Engler: Manufacturers ready to work with Obama
The election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States was a pivotal moment in American history. And it can truly be said that every last one of us from all points of the political, ideological and geographical spectrum earnestly hope President Obama is successful, for we are facing our most serious economic crisis in a generation. Each day brings more grim news of plant closings, mass layoffs, rising unemployment and declining economic activity. This is the kind of situation in which negative economic forces tend to feed on each other and foster even more difficulty. We are all anxious about the future.
When consumers are anxious about the future and reluctant to spend, they don’t stop buying food or medical care; they stop buying consumer products such as cars, appliances and computers. The housing crisis, with its attendant loss of home equity, plus the loss of assets in so many retirement savings accounts, have also discouraged consumer spending. Thus, we are into a serous economic downturn and there is no end in sight. We cannot depend on exports to pull us out, because the economic retrenchment is worldwide.
The inaugural celebrations have ended. Now the serious work begins. There is, thankfully, a different tone in Washington, D.C. these days. On the streets, in the offices and on the airwaves, the overwhelming feeling is that there is a real desire from all people to come together as one united nation to bring our country out of this recession and into an era of sustained growth.
Senator Mark Warner emphasized at a recent meeting of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), “We have to get this right. But we’re not going to get it done just by Congress passing a law. We’re not going to get it done with incremental steps…with sound bites…with politics as usual.”
From the moment President Obama assumed office and the 111th Congress began work, there was extensive debate about what our government can and should do to stimulate economic growth. With some reservations, the NAM supported the stimulus legislation drafted by the Congressional leadership and the White House. Some of the spending seemed more motivated by politics than economic need, but overall we believe the balance between spending and tax incentives will have a positive impact. We approved the substantial investments in infrastructure, which has long been a top priority of ours. Those investments clearly fit our definition of laying a foundation for economic growth. And without question, most of the tax incentives will encourage investment in manufacturing and help preserve and create jobs for our fellow citizens.
In this crisis, failure is not an option and politics as usual is unacceptable. To achieve sustained economic prosperity, the NAM will work with policymakers to pursue competitive tax policies that create jobs and economic growth, establish trade policies that expand markets for U.S. products overseas, and enact energy policies that decrease costs and reduce our dependence on foreign sources. With long-term policies that support U.S. competitiveness, we will emerge stronger, with the foundation in place for a vibrant manufacturing economy and a better quality of life for all Americans.
Manufacturers stand ready to work with President Obama and with his Administration by contributing all that manufacturing has to offer %%MDASSML%% innovation, invention, productivity and, above all, the diligent efforts of America’s working men and women.
John Engler, President
National Association of Manufacturers