As noted in a speech by John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers — posted on YouTube July 26 — NAM appreciates the fact that the House is spending the last week of July talking about the manufacturing economy, "but it's not enough … it's simply not enough."
Engler said, "The hard truth is that our manufacturers are often at a disadvantage today; other countries and the governments of those countries are crafting consistent, supportive policies to back their industries — to back their manufacturing. But here in the United States, regulations, taxes, and new mandates keep piling up, making the country a tougher and tougher place in which to do business.
"We don't have a battle plan, we don't have a strategy. The manufacturers believe the United States needs a consistent, comprehensive, supportive approach toward manufacturing — indeed a manufacturing strategy. [NAM] has put together just such a plan. We call it the 'Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and a Competitive America.'
"[NAM's] manufacturing strategy is a policy guide outlining actions Congress must take on taxes, trade, education, energy, and infrastructure. There are a lot of items, but manufacturing's complex, and so our strategy represents a comprehensive call to action. Our goal's pretty straightforward: We want the United States to be the best country in the world in which to headquarter a company. We want the United States to be the best country in the world where research and development, innovation can take place with the bulk of a company's global and research and development expenditures being here. Finally, we want the United States to be a great place to manufacture, to meet the needs of the American market and to serve as an export platform for the world.
"We believe that anyone that runs for office, anyone that holds office should share these goals, but we also believe you cannot achieve them with tactics, a few bills, or even a single manufacturing week. It takes hard work, a comprehensive strategy. We believe our 'Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and a Competitive America' is a key part of the answer."
Earlier this week, NAM's shopfloor.org blog posted some of Engler's remarks and a link to the video. As of this writing, that post has received a single comment. To paraphrase Roseanne Roseannadanna, a Mr. or Mrs. AE Houston of Whoknowswhere (ah, the relative anonymity of blog commenters) wrote: "President John Engler is encouraging a very different approach that unfortunately includes the tired old approach of cutting taxes for the wealthy so they get even richer, breaking unions so the rest of us get poorer, making if (sic) impossible for citizens to use the courts to get justice when big companies cause harms ('tort reform'), further deregulating big corporations so they can harm workers and the environment at will, importing workers who are paid less to force reductions in American wages, etc.
"Hey guys, give it up — those conservative policies have already failed us BIG time. Get on board with the Making It in America initiative!"
Mr. or Mrs. Houston from Whoknowswhere (Maybe Houston?), I applaud your enthusiasm for the latest initiative from Washington, but some, including the author of this article from Fortune magazine, believe "the effort is more about saving the jobs of endangered Democratic incumbents than creating new ones on production lines."
I'm open to listening to all ideas for improving conditions for U.S. manufacturing and the economy, including those of NAM, the MIIA initiative, and even Ucubed's Hire Us America plan. Congress, you should be too. I know it's a daunting task and perhaps unsavory as elections draw near, but please put politics aside, really examine all possible actions that can help U.S. manufacturing and the economy long-term, make the right decisions for all your constituents, not just those who contribute to your campaigns, and take action. Time's a wastin.