The US used to have a colossal pool of engineers, scientists and skilled workers.
We still do. We have so many scientists that they can't find academic work, and industry isn't hiring. The "skills gap" you hear companies bitching about exists only because they refuse to provide training. They expect their workers to emerge from Zeus's head fully formed and armored like Athena. This works when only a few companies are doing it, but it breaks down when everybody does it.
All that went overseas to china who, incidentally, understand this transfer of expertise and it's strategic importance
We didn't get hit over the head with a gigantic rock and lose every engineer we had. China just created more. That's called progress, and I thought
"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre