Friday, July 17, 2009

We Need a National Policy for Manufacturing

America Needs a National Manufacturing Policy. Now. Sen Sherrod Brown, July 17, 2009

Not too long ago, the ticket to the middle class was straightforward. Work hard, play by the rules, and you'll have something to show for it -- a good wage, a secure job and home, and a solid pension.

Our nation -- and economy -- relied on workers around Ohio to build cars and appliances, to lay down rail lines and highways. Their work put them squarely in the middle class. Their work -- and a thriving manufacturing industry -- turned our nation into an economic superpower.

Job loss and wage stagnation figures reflect a decade's long decline in U.S. manufacturing, a decline that has shattered the American dream for millions of Americans. What these figures don't reflect is the enormous potential the manufacturing sector holds for revitalizing our economy and ensuring our nation remains an economic superpower. Robust manufacturing capacity is not only essential if we are to achieve energy independence and sustain the independent ability to equip our military, it is the key to global competitiveness in emerging markets. From clean energy to medical and information technology to global infrastructure needs -- our nation's global competitiveness depends on our nation's manufacturing sector.

To realize our full potential, we must stop ignoring the challenges that manufacturing faces. We need a national plan -- a national manufacturing policy -- that aligns federal actions with the goal of strengthening our manufacturing sector. Today, as Chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy, I am hosting a hearing to examine how best to develop a robust national manufacturing policy.

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