There are so many 40+ engineers on the USA capable of contributing to the (global) economy that it is ridiculous.
Potential labor or knowledge is not the issue. In electronics it would be likened to "resistance". Our government through its tax codes and our neglectful capitalist(?) corporations have acceded to the statist belief that short-term thinking and profit (the means of measurement) are the only concepts worth consideration. This is a huge resistive barrier to the flow of potential.
I once scoffed at a now dead CEO of an electronics company that by extension of reasoning he should consider converting the corporation into one that merely finances credit cards. It was sarcasm. He seemed to seriously consider that. And he is now dead and with little legacy as he failed to grow the company due to his lack of foresight and squandering of the human potential he had at his disposal.
I am dubious that we learn from our mistakes.