William Baldwin of Forbes has an excellent piece about manufacturing jobs.
It's easy to get wistful about manufacturing. When my machine was made 28% of American workers went to work in factories. Now only 12% do. This, in the eyes of politicians, represents some kind of failure. Fighting the ebbing tide, Congress just enacted a law that grants a reduced rate to corporations whose output consists of tangible goods made in the U.S.
The funny thing is that these types of laws will be spun around in 5 years and criticized as "corporate welfare." People always forget the original intent. Anyway, Baldwin goes on to sum up why we really shouldn't care about losing these jobs.
We shouldn't be so admiring of the factory jobs of yore. They were dreary, low-paid and repetitive and gave rise to strikes for a good reason. The safer course is to admire the machines that were made, but be thankful that today Americans have better jobs designing phones and selling boom boxes.
This kind of shift has happened before in our economic history. We ought to be used to it. If we are caught unprepared, it's our own fault. We can't really blame it on CEOs, the Chinese, or some other scapegoat when we have failed to lay the education foundations to have the jobs of the future here in America.