Bert is correct, there is no specific technology requirement, only an efficiency requirement with so many loopholes that incandescent bulbs will be available for a long time.
I don't understand the need of Galt worshippers to make stuff up to rage against. The real world if full of challenges to meet without fabricating conflict.
A few years ago, I had a chance to hire foreign labor(as a caregiver) to care for my ailing parent in Taiwan. I, not only had to pay the wage to the young lady from Indonesia, but also had to pay the the Labor Board of the Taiwan government a surcharge or fee for not hiring Taiwanese, every month. The fee goes to a special fund that promotes domestic employment, labor welfare, and foreign guest worker management,etc..
For those corporations outsource their production abroad, if they are required to pay surcharge on every headcount that is substituted, the slop of China-bound modern Exodus might not be that slippery.
It is true that U.S. consumers seeking the lowest price are culpable in all this. But remember, Steve Jobs said it was not the customer’s responsibility to know what they want. That was Apple's job, and the result was sleek design that consumers can't seem to resist. In the aftermath of Apple's historic quarterly earnings, it's been reported that Apple could have sold even more iPhone 4s during the holidays if they’d had the additional manufacturing capacity in China.
You are correct, Dave, that that solving our manufacturing jobs problem will require a herculean effort. Our intention was to highlight the issues, get engineers engaged and keep the issue at the forefront of the current presidential campaign. We need a substantive debate about how to revive U.S. manufacturing, we need to develop the necessary legislative and tax strategies, then implement them. Instead, we have a toxic presidential campaign characterized by personal attacks and "political reporting" better suited to ESPN. I would argue that the debate we are having here is far more substantive than anything I’ve seen on Fox or CNN.
China spends $100 billion per year subsidizing VAT taxes. Companies like Foxconn are repaid for their tarriff costs. In other words, the trade war is already raging. The counter to artifically low labor costs at Foxconn is import tarrifs. China counters by subsidizing exporters. A national manufacturing policy would basically be subsidizing manufacturing to counter China's maunfacturing subsidies, which would just be another counter in the same trade war.
There is some irony in having Steve Jobs' widow sit in on the president's state of the union address winessing Obama saying that "We will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits." In its latest iEconomy series the NYT has another quote: "You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories, or you can reinvent the product every year, and make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards,” said a current Apple executive. “And right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China.”
We live in a world full of iconic ironies.
I am kind of lost in the latter part of your argument; but here's the thing. You provide very important reality checks here. You note that "China is not even close to what many of you here think it is." That's what I am also hearing from those who have been to Foxxcon and worked with them.
What they've got is an unimaginable size of automated infrastructure to support so many products based on high precision components.
China built that infrastructure in less than 10 years.
Why can't we build that infrastructure here in the United States?
Many of the things economic that politicians rant about are actually none of government's business. However, foreign trade issues are one thing that is most definitely the responsibility of government. Therefore, it is government's responsibility to prevent job loss to foreign competition. This is done through trade agreements and import tarriffs, tasks at which the US government has badly failed the American people.
China is basically subsidizing manufacturing. This has resulted in lower pricing of imports into the US to the extent that US manufacturers were unable to compete. Therefore, US manufacturing wanted to move manufacturing to Asia in order to take advantage of cheaper labor themselves. So they lobbied government for low tarrifs. Of course, when there is a huge trade deficit, a government should raise tarriffs. Instead, the US government did the exact opposite. Naturally, it was disastrous for US jobs, though not necessarily for US businesses. Apple is doing just fine. The US government sided with big business, rather than the American people.
"As for the commenter above who said that some people have a problem with the law about light bulbs, please remember that the law mandated the use of poisonous and dangerous flourescents and did not allow for safe LED bulbs, it did not merely force incandescents offf the market."
Please provide proof to the effect that CFLs are mandated. I think this is not true, even after I re-checked.
LEDs and ESLs are other alternatives to incadescents. No one is mandating use of CFLs. If US companies can't figure out how to manufacture efficient lighting, but would rather invest nothing, and just keep on with the 1889 Edison technology, you can't blame the current administration for that. And what could be a more lame excuse to stick with hopelessly wasteful lighting?
I'm no fan of many of the current administration's policies, but this doesn't mean that we need to manufacure complaints just for the fun of it.
Another thing is, according to Wikipedia, the amount of mercury eventually released into the ecosystem by spent CFLs, even if they are NOT recycled, is still less that mercury released by coal fired electric plants to create the extra power required for incandescents. So, incandescents have to go, and US companies have to get on with the program.
Playing "hard ball" on tech manufacturing creates a great number of other issues, many of which have been expounded on above. However, if we are going to get manufacturing jobs back in the US, then the attitudes of congress, state and local governments, corporations, workers and consumers must all be changed. Simply legislating it will not work because of the financial issues that would ultimately be imposed on the consumer (who would not be ready to pay that price). Corporations are normally going to attempt to get the most for their investment, so they are going to do what makes the most sense at the time. Ultimately that is what is driving the consumer, who rails at the "money hungry" corporations but then buys the cheapest product they can find without regard to how well it will hold up over time. In addition, the consumer shops at well known chain stores that carry few, if any, products made in the US because their customers will not buy them, thus adding to the "catch-22" situation.
The current situation has been a long time being created, and changing it will also take a long time as well as a concerted effort, coupled with a lot of re-education of government politicians, consumers, and corporations. No amount of political rhetoric is going to change it. It will take a lot of people working together and people on the right and on the left will need to learn to work together, actually listen (rather than provide lip service), and make compromises or we will continue to see more of the same deadlocks and little/no result legislative sessions.