It’s clear to all of us in the manufacturing industry that U.S. competitiveness in the world economy has been and continues to be under threat from Asian countries, particularly China and India. As a result, manufacturing’s share of the U.S. GNP has declined dramatically over the past 25 years. The factors contributing to the decline are numerous, including the strength of the dollar, China’s refusal to inflate their undervalued currency, Asian countries barriers against imports, U.S. corporate tax rates, U.S. unions inflexible work rules, trial lawyers product liability lawsuits, and of course the tremendous wage gap between the U.S. and Asian countries.
The recent decline in the dollar, low cost of capital ie. real interest rates, and President Bush’s tax relief should eventually provide some relief for American firms. However, our Asian competitors are not about to surrender their recently gained market share without a fight. We might not have much leverage with the Chinese central bank, but the U.S. must continue to push them towards raising the value of their currency vis-à-vis the dollar to reflect China’s exceptional economic performance. The U.S. government, unions and the legal community must recognize the seriousness of the dramatic loss of manufacturing in this country. Without a cohesive effort, manufacturing will continue to decline, and its toll will be reflected with continued high unemployment and a deteriorating city core.
Fortunately, there is a new advocacy group who has enthusiastically begun a grass-roots effort to educate and inform Congress and boardrooms about manufacturing’s plight. This group, the Manufacturing Coalition, is focusing on protecting the U.S. manufacturing sectors, not through trade barriers; but through seminars, technology, political action, training, and the promotion of U.S. made goods. Clearly, their objective is to level the playing field with China and other Asian manufacturers.
The Manufacturing Coalition welcomes membership from individuals, small business to large companies, and from machinists to CEO’s. The membership fee for joining is $25.00 for an individual and starting at $250.00 for a company membership. It’s not often that Surplus Record endorses and promotes a specific group, but considering the objectives of the coalition and the consequences of sitting pat, we believe their support is warranted. Hopefully, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the NFIB will also recognize the seriousness of the manufacturing slide, and either join forces with the Manufacturing Coalition, or begin to address the issues discussed above that can no longer be ignored. To contact the Manufacturing Coalition call: 888-258-8162.