========= Several observations in no particular order:
(1) Feel free to post your own metal working observations, comments, etc. to start on topic threads.
(2) "Government" at all levels in the US is becoming much more intrusive and intensive, thus it is no longer possible in many cases to ignore it and hope it will go away. One example is the ongoing attempts by many jurisdictions to limit legal activities at residences such as automotive repair, welding, metal casting and home shops using pollution and noise abatement ordinances.
(3) "Economics" is important in that if there is no or minimal disposable income, reduced through either under- or un- employment or excessive taxes, there can be little spending on hobbies such as machining/machine tools. On the commercial side it is far too easy to tax/regulate "real value added" operations out of existence.
(4) Public education is critical in that this is the source of for the vast majority of employees. If the only subjects taught in public schools are abstract thinking and academic skills, the country is screwed, because someone must do the actual productive work such as plumbers, electricians, masons, and yes machinists, including cnc. Life skills, including personal finance [*NOT* investment] are also critical. A survey of the ages of the members in these skilled trades should send a shot of cold pi$$ to the heart, in that the replacements are simply not in the pipeline, and that in this area, as so many others, we are dissipating accumulated capital for current spending and false economy.
Unka George (George McDuffee) .............................. The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. L. P. Hartley (1895-1972), British author. The Go-Between, Prologue (1953).