Calling on Candidates to Talk Manufacturing

The Milwaukie Journal-Sentinel editorially urges the presidential candidates to talk about issues that have special importance to the Midwest and Wisconsin. From “What Wisconsin wants to hear from candidates“:

The jobs have been bleeding away for a while, jobs that pay an average annual wage of $46,000, with benefits.

The culprit, depending on whom you’re talking to, is global economics, new trade deals and our own inflexibility. The solution is to become more competitive. So how will you help us do that?

Congress, of which you three are members, allowed a research and development tax credit to expire. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, 11,000 companies used that tax credit. And because it lapsed, they are paying $9 billion more in taxes.

Gov. Jim Doyle has proposed a state tax credit for R&D. But is that enough? How would you help displaced workers? Simply, what precisely are the elements of your national manufacturing policy, keeping in mind that the rest of the United States lost 3.4 million manufacturing jobs between 1998 and 2007?

Other issues demanding attention, the Journal-Sentinel says, are health care, alternative energy, Great Lakes management and water shortages, transportation and education.

While many of the paper’s questions represent policy views not shared here at the NAM, they’re still credible inquiries that we, too, would like to hear the candidates answer. Congratulations and thank you to the Journal-Sentinel for raising them.

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