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News you can REALLY use

From Sido, on a topic he knows a thing or two (a-HENH!) about.

Everyone knows that Americans can’t manufacture anything anymore, we just aren’t competitive on labor costs. In order to have the stuff we want, we have to send those manufacturing jobs overseas. Sure it destroys the working class but those people can learn to code or better yet get low paying service jobs at dollar stores selling stuff workers in China made. Progress! The free market at work!

It is pretty hard to get anything made in America, from electronics to clothing to just about everything else, all of it is made in China or some third world shithole full of child labor sweatshops. As a nation we are pretty much resigned to grumbling about everything being made in China while still buying stuff made in China.

Not to mention that China is a controlled economy with a billion people making low wages and living in cramped conditions most Americans would find intolerable.

But is that paradigm true? Can Americans really not compete with China and other Asian countries when it comes to manufacturing? I don’t think it really is, not on everything, and the big reason is that there is one thing that Americans make that is affordable and high quality:

Guns.

America makes guns. Lots and lots and LOTS of guns. From “low end” stuff to super high end firearms costing multiple thousands of dollars, like Staccato 2011s that run from a couple grand to over three thousand for competition guns. There are guns for every price point and every budget.

This video helps demonstrate that as The Honest Outlaw tests a Bear Creek Arsenal AR-15 and finds it to be actually pretty decent.

Let me say clearly that BCA is not my first or fifth or tenth choice for a primary or back-up rifle. Thanks to my dealer discounts I am in a position to get higher end ARs and BCA does have something of a reputation for the occasional quality issue. Still, for the vast majority of AR owners it is probably more than adequate. Bear Creek makes their firearms in North Carolina and has something like 220 configurations and calibers in their line-up (see here).

On the other end of the spectrum you have outfits like Sons of Liberty Gunworks and Daniel Defense who make very expensive rifles for people who like to mock “Jus’ as Gud” poors. Between the two extremes are an enormous array of manufacturers from Palmetto State and Anderson to the big names like Ruger and Smith & Wesson and the smaller mid-tier places like Stag and Rock River. Of course you can also mix and match as the parts needed to make an AR are also widely available and made in the US from barrels to detent springs.

Pistols are the same, although I would caution that there are brands you should never, ever buy, most specifically Hi-Point and SCCY, both making absolute garbage. I refuse to carry either brand as an FFL. Right now you can buy all sorts of handguns for under $500 that are well made, reliable and accurate for the majority of shooters from places like Ruger, S&W and many others. The most popular handguns for a long time running are made by Glock in Austria but the rest of the industry has caught up to and I think surpassed Glock, and of course most serious shooters who own Glocks replace most of the Glock parts with after-market parts made in America.

Well, if the politicians and their Corporate Americans sponsors/partners/co-conspirators/whatevers have decided the US is to be left with a viable manafacturing base in only one or two fields, I’ll take guns as one of those and be glad to get it. Read all of it, you’ll enjoy it. Meanwhile, in the comments, Moe Gibbs offers a few penetrating insights.

I am one of those who “learned to code” ages ago, earning a handful of STEM degrees in undergrad and grad right out of high school. Contrary to what Brandon and others think, not just anyone can “learn to code” and I sincerely doubt that Brandon himself has anywhere near the intellectual horsepower to wrangle an old-fashioned STEM degree. I’ve spent my entire career working in defense electronics, which, like arms manufacture, did not lose its all-America focus until fairly recently. My employer, a Big Three in defense, is now admitting non-citizen H1-Bs into the workforce, citing a paucity of native-born American applicants. But just ten years ago we had exactly zero, none, nil.

When I started in my field during the Reagan defense boom, every single assembly, pc board and wire harness was made from scratch, in house, to very exacting military standards from America-sourced raw materials using American-made tools by native-born, English-speaking American citizens. Today, we buy replaceable commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) computer-on-a board assemblies from all over the world, which are essentially ticking timebombs, unrepairable when they break, often incompatible between manufacturing sources. They are obsoleted so quickly and often that the only viable approach is to buy as many of the things as we will ever possibly need at the start of a program, including a ponderous number of ‘spares’, which results in no cost savings to the customer (U.S. taxpayer) at all.

To bring manufacturing back to these shores, Americans would have to accept a very sharp reduction in compensation, and, hence, a serious crimp in their luxurious lifestyles. With burger-flippers commanding $15 an hour, skilled wiremen and component assemblers would naturally demand $40 an hour or better. And no way is any commercial venture going to turn a profit if the guys and gals who assemble hand mixers and home security systems and flat-screen TVs pull down such wages here while chinese slave laborers are paid a fraction as much.

Just like another moon mission, we could bring manufacturing back home, but only if we had literally no other choice. Who is going to be first to give up their $68,000 Beamer to commute in an old beater to work on the assembly line at a repatriated GE manufacturing plant? What “successful” childless working couple is going to downsize from their 3800 square foot McMansion to live in a modest tract home and raise a brood of White children with stay-at-home mom on a single blue collar income? The genie of entitlement and affluence is well and truly out of the bottle, and wrestling that bitch back inside would take some truly monumental effort.

As it happens, I grew up exactly like the example I boldfaced, the primary departure from Arthur’s outline being that my dad couldn’t fairly be considered blue collar (he was a Blue Cross/Blue Shield salesman and, later, a benefits administrator before finally starting his own independent insurance-sales biz), and it was nothing less than idyllic. So much so that for years, it’s been my oft-stated contention that my parents’ generation was the last one to get child-raising in the traditional, all-American fashion right. The loss of that tradition—abandonment thereof, more like—has been a costly, damaging mistake for the entire country.

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3 thoughts on “News you can REALLY use

  1. As someone that designs and manufactures machinery for manufacturing products (mechanical, electrical, control and software – we do every phase) there is a wide variety of manufacturing that Americans are, or could be, competitive in.

    Do aerospace companies send satellites into space using cheap chinese composite material? No, because the cost of failure is too high. The carbon or glass fiber composites materials are sourced from the US. Europe, or Japan and the USA is very competitive. In fact, today I spent 6 hours helping a customer with a very expensive composite product.

    One of the things that happens when you allow production to move offshore is you lose both the high end and low end products. For example, take DC power supplies. The cheap $100 power supplies cannot be made here without a 15-20% premium, but the high end ones that cost $2000+ can be made competitively, in fact for a lower price when the risk of failure is considered. But only if you have both ends of the spectrum. Economy of scale requires that you have the entire line including the low end in order to keep the high end competitive. Multiply this times tens of thousand of products, from denim cloth to aerospace sensors and you begin to understand the scale.

    The loss of manufacturing didn’t happen in a vacuum, it was pushed by our marxist government as the marxists found it personally lucrative to sell you out to the chinese and other turd world governments. Only one president since Eisenhower gave a damn and tried to reverse this. And many of you want to lynch him for it. Shame.

    To bring manufacturing back to these shores, Americans would have to accept a very sharp reduction in compensation, and, hence, a serious crimp in their luxurious lifestyles.

    This is abject bullshit. It is exactly the opposite.

    Our wealth is not increasing as a result of losing our manufacturing base. We are now living off what was saved during our long history of manufacturing – the wealth accumulated (buildings, roads, bridges, houses, etc, are all wealth in the “bank”), but we are drawing the wealth down and eventually it runs out. The potholes remain, the buildings crumble, new roads are not built, airports crumble… Sound familiar? Check out Detroit.

    There is a temporary cost to changing our future, but change it we must, or we shall become the chinese/turd world workers. You cannot mow each others yards and create wealth.

    1. The loss of manufacturing didn’t happen in a vacuum, it was pushed by our marxist government as the marxists found it personally lucrative to sell you out to the chinese and other turd world governments.”

      If I remember right, and I’m pretty sure I do, for a good few years there FederalGovCo was actually offering tax incentives to US corporations for offshoring their manufacturing to China. Please note that my being “pretty sure” I’m remembering anything correctly means less and less in these, the days of my dotage. Ahem. 😉

      1. Add to that, no tariffs, none, for goods imported from turd world companies along with those incentives.

        The South lost textiles and furniture rapidly, two high employee count industry’s that were fundamental to small town Southern culture. Gone. And the jobs that paid reasonably well are gone with it. There was no replacement.
        Then there are the secondary companies, the suppliers to the furniture and textile industries, from chemicals to machinery. All gone. Machine shops catering to those industries, gone. The diner down the street, gone.

        And that was just for starters.

        Onerous regulations move a lot of industry out of the country to places with zero regulations.

        It all adds up and it has all been planned as a long term attack on Americans.

        Who needs freon anyway?

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