That would be a grave mistake! Other countries would retaliate and a global depression would ensue.
As it is, free trade has created a lot of wealth for big corporates and wealthy individuals. The real problem is that this extra wealth has not been distributed fairly. Now that a financial crash has occurred (a problem created by big financial institutions and wealthy individuals) it is the people who have not really benefited from the boom years who are asked to pay off the bill. The rules are dictated by the mighty and the rich I am afraid...
Someone is kidding themselves, those poor meter readers are probably not capable of becoming engineers, at least not engineers that can really design things. It's the long line of people that lost low skill jobs and can't find any more that are going to suffer. At the same time skill shortages will ensue in the areas where jobs are created
I am amazed this thread is still going! Perhaps too many of us have too much time on our hands (I know I do!). But along with many other good points made, one that has barely been touched on is the difficulty of doing business planning in a highly uncertain environment. The capriciousness of Congress and the President, the extreme factionalism directed toward getting one's favored candidates elected at all costs, are in some ways analogous to the quarter-results-driven policies of publicly-held corporations --- just on a different characteristic time scale. Long-term planning is essential, and if it is thwarted the fallback position is usually to do as little as possible.
I agree. There is a lot of infrastructure that needs to be replaced. I live in an area that still doesn't have sidewalks on all of its streets, and some of the sidewalks that exist have been covered with blackberry vines and hillside cave-ins. I prefer engineering work as well, but would be willing to see more of my tax dollar go to support repairing our infrastructure. At some point, it seems, it will have to be done.
I would be curious how many people with ten or more years of industry experience go back to school. In fact that might make an interesting EETimes survey--determining how often engineers have gone back to school and the types of education they have then received.
OK, I just ran the numbers on the quote. $59M/719 = ~ $82K in training expenses per job placement. Considering what a BS costs in the US nowadays, that really doesn't seem too expensive.
For perspective - a six week course to train a technician to repair an MRI can run to $20K. And he already has the basic background and experience to learn.