The Aspen Institute Asks, "Does the U.S. Need a Manufacturing Strategy?"
Today, the Aspen Institute hosted a roundtable discussion entitled "Does the United States Need a National Manufacturing Strategy?"
The conference featured Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of the American
Action Forum and former head of the Congressional Budget Office; Ron
Blackwell, Chief Economist from the AFL-CIO; and Clyde V. Prestowitz,
Jr., President of the Economic Strategy Institute.
The diverse set of viewpoints offered by the three panelists provided many good ideas on how we can support American manufacturing. From restructuring the tax code, to rewarding business investment and innovation, to better supporting manufacturing in trade deals, there were many good ideas presented. We hope that policy makers will keep these in mind.
The most important point was raised by Clyde Prestowitz. He observed that the U.S. already has a manufacturing strategy, but it's one that seems not to favor manufacturing. While other countries take concrete actions to support their domestic manufacturing sector, our inaction is itself a default strategy, albeit a poor one. As Prestowitz put it, “A decision to do nothing is a decision to lose that industry.”
We already pick winners and losers, since it is impossible to escape the global economy and other nation’s industrial programs. What we can do, however, is pick the right winners.
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