Great discussion! Three quick points that need to be factored in:
1: Sarbanes-Oxley (particularly section 404). Right or wrong (and engineers can rightly argue that finance heads and CEOs need the same level of controls as, say, a MIL-STD xyz spec' compliance), SOX has affected a public company's distribution of resources. If you have x amount of $, and you need to spend more on achieving compliance, then some of that $ has to come from other departments. Engineering comes to mind.
Also, going public used to be the Holy Grail, but not so much anymore: the costs of 404 compliance in the aftermath need to be carefully weighed up before taking the plunge.
And of course there's the Fear Factor: CEOs are rightfully a lot more cautious than they used to be. Caution is good, but sometimes risk-taking has benefits too.
2: Politics and engineering. The ability of engineers to control the destiny of their profession is in direct proportion to their ability to self-organize and effect that change -- both locally and in the halls of power. Engineers tend to eschew politics. The IEEE has to practically beg engineers to get involved. You don't have to beg lawyers and doctors to organize politically.
My brother-in-law is a programmer and we debate the ins and outs of this topic all the time. He was so hopping mad and so against 'the system' that in the last election he didn't vote. He's still hopping mad. And probably will remain so.
3: We talk a lot about education in America. But what made the U.S. a beacon for the rest of the world and what made it stand out was not just technical ability. It was attitude. The confidence to go out and make things happen: to follow our passions, regardless of the obstacles. The spirit of entrepreneurship. For whatever the reasons may be, and their are many, that confidence and "I can do that!" attitude is greatly diminished, and that may be the saddest aspect of all.
To be fair, my observation is :
US ppl have an advantage in ethics, ie better in team works/ collaboration.
the root cause might be religious background.
On individual IQ/education no clear advantage.
that's why US scores in some field need mass collaboration. (cpu, jets etc.)
chinese tend to self destruction when come to this category except a few well controled company.
In the long term, as chinese improves their moral this should not be a problem as well...
I keep hearing that India and China have vast pool of talent. Well, why don't we outsource all C-level jobs there, at 10M bucks per head per annum and at 40x multiple of average engineer pay, I'd say we can create a lot of engineering positions by that. Why outsource the "workhorses" when the "head" is your most expensive item?
Tea Partiers think running the country will be easy because they're clueless. The so-called "American Jobs Creation Act" of 2004 (P.L.108–357), Section 422, required that the repatriated funds be "invested in the United States pursuant to a domestic reinvestment plan which… provides for the reinvestment of such dividend in the United States (other than as payment for executive compensation), including as a source for the funding of worker hiring and training, infrastructure, research and development, capital investments, or the financial stabilization of the corporation for the purposes of job retention or creation." In other words, exactly what you wrote. And it didn't happen. Go figure.
To those who are mentioning Asian engineers are not as smart as American engineers, or that Asian education system is not as good as American system:
@BobsUrUncle: If you are Asian and your experience has been that the Asian education system is not in the same class as US, then I must say that says something about you rather than the Asian education system.
I am Asian, did my doctorate from a top 10 school in US, and served as Teaching assistant for CAD optimization algorithms, vlsi design, and data structures. Invariably, the most challenged undergraduate and graduate student that I had were, behold, Americans.
Working in a company, I interviewed several, behold, American engineers who have been "designers" for a decade. Many did not know copper is used for interconnects, much few knew what threshold voltage is.
Let's face the reality,
only a handful of US corps could develop something out of reach by indians.
The rest of the industry will level with other part of world in 1-2 months in this internet age.
US has some smart ppl and some smart ppl borrowed from other countries. but that's it. It got bunch of lower IQ, lower ... work force need disposition.
If US is same size as Singapore maybe current plan would work fine. (some smartie making big money in R&D, bunch of other ppl preparing food for them.)
But US is too large to follow this model. Yes, Intel is enjoying 50% gross margin with it's tech advantage. But even 10 intel won't support the whole US ppl.
that's why we are seeing US unemployment at +10%.
If you guys don't wake up on this the suffering will just continue.
follow chinese style of life, (bike, ebike instead of car, 2 bedroom apart vs. 5 bedroom house etc ), compete with them from your consumption.
You can live at lower cost but don't bet on getting too smart.
(anyone forward this to p. obama?)
Providing incentives to companies cannot be sustained forever. If external forces are used to prop up corporate spending, it is not going to last forever without any solid foundation. The only reason companies will setup manufacturing setup plants in US is the prospect of some future return on investment. If they can manufacture the exact same technology elsewhere, they should, as doing business is about making money.
What is the single most influential factor which will make industries to invest in US manufacturing? It is innovation. Innovation here is clearly lagging which has more or less arrived at a similar level as seen in China or India. If you can manufacture the same product in China or India, why not do so? But if you innovate here, not just on the design side, but also on the manufacturing side, then the US will have exclusive talent which will be the only resource to deliver the corresponding technology. That is why US was manufacturing power house earlier when people elsewhere did not have enough know-how to accomplish the same operations as in US or in other words innovation was all around.
New and improved manufacturing technologies are essential to enable US again as a power machine. TAX cuts will help, but you don't want to feed the person fish; instead, teach him how to fish so that he is self sustained.
wonder why Other Countries don't use The United States "Business model" ??? maybe we need to outsource "the experts" & Harvard Economists to other countries. If United States was playing football against "the Global Teams" ... wonder what "the United States Game Plan" would be??? Fast Forward the Time Formula ... would the United States "win-the-Superbowl" of Economics ??