Archive for November, 2011

China Poses Increasing Threat to U. S. Economy and National Security

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Last week the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission submitted their annual report to Congress.  The Commission was created on October 30, 2000, by the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act of 2001.  The 418-page unclassified report reveals the increasing threat that China poses to the U. S. economy and national security, so one can only imagine how much more serious threats were detailed in the separate classified report that was also submitted.  The report covers the following areas (abbreviated):

•Proliferation Practices—The role of China in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other weapons (including dual-use technologies);

• Economic Transfers—The qualitative and quantitative nature of the transfer of U. S. production activities to China, including the relocation of high technology, manufacturing, and research and development facilities, the impact of such transfers on U. S. national security, the adequacy of U. S. export control laws, and the effect of such transfers on U. S. economic security and employment;

• Energy—The effect of the large and growing economy of China on world energy supplies and the role the U. S. can play (including joint research and development efforts and technological assistance), in influencing the energy policy of China;

• U. S. Capital Markets—The extent of access to and use of U. S. capital markets by China, including whether or not existing disclosure and transparency rules are adequate to identify China companies engaged in harmful activities;

• Regional Economic and Security Impacts—The triangular economic and security relationship among the United States, [Taiwan] and China (including the military modernization and force deployments of China aimed at [Taiwan);

• U. S.–China Bilateral Programs—Science and technology programs, the degree of noncompliance by China with agreements between the U. S. and China on prison labor imports and intellectual property rights, and U. S. enforcement policies with respect to such agreements;

• World Trade Organization Compliance—The compliance of China with its accession agreement to the World Trade Organization (WTO);

• Freedom of Expression—The implications of restrictions on speech and access to information in China for its relations with the U. S. in the areas of economic and security policy.

Since it would difficult to summarize the key points of the whole report, this article only highlights the areas posing a threat to the economy and national security of the U. S.

The report states that China is now the second-largest economy in the world and the world’s largest manufacturer, surpassing the U.S. in this ranking for the first time.  Its market exceeds that of the U. S. in industries such as automobiles, mobile handsets, and personal computers.  China’s gross domestic product (GDP) has grown from $1.32 trillion in 2001 to a projected $5.87 trillion in 2011, representing an increase of more than 400 percent.

China continues to maintain an export-driven economy with policies that subsidize Chinese companies and undervalue their currency (renminbi or RMB).  While the RMB rose by roughly 6 percent over the last year, it is still widely believed to be undervalued by as much as 30-40 percent.  “For the first eight months of 2011, the U.S. trade deficit with China increased 9 percent over the same period in 2010.  The U.S. trade deficit with China is now more than half of the total U.S. trade deficit with the world.  In the year to date ending August 2011, the United States exported about $13.4 billion in advanced technology products to China, but imported over $81.1 billion in advanced technology products from China, for a deficit of about $67.7 billion.  This is a 17 percent increase in the advanced technology products deficit for the same period over the previous year, ending in August 2010.”

The Chinese economy and its product exports are moving up the value chain.  On a monthly basis, the U. S. now imports roughly 560 percent more advanced technology products from China than it exports to China.  Exports of low-cost, labor-intensive manufactured goods as a share of China’s total exports decreased from 37 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2010.

“China’s foreign currency reserves are skyrocketing. A major contributor to this phenomenon is China’s continued policy of maintaining closed capital accounts.  China’s foreign currency reserves exceed $3 trillion, three times higher than the next largest holder of foreign currency reserves, Japan.”  Building currency reserves is one of the main goals of China’s predatory mercantilism trade policies.

China’s domestic money supply is becoming out of control. “Between 2000 and 2010, China’s money supply grew by 434 percent.  China’s money supply is now ten times greater than the U.S. money supply, despite the fact that China’s GDP is only one-third as large.”

The Commission reported that China assumed a more assertive role on the global stage in 2011 as shown by a more aggressive trade agenda, a push for a larger role in international institutions, and provocative moves in the South and East China Seas.  These actions are a result of China’s growing economic prominence and resource needs, as well as China’s view that the U. S. is in decline while China is ascendant.  “Chinese policies have had an impact on the       U. S., ranging from a negative effect on the economy to increased pressure from some parts of the international community for the U. S. to ensure the security of the global commons.”

Last year, the Commission highlighted China’s backsliding from market reforms in favor of an increased role of the state in the economy, which continued in 2011. “China subsidizes its state-owned enterprises to the detriment of both private Chinese firms and international competitors. The Chinese government’s special treatment of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) is of particular concern to U.S. businesses, as it can overcome comparative advantages of competitors, harming American economic interests.  China’s SOEs are also an issue of contention in government procurement, as China seeks to wall off a large portion of its economy from foreign competition.” The Commission estimates the SOE sector accounts for nearly 40 percent of China’s economy, but if the output of urban collective enterprises and government-run proportion of township and village enterprises are considered, the broadly defined state sector likely surpasses 50 percent.

China appears to be reversing the privatization reforms of the past two decades and renewing use of industrial policies aimed at creating SOEs that dominate important portions of the economy, especially in the industrial sectors reserved for the state’s control.  “The Chinese government promotes the state-owned sector with a variety of industrial policy tools, including a wide range of direct and indirect subsidies, preferential access to capital, forced technology transfer from foreign firms, and domestic procurement requirements, all intended to favor SOEs over foreign competitors.”

In 2010, the amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) flowing into China jumped to $105.7 billion, up from $90 billion in 2009.  Foreign-invested enterprises were responsible for 55 percent of China’s exports and 68 percent of its trade surplus in 2010.  The value and scope of U.S.-China bilateral investment flows have expanded significantly in the past ten years.  However, U.S. direct investment in China is more than 12 times greater than Chinese direct investment in the United States.  Official U.S. statistics show that U.S. cumulative FDI in China was $60.5 billion in 2010.  What this means is that American companies and companies from other foreign countries are investing money in China through expanding, building or buying plants in China, buying equipment, and hiring workers.

On the other hand, there has been a more than 100 percent year-on-year growth of Chinese investment in the United States during the past two years.  Chinese investments have focused on manufacturing and technology, with an emphasis on brand acquisition. The report notes that some critics of China’s foreign direct investment in the U. S. contend that these investments are focused on acquiring and transferring technology to Chinese firms.  The Chinese Ministry of Commerce estimated that in 2010, cumulative Chinese FDI in the United States was $4.9 billion.

Due to the considerable government ownership of the Chinese economy, Chinese companies supplying products to the U.S. government or acquisition by Chinese companies of U.S. firms with sensitive technology or intellectual property could be harmful to U.S. national interests.  The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U. S. investigates the national security implications of mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors of U. S. assets.

In March 2011, China ratified its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011– 2015), a government-directed industrial policy that focuses on the development and expansion of seven strategic emerging industries:  new-generation information technology, high-end equipment manufacturing, advanced materials, alternative-fuel cars, energy conservation and environmental protection, alternative energy, and biotechnology.  The report predicts that China will likely continue to combine targeted investment with preferential tax and procurement policies to ensure that Chinese firms emerge as global leaders, or national champions, in these industries within the next five years.

China’s continuing lack of enforcement of intellectual property rights and indigenous innovation plans that limit government procurement to Chinese companies are problematic.  In addition, China maintains policies of forced technology transfer in violation of international trade agreements and requires the creation of joint venture companies as a condition of obtaining access to the Chinese market.

“Foreign-invested enterprises seeking to be considered for government procurement contracts or public works projects are expected to file for patents and copyrights within China in order to qualify for preferential treatment in government contracting.  Foreign affiliates risk the unintended transfer of their technology to Chinese firms if they do so, because of the nature of the Chinese intellectual property system and the lax enforcement of intellectual property laws and regulations in China.”  In 2001, China agreed to stop explicitly requiring foreign companies to surrender their technology in return for market access and investment opportunities, but the government still employs several tactics to coerce foreign firms to share trade secrets with Chinese competitors. China’s industrial policy seeks to circumvent accepted intellectual property protections and to extort technology from U.S. companies.

China continues to be one of the largest sources of counterfeit and pirated goods in the world (confirmed by the recent Senate hearings on counterfeit parts in the defense and aerospace supply chain.)  “The Chinese government itself estimates that counterfeits constitute between 15 and 20 percent of all products made in China and are equivalent to about 8 percent of China’s gross domestic product (GDP).  Chinese goods accounted for 53 percent of seizures of counterfeits at U.S. ports of entry in 2010, and the U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that employment in the U. S. would increase by up to 2.1 million jobs if China were to adopt an intellectual property system equivalent to that of the U. S.”

China progress in its military modernization efforts poses an increasing threat to U. S. national security.  “The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is acquiring specific means to counter U.S. military capabilities and exploit U.S. weaknesses.  Since January 2011, China has conducted a flight test of its next-generation fighter aircraft, continued development of its antiship ballistic missile, and conducted a sea trial of its first aircraft carrier. These developments, when operational, will allow China to better project force throughout the region, including the far reaches of the South China Sea.”

The Commission reports that the PLA’s military strategy is designed to provide the army with the means to defeat a technologically superior opponent, such as the U.S. military. It focuses on controlling the regions surrounding China, especially the western Pacific Ocean, degrading an opponent’s technological advantages, and striking first in order to gain surprise over an enemy in the event of a conflict.  While U.S. bases in East Asia are vulnerable to PLA air and missile attacks, Japanese, Philippine, and Vietnamese bases are just as vulnerable, if not more so.

China has demonstrated progress in modernizing the PLA over the past year, and recent developments confirm that the PLA seeks to improve its capacity to project force throughout the region.  Continued improvements in China’s civil aviation capabilities, as first noted in the Commission’s 2010 Annual Report, enhance Chinese military aviation capabilities because of the close integration of China’s commercial and military aviation sectors.

Tensions continued in 2011 between China and other claimants in the South China Sea territorial disputes as well as with Japan over territory in the East China Sea.  China’s policy in the region appears driven by a desire to intimidate rather than cooperate.  Despite intermittent statements of cooperation, Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea indicates that China is unlikely to concede its sovereignty claims. Many of China’s activities in the region may constitute violations of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.  An implication of China’s growing assertiveness, especially its harassment and intimidation of foreign vessels, is the growing risk of escalation due to miscommunication and miscalculation. As chances of confrontation grow, so could the consequences for the U. S., especially with regard to the Philippines, with which the United States holds a mutual defense treaty.

In 2011, as in previous years, the U.S. government, foreign governments, defense contractors, commercial entities and various nongovernmental organizations experienced a substantial volume of actual and attempted network intrusions that appear to originate in China.  “Of concern to U.S. military operations, China has identified the U.S. military’s reliance on information systems as a significant vulnerability and seeks to use Chinese cyber capabilities to achieve strategic objectives and significantly degrade U.S. forces’ ability to operate.”

The report identifies China as one of the top space powers in the world today, and the implications of China’s civil and military space activities are dangerous to the U. S.  China’s leadership views all space activities through the prism of comprehensive national power, using civil space activities to promote its legitimacy in the eyes of its people, to produce spin-off benefits for other industries, and for military-related activities.  The nation’s capabilities, which are state of the art in some areas, follow from decades of substantial investment and high prioritization by China’s top leaders.  The prestige of space exploration and the national security benefits of space systems serve as primary motivators for Chinese decision makers.

China’s civil space programs have made impressive achievements over the past several decades.  “If Chinese projections hold, these programs are poised for continued accomplishments over the next ten to 15 years, such as the development of a space laboratory and eventually a space station. As part of an active lunar exploration program, China may attempt to land a man on the moon by the mid-2020s.”

China seeks new opportunities to sell satellites as well as satellite and launch services in international commercial space markets. Chinese firms’ prospects for greater success remain uncertain over the near term.  However, China’s international space-related diplomatic initiatives and their firms’ ability to offer flexible terms on sales to developing countries may provide additional opportunities.

China views all space activities in the context of ‘‘comprehensive national power.’’ This concept includes many dimensions, but military aspects are fundamental.   “PLA’s primacy in all of China’s space programs, including nominally civil activities, illustrates this emphasis.”  For example, China appears to be making great strides toward fielding regional reconnaissance-strike capabilities.  China has also continued to develop its anti- satellite capabilities, following up on its January 2007 demonstration that used a ballistic missile to destroy an obsolete Chinese weather satellite, creating thousands of pieces of space debris.  “In addition, authoritative Chinese military writings advocate attacks on space-to-ground communications links and ground-based satellite control facilities in the event of a conflict.”

“In the military sphere, China appears to seek ‘space supremacy.’  The PLA aims to implement this policy through two tracks.  First, they increasingly utilize space for the purposes of force enhancement.  The best example is China’s integration of space-based sensors and guided weapons.  Second, they seek the capabilities to deny an adversary the use of space in the event of a conflict.  To this end, China has numerous, active, counterspace weapons programs with demonstrated capabilities.”

These threats to America’s economy and national security need to be taken seriously.  Perhaps if the executives of American manufacturing companies would read this report, or at least the executive summary, they would change their minds about sourcing their R&D and manufacturing in China and investing in expanding, building or buying manufacturing plants in China.  China is no friend to the U. S. and Americans better wake up to that fact before it’s too late.


What Led to the Problem of Chinese Counterfeit Parts?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee reported that an investigation found and examined about 1800 cases of suspected counterfeit electronic parts dating from 2009 to last year, totaling about a million individual components.  Tracing the supply chain, 70% of the components came through China, where a variety of methods were used to misrepresent the parts as new and genuine.  Hearings now being conducted by Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and Senator John McCain (R-Arizona).

At a news conference on Monday, November 7, 2011, Sen. Carl Levin told reporters, “There’s a flood of counterfeit parts entering the defense supply chain.  It is endangering our troops and it is costing us a fortune.”

Sen. John McCain said the investigation documents the alarming “threat counterfeit parts pose to the safety of our men and women in uniform, to national security and to our economy.”  He added, “We can’t tolerate the risk of a ballistic missile interceptor failing to hit its target, a helicopter pilot unable to fire his missiles, or any other mission failure because of a counterfeit part.”

This dangerous state of affairs has taken over 20 years to develop and is a complex web of unintended consequences of seemingly innocuous changes in policies.  There are four main reasons for the problem of Chinese counterfeit components:

1.      Mil. Spec. qualified components replaced by off the shelf components

2.      “Buy American” requirements relaxed

3.      Manufacturing outsourced offshore, mainly in China

4.      Rapid obsolescence of components, especially micro chips

It all started with the scandals of the 1980s over the $600 toilet seats and $400 wrenches that President Reagan’s Defense Department, under Caspar Weinberger, was accused of wasting its money on by the Democrat-controlled Congress.

At the time, the news media ignored reasonable voices pointing out that tooling often has to be made to produce metal, plastic, rubber, and fiber glass parts in certain manufacturing processes.  This tooling cost then has to be amortized into the piece price of the part; i.e., tooling cost divided by the number of parts ordered plus piece price equals selling price. Since defense and military parts are produced in much lower volume than commercial products, the amortized tooling costs add much more to the part cost than it does for commercial parts.

The $600 toilet seat was actually a uniquely shaped, molded fiberglass shroud that fits over the toilet and had to satisfy specifications for vibration resistance, weight, and durability for the P-3C Orion antisubmarine aircraft, which went into service in 1962.  Since the airplane had been out of production for years, new tooling was required to produce the part.  The price reflected the design work and the cost of the equipment to manufacture them, and Lockheed Corp. charged $34,560 for 54 toilet covers, or $640 each.  The president of Lockheed at the time, Lawrence Kitchen, adjusted to the price to $100 each and returned $29,165.

Because of the public outcry over these scandals, the procurement regulations were changed.  The Defense Department, branches of the military, and their supply chain of vendors were allowed to purchase commercial off the shelf parts (COTS) if they met the same fit and function of parts made to strict military specifications.  In the early 1990s, most commercial parts were still being made in the United States, with some outsourcing to the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore, so this change was pretty safe.  Permitting commercial parts to replace Mil. Spec. parts probably drove out of business the small companies that catered exclusively to the military and that provided traceability, per Mil. Spec., for parts supplied to government agencies, military contractors, and subcontractors.  This was all done in the name of cost savings.  Now, however, most commercial electronic components and micro chips are fabricated in China.

Second, after the end of the Cold War and the successful conclusion of the first Gulf War, the provisions of the “Buy American Act” were eased to allow purchasing off the shelf commercial parts from foreign countries by the Defense Department and other government agencies.  Previously, parts, assemblies, and systems were required to be substantially made in the United States or in a NATO country, such as Great Britain, France, and Germany.

This led to parts being made in China as more and more American companies started to outsource manufacturing in China either by selecting Chinese companies as vendors or setting up their own manufacturing plants in China.   This trend accelerated after China received “most favored nation” status with the approval of the World Trade Organization treaty in the year 2000, and American companies started to build semiconductor wafer fab plants in China to produce micro chips.

The problem with counterfeit parts is not something new to industry – there were always a small number of rejected parts that went out the “back door” of companies to be sold on the black or “gray” markets by individual employees.  What is new is the purposeful production of counterfeit parts by a foreign government, namely, China, as a form of economic warfare and counter espionage.

Brian Toohey, president of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), testified Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee calling counterfeit parts “a ticking time bomb.”   He added, “The catastrophic failure risk inherently found in counterfeit semiconductors places our citizens and military personnel in unreasonable peril,” said Toohey. The SIA estimates that counterfeits cost US-based semiconductor companies more than $7.5 billion a year.

EBN Editor, Barbara Jorgensen wrote in her blog, “Counterfeits have been appearing in the consumer and industrial sectors for as long as anyone can remember, but their presence in mission-critical defense equipment and military and passenger aircraft threatens lives  The efforts have a ways to go, but the dialogue between industry associations such as the SIA and the Defense Department and Justice Department are a major step in the right direction.”

Bruce Rayner, Contributing Editor, EE Times, wrote “counterfeiting is on the rise and it is getting harder to detect.  Counterfeit computer hardware, including chips, was one of the top commodities seized in 2010 by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) … up five-fold over 2009…The reason for the increase is that there’s a lot of money to be made.  Many obsolete components are in demand by the military because they need to repair very old equipment, such as 1980s-vintage fighter jets.  But the parts are no longer manufactured, and only a few authorized distributors stock the vintage components.  In some cases, the only place to buy these chips is from independent distributors or brokers who don’t have formal sourcing relationships with the original component manufacturer. They buy them over the Internet from sources they don’t know and who can’t validate their authenticity.”

The August 2011 issue of Industry Week reported, “In 2010, government agents seized fake goods totaling $188.1 million, which if genuine would have been worth $1.4 billion.  Goods from China accounted for 66% of the value of seizures by U. S. Customs and Border Protection.”  In the same article, Wes Shepherd, CEO of Channel IQ, said that the outsourcing of manufacturing in China combined with online selling “introduced the specter of counterfeiting as a much more serious problem.”

Joe O’Neill, owner of O’Neill Technologies and formerly with Intel, Samsung and Toshiba, told me in an interview, “the counterfeit problem is a product life cycle mismatch between consumer and more traditional applications, such as industrial, medical, and defense.  The life cycle of micro chips, also referred to as micro processors and controllers, are very short in the networking, computer, and telecommunications industries.  The life cycle of a cell phone model may range from six to 12 months, while industrial and military products may have a life cycle of decades.  Products for the military are a small piece of the market so there is a real problem with part obsolescence.  Availability of these parts that have been made ‘end of life’ force manufacturers to go into the Gray Market or other non-traditional sources to keep their factories supplied with parts.  There are a few companies that specialize in making obsolescent microprocessors for industrial, medical or military manufacturers by “cloning” the parts.” One such company is Innovasic, which makes the X86 series of Intel and AMD micro processors.

During the Senate hearings, part of which I watched after work, photos of bins of electronic parts were shown as Thomas Sharpe, V. P. of SMT Corporation, described visiting electronic component marketplaces in July 2008, where scrapped electronic parts were washed in rivers or left for the daily monsoon rains, dried on river banks, and collected in bins to be ready for counterfeit processing.  Counterfeiters buy used parts for pennies in the street markets of Shenzhen and other Chinese cities, re-mark them, fix broken leads and buff them up, then ship them to brokers in the West who unknowingly or knowingly sell them to other brokers or to OEMs for multiples of what they paid.

Last year, the Department of Justice’s Task Force on Intellectual Property was created specifically to prosecute counterfeiters, and last week Stephanie McCloskey was sentenced to 38 months in federal prison for her role in a scheme by VisionTech Components to import fake chips from China into the U. S. that were sold to a variety of customers including defense contractors and the military.

Until we implement more stringent procurement regulations, strengthen “Buy American” procurement regulations for defense and military components, and return more manufacturing to the United States from offshore, it will be up to manufacturers to have a system to detect and deter counterfeits.  Many defense contractors have put in place strict regimen for inspecting, testing, and reporting counterfeits, but all companies need to be vigilant by inspecting, testing, and reporting.


Why John Stossel is All Wet ? “Buy American” is Smart, not Stupid

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

John Stossel’s blog article on WorldNetDaily® on November 1, 2011, “The stupidity of ‘Buy American,’ is based on a premise so fallacious that one wonders how a usually intelligent commentator like Stossel could have been taken in by it.

The premise is that “we should buy things where they’re cheapest.  That frees up more of our resources to buy other things, and other Americans get jobs producing these things,” according to the explanation of why “Buy American” is “nonsense” by economist David Henderson of the Hoover Institution.

First of all, “buying things where they’re cheapest” isn’t always the best decision on where to spend your money ? the old adage “you get what you pay for” is more often true.  Most of the everyday items that people buy today at “big box” and other retail outlets are being manufactured in China and other countries in Asia.

What do you get for your money when you buy products that are made in China and other Asian countries?  Clothes and shoes that don’t fit or fall apart, toys that choke or strangle children, baby buggies, strollers, and cribs that maim or even kill, household items that either don’t work properly, cause fires, and explode, and tainted food.  The U. S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission’s website provides a monthly list of products that have been recalled, and month after month, more than 90% are made in China.   For example, there have been eight recalls thus far in November, and seven of the eight products were made in China.  In October, there were 21 product recalls: 12 were made in China, two were made in Taiwan, two were made in Vietnam, two were made in Mexico, and three were made in the U. S.  The products ranged from glass bowls and toys to tents, battery packs, and baby strollers.

Recently, a Senate Armed Services Committee investigation led by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ) reviewed more than 100,000 pages of DOD documents and found that U.S. Department of Defense had purchased counterfeit electronic parts (defective and with “back doors”) from China in 1,800 cases, running to more than 1 million parts.

Second, buying cheap goods that are made offshore only creates American jobs if you use the money to buy American products.  If you just buy more products made “offshore,” you don’t create any new American jobs.   About the best it does is keep people who work in wholesale and retail employed.  That’s why tax rebates and refunds haven’t created the jobs that were expected.  Consumers used the extra money to pay down debt, add to savings, or bought the everyday products that are now made mostly in China.

Why does it matter where products are made and why is it smart to “Buy American?”  A  report released in April 2011 titled, “The Importance and Promise of American Manufacturing, Why It Matters if We Make It in America and Where We Stand Today,” co-authored by Michael Ettlinger and Kate Gordon of the Center for American Progress provides the answer to these questions.  The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all.

The authors opine that “Manufacturing is critically important to the American economy.  For generations, the strength of our country rested on the power of our factory floors—both the machines and the men and women who worked them.  We need manufacturing to continue to be bedrock of strength for generations to come … The strength or weakness of American

In addition to maintaining our standard of living as Americans, there are several other important reasons why it’s smart to “Buy American.”  They are:

Manufacturing is critical to our national defense ? American manufacturers supply the military with the essentials needed to defend our country, including tanks, fighter jets, submarines, and other high-tech equipment. The same advances in technology that consumers take for granted support the military, particularly soldiers fighting overseas.

The U.S. cannot rely on other countries to supply its military because their interests may run counter to its own.   America cannot risk being held hostage to foreign manufacturers when it comes to products that are essential for its national security and the U.S. military. It is crucial that key components and technologies that are critical to the production of U.S. weapons and the related industrial capacity to produce such items be located within the United States.

Manufacturing supplies millions of jobs ? Manufacturing jobs are the foundation of the U.S. economy and the basis for its middle class. Manufacturing provides high-paying jobs for nearly 12 million Americans.

Manufacturing Jobs Pay Higher Wages than Service Jobs ? Manufacturing wages and benefits are approximately 25 – 50 percent higher than in non-manufacturing jobs.

In an opinion article in Industry Week magazine, John Madigan, a consultant with Madigan Associate, wrote “Jobs paying $20 per hour that historically enabled wage earners to support a middle-class standard of living are leaving the U.S… only 16% of today’s workers earn the $20-per-hour baseline wage, down 60% since 1979.   Service and transportation jobs, per se, cease to exist in the absence of wealth. Rather, they exist and thrive as by-products of middle-class incomes buying products and services.”

Manufacturing Creates Secondary Jobs ? There is a multiplier effect of manufacturing jobs that reflects linkages that run deep into the economy. For example, every 100 steel or automotive jobs create between 400 and 500 new jobs in the rest of the economy. This contrasts with the retail sector, where every 100 jobs generate 94 new jobs elsewhere, and the personal and service sectors, where 100 jobs create 147 new jobs.  It is manufacturers who hire services such as banking, finance, legal, and information technology.

Manufacturing is the Engine of American Technology Development and Innovation ? American manufacturers are responsible for more than two-thirds of all private sector R&D, which ultimately benefits other manufacturing and non-manufacturing activities. More than 90 percent of new patents derive from the manufacturing sector and the closely integrated engineering and technology-intensive services.

Manufacturing R&D is conducted in a wide array of industries and businesses of all sizes. The heaviest R&D expenditures take place in computers and electronics, transportation equipment, and chemicals (primarily pharmaceuticals.)

Manufacturing is an incubator for technology and science, which require proximity to facilities where innovative ideas can be tested and worker feedback can fuel product innovation. Without this proximity, the science and technology jobs, like customer service jobs, follow the manufacturing jobs overseas.

Manufacturing Generates Exports — The United States was the world’s first-largest exporter until 1992 when Germany took over this position.   Germany remained number one until 2009 when China surpassed it to become the world’s top exporter, and the United States fell to being the third-largest exporter.  The difference between the top three was small:  Germany exported $1.17 trillion compared to the $1.057 trillion of the U. S., but China’s exports were $1.2 trillion in 2009.

Manufactured goods make up more than 60 percent of the value of U.S. exports, double the level of ten years ago. While agricultural exports amount to about $50 billion a year, manufacturers export about that much each month.  High tech products are America’s largest export sector, and the European Union was the top importer of these goods, followed by Canada, and Mexico.

Manufacturing Supports State Economies ? Manufacturing is a vital part of the economies of most states – even in those areas where manufacturing has declined as a portion of the Gross State Product (GSP). As a share of GSP, manufacturing was among the three largest private-industry sectors in all but ten states and the District of Columbia. Manufacturing is the largest sector in ten states and in the Midwest region as a whole. It is the second largest in nine states, and the third largest in 21 others.

For the past decade, manufacturing corporations paid 30 to 34 percent of all corporate tax payments for state and local taxes, social security and payroll taxes, excise taxes, import and tariff duties, environmental taxes and license taxes.  Since many small manufacturers are not incorporated and pay individual taxes as sole proprietors, the tax revenue generated by all manufacturers is impossible to calculate.

In summary, it’s smart, not stupid to “Buy American” because manufacturing is the foundation of the U.S. national economy and the foundation of the country’s large middle class. Losing the critical mass of the manufacturing base will result in larger state and federal budget deficits and a decline in U.S. living standards. This, in turn, would result in the loss of a large portion of our middle class, which depends on manufacturing jobs. America’s national defense will be in danger, and it will be difficult, if not impossible to maintain the country’s position as the world’s super power.  “Buying American” will help ensure that American manufacturing survives and grows in the global economy.