Keeping the Focus on the Fundamentals of Competitiveness

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm recently wrote that she is “obsessed — obsessed — with cracking the code on how to get more manufacturing in the U.S.”

Strong language perhaps—she uses a variant of “obsess” three times in the first 10 words of her op-ed—but so far, so good.  We all want more manufacturing because it means more jobs, more innovation, and stronger productivity, to name just a few of the benefits.

But Granholm’s policy prescriptions won’t satisfy her self-described obsession, as NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons explains in a response to the former governor. He writes,

Granholm fails to note that it is 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in the United States compared with our major trading partners, and that differential does not include the cost of labor….

The Granholm agenda includes many “incentives” that involve budget expenditures. That won’t work, particularly in light of today’s fiscal constraints. Instead, let’s get the U.S. government on the side of manufacturers. Internationally competitive taxes, balanced and less costly regulations and affordable and reliable energy supplies are three prescriptions that will enable manufacturing to grow and thrive in the United States. These are common-sense solutions that will work. Instead, too many politicians simply offer plans that sound good but avoid the real solutions needed to encourage investment and create jobs right here at home.

With manufacturing in the spotlight, it’s no surprise that politicos and pundits are offering up their ideas for growing manufacturing in the United States.  The debate is constructive and worthwhile. But we can’t overlook the fundamentals of competitiveness as we sift through the multitude of ideas to revitalize manufacturing.  Pro-growth tax, regulatory, energy and trade policies are prerequisites to a manufacturing renaissance in America.

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