I agree with y'all about the great quality of many Chinese-made guitars. Since most of the "innards" of domestic-made electrics are coming out of the Orient anyway, and many of the woods used are either Asian or African, there's no reason they can't build to our specs and produce fine instruments. A lot of great companies are building their guitars in China, South Korea, and other countries thereabouts. It's a shame for our domestic manufacturers, but reality is that every consumer is looking for the most bang for their buck ... economic times have dictated that. The phrase "disposable income" is no longer a part of the modern vernacular.
When I bought my Epiphone Les Paul Custom a couple of years ago, I was initially shooting for a Gibson Studio so it would be somewhat affordable. When I plugged in the Epi and played it alongside it's Gibson counterpart, my ears could hear virtually no difference. The Epiphone ProBucker pickups are wired using the same components as the Gibson BurstBuckers (both coil-tapping) and sound almost identical to me. There are a few cosmetic differences, but they are inconsequential to the playability of the guitar. So with a price difference of well over $2,000 ... it was a no brainer.