People ask me all the time, "Hey, Mr. Economics Guy, what's the next major boost to American manufacturing?"
Obviously, it's Justin Bieber commemorative plates. Yep, they'll have to be made in US, because we can't let China find out how silly our culture is. They already know about Paris Hilton; we're grasping for dignity straws here!
Of course, the real boost is really simple. Find $250B in budget cuts, make big deal about it, that'll help consumer confidence.
Let the Bush tax cuts re-adjust on top rates. Alan Greenspan agrees with me there, he's really smart. After all, he helped get us into this mess, right?
But what else you must do is slash Corporate tax rate and Capital gains tax. At the least, that'd be revenue neutral. Would sure spur investment though, especially foreign. At best would be a tax revenue adder.
Well don't go betting your Justin Beiber plate collection that's gonna happen anytime soon!
Instead, the next American manufacturing surge will be clean rooms, and workers wearing Bee keeper looking outfits. Micro-circuitry and Nanotechnology. Hey! I wish it was something else too! What do you want, comforting lies? Go see your Congressperson!
Gizmos too small to see have been slowly moving forward about 15 years now.
Regular people (and by that I mean anybody bored enough to read this blog, you poor devils) have no idea what all Nano-tech can do right now, and what it'll be able to do soon.
A glimpse this week because Wal-Mart announced garment smart tags for inventory control. Employee walks up with scanner, blip! Bra section already sent message to the scanner about replenishment levels. That's old stuff. HEY! Maybe I could get a job putting smart tags in Wal-Mart clothing! Naw, says here the clothes are made in Mozambique. I'm not moving to Georgia for a minimum wage job.
What Nano-tech can already do, and on the near horizon, is mind boggling. It's like Star Wars. Or maybe Star Trek... could be Star Search maybe, not sure which exactly. But I'm fairly sure the late Ed McMahon has no involvement.
Microchip inserted in a plastic milk jug at molding machine. It's chemically sensitive. When milk starts going bad, chip turns on and broadcasts to ceiling mounted unit in dairy section. Goes straight to Dairy manager's PC, so he can go back there and put milk on sale. Naw, they wouldn't do that! Whatever they do, the info is there. The tech has already been patented.
Not sufficiently boggled yet? Near future, your grocer can offer 'Super-savers' club. Take a gizmo home, plug into your PC. Stuff in your house, like margarine, shampoo, consumables. Chips in that stuff will shoot message to your PC module when they're running low. When you turn your PC on, module shoots info to grocer, and coupons for said items are e-mailed to you. Tech almost in place right now; cultural resistance will slow implementation.
Ya say you're not satisfied, ya say you want more? I could tell you was one of the smart ones, minute you sauntered up with that Moon Pie & RC Cola. Since it's obvious you're a customer of great refinement, tell ya what I'm gonna do?
How would you like, if instead of open heart surgery, you get a Nano-tech injection? Still years away, it looks promising in the MIT research so far. Tiny little things loaded into a hypodermic. They've been engineered to detect certain chemicals, and then release their cargo meds at that site. After that they become inert and leave the body through urine stream.
Yeah, it looks like ten years out. What will happen to all the Surgeons and OR personnel? Oh, they'll be just fine! Probably go into the lucrative Justin Beiber commemorative plate business.