GUEST OPINION: Presidential Candidates Offer Ideas on How to Strengthen U.S. Manufacturing
In order to foster a wider debate on issues critical to manufacturing and the U.S. economy, ManufactureThis frequently publishes letters and opinions from our readers. We do not necessarily agree or disagree with the views of our guest contributors, but simply want to provide a forum for further discussion.
This week's guest opinion comes from Amanda Clark of Houston, Texas:
Presidential Candidates Offer Ideas on How to Strengthen U.S. Manufacturing
On November 1, in Pella, Iowa, five of the Republican presidential candidates shared some of their ideas to strengthen manufacturing in the United States. These candidates were Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich, and they are the five candidates who are trailing the most in the Iowa polls as well as across the nation. They were questioned by Iowa’s Governor, Terry Branstaid, and Tom Hudson, who is the co-anchor and managing editor of PBS’ Nightly Business Report. They were each allowed to give their own ten to fifteen minute speech, but they all seemed to have a similar theme. Each candidate wants less government regulation, lower corporate taxes, and they all want to revoke Obamacare to save American jobs.
Perry was the first candidate to speak. He talked about issues pertaining to those in manufacturing, such as how to make the United States more energy independent. He also spoke about his opinion on the proposal for the Keystone oil pipeline that would run from Canada, down through the Midwest, and into the southern states. There are many critics against this project because they fear that underground water supplies could be severely affected by this oil pipeline, but Perry still supports this proposal. He said, “… that oil is going somewhere… It’s either going to go west, to China, or it’s going to go south, to the United States. There is no doubt, in my mind, where that energy resource needs to go.”
Perry then went on to discuss his tax plan. He hopes that this plan will lower the corporate tax rate. “Corporate ought to be 20%... get rid of all the loopholes.” He later made the following statement. “I’m going to take a wrecking ball to that corporate tax code, frankly the personal tax code as well.”
The next candidate to speak was Santorum, and his views on taxes are similar to Perry’s. He said, “…when it comes to manufacturers and processors, we zero out the corporate tax… We’d say there’d be no corporate tax for people who make things here in America.”
Bachmann followed Santorum, and she was asked about the trend of lost manufacturing jobs. She said, “We need the federal government to get off our back when it comes to federal taxes. They’re taxing us to death.” She later added, “Steve Jobs recently said this to President Obama. He said ‘You’re killing us with regulations.’”
Paul was fourth to speak, and he told his thoughts on international trade agreements, his plan to cut $1 trillion in government spending, and his position against the Federal Reserve. Finally Gingrich took the stage and talked about his “21st Century Contract with America.” He also focused on the importance of research and development and, once again, showed his great dislike of Barack Obama. He said that the president is, “a left-wing radical who believes in class warfare.”
After this meeting, it is clear that these candidates have no new ideas on how to improve industrial policy. There were no comments on trade disputes or how to address currency manipulation. These candidates need to step up and tell manufacturers exactly how they plan on improving industry policy instead of giving expected answers citing tax breaks and lower regulations.
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