A manufacturing base is essential for national security; we couldn't have won World War II without it.
Our manufacturing base was what enabled the "arsenal of democracy" in 1944 to produce a war plane every five minutes, 150 tons of steel every hour, and eight aircraft carriers a month. After World War II, our manufacturing base caused an incredible rise in our standard of living, bringing electricity and indoor plumbing to most homes, and good wages that built a middle class to enable blue-collar workers to support a fulltime homemaker to raise their children.
We've been told that the new normal is for America to be an economy based on providing services instead of products. The trouble is, it's pretty hard to export services such as waiters and dry cleaners; we can only export things we make. The main defect with free trade is that, in the words of the old cliche, it takes two to tango, and Communist China just won't dance. China protects and subsidizes its home industries and products, forces foreign-owned plants to give China their patents and trade secrets, cheats us with shoddy and dangerous exports, manipulates its currency to keep it artificially low, operates a large network of technology spies in the United States, and pays slave-labor wages to its workers.
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