July 2011

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Real Mechanics Needed to Fix Economy

Anyone who has ever repaired an automobile or a broken appliance knows that sometimes the failure of one part is caused by our lack of attention or maintenance to another. If only that simple truth was more evident in our national politics.

Democrats and Republicans are in agreement that the U.S. economy is broken. The failing part, say leaders of the Republican Party and even some Democrats, is that government is spending too much money, leading to deficits at the federal level. Cut spending and lower taxes, they say, and the economy will be fixed.

They are jacklegs. More competent troubleshooters would ask why budgets keep going in the hole. And I think we would find that the red-hot bearing seizing up our economy is to be found in the 75,000 factories that have shut down over the last 10 years. Our nation simply won't see budget surpluses when millions of hard-working Americans who once took home good paychecks and fueled the consumer economy are sitting at home wondering if they will ever work again.

This all makes sense to millions of Americans, especially those who work with their hands. But large corporations that have grown more profitable by outsourcing operations and politicians who benefit from their donations endlessly talk about budgets, not jobs. Like the great writer Upton Sinclair said in "The Jungle," "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

Congressional Democrats, many elected with strong support from our labor movement, with some support from Republicans, have packed a toolbox to help fix the U.S. economy. It's a series of bills called the "Make It in America Plan." If passed, those bills would include mandates for: more U.S. made materials for government-funded projects, a tougher bargaining stance with China on currency manipulation, which keeps the price of their products artificially low, and more federal support for research and development to support domestic manufacturing.

President Obama has abundant abilities as a communicator. His political future, his legacy and our nation's economy now hinge on his convincing Americans that he and his party have a real plan for fixing what is broken.

The president showed great courage in saving the U.S. auto industry. We are ready to stand by his side if he takes the next big step in revitalizing American manufacturing by using the full power of his office to promote the Make It in America Plan.


Also: Chilia: Deception on Medicare

Edwin D. Hill
International President