Thursday, February 5, 2009

Support "Buy American" provisions stimulus package

The portion of the American economy represented by industry was hemorraging before the current economic crisis. We must act to improve the position of American industry. America has one of the lowest proportions of its economy being industry, among the world's industrial economies. The percentage of the Gross Domestic Product represented by industry is 19.6 percent. Compare this against Germany, 30.1%, Italy, 26.7, Switzerland, 34%.

We cannot rest our economy predominantly on finance or information services. Furthermore, these portions of the services sector have represented sectors with technology supplanting (human) workers.

The other industrial economies of the world have been aided by government industrial policies. The laissez fairists have always promoted doing nothing, saying that doing nothing is the best policy. This has been shown to be an unmitigated disaster. Our industrial sector has plummeted, as has our position in the balance of trade.

We should call on our Congressional officials, and President Obama, to support "Buy American" provisions of the stimulus package.

Here is one of the few news reports on the matter that does not echo the standard pro-laissez faire / do nothing position:
Andrea Holocek, "Steel leaders talk trade, climate change and Buy American" (Most media press has been biased against this provision.
Not only are union leaders behind this provision, but so are some business leaders; indeed, Republican Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania introduced the provision.
From Holocek's article:
Major U.S. steel industry leaders testified on the sorry state of the industry before the Congressional Steel Caucus Wednesday, asking lawmakers to uphold trade laws and pass sensible climate change regulations that don't hinder domestic steel production unfairly.

The Buy American provision of the Obama administration's almost $900 billion economic stimulus package took center stage.

The caucus, chaired by Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., works in support of the domestic steel industry.

"The single most pressing issue for steel, and our economy as a whole, is revitalization," said Visclosky, adding that his Northwest Indiana congressional district has had almost 600 steelworkers laid off and many more put on a shortened work weeks.

"These layoffs have serious repercussions throughout our local economy, and sitting idly by is just not an option."

Visclosky, who with Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., introduced the Buy American provision that was added to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, said the requirement is a way to support those with jobs and return those currently unemployed to the work force. It would require, with few exceptions, that U.S. produced steel be used in infrastructure projects funded by the proposed federal stimulus bill.

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