Prior to his Derry meeting, Romney visits a small manufacturing firm in Manchester, Granite State Manufacturing. He gets a politician’s typical speed tour, getting briefed on the company’s products ranging from semi-conductors to the small robots the military uses against bomb threats. Then he is brought out onto the shop floor to deliver remarks to the couple of dozen gathered employees from behind a podium.
Romney seems an incongruous presence, crisp and well pressed, in this industrial setting, with a concrete floor and buzzing lights overhead. He says that he was wondering about what united the company’s different products, and his guide explained the company is good at “things that are changing a lot.” That, of course, sets up Romney nicely, and he gives a kind of mini-business tutorial. It is possible to imagine him fitting in here, after all — as a business consultant.
He explains that if you’re making the same product or delivering the same service over an extended period, “you’re in trouble.”
So far in the presidential debates for the Democrats and Republicans alike, there’s been little attention paid to the economy or manufacturing. Some talk about taxes and spending, a few platitudes about energy and health care, but otherwise …
We’d recommend an entire debate focused on the manufacturing economy to sound out all the candidates about their support for policies that would ease the 31.7 percent cost disadvantage manufacturers in the United States face compared to our nine major global competitors.
In the meantime, let every candidate spend some time in a manufacturing facility in order to gain some knowledge and first-hand perspective. We’re sure there are thousands of companies who would gladly host the future president of the United States.
UPDATE (May 6, 4:15 p.m.): George Stephanopolous questions former Senator John Edwards on ABC’s This Week.
Senator, let me turn to the issue of taxes. You’ve proposed reversing the Bush tax cuts for people earning over $200,000 a year in order to pay for healthcare. And last week, at the Democratic convention in California, you went farther and said we should consider new taxes on excess profits and excess income. What is excess income? But you did cite another tax on excess income. Does that mean you’re open to raising taxes on the wealthy beyond reversing the Bush tax cuts? So, just to be clear, in order to reduce the deficit, and pay for our other programs beyond healthcare, you would raise taxes beyond reversing the Bush tax cuts, maybe even back to the level before President Clinton was president?
Excellent questions, the kind every candidate should answer.
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