March 10, 2014: Making moves for manufacturing

Posted by mmcmullan on 03/10/2014

Good morning,

And welcome to the Early Shift. We’ve got to keep it brief today, as we’ve want to get out there and start making some moves for American manufacturing.

But what interesting stories have we read so far on this fine Monday morning in March?

First, we read about the troubling rise in temporary workers in the manufacturing sector, especially in the South. Writes Lydia DePillis for the Washington Post:

Tennessee went from having 51,867 temporary workers in 2009 to 80,990 in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- while median wages have stayed flat. … In Tennessee's burgeoning manufacturing industry, it's even higher, going from 15 percent of all jobs in 2002 to 26 percent in 2012.

In the Post’s opinion section, meanwhile, there's a lot of skepticism about President Obama’s funding proposal for his infrastructure proposal. A windfall from corporate tax reform, writes the editorial board, won’t steady the ship like an updated gas tax would.  (The board also points out that Congress hasn't updated the gas tax in 20 years, for what it's worth).

Speaking of newspaper editorial boards, the New York Times says that despite concerns about China’s burgeoning budget for its increasingly belligerent military, the U.S. shouldn’t respond by ramping up its own defense spending. Fair enough. But may we suggest that Washington consider one of Beijing’s largest funding streams: China's ridiculously large trade surplus with the U.S.

ICYMI: Here’s a pretty tough take at Walmart’s American-made public relations campaign. In an opinion for Salon, Robert Greenwald notes that this isn’t the first time that the company has claimed to be buying American-made, but nevertheless:

Even if Wal-Mart’s new promises turn out to be true, they don’t represent a fundamental shift in the company’s outsourcing model. The “additional” spending (on American-made goods) may largely be a result of Wal-Mart’s normal projected growth in U.S. purchases over the 10-year period, and at most would represent six percent of its costs.

We’ve written as much on this blog. And our organization's president, Scott Paul, has observed that, good intentions or ill, Walmart sets trends in the American economy.

And lastly, the Alliance for American Manufacturing went to CPAC last week. And, as we hope you would expect, we kept it real. Oh so real:

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