Today a manufacturing forum was held with both Presidential candidates for the Democratic primary.
What is amazing is this seemingly was not broadcast on CNN, or on CSPAN. Trade and manufacturing policy area is critical to the US economy, so not covering such a forum is ....well, par for the course? Anything important is obscured, anything divisive is sure to be played over and over.
Guess who didn't even bother to show up? John McCain.
Of course the bitter tit for tat rhetoric is ongoing, with Obama in retaliation commenting others surrounding Hillary support bad trade deals which ignores Hillary's position statements or the lack of his own. Yet again, policy positions are obscured.
In my opinion, there are only two things that matter:
- The actual policy proposals and positions
- Can you trust them to stick to their policy positions after getting into Office
Below are the actual speech videos, in links, plus KDKA is doing a good job covering manufacturing issues in the campaign:
KDKA video overview coverage on the AAM Manufacturing forum. KDKA has some damning facts, such as 40,000 US factories have been shut down, in this video report.
Hillary Clinton speech at the AAM forum (unedited, 47 minutes).
Obama speech at the AAM forum (unedited, 28 minutes).
Earlier, Clinton released a 5 point plan to deal with industrial espionage. Here are the 5 points:
- Comprehensive Review of Defense Industrial Base Initiated Within the First 100 Days
- A New Critical Capabilities Impact Analysis for Federal Contracts
- New Public Periodic Review Requirement of Foreign Investments in Critical National Security Industries and Technologies
- Protecting "Buy America" Provisions for Metals that are Vital to Our National Security
- A New Inter-Agency Task Force to Combat Industrial Espionage
Regardless on who wins this nomination, the above plan is a sorely, long overdue policy modification which would help the US economic interests as well as strategically critical manufacturing. I hope all support (and adopt) this policy plan.
Obama focused on China's currency manipulation, yet Hillary also had sponsored legislation to crack down on China's currency manipulation.
The Washington Post has printed an entire transcript of this forum, some quotes:
I'm also going to provide real relief for U.S. industries hurt by surges of Chinese imports. I'm talking about the special China safeguard in our trade laws, Section 421, which was a precondition for letting China join the WTO.
The idea behind these safeguards is simple: Protect American manufacturers from being disadvantaged by an influx of Chinese goods into the American markets.
We're also going to stand up to China and other non-market countries that subsidize their exports and put our manufacturers at a disadvantage.
I didn't know Clinton has started a manufacturing caucus in the Senate.
The truth is trade is here to stay. We live in a global economy. For America's future to be as bright as our past, we have to compete. We have to win. And to win, we have to understand some hard realities. Not every job that's left is coming back. If somebody tells you they are, they're not telling you the truth. Not every job has been lost due to trade. Automation has made plants more efficient, so they can make the same amount of steel with fewer workers. Those are realities.
This statement below really bothered me:
Many poor countries need access to our markets and pose no threat to our workers, and we always want to access the markets abroad
It is precisely those poor countries from which the cheap labor pool is coming from. Because they are so poor, American pay simply cannot compete against the wages being paid in these nations.
Obama goes onto to mention health care. Sure health care is adding costs onto businesses in the US but American wages which have a 100:1 ratio or a 10:1 ratio are really one of the bottom line reasons manufacturing is offshore outsourced.
Neither Obama or Hillary have endorsed true universal health care, H.R. 676. Obama also mentions a $60 billion dollar infrastructure reinvestment plan, which is certainly needed and will also create US jobs, but that doesn't quite address the trade issue.
I know there are many Obama supporters reading and contributing to this blog. I also know many believe Obama is more Progressive than Clinton. But frankly, I really am having a very hard time finding any action, policy positions, votes which support this view. Maybe Obama supporters can write about policy positions, votes to show me where I'm wrong, but statements like the above claiming jobs are just not coming back, sure echo McCain's statements in Michigan to me.