fresh voices from the front lines of change







This weekend I went to the San Mateo (CA) County Fair. My wife’s dance troupe (pic here) and students were performing. (They were on a stage next to and immediately before the pig races, near the funnel cake stand.) I got there early and before they started I walked around the vendor hall, past the jewelry and massage and food processor and insurance booths, and in one section there was a Make It In America exhibit, put on by Congresswoman Jackie Speier.

The exhibit was surrounded by hanging American flang and included a number of local companies that manufacture in America, especially locally. The main attraction at the Make It In America exhibition was a Chevy Volt.

Just a few of the companies exhibiting included:

“Buying American-made products creates American jobs and a better future for our children.” – Rep. Jackie Speier.

The Democrats’ Make It In America Plan

A few months ago in the post Democrats’ Plan Makes Jobs In America, I wrote about the Democrats in Congress and their Make It In America plan — a set of specific, detailed, targeted bills that clearly create jobs and restore our economic competitiveness, beginning with a national strategy for manufacturing.

Some of the Make It In America bills are:

  • Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (Reps. Levin and Tim Ryan, H.R. 639):Levels the trade playing field by holding accountable countries that create an unfair trade advantage by manipulating their currency.
  • National Manufacturing Strategy Act (Rep. Lipinski, H.R. 1366): Directs the president to work with industry, labor leaders, and other stakeholders to develop a national strategy to increase manufacturing.
  • Build American Jobs Act (Rep. Levin, H.R. 922): Build America Bonds to Create Jobs Now Act (Rep. Connolly, H.R. 11): Extends the Build America Bonds program, provides additional funding for the Recovery Zone bonds program, and makes improvements to existing bond and credit programs to help states and local governments leverage private capital to create jobs today and build the infrastructure that is the backbone of future economic growth.
  • National Infrastructure Development Bank Act (Rep. DeLauro, H.R. 402): Establishes a wholly-owned government corporation to facilitate efficient investments in and financing of infrastructure projects—from leading-edge broadband networks and energy delivery systems to modern ports—that foster economic development and keep America competitive.
  • Innovative Technologies Investment Incentives Act (Rep. Van Hollen): Accelerates innovation by providing a 25% tax credit for qualified equity investments in eligible high technology and biotechnology small businesses.
  • Build a 21st Century Surface Transportation System: Enact a Surface Transportation Authorization bill to create a modern and efficient transportation system that facilitates trade and industry.
  • Workforce Investment Act: Our economy is only as strong as the people who work to grow it. The American workforce investment system is supported by a partnership of educators, workforce development professionals and the business community who work together to ensure the vitality of local economies. A robust reauthorization of WIA will ensure that workers who seek opportunities in a new field or new opportunities within their own field have the support they need.
  • The Keep American Jobs from Going Down the Drain Act (Rep. Sutton, H.R. 1684): Gives preference to U.S.-made goods and materials for use in the installation, replacement, and improvement of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
  • There are clean energy manufacturing, energy efficiency and alternative energy bills, as well.

    “Buy American” Op-Ed

    Last week Rep. Speier introduced the exhibit with a “Buy American” op-ed in the local Silicon Valley paper, Opinion: To encourage U.S. industry, buy Made in America

    When ABC News asked a Texas family to empty their living room, kitchen and master bedroom of all imported products, they were left with the kitchen sink and a vase. These empty rooms symbolize a manufacturing sector that has become a shadow of itself. Despite a modest resurgence over the past two years, manufacturing is still in deep decline. The number of Americans involved in producing goods is near its lowest point since World War II.

    The key to a sustainable economic recovery is to make things in America once again. Or, as President Barack Obama said in December, “We want to create and sell products all over the world that are stamped with three simple words: ‘Made in America.’ That’s our goal.”

    The manufacturing jobs we’ve lost provided solid, middle-class livings. Average total compensation is about $63,000 for nonmanufacturing jobs, but nearly $74,000 for manufacturing jobs, a difference of more than 17 percent. Manufacturing still accounts for 11 percent of GDP and is valued at $1.6 trillion. Eighteen million Americans and 1.28 million Californians are employed in this sector.

    And, again, Frank Sobotka explains what’s wrong:

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