John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, was interviewed by WJR’s Frank Beckman earlier this week, leading up to Engler’s appearances with former Gov. Jim Blanchard to help raise funds for the Michigan Political Leadership Forum.
The interview opens with the expected jousting and joshing on Michigan and Washington politics, but then Frank turns the discussion to the Milken Institute report, “Jobs for America.” Engler observes:
The big 10,000 foot view is that this nation needs to have a growth strategy, and with a growth strategy you end up getting jobs in the private sector. We don’t think there’s such a strategy in place at the moment, and it’s important to recognize that just like the states compete vigorously against each other, nations are now competing against each other.
Our nation really has opted out. It’s sort of like going to the Olympics and not training and hoping that somehow you’re going to win a medal. Not going to happen.
We think you’ve got to get very aggressive. When we look at the competitive environment in the world, you cannot send Michigan or Ohio or even North Carolina or Mississippi out to compete against Singapore or China or Ireland with some of the things that they’re doing to attract business and investment.
I tell people, Frank, that you want the United States to be the best place in the world to locate a company, to headquarter it. You want it to be the best place in the world to do the bulk of your research and development, and them finally, you want it to be a great place to do a lot of manufacturing, and especially to meet the needs of the North American market.
That’s when you get to the idea that taxes matter, regulations matter, the right kind of education or workforce training – all of that matters. Frankly, we’ve got so much room for improvement, and the conversation in Washington is creating lots of risks, lots of doubts, and solving no problems.
Engler and Beckman also discuss health care policy. The full interview is available as a podcast, “Frank talks with Gov. John Engler, who will be in town for the Michigan Political Leadership program at MSU.”
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