Still No Plans To Bring Back Manufacturing


Why is manufacturing important to the future of the US economy?

It’s not, as some might say, that manufacturing is somehow more inherently valuable than services or “knowledge work.” There are plenty of thriving areas where there’s no manufacturing.

No, the real reason is that we have a lot of labour and land that’s well-suited for this kind of work, and so the inability to create a viable manufacturing-based business on American soil suggests inefficiency and it means unemployment.

President Obama has talked up the need ot rebuild manufacturing in America, but it so far, there hasn’t been much on this front. The NYT takes a look at what he’s done, and only found a random smattering of moves, such as guaranteed loans for alt-energy startups and of course the auto bailouts. And to some extent, the moves on cap-and-trade could be seen as anti-manufacturing if they penalise heavy industry (one reason why various industrial-state Democrats are hesitant).

To be fair, Obama’s got a lot on his plate, between healthcare (priority #1), the recession, climate, the financial crisis, and settling into the office, etc. So the fact that there’s no coherent policy on this front is fine.

But once the stimuli wear off, someone will have to figure out where new jobs will come from, and why business formation in the manufacturing industry seems so tough.

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