The Factory Factor: Why Outsourcing and ‘Made in America’ Could Decide this Election

Scott Paul

Executive Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

American manufacturing is like apple pie to American voters: we love it and want more of it regardless of our politics, race, gender, income, or hometown. If you live in a swing state like Ohio, you already know that, because both presidential candidates have flooded the airwaves with ads labeling the other guy as the “outsourcer-in-chief.”

Beneath the recent accusations and counter-accusations on outsourcing, there is a simple truth: citizens believe manufacturing is central to our nation’s economic health, that America is in economic decline, that outsourcing to China is largely responsible for this condition, and they want their elected leaders to do something bold about it.

Voters of all political stripes are far ahead of the debate inside Washington, D.C. More importantly, perhaps, is that nearly all Americans — not only working-class Ohioans — share this view.

So don’t be surprised if both campaigns escalate the rhetoric and attacks on shipping jobs overseas in the coming weeks, in part to mask their own shortcomings.

That’s because no one is a knight in shining Made in America armor when it comes to this issue. Mitt Romney (rightly) criticizes President Obama for not labeling China as a currency manipulator, but glosses over the fact that Republican leaders in Congress are blocking a bipartisan currency bill that would pass overwhelmingly. Romney has also been on the wrong side of Administration decisions to defend American tire workers against China’s cheating and successfully rescue Chrysler and General Motors.

The GOP hypocritically accuses Obama of sending stimulus dollars overseas, while Republican Senators tried to block Buy America requirements for stimulus spending.

The fact is, accusing your political opponent of shipping jobs overseas is now an established American campaign tradition. What is missing is an honest debate about what could actually be done to promote American manufacturing jobs. Voters are ready for such a dialogue.

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‘Insourcing’ bill fails to advance in the Senate

 

(Karen Bleier – AFP/Getty Images)

The Senate failed to advance a bill Thursday that would end tax breaks for large companies that relocate jobs overseas and provide tax credits to firms that bring jobs back to the United States.

Senators voted 56 to 42 to proceed to final consideration of the Bring Jobs Home Act, falling short of the 60 votes necessary in order to proceed. The White House expressed strong support for the measure, which is packed with proposals from Senate Democrats facing reelection and eager to demonstrate efforts to shore up the nation’s struggling manufacturing sector.

The bill would eliminate tax deductions that companies may take when moving workers and equipment overseas, but establish a new 20 percent tax deduction for companies that do the reverse.

Republicans objected to the bill in part because Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) blocked GOP amendments to the bill, including a proposal to repeal the 2010 health-care reform act. Senate Republicans this month also attempted to amend a small business tax cut bill with language repealing the health law. Some GOP senators also complained that Democrats bypassed the normal committee process and quickly introduced the bill for election-year political purposes.

Democrats note that roughly 2.4 million American jobs have been transferred overseas in the last decade as global firms outsource more positions to cheaper markets.

Source: Washington Post

See how your Senator voted on the Bring Home Jobs Act:  Senate Roll Call

 

Romney Adviser Explains Willingness to Break With GOP on China

by Sarah Huisenga

Updated: June 1, 2012 | 4:27 p.m.
June 1, 2012 | 4:12 p.m.

Mitt Romney’s willingness to confront China over issues like currency manipulation, intellectual property theft, and discouraging foreign competition is part of the presumptive GOP nominee’s “innovative approach” to fixing the economy that differs from both Democrats and Republicans, his top policy adviser says.

In an interview airing Friday evening on Bloomberg TV’s Political Capital With Al Hunt, Romney policy director Lanhee Chen said that his boss is interested in trying more than “just traditional Republican policies” to boost the country’s economy.

“I think we talk about the importance of pro-growth tax policy and pro-growth regulatory policy,” Chen said in the interview. “If you look at trade policy, as an example, here’s a place where Governor Romney is really calling for a different approach.”

Chen said a Romney administration would take “robust steps to make sure that China is a player on the international stage that plays by the rules.”

Romney’s position and previous statements toward China’s trade policy have troubled some Republicans, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Chen said that Romney had been in touch with Kissinger, but that “the bottom line is, Governor Romney is going to do what it takes to get our economy going, including confronting China.”

Asked what a Romney administration would do to help homeowners with underwater mortgages, Chen said that it would not support a “short-term approach.” He argued that the programs put in place by President Obama, like the Home Affordable Modification Program, have not helped large numbers of home owners as expected. Instead of such government programs, Chen argued that the answer is to grow the economy.

“Ultimately that’s what’s going to get the housing market going again,” he said in the interview, “and going to get home values rising again and going to help people who, frankly, currently [are] underwater in their mortgages.”

In talking about financial regulations, Chen reasserted Romney’s desire to get rid of the Dodd-Frank law, and disputed the assertion that repealing the law would lead to “a dog-eat-dog kind of situation where there’s absolutely no regulation.”

“Governor Romney has made clear that we do need some regulation of derivatives trading, that we do need to have some kind of consumer protections in place, that we do need to look seriously at things we can do to ensure that the financial-services industry is regulated in a reasonable way,” Chen said. “But Dodd-Frank is really not the answer. And so I think we have to resist the temptation to caricature what a post-Dodd-Frank world looks like.”

He also said that Romney would seek to replace the so-called Volcker Rule, one part of Dodd-Frank that restricts the ability of banks to make certain kinds of speculative investments that do not benefit their customers.

Copyright 2012 by National Journal Group Inc. • The Watergate 600 New Hampshire Ave., NW Washington, DC 20037
NationalJournal.com is an Atlantic Media publication.

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