Tag: State of the Union

For the SOU: Competitiveness and Jobs, Policies and Action

The White House has already identified competitiveness and jobs as major themes in President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight, and manufacturers believe those are exactly the right issues to put front and center before the American people. Now we are waiting for the details, including specific policy proposals and actions.

Jay Timmons

Manufacturers are proud to be leading the way in the economic recovery. Last year, manufacturing reported its first gain in U.S. employment since 1997: The number of manufacturing jobs in the United States in 2010 grew by 1.2 percent, or 136,000. Economists expect the trend to continue over the next few years, demonstrating that manufacturing means jobs.

We want to do more to create jobs – much more – and there’s still a long way to go. Unemployment has been stuck above 9 percent since June 2009, and hiring traditionally lags behind economic growth.

The National Association of Manufacturers has laid out a clear strategy to achieve the goals for a dynamic, growing and competitive U.S. economy: our “Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and a Competitive America.”

The stage is well set, and manufacturers are waiting with anticipation for the State of the Union. We might very well disagree with some details in any substantive proposal that President Obama makes tonight, but we understand that a proposal is just the first step toward final action. And our goal is simple – let us create jobs.

Manufacturers want America to be more competitive, and we want economic growth to lead to more jobs. In that, we agree with both President Obama and Congress.

Jay Timmons is president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.

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What the President Might Say, Maybe, Possibly, Perhaps

In a completely unofficial, not entirely serious preview, suggested passages for President Obama’s State of the Union Address:

  • That’s why, ladies and gentlemen, I will tomorrow submit all three Free Trade Agreements to Congress for immediate action. Every day we delay the U.S. agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia means lost exporting opportunities. Our competitiveness demands enactment of these FTAs.
  • The tradition of putting heroes, honorees, dignitaries, and worthy men and women from around our nation in the House balcony has become worn out, predictable. Indeed, it threatens to diminish our appreciation for these truly remarkable people. That’s why, in my future State of the Union speeches, I will no longer continue that practice. Tonight, however, let me pay tribute to a man we must always remember for his heroism: Lenny Skutnik. Mr. Skutnik, stand up. Thank you.
  • My emphasis on regulatory relief is serious, and it will be followed by action. On my instructions, the EPA will this month withdraw all regulatory actions dealing with greenhouse gas emissions. The science is debatable, the authority in doubt, but the economic harm these rules would inflict is clear. The EPA should not be in the business of destroying good U.S. manufacturing jobs.
  • I love the new seating arrangement. Senator Coburn, Senator Schumer. This is fun. You know what would be even more fun? Musical chairs! So let me plug in my MP3 player, get a little “Pop Goes the Weasel” going, and when I hit pause, the Sergeant of Arms staff will remove 10 chairs. So, here we go … (continue reading…)
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Circumnetting Manufacturers on Competitiveness, Jobs, Taxes

As President Obama promotes his new emphasis on economic competitiveness and regulatory reason and in preparation for tonight’s State of the Union, reporters have been touching bases with the National Association of Manufacturers for comment. Those are core issues for manufacturers, after all. 

Robb Mandelbaum, New York Times (blog), “Rewriting Regulation? Small Businesses Have Suggestions“: 

[The] National Association of Manufacturers would like to see regulations come with an expiration date, according to its vice president of regulatory policy, Rosario Palmieri. “We believe that there is value in regulations having an end date, as technology changes, as the markets change, as products change,” he said. “Regulations put in place three or four decades ago might no longer be necessary or might be out of date.” 

From Tory Newmayer, Fortune, a piece that’s not as snarky as its headline, “How Obama turned fat cats into his best friends:

Aric Newhouse, a top lobbyist for the National Association of Manufacturers, says the White House has sent some “great signals,” in recent weeks, and he’ll be tuning into the State of the Union hoping to hear Obama build on them with more specific plans for taxes, trade, energy and regulatory policy. But he says the question will remain: “What actually happens over the next three, to six, to nine months? Do we see an aggressive growth agenda that will create jobs and turn this economy around?”

Indeed. Caution seems a reasonable position to take before a speech, especially when the President has been signaling a change in his Administration’s positions.

Derek Thompson, The Atlantic (blog), “Does the White House Know How to Make a Job? (continue reading…)

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Competitiveness: The Proof is in the Policies (and Regulations)

Good thorough AP piece, ”Obama speech to highlight job creation, curbing debt,” which concludes with:

The White House has tried to court business since Democrats’ defeats in the November elections, and competitiveness is a priority for that sector.

Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, said concrete action must back up the rhetoric from either party before businesses would commit to stepping up spending and hiring.

“Ultimately the proof of whether this is merely positioning for elections or is a true commitment to long-term growth and competitiveness will be in the details,” he said.

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State of the Union: The President and ‘Manufacture’

We’ve been reading governors’ state of the state addresses to see if and how they mention “manufacturing” or “industry” and their cognates as a very rough measure of their interest in their state’s manufacturing sector. In the President’s case, the term arose during his defense of the stimulus bill.

Today, it’s the same exercise for President Obama’s State of the Union.

The plan that has made all of this possible, from the tax cuts to the jobs, is the Recovery Act. (Applause.) That’s right -– the Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus bill. (Applause.) Economists on the left and the right say this bill has helped save jobs and avert disaster. But you don’t have to take their word for it. Talk to the small business in Phoenix that will triple its workforce because of the Recovery Act. Talk to the window manufacturer in Philadelphia who said he used to be skeptical about the Recovery Act, until he had to add two more work shifts just because of the business it created.

And…

Next, we can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. (Applause.) From the first railroads to the Interstate Highway System, our nation has always been built to compete. There’s no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products.

Tomorrow, I’ll visit Tampa, Florida, where workers will soon break ground on a new high-speed railroad funded by the Recovery Act. (Applause.) There are projects like that all across this country that will create jobs and help move our nation’s goods, services, and information. (Applause.)

 For earlier posts on state of the state addresses, go here.

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