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Salary Survey

2018 Salary and Career Report, Part 5: Regulation’s Two-Edged Blade: Surgical or Punitive?

Judging by the numbers, our respondents are too busy to worry about the immediate impact of government intervention—or non-intervention—in their lives. However, judging by the comments of a vocal minority, the dual effects of tariffs and deregulation are too important to ignore.

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As this final installment of H&P’s 2018 Salary and Career Report is written, the Christmas holidays are drawing near. For some that means holiday dinners accentuated by conversations about anything but politics—if you’re lucky. But if yours is like most families, several of your loved ones are bound to be passionate about the latest reports out of Washington, D.C.

A vocal minority responding to H&P’s salary survey were just like your Uncle Harvey, who is either passionately opposed to or in favor of the Senate’s legislative agenda. Judging by the majority of our respondents, they couldn’t care less about things like net neutrality, tariffs, or environmental initiatives. However, the Uncle Harveys among them had some interesting points to make, pro and con, about these issues—and they want to tell you about them. Consider Part 5 of our Survey Report a Holiday dinner with Uncle Harvey and you may actually enjoy learning how some of the regulatory trends being reported in the news might affect you at some point.

Before we list the most passionate quotes pro and con from the vocal minority who took the time to write them while responding to our survey, we must report that when it comes to net neutrality, 95% of respondents yawned that its ending will have no impact on what they do for a living. Net neutrality regulation was designed to prevent internet service providers from intentionally blocking, slowing down or charging a premium for access to specific websites and online content. 

As for the other regulatory issues identified in our survey, when it comes to green initiatives like solar and wind power and the Trump Administration’s focus on coal, well, those didn’t stir much passion in our survey takers, either. Eighty percent indicated alternative power sources made no difference to what they do for a living. Steel tariffs and import taxes, however, got a little more of a rise out of them. Thirty-nine percent of them, anyway. Still, the fact that 61% indicated they wouldn’t feel a financial impact from tariffs may make it worthwhile to expose that majority—and you, if you’re among them—to why industry’s Uncle Harveys think these issues are important. Here are that vocal minority’s thoughts, pro and con.

Ending Net Neutrality

Pro

By getting government out of the way, our ISPs have better business pricing and are faster now.

It has not affected me to my knowledge.

All the commotion that this pointless issue generated wasted a lot of valuable time.

Net neutrality was a bad idea. We actually have faster internet speeds now without FCC oversight.

Con

I work in telecom infrastructure. Ending net neutrality will allow telecom companies to make bandwidth a precious resource, instead of investing in the infrastructure to keep up with bandwidth demands. This will slow down my industry.

It will restrict our choices to those internet entities who can pay to play rather than everyone having an equal footing.

Our communications lobbying budget is now focused 100% on the development of independent Internet service providers that allow content providers and end users to use the infrastructure we have already paid for as taxpayers.

It hasn't affected us yet, but it is only a matter of time before it will restrict my ability to do research or share information because my company buys internet service from the “wrong” provider or “doesn’t pay enough” for the service.

Steel Tariffs

Pro

There are two new factories opening in Kentucky now and Nucor Steel is expanding, which brings in more high paying jobs to my area.

Tariffs have significantly improved the business investment climate as of now.

We are a major supplier of steel wheels in the United States, so having a tariff on imported goods has helped out immensely.

They’ve driven up the raw material costs in our machines, but that has forced engineering to look at ways to cost-reduce the design so the machine sell price does not have to increase for us to maintain profit margin.

The threat of increased tariffs on Chinese materials has caused action plans to be created and readied should it happen.

This will mean only a temporary price increase until the industry becomes more efficient. Long term they will have no effect.

Companies may be forced to buy pipe in the U.S., which will increase our business and allow us to hire more people.

Con

Tariffs are a crutch to support weak companies that should go away.

They will ruin us. American domestic steel production is a disgrace and proportionately higher than the rest of the world for no reason I can figure out other than people expecting much higher margins than the rest of the world.

My company easily uses 10 million pounds of steel annually—most of which is high quality and can only be sourced from European and Canadian markets. We have not found a supplier in the U.S. that can deliver the quality we require.

Tariffs will increase the cost of our products and the possibility of having to replace or redesign components.

They will increase the cost of some products, which can harm those making minimum wage.

The majority of our products are made from steel and aluminum, so we have had to increase our prices more than we would have otherwise. This is having a negative impact our ability to export products and systems.

Prices are going up on products daily. It’s a bad deal to put tariffs on our suppliers.

Work with overseas OEMs that have concerns about these impacts is delayed or uncertain now.

Price fluctuations mean we’re unable to quote for more than three days.

Tariffs have slowed the quoting process. Virtually all vendors have announced pending price increases or “temporary tariffs.” It has forced more shopping to find suppliers who have not passed them along yet.

Green Engineering Initiatives

Pro

They are a positive...we need to keep our basic industries healthy and encourage new investments in all energy sources.

It doesn't make sense at all to invest in fossil fuels—just because those industries have the most and the best-paid lobbyists—when it means you have to ignore new technologies that would provide a much greater payback, in absolute terms (big picture) for the whole economy.

An increased focus on coal is simply ridiculous. Even the miners in West Virginia know that era is over. Other countries are racing ahead with green engineering. The U.S. is falling behind and our overseas sales will continue to lag.

Though retired, I think about the efficiency of the hydraulic intensifier pumps at the heart of the waterjet systems and how to get more efficiency into their design. The world-wide market and application of this technology tells me any efficiency advantages other people make will put my (ex) company at a competitive disadvantage.

Pushing coal rather than reinvigorating nuclear seems very shortsighted and ultimately counterproductive. Society (at least world-wide) has determined that carbon dioxide releases appear to harm climate and increase climate variability. The USA should be pushing hard to promote the best technologies to address these effects.

We are very involved in wind turbine lubrication. The phase out of the Production Tax Credit has actually put a greater focus on reliability and maintenance and a focus on better lubricants and greases.

In California, at least, there’s an equal and opposite reaction to look to the future while our scientifically illiterate [Trump] Administration turns to look at the past. “Of course I’m interested in The Future; I'll spend the rest of my life there!”—Isaac Asimov, 1953.

Con

There is NOTHING wrong with using coal, natural gas, or petroleum, when burned well. It adds to the CO2 and restores plant life. We are carbon based life forms and CO2 is a LIFE GIVING GAS. We need 10× the levels we currently have to support food. Wind turbines are ugly; an engineering abortion, requiring high maintenance, destroying habitats for animals, making cattle and sheep sick, making humans sick and killing over 1.5 million birds a year.

Green tech is coming, but subsidies will not solve the problems that come with it. If these technologies cannot compete on equal footing with current practices in the market then they need further improvement.

The coal industry has started to regain lost ground. As a result, mining equipment purchases have started to grow. Development of new mining equipment has started again.

Coal mines have become a higher potential customer base.

Getting the government out of manipulating the market has allowed us to begin the recovery process.

Loss of subsidies has helped to kill some of the unworthy competition.

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