With the beginning of another year, it’s always helpful to look back at where we’ve been.
Perhaps no product better demonstrates the progress of our age than the computer. In 1956, a 5 MB state-of-the-art hard disk weighed a ton and occupied the space of two refrigerators. Today, a one-terabyte drive (200,000 times the storage space) is the size of a postage stamp. And the trend lines suggest that these advancements in technology will continue. The future is potentially very bright!
However, this example also reveals a disturbing trend. IBM made the 1956 hard drive; the terabyte drive is made by Toshiba. To some extent, this should not surprise us. Japan and many other countries now have democratically elected governments and largely free-market economies; we should expect healthy competition from such countries. However, one has to wonder why so much of our manufacturing is now headed to places like China.
The answers are not hard to find. Our market is not nearly as free as it once was. Our current tax code unnecessarily puts American products at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace – which kills jobs and prevents economic growth. Meanwhile, China refuses to respect the environment, human rights, or intellectual property rights. They also manipulate currency markets to their advantage.
The result is that manufacturing continues to flee the U.S. at a staggering rate. What is even more concerning is that as the manufacturing leaves, many of the associated engineering jobs also leave. As a result, we have seen the latest recession impact our highly educated white-collar work force. And without jobs, our engineers are missing out on the manufacturing experience needed to innovate and create new solutions to manufacturing problems. The graph below shows just how shocking this decline has been.
We have the opportunity to bring these jobs back and make America strong once again, but to do so, we need leaders in Washington who understand the high-tech marketplace and the real challenges facing business owners.
Career politicians like Gerry Connolly do not understand the private sector. I have spent my entire career in the high-tech arena and have run my own business since 2000. I understand that the biggest economic barrier to our country right now is the uncertainty of the U.S. dollar and an out-of-control government that distorts the free markets, punishes entrepreneurs with burdens and prevents economic growth with costly new regulations like Obamacare. We must restore investor confidence and promote policies that will make America business-friendly once again.