Re: It's almost too late
"Whereas the USA will do anything to pay less"
hopefully THIS means building robotic factories in the USA.
In China (and many other upwardly mobile far east nations, from my experience), their underpaid employees are often "thrown" at solving a manufacturing need. It's a bit like the keystone cops. In the west, people think they're too good to count a million washers, and weigh the bag instead, estimating the number. Over there, they count, and throw an unlimited number of 'bodies' at the problem until it's done.
Yes, out of a million washers they were short a few hundred. [this was Singapore, back in the 90's]
So, back to the 21st century...
Let's say you want a limited production run of circuit boards. A company in China will probably have a big workbench filled with employees working on your device, using the 'tweezer' pick and place method. In the USA, a robot will do it, and a tech will load the parts reels and put the finished circuit boards into the reflow oven. Even visual inspection can be automated. Interestingly, one US company's manufacturing price is actually COMPETITIVE with at least one well known company in China [all things considered].
What China has going at the moment is a lack of "polluting" costs and better 'location proximity' for suppliers. They did this deliberately.
Let's say you have a resistor maker, a capacitor maker, a semiconductor maker, and a board maker, all in proximity to an assembly company. It doesn't take "rocket surgery" to figure out that having all of these NEXT TO EACH OTHER (effectively) will GREATLY improve the process and lower inventory levels [leading to lower costs].
THEN, they have an UNLIMITED SUPPLY of "low wage" employees, which (for now) are cheaper than building robots. And that's who is building our "stuff" at the moment.
Couple that with a LACK of environmentalist wackos (in China) complaining daily about the MERE PRESENCE of hazardous materials, along with the expense of disposing of such industrial waste (they just pump it into the air, etc.), and the frequent sue-balls and H.R. nightmare and "other regulations" and other problems associated with the "sue-ball" shadow economy, and building in China looks pretty damn good by comparison... [from the "can you blame them" depaertment]
I'd like to see a lot of "those things" made HERE instead. With robots. And clean processes. And once our industries stop going "over there" and invest "over here" to get the robotic plants up and running, because the tariffs make it worth while, we'll see a shift in manufacturing. And that's the point.