Tom Walsh of The Detroit Free Press cites recent remarks by NAM President John Engler in today’s column, “U.S. needs to boost its exports,” and asks the necessary question: Why don’t we do more to boost manufacturing exports?
Complacency, mostly. America was the biggest, most affluent, most productive economy in the world for so long, many manufacturers saw no need to hustle their wares abroad.
But today, U.S. consumers aren’t spending so freely. Global competition is fierce, and studies show that active exporters are more innovative than the stay-at-home crowd. So we need to get serious about exports.
That means dialing back U.S. constraints on exports, such as cumbersome licensing requirements that date to Cold War security issues, as U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke proposed last week and NAM supported. Corporate income tax rates, research and development credits and other tax issues need revisiting with the aim of boosting U.S. export competitiveness.
Complacency? Really? Organized labor represents a powerful political force against trade and exports. It’s not complacency that drive the union bosses toward protectionism, it’s misguided self-interest and an almost tribal “us against them” attitude.
But agreed on the Walsh’s prescriptions, 100 percent.
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