Yesterday, Senator Barack Obama traveled to Michigan where he announced his campaign’s manufacturing agenda . Manufacturing in America does require serious attention from the presidential candidates, and we were happy to see the Senator focus his attention on manufacturing issues. With almost 14 million manufacturing workers, the U.S. manufacturing economy alone would be the eighth largest economy in the world. However, today manufacturers face many challenges, including the increasing cost of doing business in the United States (such as rising costs in the areas of health care, government regulations, taxes, energy supplies and tort costs), a shortage of skilled workers and other factors that create disadvantages in global competition.
Senator Obama’s proposal calls for an “investment in high productivity manufacturing,” which recognizes the importance of many programs to spur innovation, such as the manufacturing extension partnership, the R&D tax credit and training-oriented programs to ensure workers have the necessary skills to compete in the global marketplace. However, the Senator’s proposal misses the point in a number of important areas. For example, his plan does not address removing barriers to trade or increasing U.S. domestic supplies of energy. And unfortunately, he does advocate policies that deprive workers of their right to a secret ballot when choosing to form a union.
Many of the proposals in this plan will put our country at a competitive disadvantage among our major international competitors. Manufacturers hope to work with Senator Obama’s campaign and all political candidates here.
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