NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons joined CNN Newsroom’s Carol Costello for a live interview on the policy priorities manufacturers need to see from the presidential candidates before making a decision in November. Timmons shared the NAM’s “Competing to Win” platform document on-air as manufacturers’ core agenda for voters and pro-manufacturing candidates.
This year’s FORTUNE magazine list of Most Admired Companies has been released, and manufacturers made an impressive showing. It’s certainly an honor to see so many NAM members heralded. It’s also a testament to the strength of our industry and our standing as the world’s leading innovators and the heavy lifters in the U.S. economy.
Manufacturers are a creative force, embodying the process that turns a mere idea into a physical reality. We are responsible for more private research and development and earn more patents than any other sector. We envision and then we build the things people use to increase their productivity on the job and the things they enjoy when the workday is over. We help people around the globe travel, connect, learn and communicate. We produce life-giving foods, life-enhancing products and lifesaving medicines. And we power our operations as well as the world’s homes, vehicles, farms, businesses and electronics more efficiently and sustainably than ever before.
No wonder that when Americans are asked what companies affect, benefit and even transform their families’ lives, they name manufacturer after manufacturer after manufacturer.
The NAM is proud to announce that it has been honored with several awards for its redesign of www.nam.org. Launched in 2010, the website reflects modern manufacturing in America and highlights this critical theme: manufacturing’s vital leadership in innovation, job opportunity, technological progress and economic security. The website is a source of information about policy issues and breaking news affecting all manufacturers in the United States. The user-friendly site features policy issues, information on how to take action and quick facts on manufacturing in America.
Design & Build Team
Christian Moritz – Vice President, Communications
Jeff Colburn – Vice President, Information Technology
James Skelly – Senior Director, Multimedia
Brian Machi – Senior Director, Information Technology
Ronni Hutchason – Manager, Multimedia
Matthew Preiss – Specialist, Multimedia
Hannah Cheadle – Digital Producer (Digitaria)
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports on LightSquared’s plan to create a new cell- and satellite-phone system, a local story for the paper since Minnesota-born billionaire Philip Falcone is behind the company and Best Buy has agreed to sell the service. Manufacturers and other companies are concerned that LightSquared’s approach will interfere with Global Positioning System devices that are so critical to transportation, supply chains and consumer products.
GPS and LightSquared are in adjacent parts of the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Brian Raymond, director of technology policy for the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington, D.C. That could cause GPS signals to be “drowned out” within 4 miles of a LightSquared tower, he said. For aircraft, the interference extends as high as 12 miles above a tower, he said.
As a result, the GPS industry opposes LightSquared through a group called the “Coalition to Save Our GPS,” and has received verbal support from the U.S. Air Force Space Command that operates the GPS satellites. About 500 million GPS units are in use in the United States, the coalition said. GPS chips are widely used in smartphones, but also are used in industrial equipment as varied as aircraft and farm tractors and in cars and boats.
The NAM is a member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS.
So here’s a public opinion survey from the League of Conservation Voters trumpeted in a news release, “New Poll Shows Strong Public Support in Midwest for EPA Setting New Standards to Limit Pollution, Opposition to Delay.”
Wow. Striking results. Too bad the LCV does not list any of the polling questions, even in the polling memo it posts from Geoff Garin at Hart Research Associates.
But judging from the topline results summarized by Garin, the survey tested public opinion about “carbon pollution.” IV, for example:
Regarding the potential impact of new standards on carbon pollution, voters are just as likely to believe new standards that limit carbon pollution will have a positive impact on jobs and the economy (33%) as those who think that new standards will have a negative impact on jobs and the economy (35%).
Carbon pollution? You mean carbon dioxide, the gas emitted by all living creatures? Because that’s what the EPA intends to regulate under the Clean Air Act. It’s good ol’ CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
You can bet that people who hear the term “carbon pollution” think smoke and soot and dirt. Those aren’t at issue this week in the Senate.
While never having studied statistics or polling, we used to report on politics and later worked on campaigns. We had a technical term for these kinds of opinion surveys, ones that purposely presented the public with misleading terminology and loaded questions. They’re called “crap.”
Marketplace Morning Report’s Chris Farrell is excited about AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile for what it means for the U.S. economy. From “The positive side of the AT&T-T-Mobile merger“:
CEOs for the past couple of years have been scared. They’ve been in a survival mode. Well, they’re now leaving the bunker. They’re willing to take a risk; they’re going to buy a business, they’re going to expand. And so, the famous phrase of John Maynard Keynes: Animal spirits of capitalism, at least in the executive suite, are being unleashed.
Extra points to Farrell for invoking Schumpeter’s “creative destruction”: “I think we’re seeing more growth, I think we’re seeing more opportunity. So overall, job creation. But if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, job losses.”
The Hill also blogs today on the predictable opposition for reactionary “consumer groups,” with a good response from AT&T. From “Groups say AT&T merger is job killer“:
“We have a metric that every billion dollars results in 7,000 new jobs, so I think that’s bringing new jobs to the economy, bringing new jobs to the country, extending a critical infrastructure to the country, and I think it’s good for the overall economy,” AT&T executive Ralph de la Vega said in a CNBC interview on Tuesday.
“We have said we are going to invest an additional $8 billion — $8 billion — in infrastructure to facilitate us making this merger work and extending LTE to 95 percent of the population,” he said.
Block efficiency, innovation and investment, and jobs will wither away.
- AT&T’s March 20 news release, “AT&T to Acquire T-Mobile USA From Deutsche Telekom“
- More at the MobilizeEverything site.
So we were reading the latest GPS World Magazine and thought the article, “Act Now to Protect GPS Signal” did a nice job describing the problems industries have with a proposal to develop a cell phone/broadband service that could disrupt GPS. The website has a short and clear report, as well:
Threat to GPS. You may be following the very serious interference issue that threatens the GPS signal. LightSquared is developing high wireless bandwidth capabilities (4G-LTE) for wireless operators. LightSquared received an unnervingly fast-tracked FCC conditional waiver that permits it to broadcast a new terrestrial broadband service from 1,500-watt terrestrial transmitters. This will be in the portion of the L Band that is immediately adjacent to the band used by GPS. The FCC waiver was required as LightSquared’s FCC license only extended to dual-mode phones, but LightSquared wants to offer the option of terrestrial-only, hence the waiver. According to industry experts, the LightSquared terrestrial broadband signal is about 1 billion times the received power of the GPS signal on Earth. This may result in wide-scale GPS interference and jamming worldwide. As a result of ensuing uproar, a working group conducted by LightSquared and the U.S. GPS Industry Council was formed to study the issue.
The National Association of Manufacturers is one of the founding members of the Coalition to Save Our GPS announced earlier this month. Today the coalition announced its new members, representing major industries. From “UPS, TomTom, the American Car Rental Association, Four Key Aviation Groups and Others Sign on to Expanding Coalition Amid Fears of GPS Interference“:
New members representing a variety of concerned industries including aviation, transportation, technology, shipping, and consumer manufacturers are concerned about a serious threat to the Global Positioning System (GPS) – a national utility upon which millions of Americans rely every day.” GPS now provides smaller airports with equivalent levels of safety to those serving large commercial airlines,” said National Business Aviation Association Senior Vice President for Operations and Administration, Steve Brown. “But unlike carrier airports there are no alternate sources of landing guidance if the GPS experiences interference of any kind. The continued protection of satellite navigation is imperative to safety of flight.”
Meanwhile, LightSquared is moving forward on the business front.
- CNET (blog), March 23, “LightSquared scores 4G deal with Best Buy“
- National Journal, March 22, “LightSquared’s New Satellite Looms Large“
- PCWORLD, March 17, “LightSquared Reports on GPS Testing Process “
- MSNBC, “GPS jammers can wreak havoc, cover crimes“
- PCWORLD, March 11, “LightSquared Signs up Open Range for Rural Service”
The National Association of Manufacturers is one of the founding members of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, a new group dedicated to ensuring the reach and effectiveness of the Global Positioning System.
From the news release,”‘Coalition to Save Our GPS’ Launched,”
WASHINGTON, March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Representatives from a wide variety of industries and companies announced today that they have joined together to form the “Coalition to Save Our GPS” to resolve a serious threat to the Global Positioning System (GPS) – a national utility upon which millions of Americans rely every day.
The threat stems from a recent highly unusual decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to grant a conditional waiver allowing the dramatic expansion of terrestrial use of the satellite spectrum immediately neighboring that of GPS, potentially causing severe interference to millions of GPS receivers. The conditional waiver was granted to a company called LightSquared.
A representative of one of the founding members of the coalition, Trimble Vice President and General Counsel Jim Kirkland, will testify on this issue on Friday, March 11 before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science of the House Appropriations Committee.
“GPS is essential to Americans every day – it’s in our cars, the airplanes in which we fly and the ambulances, police cars and fire trucks that help keep us safe. It’s also used in many industrial applications and even synchronizes our wireless, computer and utility networks,” the group said in a statement. “LightSquared’s plans to build up to 40,000 ground stations transmitting radio signals one billion times more powerful than GPS signals as received on earth could mean 40,000 ‘dead spots’ – each miles in diameter – disrupting the vitally important services GPS provides.” Read More
Catching up with last week’s blizzard of legislative action and regulatory excess…
• On Thursday, Dec. 23, the Environmental Protection Agency circumvented the policymaking branch of government, the U.S. Congress, and announced its plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from such sources as coal-fired power plants and refineries. In a statement, Jay Timmons, executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, said, “Today’s announcements demonstrate the EPA’s commitment to move forward with an overreaching agenda that will only raise energy costs and hurt manufacturers’ ability to grow, create jobs and compete in the global marketplace.”
• As its final legislative action before adjourning, the House on Wednesday, Dec. 22, agreed to the Senate’s stripped-down version of H.R. 6517, the Omnibus Trade Act. With removal of the critical Miscellaneous Trade Benefits language, the bill is more minibus: It extends for six weeks Andean Trade Preferences Act benefits for Colombia — well-deserved — and for Ecuador, now governed by the leftist government of Rafael Correa, which has attacked the rule of law and violated its treaty obligations. The bill also extends Trade Adjustment Assistance authority for retraining programs for workers affected by trade. The incoming Ways & Means chairman, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), commented, “I would rather have passed a longer-term extension of ATPA and TAA, and unfortunately, the other provisions of the House bill died in the Senate. I look forward to working in the next Congress on additional trade legislation, including enacting the trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama.”
• Also on Wednesday, the House approved the Senate-amended version of H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, by a vote of 206-60, with 168 members not voting. The earlier House bill had a pricetag of $7.4 billion; thanks largely to the doughtiness of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), the total cost has been reduced to $4.2 billion with stronger oversight provisions included and a cap imposed on trial lawyer fees. (Coburn news release.) The compromise language replaces the House’s early funding mechanism, a tax on multinational companies that do business in the United States. Instead, the law charges “a 2 percent excise fee on foreign manufacturers/companies located in countries where the U.S. does not have an international procurement agreement receiving government disbursements made under future procurement agreements. In addition, the bill would extend fees on H-1B and L-1 visas until 2015.” (Senate GOP release.)
• The Senate confirmed federal judges, but did not act on two controversial nominees to U.S. District Court of interest to manufacturers: John “Jack” McConnell, the Rhode Island trial lawyer who masterminded the state’s litigation against paint manufacturers, and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler, Jr., who helped strike down the state’s limits on medical liability and promoted the scheme of “market share liability” for paint manufacturers.
• On Tuesday, Dec. 21, the House of Representatives agreed to the Senate amendments to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act as contained in H.R. 2751, and the bill now goes to President Obama for his signature. The NAM supported the bill. For more, see Food Manufacturing’s report, “What The Food Safety Modernization Act Means To You.” Read More
Manufacturers appreciate efforts at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bring closure to the debate over regulating the Internet. Providing certainty in this area will encourage the deployment of new broadband services and the jobs that go with them. But comments today by FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski and his plan for the Commission to adopt a Net Neutrality Order at its December 21st Open Meeting just create more uncertainty. We share the views of Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker that the decision of “whether the Internet should be regulated is a decision best left to the directly elected representatives of the American people.”
Ensuring the deployment of new broadband lines and high-speed wireless data services is critical to manufacturers across the nation – these are the companies that can create the jobs we need to strengthen our economy. In the end, Congress needs to step in and adopt a comprehensive broadband policy, and it should be aimed at the deployment of services, open access and smart resource allocation, including policies that:
- Remove barriers to entry that prevent broadband providers from offering high-speed information services to homes and businesses;
- Balance the need for regulations against the potential to dampen private industry’s incentive to invest in broadband technology;
- Encourage federal and state regulators to monitor the rollout of broadband services;
- Support a federal framework to ensure fair, technology-neutral competition for all providers; and
- Allow for the continued public/private collaboration to improve the security of the network through incentive-based legislative and regulatory tools.
In the words of Commissioner Baker, “We all believe in an open Internet. It is open today, it is fast moving, and it serves as a vibrant growth engine for our economy and job creation. Let’s not rush to undermine it.”
Dorothy Coleman is vice president of tax and domestic economic policy for the National Association of Manufacturers.