Report From America: The NAM Board Meeting — Sen. George Allen

By March 4, 2006Report from America

Report from AmericaThe highlight of the day yesterday — other than being among the best manufacturers in the world – was a visit from Virginia Senator George Allen (R). He made news by announcing creation of a Senate Economic Competitiveness Caucus. Here’s a link to the excerpt from his prepared remarks. We were in the room — his actual words hewed pretty closely to these remarks. He identified 9 key areas: energy, health care, trade promotion, trade enforcement/intellectual property protection, math and science education, tax relief, R&D tax credit, federal funding for the physical sciences and broadband deployment. If you had been here this week, you would have heard manufacturers talking about every one of these issues as together they equal our nation’s — any nation’s — competitiveness.

He went on to highlight three areas in particular: taxes, education and energy security. Tax revenues, he pointed out, are at a record high in that the tax cuts spurred growth (maybe he’s been reading the blog too!). On education, he wants to provide incentives for kids to study math, science and engineering, so we can keep our prominence as the world’s innovators. And on energy, he echoed a line he used when we saw him down at the Senate “blog row”, that using natural gas to to generate electricity is like using bottled water to wash your car. A great line, and quite apt.

He got questions on regulatory and legal reform, H1B visas (“If they get a diploma here, stick a visa right on it”, he said), health care and the death tax. On the latter, he said “death should not be a taxable event”, adding, “Transfer of the asset should be the taxable event.” Amen to that.

He ended by pointing out that in the entire month of January, the Senate only had two votes, both on Justice Alito – one on a filibuster, one on final confirmation. He was saying that the Senate needed to get busy on the agenda items laid out above, and we agree.

He was very well received by this room full of manufacturers, hitting all their hot button issues. And, this was not pandering, this was about how best to improve the competitiveness of this country from a man whose record and beliefs back it up. What’s good for manufacturing is good for America. We are the industrial base because the rest of the economy is built on us: the largest exporters, the biggest consumers of technology and R&D, the 8th largest economy in the world. We applaud his efforts and will work mightily to see this agenda for competitiveness enacted.

update: Here’s a link to Sen. Allen’s press release on this.

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