Guest report: Task Force on Job Creation spurs weighty discussion on troubled economy
A special report from the Alliance for American Manufacturing's (AAM) David Arouca:
On a blistering afternoon in Washington, D.C. (103 degrees) last week, nearly 100 people crammed into the New America Foundation’s air-conditioned hearing room to witness the Task Force on Job Creation release their new report titled “A Vision for Economic Renewal: An American Jobs Agenda.” Though the air conditioning helped people to cool off, things quickly reheated as the frustration over our nation’s economic policies became evident. The Task Force’s panel, comprised of Members of Congress and private sector leaders, spoke harshly about the country’s current economic path, lack of directional leadership, and unwillingness to address key issues that have plagued American manufacturers and businesses for years.
Author, businessman, and Task Force Co-Chair Leo Hindery Jr. stressed that the first thing we can/should/must do is address China’s currency manipulation which continues to harm American businesses by allowing China to lower the price of goods leaving their shores. The report supports Mr. Hindery's view by calling China’s currency manipulation “one of [their] most damaging” policies. “An undervalued yuan makes Chinese manufactured goods cheaper in the U.S. while making [our] goods more expensive in China,” says the report. “Undervaluation also encourages U.S. companies to move production from here to China and ship goods back to the U.S.”
Also in attendance was Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) who was somewhat critical of his own party’s president saying, “we lack the political leadership of the president” when it comes to manufacturing in the United States. He clarified that he would like President Obama to show some of the same passion and drive on manufacturing that he showed on healthcare.
Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), who has been very active on the “Make It In America” campaign, was on the panel as well. Among other things, he stressed the necessity for stronger domestic procurement requirements in place of many loopholes which result in taxpayer funds going overseas. He also supported the need for greater trade barriers with China citing the sole manufacturer of solar panels in the U.S. and its struggle to remain in business against China’s government-subsidized businesses.
Patrick Mulloy, who served as an Assistant Secretary of Commerce under President Clinton, brought up several interesting points stating that “nobody is talking about tying the budget deficit to the trade deficit” and how “companies get tax incentives to manufacture abroad.”
The report focuses on six sections, each of which calls for a different initiative:
Focus on jobs. Repair our manufacturing sector. Make global trade fair for all. Fix our bridges, roads and railroads. Make America the genesis of innovation, green and otherwise. Put young people to work…Engage in that struggle and set things right.
We couldn’t agree more.
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