Manufacturers have a Growth Agenda for the Nation

By DAN JUNEAU

Special from LABI

BATON ROUGE — In an ongoing effort to show policy makers the importance of manufacturing to the nation, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) recently released A Growth Agenda: Four Goals for a Manufacturing Resurgence in America. This agenda sets a road map for economic growth and enhanced competitiveness for manufacturers.

Leaders throughout the business community and in both political parties realize that manufacturing has the highest “multiplier” effect of any sector of the economy. Every dollar spent in manufacturing, adds $1.48 to the economy. Manufacturing supports about 17.2 million jobs in the U.S., about one-in-six of all private sector jobs. Our domestic manufacturers produce $1.8 trillion of value each year or 12.2 percent of our Gross Domestic Product. Manufacturing investments ripple across the economy, creating jobs and expansion in other sectors. Simply put, manufacturing is a driving catalyst for economic expansion.

Despite recent improvements in sales and production, manufacturers still have concerns about factors inhibiting their operations. They want to see pro-growth policies enacted in a bipartisan fashion both in Congress and in state legislatures around the nation. They only ask for the chance to be competitive and a growth agenda will give them that opportunity. NAM’s growth agenda is a benchmark to help guide policy makers toward establishing goals and policies that will propel economic growth and assist the nation to become a better place to invest, innovate and export.

The following four goals are the keys to getting our national economy moving again:

1. The United States will be the best place in the world to manufacture and to attract direct foreign investment.

2. Manufacturers in the United States will be the world’s leading innovators.

3. The United States will expand access to global markets to enable our manufacturers to reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside of our borders.

4. Manufacturers in the United States will have access to the workforce that the 21st-century demands.

Lofty goals succeed when lawmakers enact concrete policies to make them work. NAM’s agenda specifies reforms needed to expand economic growth through enhanced manufacturing. The tax climate for manufacturers in the U.S. must be competitive with other nations if we are to compete on an equal footing. The United States has the highest corporate tax rate among major industrial nations. An “all of the above” energy policy is vital to ensure reasonably priced and easily available energy supplies for an industry that consumes one-third of all energy used in the U.S. Investments in infrastructure improvements are vital to allow manufacturers to move people, products and ideas more efficiently. Government officials and regulators need to ensure and independently verify that the benefits of regulations justify their costs to manufacturers and consumers. Common sense legal reforms must be implemented to reduce the high legal costs that hinder the competitiveness of our manufacturers. Additionally, health care costs for patients and providers must be reduced. Ever-escalating health care costs reduce the amount of money available for job creation and investment in manufacturing and other industries. Inaction on free trade agreements is also negatively impacting our manufacturers. Of the dozens of trade agreements under negotiation at the beginning of this year, only one involved the U.S. Inaction on free trade will cause our manufacturers to continue to cede market share to our competitors.

NAM’s growth agenda with its four goals and sound policy reform recommendations can help drive economic growth in America. You can access the full agenda and analyze its potential at this link. (http://bit.ly/Z2U20w).

Dan Juneau is president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

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