Say what you will about the GOP debate last night — and there is much to say — there was no attention paid to manufacturing. Search the transcript, you’ll not find the word mentioned a single time. Wow, it’s a very big point to miss. In related topics innovation was mentioned once, and infrastructure, a huge problem, was not mentioned at all.
Why is it important and a big missing that manufacturing wasn’t mentioned?
Manufacturing, and the middle class jobs that accompany renewed manufacturing, are absolutely essential to sustained, healthy economic growth. Our growth right now is anaemic in large part because of this missing element.
We are not going to be a nation with a middle class if we don’t make things, ideally, high value things.
Many important things were brought up, if not exactly debated. Education, taxation, immigration, abortion, balancing budgets, ISIS, Hilary Clinton, regulations, entitlement reform, gay marriage, and more. They even talked about jobs, small business, and the economy — but it was mostly about how lowering taxes and removing regulations will get us to growth.
Sorry guys, tweaking the tax code, alone, does not get us to growth, and will not get us to 4% or better growth rates.
Lowering taxes, reforming regulations and entitlements might help — would help — but it will not do the job.
What Would Do the Job — Three Things
- What would do the job are investments in basic science and materials — which has always given us a dividend in technology and jobs. The USA used to lead the world in basic research, we no longer do. If we want to be the first to create new innovations and industries, we need to be the first to understand new materials and aspects of science. Investment in infrastructure would also be a huge help. Many American’s don’t even has access to the web. Let’s fix this by making smart investments.
- What would do the job is to set penalties for American companies who ship jobs overseas. Manufacturers are taking advantage of cheap labor overseas and south of our border. Instead they should be automating here, and staying here. The world is changing and some jobs are going to disappear, that’s reality. However, many companies move when they could be reinventing here. Let’s incent them to stay and penalize them if they leave. Let’s reinvent how to manufacture and we’ll recapture jobs and reshore jobs.
- What would do the job is to provide more help to entrepreneurs, help in the form of insurance (Obamacare needs tweaked to better support entrepreneurs) and help in the form of support services and tax incentives. The truth is the rate of start-ups has slowed in recent years. This is another missing element in the recovery. We have to turn that around. Schools need to educate more entrepreneurs, we are very poor at doing that. Big business and government have to support smaller players and enable more people to take more risk. Intrapreneurship should also be encouraged. Let’s encourage and support a massive new generation of entrepreneurs.
The lack of attention to creating Good Middle Class jobs, not McJobs, via manufacturing, is the elephant in the room that was not talked about.
Can we suggest to Fox News and others hosting debates over the next 12 months that we want that elephant talked about?