Bravo To Congress’ Making It In America Push — What It Still Needs

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.
House leaders deserve praise for fighting for working people by launching a “Make It In America” initiative which they officially unveiled today. The country still badly needs an immediate job-creation effort, but this is a very important longer-term initiative for reviving America’s manufacturing base and restoring our competitiveness in the world economy. Good work!
Manufacturing is the core of our country’s income. Making things that we sell is how we earn money to buy things that others make. This is why it is so important to restore America’s manufacturing base and the infrastructure that supports it. People want to go into a store and have a choice to buy things that are made here.
This week these important bills made it to the House floor: (click through for details)

  • National Manufacturing Strategy Act
  • Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Act
  • End the Trade Deficit Act
  • As the Congress rolls out this initiative here are important components it should include:

    Buy American
    Public money should be going to our people. This is what other countries, like China, are doing with domestic preferences and “indigenous innovation” policies.

  • Pass “Made in America” policies in every phase of any manufacturing plan, boosting domestic content requirements in federal procurement, (state and local government should do the same with their procurement policies).
  • Trade policies
    (Is “trade” even the right word for making the same things in other countries that we used to make here.)
    We are doing very little to combat the mercantilist nations, in particular China and Germany. China manipulates its currency and will not match its exports with imports. Germany is limiting domestic consumption — the resulting trade surplus is out of balance.

  • End tax incentives to move production overseas; create incentives to keep production at home. Current laws allow corporations to defer taxes on income earned overseas, which almost forces companies to develop schemes to make goods outside the country.
  • Require tariffs on goods from countries that manipulate currency, to overcome the pricing advantage this creates.
  • What about a “democracy tariff?” This is a tariff on imports to counter the advantages that come from moving factories to countries where the people don’t have the power or opportunity to insist on fair wages and worker and environmental protections.
  • Encourage the “Green Economy”
    Stimulate American manufacture of wind turbines, solar panels, biofuels, etc. This creates jobs and makes us competitive in the new green economy that will replace the carbon economy.

  • Create a domestic non-carbon energy market with a strong Renewable Energy Standard (RES) and a direct carbon tax (since the Senate has blocked cap-and-trade).
  • Use government procurement to help trigger this market. Phase in purchases of non-carbon energy, creating a strong market, triggering increased investment. Procurement should require American-made components. For example, wind-power purchases should require American-made turbines are used.
  • Infrastructure
    Our roads, bridges, rail, water and electrical systems, etc. are the backbone of a competitive economy. The infrastructure enables business to thrive. If it is not kept in good working order and up-to-date (and it has not been), businesses do not thrive (and they aren’t).

  • We need the Congress to create a National Infrastructure Investment Bank, capitalized with public money to lure private capital for investment in rebuilding key components of America’s infrastructure. Stop the obstruction – we need this!
  • Rebuild existing, crumbling infrastructure. This “spending” investment earns the money back many times over.
  • Pass the surface transportation reauthorization bill. This will boost American industry as while creating jobs, saving energy and incentivizing green development.
  • Build new infrastructure-for-the-future like high-speed internet and high-speed rail and a national electric “smart grid”.
  • Require companies to make the infrastructure components in America.
  • This is a brief outline of some of the needed components in a Make It In America strategy. These are things that Congress can do. Congress must not back away from bold reforms in the face of resistance from the right-wing monopolist business lobbyists, who speak for the job exporters, and their “free-trade ideologue” allies.
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    m4s0n501