the right choice for all companies. Pricing may go up a little this way because of higher US labor costs but the company still gains a competitive edge with the over seas labor and all the advancements that have been made overseas come directly to the U.S. to help us catch up. To avoid being labeled a protectionist, call this law a Homeland manufacturing preparedness act that insures in the event of war with another country, we still have a manufacturing base at the beginning of the war. The general citizenship should love it because it generates jobs here and is wrapped up nice and neet as a patriotic idea that anyone who took American History knows it was our industrial base that helped us win WWII and that this is a solid idea.

kncuda
kncuda

The company I work for is bulding a vehicle lithium ion battery assembly line right here in good old Michigan. On that point Mr. Groves is clearly wrong, but he could find dozens of other examples to demonstrate his point. The issue he presents is a difficult one, and there are plenty of good arguments on both sides. One thing for sure, judging by the responses, it's attracting a lot of attention from a lot of people!

beowulf_cam
beowulf_cam

The US became the preeminent power at the beginning of the 20th century with a combination of inventiveness and hard work. The US has sacrificed all that it built by sending jobs overseas to save money. Most of the current innovation is now coming from Asia. The Asian economies are also working hard to build their countries. The problems in the high-tech industry are just a symptom of larger issues. US corporate management has become toxic. Jobs are sent overseas to save money and raise stock prices without any thought of tomorrow. Selfishness and corruption have now become the norm in corporate America. The dissenting voices are more concerned about their profits than the future of the US. Protectionism will not work as there is nothing to protect. It is the direction and beliefs of executives and politicians that must be changed. Too long the US government has protected corporations from legal fallout and provided corporate welfare which only encouraged bad behaviour. Unfortunately, too many politicians are paid by lobbyists for influence. In most democratic countries, influence peddling is illegal ? in the US it is institutionalised and called ?lobbying?. It is a sad thing, but I believe the US is finished as a major power. Right now, the US is running on inertia. The US owes money to China, manufacturing jobs along with the associated money is going overseas. Many people are out of work or under-employed. The only Americans really benefitting are those selling America to Asia. Can a nation function where the biggest growth sector is working at Walmart or selling hamburgers? Our youth are more interesting in what Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan are doing than any serious work or planning for the future. Everyone wants a quick fix and hopes they?ll be discovered for a reality TV show or win a lottery. We turn out too many MBAs and not enough engineers ? the malaise is palpable. Like empires before the US has almost run the course ? unlike empires before, the US will be lucky if it lasts 100 years. 2010 is 1917, the US is the British Empire and China is the US. We all know what happened to the British Empire and how strong it appeared in 1917. Unfortunately, it had lost its drive and vision and owed a lot of money to the US. Within 30 years the British Empire was finished and the US was the most powerful country in the world. This time however, it won?t take 30 years and China (or maybe India) will be the most powerful country in the world.

jcj111
jcj111

The argument that the cost of this tax would be passed on to consumers fails to recognize that American producers would not pay the tax and thus would be able to sell at a lower price. This would limit the ability of offshore producers to raise their prices for fear of being undersold. Portions of the tax should also be applied to education, retraining and retaining American workers instead of importing workers under the H1B visa program. It is not too late to reclaim American leadership but time is quickly slipping away and we have given the competition a 2 decades head start due to greed.

dba88
dba88

I completely agree with Andy Groves! On the other hand, where American businesses are concerned... everyone out there knows that this will fall on deaf ears! Too bad, but true. It's a very, very sorry state of affairs! Period. End of story!

jkameleon
jkameleon

... here are my answers. Should the U.S. seek to re-establish its high-tech manufacturing sector? No. U.S. should let us do it. Should the U.S. tax companies for using off-shore labor? Purely academic question. The horse has left the barn decades ago. For good or bad, offshoring is here to stay, no matter what the U.S. government does. Everybody is using offshore labor nowadays. Sending jobs to cheap places is pretty common even in that sequestered nook I happen to live in. So- even if U.S. government bans offshoring completely, U.S. companies will still have to compete with others, who do offshore.

eric.p
eric.p

The U.S. government has an insatiable appetite for taxes to feed its ridiculous and irresponsible spending practices. We need to cut spending, and cut taxes on the most productive, which will help more than anything else in competing against foreign companies.

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

Not the workers, told to do more work, for less money... Funny how that works...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

types define it is driven by taking advantage of the uneveness of the surface. Aside from that, who in our legislatures is going to get to promote such a program. You try getting campaign contributions and air time with a platform like that. Even if you managed that, all the big boys would just move. Probably club together and buy their own country. I bet Bill could buy a country all by himself. Greece for instance, they'd snap his hand off if he offered.

generalist
generalist

Ah, the 'Toyota' effect. Detroit creates the cars that they think people like, and ignores what people are buying. They also ignore quality, which ultimately results in the foreign car being the better vehicle. Then, because of this demand, various foreign car manufacturers build plants in the United States. Perceived quality doesn't go down despite being made in the US. I like to think that what I call the 'Walmart Effect' has a bigger impact on quality. Walmart, with their big influence on the market, demands low priced products. Manufacturers respond with lower quality products, setting a new standard. Other retailers, in order to compete, accept these standards. Quality drops. It would be interesting to see some sort of quality comparisons over time. Are the socks and underwear we buy today better or worse than those of a number of years ago? Are the cars you buy today better in terms of durability than the cars of a number of years ago? (The hard part will be comparing changing features. Today's luxury car features become tomorrow's mid-range features.)

bkn2000
bkn2000

Would you trust your grandmother to fly on a jetliner made in China or India? How about the Space Shuttle? I have worked in engineering and construction, and we only buy US made tools, because they are simply superior to the crap made in China. Some Chinese tool makers are up to par, some..... but not most.

bkindle
bkindle

You forgot to put a space in. "someone(or someone else)" should be: "someone (or someone else)"

jk2001
jk2001

In the past 30 years we've used tax breaks instead of new taxes. It hasn't worked. In fact, it seems to have contributed to the growing ineffectiveness of government. The benefit of targeted taxes is that they can reduce taxes for everyone else (except the purchasers of the taxed goods, of course). Taxes provide revenue that can be redirected toward useful purposes. For example, new, high taxes on tobacco are used to fund anti-smoking education. The result has been a reduction of smoking in the US. It also created some jobs, of course. The unintended consequence is that the cigarette makers have shifted their focus to selling in the emerging markets in Asia. But again, the solution will be to levy taxes on tobacco - there is no reasonable "tax cut" alternative. You tax bad behavior, and use it to fund good behavior. There was supposed to be a kind of fee for outsourcing jobs, and that money was to be used to pay for "retraining". It's happened, but the entire policy was flawed. The first problem was that there were not an array of specific fees and taxes involved in offshoring jobs. There were some, but not enough, and not high enough. There should be basic payroll taxes and fees related to creating jobs overseas instead of in the US. Second, the policy should recognize that "retraining" is insufficient. The money needs to go toward long-term education and research. Offshoring creates huge structural changes in the way business operates - so workers need the resources to adapt to these huge changes. The cost of an offshored job should, over time, be taxed so high that it could pay for a few years of education at university. This creates the incentive for companies to consider restructuring to compete with businesses that offshore -- and provides companies and workers with the resources to restructure. Every country should strive to operate this way, to help people absorb the shocks of economic changes. Offshoring, according to its proponents, improves business growth. If this is true, then that growth should be able to pay the high taxes that should be imposed on offshoring.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

they are all equally c**ts. This may come as bit of a surprise but certain people on this thread have suggested the solution is. Yet more government! Bit too radical for me that one, a shocking departure from accepted practice. :(

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

interferes with the pursuit of happiness of those in power.... :p

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Run out of people is more like it, have a look at the casualty figures and think about what part of the population died. The working man.... As for our kids why should they concern themselves with a future we spent ages ago, along with their children's...

jkameleon
jkameleon

It just crossed my mind the other day... Could it be pensioners? There's a lot of money in pension funds, pension funds own a lot of stuff, and they demand dividends no matter what. Now, if bunch of pensioners own... say an oil rig, and they have no clue about drilling oil, the disaster is pretty much guaranteed. The same is with hi tech industry.

NightLife6
NightLife6

1. Our major off-shore supplier has informed us that labor cost are going up and to expect an apx 25% increase per item next year. 2. New Tax of apx 20% per item on imports. 3. $100 item now cost $145 There are only a very limited number of (nitch market) American Producers of Hi-Tech And, It will take at least 10 years to get our Educational system up and running to product the amount of Hi-Tech workers needed just for start-up operations. Think about it....

jcj111
jcj111

The great majority of the spending is on the social safety net and the military (gold plated in many instances) and their multi billion dollar contractors. This is an easy argument to make until it comes to throwing YOUR mother or grandmother off social security or medicare, and who want to cut the budget for our all volunteer military where money is used as a strategic weapon?

inet32
inet32

We have a 1.4 $TRILLION deficit so you have to make some pretty big spending cuts, so you have to cut big programs. Little stuff like NASA won't even show up. DoD, Social Security and Medicare are the biggest ones so you'll have to start there to make a real dent. And remember, if you also want to cut TAXES you have to make even bigger cuts, to pay for the tax cuts.

don.howard
don.howard

Wal-mart used to be a "buy American" company. It was one of their advertising points. Then we started seeing more products from overseas because it was cheaper and/or better quality. Now there is no longer US based competition and the stuff from China is mostly cheap crap. I think that goes to the central point of Grove's contention - except it goes way beyond just the tech industry. The US no longer has the manufacturing base for many things.

richardowens
richardowens

LOL, yes, yes I did; and actually pleasantly surprised that anyone caught that! Great Job! Let me also add that I was using that as an example of a possible (poor) excuse that executives have, to outsource all of our jobs. It's those same execs that refuse to invest in the continued education of our own local employees/ professionals that are claiming they can't seem to find properly educated employees, further forcing them to offshore our employment. For now, if we were to tax those practices, it would be more beneficial for them (the execs) to invest in the continued education of our own skills/ talent, which will in turn also close the experience gap that we now have.

maxwell edison
maxwell edison

You may not be an American, but you're anything but "impartial". I do, however, share your surprise (or not) at how many people advocate MORE government as a solution instead of less - yet MORE government only sharpens the guillotine. They've all been duped.

ron.jasper
ron.jasper

Pursuit of happiness is part of the Declaration of Independence and at no time does that document grant our citizenship the right to happiness or in other right other than the right to throw off unjust and/or tyranical rule. It just says we should be allowed to pursue happiness and it does not prevent the U.S. Government from putting obstacles in your way to that happiness. Afterall we can't have your hapiness trample over someone elses happiness without some means of mediation(To be read, this is why we have so many lawyers).

cjshelby
cjshelby

We would have to think twice about upgrading out computers every few years regardless of if it was necessary. Hmmmm..... waiting in line overnight for that next generation I-pad? Maybe not. And that GPS with the sexy female voice for $100 will now be $650. Gee, I suppose I'll have to do what I always have, break down and buy a new map book! Ahh, what the hell! Just let the peasant slave labor in China continue to provide us our every whim for pennies on the dollar. We'll be happy sitting around selling each other Mutual Funds and Lattes. And when the rest of the world finally gets fed up, dusts off the chits and calls in all of our debt, not a shot will be fired as the USA collapses. We won't have a manufacturing base capable of producing a straw and a handful of spit wads. Let alone one capable of defending this (once?) great nation!

lestertrad
lestertrad

Remember, our guys and gals are out there defending freedom so that our corporations can have free access to the cheap labor markets and no danger of organizers coming and in letting them set up a union moveent so they can all sit on their asses and get paid for doing nothing. So we'll just have to let Grandma die of hunger and lack of health care, and keep in mind that our guys and gals are keeping those bloodthirsty terrorists from coming over here and machine-gunning Grandma as she sits peddling apples on the street.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

herding trolleys at walmart. Not when she gets mugged by some poor people to sell them for their scrap value....

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I think we can safely put that idea in the stupid box with the print more bank notes to solve the cash shortage....

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

for it's own unjustness. Short of a short term safety net to cope with vagaries in the job market and social assistance for those who are physically and or mentally unable to get a job, it should be abolished and the money spent on something productive, or better still niot collected at all. That's the sort of socialist I am.... The welfare state was invented by capitalists, they are the only ones who benefit from it. Whines from them about how much it costs now their mate Ivan made off with their money leave me completely unmoved. If they couldn't see it coming they are too stupid to live.

cjshelby
cjshelby

"Some poor b'stard who's spent twenty years working his way up to the job where he presses the big red button if it the hot thingy doesn't come out of the wahtsit straight." I love this! You sir, are wise beyond your years. You don't always hit the mark, but when you're aiming across "The Pond" well.. :) This entire discussion has no real remedy, as evidenced by all of the opinions presented. But I thought I would offer a few pearls of wisdom my Dad used to say to me when I was young. "There's good and bad in all people" Every person from the ditch digger all the way up to the CEO can be either part of the solution or part of the problem. You say you're a Socialist. Compare Socialism to working on a team project. Some people will try hard and contribute much. Others will try hard and not deliver as much. Then there's the class of individual who will "position" themselves through less than honorable methods to try and do as little as possible and still get their "fair share". We've all seen this in our life experiences. And even Soviet citizens all got a paycheck, but there was little on store shelves to spend it on. "Son, the world doesn't owe you a living" People will argue that Capitalism has self-correcting mechanisms that are supposed to weed out the "dead weight". But as one who prefers capitalism, I will willingly concede that's not how reality works. Once again we see individuals who "position" themselves. Either as "middle-men" or into positions of unproductive authority. How many "bosses" have we all seen who seemed to accomplish absolute zero in an eight hour day? I'm sure we all have seen examples of this behavior. When we went in to a store and there was some display stating the such-and-such product was "free", my Dad would point out these to me and explain how we were in fact paying for the product and that nothing in life was truly free. But there are people who don't seem to understand this simple concept. The folks who "outsource" and "export" jobs from ANY one location to another for the sole purpose of making more "unearned income" for themselves, don't get the concept of "what goes around comes around" Live and Let Live at one end, and total control freaks at the other, with infinite combinations of the two in between. And as a species, we never seem to learn from our mistakes.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

It means "I lick you, I lick you very much!" :p

ron.jasper
ron.jasper

When you post something like that without including a J/K or a 8^) beside the comment, there are people out there that will believe its gospel. Since you don't include something like that and the tone of your voice isn't included, its hard to tell if you are misinformed or a failed comic and I have to correct someone here at work almost two or three times a week on some fact they have miserably wrong. Usually because of the internet and especially because of blogs. Where someone has taken someones opinionated rant and made it gospel as just the way things are in the world. Irony, wouldn't that be you taking a meager shot at us by trying to use the document that is probably the bigest finger ever given to England and it's Monarchy.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Much to my disgust. In most Americans, they are almost non-existent. It's just no fun twitting or insulting somebody who doesn't get it.

RGodivala
RGodivala

.. and sadly, it's one of the few things of value many get from British schools. And that appears to be declining.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

the hygiene in your schools. We don't 'pick up' diseases like that. :p

lestertrad
lestertrad

Don't you see we're falling into the trap of baiting each other back and forth - just like the Islamists and "Christian" fundamentalists are now doing? I didn't knock anybody's military. One of you started taking cheap shots at France's military because they perceived my comments as bad-mouthing the US military. So I became a "Frenchman" and one of the bad guys. Daring to pick on the world's good guys, the USA. I didn't knock anybody's military. What I'm bad-mouthing is militarism and the propaganda that keeps the Empire going. And the people that have died in wars from the start of recorded history up to today deserve better than to be used as an excuse to continue the insanity. Face it: War is a business, and war is good for business. Wars are fought to conquer territory and extend influence so that business can extend. Our prosperity depends on business, and when we defend the US's unending military expansion we're just defending the food on our plate and the gas we put in our car. End of story. You want to defend your lifestyle, go ahead. But don't try to pretend the US is defending freedom and democracy and fighting terrorism and all that crap. Sure the guys who liberated France were heroic, and I'm the first one to admit that the French (I'm American, by the way) would be speaking German now if the US hadn't stepped in. But stop trying to make it into something it's not. They were sent in there to get their asses shot off to extend the US's dominion and to jump-start the US economy. End of story. And you know what? It's still going on. And it won't stop. It's gotten too big. The people who keep it going are so far from the reality on the ground that they can keep pulling the switches with a clear conscience. And no potential US leader would ever dare to try and stop it even if he or she wanted to. Look what happened to Kennedy. Anyway, I for one have stopped writing that narrative. I honor all those who gave their lives. But face it - we're not the good guys anymore. There are no good guys. We're the hero, sure, but we're also the enemy. So let's quit calling each other names.

cjshelby
cjshelby

The comment about Michale Moore was a jab at the Frenchman for condemning Americans and our Military in one fell swoop, based on his "misinformation". The comment about my elders was based on my personal, informed experiences over the last 50 years. Of course the Germans were way ahead of us militarily at the beginning of WWII. Our descendants had one hell of a time catching up, and I for one am glad they succeed. There are no doubt good, courageous French people who would gladly give their lives to protect their families. I personally know young men and women serving in our military. I have had conversations with them, and have at least a vague idea of their situations. I am blessed to have an original news article from my Father-in-laws hometown newspaper. It recounted his ordeals at Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Coral Sea. He was just 17 years old. It brought tears to my eyes just thinking about what he went through, and what a smart-assed ingrate I was at his age. My apologies to descent, honorable French men and women. I just tend to get aggravated when people who don't know the real United States, let alone the coastal Liberal enclaves, regurgitate what they hear on BBC and Al-Jazerra. Our enemies have no idea what they are up against. And some of our allies' countrymen have no idea just what truly great friends we are.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

It's pretty stupid to insult the person who just defended the ability of your country's military. It's even more stupid to insult that person's previous career. Consider yourself a waste of space.

lestertrad
lestertrad

than a military with civilian control is a mercenary army with corporate control, which is what the US has now.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

No matter how misinformed I think it is. Keep in mind that the French military, like the American military, is subject to civilian control. Keep also in mind that, at the beginning of the war, the German military was much superior in both training and equipment to the American military.

cjshelby
cjshelby

...even the hard-core Liberal, uber-leftist commie S.O.B Michael Moore made fun of them. This was on an old 90's TV show he had called "TV Nation". After seeing how WWII affected my Father and Father-in-law, and considering all of the American blood spilled to liberate France, it really pi$$es me off when one of those ingrates bad-mouths our military. They should be kissing the ground our troops walk on!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

A good military is a better thing. The French have unfortunately gained the reputation for having a military, but not a good military. The exception, of course, is [i]le Légion étrangère[/i].

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

You seemed to be saying that the 80s were good because you could go out and compete despite your relative inexperience. If that's defined as a success from your point of view them H1b is simply the boot on teh other foot. And H1B does have something to do with taxes. You are paying for every poor bugger that little trick puts out of work....

don.howard
don.howard

which was the topic of this thread. My objections to H1B have nothing to do with competition. I can handle competition. But I think H1B is based on a false premise.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

is perfectly fair then. Most of them would say it's working as they can compete with you..... Fixed, sheesh.

don.howard
don.howard

But it did work. I remember well being fresh out of college and completing for jobs with people who had 5 to 10 years of experience. That is what happens when you have years of double-digit inflation devaluing the money supply.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

However there is a common factor. Profit is GOD.... and GOD is profit. The me first, fcku of those who worship at that altar sanctified in greed and loss....

mgrs_must_go
mgrs_must_go

The 1980's did not have to deal with service outsourcing and the scale of manufacturing outsourcing that we have today. You are comparing apples and oranges!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I remember five million unemployed, and some twats in London with bigger filofaxes....

don.howard
don.howard

When tax rate were cut, tax revenue actually increased. Why, because the economy grew and more individuals and corporation had more income. More spending on goods and services. All this added up to more revenue, even though the marginal rate was lower.