Michigan Democrats today laid out a comprehensive agenda to revitalize our domestic manufacturing industry and respond to the loss of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs. Their American Manufacturing Initiative (AMI) would bring together government, private industry, and academia in a robust partnership aimed at turning around the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy.
The Michigan Democrats - including Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, Sen. Carl Levin, Rep. John Dingell, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Dale Kildee, Rep. Sander Levin, Rep. Bart Stupak, and Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick -- said that they will push to enact the provisions into law, and they will also press presidential candidates of both parties to take a position on the AMI.
"We are determined to get manufacturing issues into the presidential campaign," the Michigan Democrats said. "No other country stands by and watches its manufacturing sector decline. Other governments aggressively provide tax incentives, research and development grants, and health insurance. The Bush administration does none of these and even tolerates other countries manipulating their currency to subsidize their exports and placing barriers to our products entering their countries."
The American Manufacturing Initiative focuses on six areas:
* manufacturing incentives;
* trade policies, including currency manipulation and barriers to U.S. products;
* health care support;
* advanced vehicle development;
* fuel conservation and biofuels, and
* Department of Defense initiatives.
Through major government investment in the development of advanced technology vehicles and vigorous promotion of the use of alternative fuels, the AMI would stimulate manufacturing job creation in America, increase our security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and help our environment by reducing greenhouse gases and emissions.
Governor Granholm: "Michigan's workers and employers need fast action on the AMI to ensure our success in the global economy. The American Manufacturing Initiative sets the federal government in motion to help rejuvenate manufacturing throughout the Great Lakes states and across the nation. After years of damaging and neglectful federal manufacturing policies, our leaders in Washington have positioned themselves to fight back with a prescription for relief, including federal automotive and fuel technology incentives, health care cost relief, and better policing of foreign trade practices."
Senator Levin: "We've lost three million manufacturing jobs in America in the last six years and this administration has done nothing to match what other governments do to promote manufacturing. That neglect must end. Our manufacturers aren't competing with companies abroad; they are competing with countries that aggressively support their manufacturers. We need to do the same."
Rep. Dingell: "Manufacturers are hurting in large part due to this Administration's lax attitude toward unfair trade practices, currency manipulation, spiraling health care costs, and pension insecurity. A plan to expand our manufacturing capacity is long overdue."
Sen. Stabenow: "America needs a comprehensive manufacturing policy that strengthens our economy and creates good jobs here at home. We need to make a real investment in education and innovation, take the skyrocketing cost of health care off the back of business, and insist that foreign competitors play by the same rules as our manufacturers. On a level playing field American manufacturers can compete with anyone and win. This isn't just an economic issue, this is a fight for our way of life, and we must stand up for American jobs, American businesses and America's working families."
Rep. Levin: "From health care, tax policy and especially international trade policy, the federal government must be a more active partner in addressing the national manufacturing jobs crisis. Michigan businesses and workers can compete in the global marketplace if the playing field is level and trading rules are enforced."
Domestic manufacturers are at a huge competitive disadvantage compared to foreign governments. They have billions in legacy costs -- health care costs assumed by U.S. automakers add about $1,000 to the cost of each American car sold in this country. And they face the manipulation of currency exchange by foreign governments, which subsidize their competitors' exports, as well as trade barriers blocking our products. For example, Japan's aggressive currency manipulation results in Japanese cars being sold for $3,000-$10,000 cheaper than they otherwise would - essentially a Japanese government subsidy. Likewise, American exports to Japan essentially face a "tax" of that amount.
The Michigan Democrats argue that our government needs to create a level playing field for our manufacturers as aggressively as the actions of governments of our trading partners.