November 21, 2013: Defense Authorization bill, Trans-Pacific Partnership and Tax Reform, oh my!

Posted by LDonia on 11/21/2013

Good morning, America, how are ya?

The week may be winding down, but there’s still a lot going on in terms of policy-making that could have a direct impact on American manufacturing. Today at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), we’re watching a number of developing stories: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks going on in Salt Lake City, a host of manufacturing-related amendments filed in the Senate as part of the Defense Authorization bill, and Senator Max Baucus’s (D-MT) newly released proposals for reforming the tax code.

But that’s what we’re watching transpire today, and probably not why you’re here. You want to know what’s happened since we last spoke yesterday. Understandable. Proceeding with the good stuff...

Move over Obamacare, there’s a new #1 issue in town: jobs, specifically, manufacturing jobs. Writing for The Hill, Alan Ota suggests that between now and November 2014, we’ll see a lot of movement towards creating manufacturing jobs because current legislators want to tout their accomplishments at re-election time. Of course, there are nearly an infinite number of differing opinions on how to make this happen. Ideas on deregulation, tax incentives, job training, a minimum wage increase, and building manufacturing research hubs are all on the table.

Writes Ota:

Mark Begich of Alaska, chairman of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, said job training and research would be top priorities in early 2014. ‘We’ll come back from the holidays, start the year fresh and talk about jobs,’ he said.

Don’t get too excited, though.  Later in the article, Ota tempers our collective expectations.

Tom Duesterberg, a researcher at the Aspen Institute, said favorable changes and trends might create 3.7 million manufacturing jobs by 2025.

3.7 million jobs in 11 years? That’s roughly 336,000 manufacturing jobs per year -- in line with President Obama’s promise to create 1 million manufacturing jobs in his second term. Stay tuned to AAM and we’ll keep you updated on any developments where manufacturing-related policy is concerned.

In other news: China’s manufacturing momentum slowed just slightly this month, though not enough to qualify as having contracted. Writes William Kazer at the Wall Street Journal:

"China's growth momentum softened a little in November, as the HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI moderated due to the weak new export orders and slowing pace of restocking activities," HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said.

ICYMI: American concern over the TPP is making news across the pond. Earlier this week, Mark Weisbrot wrote in the Guardian about bipartisan opposition in the House of Representatives to fast track, a procedure that limits Congress’s input and authority over trade agreements. Weisbrot documents the many causes Americans see for concern in the TPP, including simply not doing enough for ‘average Americans.’ Writes Weisbrot:

The TPP doesn't even offer any economic gains for the majority of Americans who are being asked to sacrifice their constitutional rights. The gains from increased trade turn out to be so small that they are equivalent to a rounding error in the measurement of our GDP.

At AAM, we’re hoping to see a currency rule added, which would force countries that manipulate their currency to play by the rules. This would level the playing field for American manufacturers and allow them to be more profitable in the long run.

Two quick final notes: The aforementioned Alan Ota at The Hill wrote a short article on the potential for resurgence in the American steel industry. It’s a must-read for AAM supporters, and quotes AAM President Scott Paul

AAM is at FABTECH in Chicago all week and having a fab time, no less. Check out our continuing coverage throughout the week, including some great videos of vendor demos from the exhibitor area!

Can't see the video? Click here.

And in case you forgot:

There’s more to the monthly jobs report than just numbers. There are people behind the data, and their stories deserve to be heard. Do you have one to tell? Have you – or your friends, family, or neighbors – started looking for work recently? Have you stopped? Send in your jobs report to info [at] aamfg [dot] org, tweet it to us at @keepitmadeinUSA, or contact us via Facebook. And read the ever-updating report right here.

Have a great Thursday, America. See you here again tomorrow!


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