Great arguments, Steve. Had an inkling it was you when the first "crane" was mentioned. :^)
The fallacy of buying cheap imports at the dollarbill store, mallwart, etc, is that eventually our own standard of living will lower to meet that of the cheap goods. No one except "captains of (new) industry" will be making a decent wage (no goods to produce & only part time sales positions at cheapo stores) and be able to afford anything except more cheap goods.
Is there hope? YES! Tons of skilled work is required to produce our energy independance using clean renewable sources - this can also produce our job independance. Solar, PV, wind, biodiesel, etc, all need to be produced locally and used locally. This requires local skills and trades. It also requires a committment from gov'mnt - ah - there's the rub. Are the politicos ready for an "Apollo project" for clean, renewable energy independance? Plenty of workers probably are.