I've got a theory on why our economy sucks, and it's got nothing to do with politicians or Wall Street(well, it does in the macro but not for this rant). We're a country of cheap bastards. Nobody wants to pay for quality. I'm so sick of hearing "that's so expensive" while the moron is comparing a well built part or tool to a Chinese made disposable widget that's gonna last 3 months and disintegrate. It's a mindset that has expanded beyond day to day purchases and became a way of life. It's now how we hire our workforce...."well, potential employee A knows his craft and has experience and wants to be compensated accordingly....potential employee B doesn't know jack, but we can train him and *hope* he figures it out, meanwhile paying him shit." Funny how it works; when organized labor gets together to avoid that situation it's "artificially increasing wages." But when Big Business does THE SAME THING by deciding to put a cap on what they'll pay(Just one example, see the Shipyards of a few years back, who put on a huge recruiting campaign for workers, then bitched when they couldn't find top tier welders for $19. "But that's ALL we will pay!" Or read THIS), it's Capitalism. When we look at a home repair, it's typically for the lowest bidder, regardless of their certifications or experience, oblivious to the shortcuts that are required to hit that price point. "Why does Builder X cost so much more than Builder Z?" Well, Z is "doing it on the side," using crap materials, evading taxes, not pulling permits, etc. Same thing with car tuning and hot rod builds. Maybe look at the work the shop puts out as opposed to "damn that paint job costs HOW MUCH?" Hard to compete when a bunch of hacks are out to undercut you, and all people care about is the bottom dollar estimate. I guess on a larger scale, it's hard for Americans to compete when it's become a global economy and China is like the scab carpenter running a shady business out of the back of his beat up pickup. And it's our own fault. WE built this by wanting quantity for pennies and eschewing quality.
Screw Wal-Mart, Screw Harbor Freight, screw scabs, and screw you. We all suck. You get what you pay for.
(above pic is a cheap Chinese bracket[broken] versus a new one I built for a friend's bike)