Alliance Unveils New American Manufacturing Strategy to Create Jobs and Shift the Political DebateSurvey: Americans Want Action to Strengthen ManufacturingLas Vegas –
Years of off-shoring American manufacturing has exacerbated the worst U.S. economic crisis since the Great Depression, undermining the U.S. position in the global economy, the Alliance for American Manufacturing
(AAM) said today at Netroots Nation
, appealing to Congress and the Obama administration to enact a series of measures to implement a national manufacturing strategy.
“America needs a manufacturing strategy to revitalize the sector that drives the rest of the economy,” said Scott Paul, executive director of AAM. “Our recent survey shows that Americans understand that America is losing its status as a global economic power, and they want action to support manufacturing here in the United States.”
In a July 14 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Paul noted, “To date, our nation’s economic recovery policies have been focused on the financial sector.…Long-term economic recovery will not occur until we also take actions to address the challenges facing the productive sector of our economy.”
In the letter, AAM outlined specific proposals for a National Manufacturing Strategy Act, including:Access to Capital:
The government should encourage new avenues for increased private investments in plant, equipment and people. By investing in energy independence, for example, we would accelerate development in the manufacturing of renewable energy equipment and components. Energy independence will improve not only our economic security, but our national security as well. Creating Demand and Promoting Manufacturing Utilization:
The United States should create a National Infrastructure Bank and invest in America’s highways, transit, rail, shipping and other infrastructure. AAM is working with Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who supports these proposals. Fostering long-term demand in manufacturing also requires policies to ensure that U.S. funds promote use of domestic supply chains, with Buy American requirements that support our manufacturing sector. Workforce Development Policies:
A global marketplace requires constantly upgraded skills and training of workers for our industries to be competitive. This includes adequate support for workers looking for jobs, with increased access to training funds. Competitiveness:
Our nation must combat unfair trade not only by strictly enforcing current trade laws, but also by addressing currency manipulation by China and other countries. This must be done on a country-by-country basis to ensure industries are able to utilize trade laws to respond to currency manipulation when our government refuses to act. Trade Deficit Reduction:
Focusing on our nation’s budget deficit while ignoring the nation’s burgeoning trade deficit is shortsighted and counterproductive. President Obama’s call for doubling our nation’s exports is a distant goal, as the flood of imports continues in full force. The imbalances we saw prior to the recession are returning, inflating our trade deficit. As a result, jobs and wealth once again are headed overseas at alarming rates. We must raise our national savings rate while simultaneously restoring economic growth and incomes.
“There is no simple solution to strengthen the manufacturing sector,” said Paul. “America has lost 5.5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000. In the last 10 years, 50,000 manufacturing facilities have closed and our trade deficit has quadrupled since 1997. We owe it to ourselves to invest in our economy and restore our national security.”
The AAM survey
, conducted by Democratic pollster Mark Mellman and Republican pollster Whit Ayres, shows that both Democrats and Republicans are going into the 2010 election cycle facing a deeply unhappy electorate that is unified by concerns over the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs and the lack of progress by Congress. Some of the findings include:
Watch a short video about the poll's findings here.
- Support for national manufacturing strategy is overwhelming, with 78 percent of voters across all demographics supporting such a strategy.
- 86 percent of respondents want Washington to focus on manufacturing, and 63 percent feel workers are being forgotten while Wall Street and banks get bailouts.
- Voters across all demographics and political affiliation believe economic solutions center on trade enforcement, clean energy, tax credits for American manufacturing and replacing aging infrastructure using American materials.
- Manufacturing is more central to our economic strength than high-tech, knowledge or financial service sectors, 57 percent of Americans agree.
The labor-business alliance will host town hall meetings and organize voter awareness on jobs and manufacturing in key states and districts in the coming months. These events were wildly successful in the 2008 election cycle, drawing presidential primary candidates.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing is a nonpartisan, nonprofit partnership of several leading U.S. manufacturers and the United Steelworkers.