National Association of Manufacturers Blasts … American Manufacturing?

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.
Last week Harold Meyerson wrote a great column in the Washington Post, Just One Word: Factories, promoting American manufacturing. Meyerson wrote,

“Since 1987, manufacturing as a share of our gross domestic product has declined 30 percent. Once the world’s leading net exporter, we have become the world’s leading net importer. In 2007, we exported $1.2 trillion worth of goods and services but imported $1.8 trillion. If there were a debtor’s prison for nations, we’d all be in the clink.
[. . .] What makes the decline of American manufacturing particularly galling is that we’re not falling behind because we’re inefficient: American factories are among the most productive on the planet, as McCormack notes. But alone among the world’s industrial powers, we have left the task of enticing manufacturers not to the federal government but to state and local governments, which try to attract factories and research facilities with tax abatements and public investments that are dwarfed by the efforts of national governments in other lands. …
It’s not just that the United States uniquely lacks an industrial policy. It’s that the United States uniquely has an anti-industrial policy.”

This sounds good to me. If we are going to restore American economic power we need to promote American manufacturing.
So who comes out to blast Meyerson for his column promoting American manufacturing? Was it the European Manufacturers Association? Was it the China Manufacturers Association? Was it the Korean Manufactures Association? No, it was America’s own National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Yes, the American NAM, not the European, Chinese, Japanese or Korean NAM, but the American NAM. They say American manufacturing is in fine shape and doesn’t need any help from the government to keep it strong.
WTF?
Why is the NAM blasting Meyerson for writing a column promoting American manufacturing? A clue might be the source of the anti-American-manufacturing information they use. They quote Daniel J. Ikenson of the Cato Institute. Cato is an anti-government “libertarian” think tank that supports “free trade” and is against any kind of regulation of business, including any restrictions on imports. This could be because Cato receives a great deal of financial support from non-manufacturing interests including commodities and securities traders, tobacco companies, communications companies, software companies and oil companies. They also receive support from non-American manufacturing interests, including the Korea International Trade Association.
What I want to know is: Why is America’s National Association of Manufacturers echoing the Cato Institute’s views against American manufacturing? Has this organization lost its way? Does the NAM membership know about this?

What Exxon Money Buys

From a “senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute” we get this: Patrick J. Michaels on An Inconvenient Truth on National Review Online,

This Sunday, Al Gore will probably win an Academy Award for his global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, a riveting work of science fiction.
The main point of the movie is that, unless we do something very serious, very soon about carbon dioxide emissions, much of Greenland’s 630,000 cubic miles of ice is going to fall into the ocean, raising sea levels over twenty feet by the year 2100.
Where’s the scientific support for this claim? Certainly not in the recent Policymaker’s Summary from the United Nations’ much anticipated compendium on climate change. Under the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s medium-range emission scenario for greenhouse gases, a rise in sea level of between 8 and 17 inches is predicted by 2100. Gore’s film exaggerates the rise by about 2,000 percent.

Except that the UN report specifically said they were leaving out a prediction of how much sea levels would rise from melting polar ice because they could not be precise,

The panel said that because there is no scientific consensus about how fast ice in the Arctic and Antarctic are melting, its estimates of sea-level rise are based only on the fact that ocean water expands when it warms.

A follow-up UN report says there is a 50% chance that the melting ice will raise sea levels by 13-20 FEET.
I’m just a Fellow, not a Senior Fellow, and not even in “environmental studies,” but I knew that. I wonder if this clown got a $10,000 check for writing this stuff.

NY Times and Right Wing Framing

Just the headline: Fragile Hopes for Bipartisan Rescue of Social Security – New York Times
“Rescue?” The Social Security trust fund is solvent – no problems at all. But the NY Times story talks about “the long-term fiscal problems in Social Security.”
This framing of “going broke” and needing “rescue” comes from a long-term strategy to get rid of Social Security by portraying it as a “ponzi scheme,” “going broke,” “needing to be fixed,” etc. This strategy was laid out in a 1983 Cato Institute document. The document even describes the strategy as “Leninist.”
Do not be fooled. There is nothing wrong with Social Security, it is not “going broke,” there is no need to “fix” it. It is solvent, and will continue to provide retirement, disability and other benefits to Americans without changes.

Are Progressives Good? Then TELL PEOPLE!

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Every time you turn on the radio or a cable news show you hear one form or another of the same old message, “conservatives and their ideas are good and liberals and their ideas are bad.” Think about how often you hear one or another variation of that theme.
But how often do you hear that liberals and progressives are good? How often do you hear that liberal/progressive ideas are better for people than a conservative approach? And if you are reading this you’re looking for progressive ideas. So how often do you think the general public is hearing that progressives and their values and ideas are good?
The public does not hear our side of the story very often – if ever.
Why is that? Maybe it’s because we aren’t telling people our side of the story!
There are literally hundreds of conservative organizations that primarily exist to persuade the public to support conservative ideas (and, therefore, conservative candidates.) The people you see on TV or hear on the radio or who write op-eds in newspapers are paid by, or at the very least draw upon resources provided by these organizations. You might or might not have heard of the Heritage Foundation or the Cato Institute or Americans for Tax Reform or the This Institute or the That Foundation or the Government-and-Taxes-Are-Bad Association – but there really is a network of well-funded conservative organizations marketing the conservatives-are-good-and-liberals-and-government-and-democracy-are-bad propaganda every hour of every day and they have been doing so for decades.
Click this link to visit a collection of links to articles, studies, reports and other resources for learning about the right-wing movement, its history, how it is funded and how it operates.
Now, can you think of any organizations that exist to tell the public that progressive values and ideas and policies and candidates are good? Do you know about any organized effort to persuade people to support progressive values and ideas?

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