December 1, 2003
The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
Over the past three years, this country has lost one out of every seven manufacturing jobs - 2.7 million jobs. To date, your Administration's only plan to save manufacturing is to create a new government position-the "Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services" within the Department of Commerce. This simply just isn't acceptable and amounts, in my view, to a dereliction of duty on the economic front.
As you give your speech on the economy today in Michigan, I hope you will finally offer a long overdue plan to restore the nation's manufacturing base, which has been eroded under your watch. Your Administration has stood by and watched as the loss of manufacturing jobs - including 110,000 in Michigan-has undermined the strength of our economy and the bread and butter for millions of America's working families.
Not only are manufacturing jobs good jobs but they are critical to overall economic growth, technological innovation, and a high standard of living for Americans. In fact, over the past ten years manufacturers have performed nearly 60 percent of all research and development in the United States and have paid over one-third of all corporate tax payments to state and local governments.
Your Administration has consistently said you are going to take action and yet you have done nothing. Last March your Commerce Secretary Donald Evans announced that your Administration was launching a Manufacturing Agenda and again in September speech he noted your concern about the erosion of our manufacturing base, claiming that you understand that "our economic and national security requires a stable robust manufacturing sector that produces sophisticated goods here in the United States."
How many more jobs do we have to lose before you are willing to act? How long before you stop offering more tax cuts for the wealthy and nothing to save and create jobs. You cannot help Michigan or American if you do not offer a robust manufacturing agenda that includes the follow:
Pressing our Asian trading partners to stop manipulating their currencies to gain trade advantages. China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea account for 60 percent of our manufacturing sector trade deficit and yet your Administration has done little to stop these violations;
Protect our textile plants and workers from being inundated by cheap imports from China by utilizing the special safeguard provision in China's WTO accession agreement;
Support tax advantages for U.S. manufacturers that produce goods domestically and pay for it, without increasing our budget deficit, by repealing tax breaks for U.S. companies that incorporate overseas;
Do not support any future trade agreements that fail to incorporate International Labor Organization core labor standards and have tough environmental protections that can by enforced by import sanctions;
Ensure foreign governments are not violating their WTO obligations by subsidizing their exports to this country and other foreign markets and clamp down on counterfeiting of goods by our trading partners;
Strengthen technical education for our students in vocational schools and community colleges and provide training for those who have been displaced.
Stop cutting and instead double funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership which helps American manufacturers remain competitive.
Establish a special unfair trade practice unit within the Commerce Department to help our small and medium sized manufacturers from being driven out of business by the increasing amounts of goods being dumped into our market by China and other Asian countries;
Reduce health care costs that impact on the competitiveness of our manufacturers by reforming our health care system;
Formulate a national energy strategy that will include measures to reduce the cost of energy to our manufacturers and create a new generation of manufacturing jobs.
Mr. President, Americans are tired of hearing your same tired and failed solutions to the nation's economic problems. Tax cuts for the wealthy have not helped our economy. In fact, no President since Herbert Hoover has lost so many jobs while in office. It will not restore the millions of jobs lost during your Presidency. It is time to recognize that your economic policy has failed and to change course and offer America something that will finally create jobs. America's workers deserve no less.
John F. Kerry