This issue has letters from reader who offer suggestions for getting the U. S. A. back on track. They tout U. S. products, protectionist tariffs, better thinking from those spending our tax dollars, and advise high-school grads to think long and hard about their futures. As they say: It looks good on paper.
Made in the U. S. A. still counts
Every day, the “Made in America” labels seems to be going farther down the path of the Dodo bird. But there is another side to this story that should give us hope.
Our family owned and operated small business designs, manufactures, and sells PC-based video microscopy equipment. Our patented products are installed in 17 countries.
When I was setting up distributors in Japan, Europe, Australia, and India, I asked principals in each of the companies if they thought it would be to their advantage to purchase parts from us, assemble products in their home country, and sell products under their own brand. In every case I got the same response: “No, our customers want American products”.
It seems that when it comes to acquiring mission-critical laboratory equipment, many people in the world still respect American ingenuity, product quality, and manufacturing capabilities. Perhaps we should focus our educational resources more on a science-based curricula that will inspire curiosity and grow the intellectual capacity needed to restore our nation’s world-class design and manufacturing base. Perhaps we should ask our children to put down those cell phones and video games and encourage them to build real-world things from their imaginations.
Historically, our talents and perseverance has made America a bright star in a darkening world. Our ancestors brought the best the world had to offer to our shores and those people fulfilled their promise to be productive citizens by building this wonderful nation. We owe it to the generations before and after us to carry on that great tradition.
After all, many in this world still see America as the bright star that we still are.
Rex A. Hoover
Chinese autos in the U. S. A. mean that we will see yet another U. S. A. industry completely taken over by a competing Chinese industry (“Here Come Chinese Autos,” Jan. 22). They will turn out inferior cars in terms of quality, and undercut U. S.-made cars by selling them below cost just to get their foot in the door. I hope the U. S. government slaps a heavy import tax on these Chinese goods in the same way China does to the goods we export to them. I will never own anything but an American-made car. I just hope it doesn’t one day become as hard to find U. S.-made cars as it is to find electronics, clothing, foot wear, and tools made here.
Thinking about education
When talking about education, I believe that “you have to be good at something” to make a decent living (“The Meaningless BA Degree,” Feb. 25). Then, the issue becomes: Do you need to attend college to acquire those skills or can you learn them another way? Additionally, and for most professional positions, you will need some proof of your basic skills, and a diploma or degree is a good way to show prospective employers that you may be qualified for the job. Previous work experience alone and dubious training papers may not be enough to convince them you are the right candidate.
Is college the only way to learn the skills you will need? Of course not, but it depends on what you are aiming for. If you want to work in science or engineering, then college is the best and easiest route to take because it provides, or should provide, the technical and general education requisites to become a good professional. For many other professions, people do not need and should not go to college, but they will still have to acquire the skills and endure the rigors of the training to excel.
The other part of the equation is whether or not the college of your choice provides the proper education and an acceptable return on investment. This is a completely different and complex issue. There are thousands of colleges in the U. S. A. to choose from and it is up to the candidates to make the right decision. In this matter, personal responsibility and determination make a huge difference.
Let’s be smart on R&D
This country cannot afford to waste money funding R&D projects that do not promise major benefits (“Sequestration Frustration for R&D,” Mar. 20). While we should not tell anyone what topics they should research, we should be selective about which of these projects are funded by U. S. taxpayers.
Every proposed research topic for which federal funding is requested should be available to all in a database accessible on the Internet. Anyone who chooses to read through this database should be able to vote yes or no on each topic. Information about whoever makes the final decision to approve or disapprove funding that decision should be available on the same database, together with the contact information for the decision makers.
I believe that projects like your ponytail study, if approved, would generate significant input to those making the federal R&D funding decisions.