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Popular wisdom has it that manufacturing in the United States is no longer a viable entity. We are told that quality is poor, skilled labor is difficult to obtain, if not impossible, demand is low, and the government is helping to discourage business. So what should we do, give up?
In March 1989, the U.S. Trade Representative requested the U.S. International Trade Commission to conduct an investigation and prepare a report on the competitive position of the U.S. gear industry in U.S. and global markets.
At the next meeting of your association's marketing committee, notice what happens. The rate of taking notes increases dramatically when the market analysis and international trade trends reports begin. Even with the handouts to match the overhead projections of numbers, the audience's pace is furious. This is vital, apparently hard-to-come-by information, and no one wants to miss out. Almost all of the information comes from one source, yet the data offered is only one small dip from an enormous treasure chest - the U.S. Government.
Five years of effort by AGMA came to fruition in January with the publishing of a report from the Department of Commerce. This "National Security Assessment of the U.S. Gear Industry" indicates that if serious measures are not taken, the gear industry's future is in jeopardy. It also sets the tone for confronting major challenges now looming large in our industry.
Easily one of the central issues affecting U.S. manufacturing is what one might call the exports deficit—the inability of American companies to sell products to, for instance, Asian markets, developing countries and other ports of call—due to what they perceive to be unfair trade agreements and or policies.
In May of this year the U.S. International Trade Commission made public its Report to the President on the condition of the U.S. gear industry. This 200+ page document is the result of a two-year study by the commission, with the help of the AGMA staff and members. It is the most comprehensive and current analytical coverage of the industry conditions and tends presently available. Because of the importance of this report to the industry, GEAR TECHNOLOGY is devoting a good portion of this issue to reprinting the Executive Summary for our readers.
The U.S. economy has been out of kilter for some time. But Uncle Sam isn't going to bail you out. You're going to have to do it yourself.
Lamentations continue—legitimately so—over the second-citizen status of manufacturing in the United States. The need undoubtedly continues for renewed support by government and educators for making things here once again...
A good many things bother me about election years - the annoying sound bites, the negative commercials, the endless political over-analysis. But what bothers me most about the coming election is this: So far (when I'm writing this, it's admittedly early in the campaign) there's little or no talk about what is one of the most critical national issues of the next thirty years - our growing government debt.
When, in 1980, OSU professor Donald R. Houser created the Gear and Power Transmission Research Laboratory - then known as the Gear Dynamics and Gear and Power Transmission Laboratory (GearLab) - he did so with the seed money provided by just three companies. Thirty-three years out, the lab has continued to grow, impress and—most importantly - succeed; it now boasts a roster of some 50 sponsoring companies and government agencies.
Like many Americans, I've been trained with the idea that those who see a problem should be the ones responsible for helping to solve it. If you see that something is broken, and you know how to fix it, don't wait for your dad, your boss or the government to tell you what to do. Just fix it.
"Values" is one of he buzzwords we hear everywhere today. Family values. Traditional values. Alternative values. Along with a balanced budget, less government and more fiber in our diets, "values" - and their practical counterparts, "ethics" - are being promoted as one of the simple, obvious solutions to what ails us as a country and as individuals.
Last month I attended a meeting in Mexico City sponsored by CIATEQ, a quasi-governmental organization in Mexico, which has as one of its aims the encouragement of the growth of the gear industry in Mexico. The purpose of the meeting was to provide a catalyst among the attendees to form a Mexican equivalent of AGMA and to encourage an alliance with AGMA. Joe Franklin, the Executive Director of AGMA, Bill Boggess, the President, Vice-President Ray Haley, and I were among the few Americans at the meeting.
For the last few years, the market has been tough for the U.S. gear industry. That statement will cause no one any surprise. The debate is about what to do. One sure sign of this is the enormous attention Congress and the federal government are now placing on "competitiveness."
Throughout the history of civilization attempts have been made to limit the number of the measuring systems in use with the result that today only two systems, English and metric, are practiced in the industrial nations. Globally, the metric system has been gaining ground, and the English system has been losing it. As of 1986, only the United States, Burma and Brunei remain uncommitted to metric conversion in the sense that no government controlled deadlines for the conversion have been established.
Step right up! Get your U.S. government gravy here! We’re the U.S. Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, and we’re printing money like we’re—well—the U.S. reasury. If you’ve got trouble, then get your assets in line!