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Process Manufacturing and Society's Current Values

April 3, 2012
Society Has Devoted the Last 40 Years to Passing the Message That Manufacturing Is Dirty, Dangerous and Unrewarding

With regard to your article on revitalizing manufacturing ["We Get What We Deserve," Feb. '12, p.8], it's easy to see where a society is going by observing what it values most. Several weeks back, an initial public offering was made for Facebook. Analyists said it could be worth upwards of $100 billion! Further research might reveal that General Motors market cap is only $41 billion. An enterprise where a few software geeks facilitate note passing and texts between teenagers and allows on-line Scrabble is worth 2.5 times the largest automobile manufacturer in the world! Go figure! As a nation, which would you rather have inside your borders?

Society has devoted the last 40 years to passing the message that manufactring is dirty, dangerous and unrewarding. Regulatory agencies like the EPA and its satraps at the state level have devoted decades to industrial eradication. As it is pictured today, would you want your son or daughter to pursue a career in a factory? No wonder that we now sit with an economy almost entirely devoted to fixing things that other, more farsighted societies make.

The halcyon years for American workers were between 1969 and 1972. They made the most money relative to inflation, had the most political influence, were prouder of what they did and in general commanded respect at all levels of society. This is no longer true. People are now in a race to the financial bottom to hang on to what little of those jobs remain. It said that finding qualified employees is now the issue. No wonder! The EPA's attitude of slash and burn, particularly as conducted in the Rust Belt, has consumed even our seed corn.

To turn this sad situation around, I would revert all government regulations back to June 1970 and only allow changes, if any, to be made through congressional approval. It is the only way to bring us back. Hopefully it's not too late.

Norm Scheels, PE
United Ethanol LLC

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