Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The End of an Era

I just caught this over at Truth About Cars.

It ain't just health care Obama is screwing up; he and his minions are also killing the automobile industry.

Car manufacturing isn't just about cars. GM Ford, Chrysler and the other manufacturers were the backbone of industrial production in the country during WWII, converting over the course of a few months from cars to tanks, jeeps and other military supplies. Ford even built B-29 bombers, and by the end of the war was making 1 an hour. That was how we one WWII (and the Civil War as well); making things faster than the enemy could blow them up.

Who is going to supply our equipment next time around? I almost envision a scene like in Independence Day, where they pull all the retired pilots up to fly the aircraft. We'll be pulling anybody back into manufacturing, hoping they can remember or quickly relearn skills in order to make the equipment we need to survive.

It's not like I haven't seen it coming. My first machining job in 1986 was for a firm that made and sold machine knives. 85% of what we sold was made overseas. The bigger stuff in Japan; the smaller stuff in Europe. We made some stuff in house for two reasons: we had some customers who refused to accept a foreign made product, and in case a customer needed a special knife in a rush, we were able to make it, and that justified keeping us there.

That place has been gone for years now, just like a lot of other local manufacturers. Cincinnati used to be the biggest machine tool manufacturers in the world. At one point something like 40% of the machines made in the world came from Cincinnati. LeBlonde in now Rookwood Square; Cincinnati Milicron was set to become a shopping mall, until the economy collapsed. the rest of the country isn't much better.

With out the tools to work the metal we can have all the skilled machinists we want and it will do us as much good as trying kick a field goal with a baseball.

When the end comes we will know who to blame at least.

What a small consolation that will be.

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