Members of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade this week met with job-creators and industry experts to discuss American manufacturing. Hosted by Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), the subcommittee's Jobs and Innovation Forum discussed ways to "Make it Easier to Make it in America." The U.S. is the world's largest manufacturing economy but certain policies and regulations are currently threatening the industry and America's competitiveness. This week's forum discussed ways to revive and bolster our nation's manufacturing sector so we can create new jobs and bring back jobs to America.
Guthrie, who previously worked in aluminum die casting, knows firsthand the impact government policies and regulations can have on businesses and families. Guthrie decided to hold this forum to shed light on the increasing number of obstacles facing American manufacturers and explore ways to remove barriers to growth.
"This forum was a great opportunity to talk to the people who are actually making the decision to manufacture here or in China. What we heard was that the burdens of excessive regulation and taxation are starting to choke-off the entrepreneurial capacity of our job creators and workforce. This committee is going to continue to be on the front lines of rolling back some of these anti-competitive impediments to job creation," said Guthrie.
Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, described manufacturing as a "powerful driver of economic growth and job creation." Timmons explained the important role manufacturing plays in our economy, stating, "Manufacturing is the most vital part of any economy. For every dollar that is invested in manufacturing, another $1.35 of spinoff activity occurs--the highest multiplier effect of any sector of the economy. For every manufacturing job that is created, up to three other jobs in other sectors of the economy are created as well."
Timmons said high costs are driving jobs and businesses overseas. "It is currently 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in the U.S than anywhere else in the world among our major trading partners," said Timmons. He believes there are four major factors driving up the cost of doing business in the U.S: tax policy, regulatory burdens, high energy prices, and tort costs.
Bill Holt, Senior Vice President at Intel Corporation, said U.S. tax policy is a deterrent to building new factories in the U.S., and suggested government leaders need to consider new policies and incentives in order for American companies to remain competitive in today's global marketplace. "While we continue to site factories in the U.S., each time we do that we are theoretically taking a billion dollar hit on what it is going to cost us to run that factory over the next ten years. What we need is a holistic, realistic tax and trade policy that allows us to be competitive," said Holt
Mike Baker, Executive Director of Kentucky Aluminum Network, described four challenges facing U.S. manufacturers today: decreased access to affordable and reliable energy, new environmental regulations, workforce development, and an aging infrastructure.
Susan Dudley, Founder of the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University and former top regulatory official at OMB, explained the effects and outcomes of regulations on the cost of doing business and the price of consumer goods, and said the regulations coming out of the Obama administration have been particularly hard hitting. "We have seen an increase in the number, scope, and the impact of regulations since at least the 1970s," said Dudley. "The rules that have been issued over the last three years have had a much larger impact. The rules that agencies estimate will have an impact of $100 million or more per year--President Obama issued 40% more in his first three years than President Bush did."
Sam Harwell, President and CEO of Big Time Toys, asked lawmakers to "leave us alone," suggesting there are too many complex and burdensome regulations manufacturers are forced to comply with today. "If we want to grow manufacturing in America we need to foster business--foster U.S. businesses ability to compete worldwide and not make it difficult," said Harwell.
"As a nation we have lost a ton of manufacturing jobs," said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) "We want to do everything we can, as a full committee and as a subcommittee, to bring those jobs back and to identify real problems we have had as a nation so we can put people back to work."