Over 500 manufacturers from all fifty states are descending on Washington, D.C. this week to share some reality with the politicians. We have solutions to grow jobs and the current plan is not working. The middle class desperately needs our ideas enacted to strengthen our nation's prospects. Here are the eight reasons factory employees are stepping aside from their daily responsibilities to awaken D.C. with a dose of reality:
1) We are disappointed with the direction the nation is headed.
Manufacturers are an optimistic bunch. We buy equipment and hire talent with long time horizons of repayment. My company, Marlin Steel is taking delivery this week of our most expensive wire basket robot since 2014 because we envision a good future; however, we would probably buy THREE more if we were really enthusiastic. We would need to hire $60k/year talent to run these machines for three shifts for each new robot. This only works if the future prospects look good. Really good. For years, our prospects have been dimmer than they should be. Our economy should be firing on all cylinders. We should be hitting 4+% growth (not 0.8%) which will spark a surge of economic dynamism.
2) Slow job Creation
People buy our products if they have jobs. When you get a job, you buy a car or a home and that sparks other jobs to keep up with all this new demand. Waiting to the next election is not an answer. We need decisive leadership now because this Washington log jam is unacceptable. Why wait eight months to do obvious fixes that will grow jobs today? As Jay Timmons of the National Association of Manufacturer's said, our job growth of 38,000 last month was "pathetic." We need 380,000 month growth - not 38,000.
3) Not Opening Up Foreign Markets
We need more clients. The way we hire more talent is because we sell more products. If we have more prospects, because of more viable markets, we will sell more. Enacting trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership will immediately eliminate 18,000 tariffs so our products will be bought more by foreigners. Naturally, factories will have to more talent to handle this surge of new business. We need politicians (from both parties) to stop demagoguing this job creation lay up.
4) Tax Rates are lower overseas, so companies aren't building in the USA like they should
We need to have competitive taxes - not the highest (compared to China, Japan, Germany, Canada, France, Mexico, UK etc). If our taxes were level (or better yet lower) with our economic rivals, more businesses would move here. We would keep great USA companies in the USA and not run to Ireland or Belgium. We want them to stay headquartered domestically and not find more accommodative alternative homes. We need to turn the tide so the world's best companies are moving here and hiring here and paying their taxes here.
5) Regulation Nightmare
The average USA small factory spends more than $35,000/employee in the DC regulation paperwork blizzard. We need good rational rules that are straight forward that keep our environment and population safe. We don't need overkill. Or we will kill our job creation machine.
6) Intellectual property is being stolen (and cops are asleep)
Where are the Feds protecting our companies' secret sauce? Foreign companies are stealing our innovations relentlessly. It is outrageous. My companies intellectual property is on six Chinese websites today. People are buying from these companies not realizing those amazing ideas were created with Marlin Steel's engineers and it is a stolen product. We need Uncle Sam to take this seriously and hammer companies that steal our secret sauce. Why does the Federal Government put up with this?
7) Cheap Energy is good
Energy is one of the key ingredients in what USA manufacturers use to sell globally. If we have cheaper energy than China and Korea (we do), our factory workers have an advantage. It is easier to build a USA factory if USA energy is cheap. Creating ways to make it cheaper will grow even more USA jobs. Knocking down cumbersome rules that do not improve the environment will lift the middle class. Our factories have created 19% more products since 2005 with 10% less energy. No other sector of the economy has been such a good steward of the environment. The Subaru plant in Indiana and the GM plant in Maryland have zero landfill. Think about it - nothing is shipped to a landfill from these massive factories. We can teach others how to protect the environment.
8) Make health care affordable
The recent landmark legislation failed since our costs have skyrocketed since implementation. We should deploy new tactics like letting companies buy from any state - not be locked into state monopolies. Forcing us to buy from monopolies increases prices and makes health care unaffordable to the poor. We need to scrap the current plan. Bipartisan support for Health Care Choice will improve the health of Americans because inexpensive health care will be available more broadly to the middle class and poor than a heavy handed expensive DC mandated approach.
Do your part and have all candidates detail exactly what they will do to enact these common sense pro-manufacturing policies.