It Costs 20 per cent More To Make Things In The US Than Anywhere Else

Laurence Timmons NAM

Photo: Max Nisen/Business Insider

At the Atlantic’s conference today on “Manufacturing ‘s Next Chapter,”  National Association For Manufacturing CEO Jay Timmons made a robust case that despite the good news we’re hearing about manufacturing in the United States, we’re continually shooting ourselves in the foot. Timmons argued that while infrastructure, immigration reform, and energy policy are all issues, the real one is taxes and regulation. A study from his organisation found that it’s 20 per cent more expensive to manufacture in the United States than anywhere else. And that’s even with a headwind from natural gas.

“For the first time in the study…we found a cost advantage from energy, and [it] tells you how far back we are on taxes and regulation, Timmons said. “Shale gas is absolutely a game changer.”

He argues that there are a number of measures that can be taken, particularly related to permits, cycle times, and just having business in the room when regulations are being written, that could significantly improve things. According to Timmons, this “should be something that’s easy to take care of.” 

Unfortunately, the political environment makes this impossible. Even though both parties robustly support manufacturing, no one has the “political backbone” to do anything about it. 

“I think we have a partisan problem you can’t operate a business by assuming the worst intent from everybody you do business with,” Timmons said. “You can’t operate a government by assuming the worst from every single opponent.”

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