Here’s a news story that summates the US economy’s problems rather well:
The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison's innovations in the 1870s.
Here we have a product, invented by one of America’s Greatest inventors (if not THE greatest), of which the US was the premiere manufacturer, now being manufactured ENTIRELY overseas:
How could this have happened?
What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014. The law will force millions of American households to switch to more efficient bulbs.
The resulting savings in energy and greenhouse-gas emissions are expected to be immense. But the move also had unintended consequences.
Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas, mostly in China.
This story, more than anything else I’ve seen in recent weeks, summates beautifully the current political/ economic situation for the US today.
Congress which is comprised of individuals who know nothing about engineering, chemistry, manufacturing, or any other technical know-how, pass a law based on political agenda without even bother to consider the impact on the US economy.
As if that weren’t ignorant enough, Congress then proclaims that the new clean energy policies will CREATE jobs, once again proving they don’t have a clue what they’re talking about when it comes to real economic conditions in the US.
The end result?
An industry that has flourished in the US for over a century, founded by an American genius, has now been entirely outsourced overseas. That’s just one more nail in the coffin for the American manufacturing base. And one more wave of American workers finding themselves at the unemployment line (the last existing plant in Winchester, VA is laying off 200 people this month).
Please understand, I am not against Clean Energy at all. What I AM against is stupid policies losing Americans jobs just to fatten profit margins at the large multi-nationals.
The real winner of this whole set-up is of course the multi-national company, in this case GE, which, by the way, owes its very existence to tax payer bailout money from 2008. GE will very likely see a slight bump in profits by cutting down on the operational costs of its light-bulb manufacturing wing (labor is cheaper in China).
This hammers home one of the founding theses of my socio-political newsletter The Phoenix World Views Digest, that the US is comprised of two groups of people: individual citizens and the large multi-nationals. These two operate under a completely different set of rules. And the system is entirely rigged to benefit the latter (the multi-nationals) at the expense of the former (individuals).
Until this changes, the US will remain as it has been for the last 30 years: an oligarchy masquerading as a democracy.
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