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Report: Preserving Our Manufacturing Base More Critical Now Than Ever

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Reposted from The Bulletin, the newsletter for the PMA

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Report: Preserving Our Manufacturing Base More Critical Now Than Ever

Chinese cement was used to construct half of American home foundations prior to the recession. Another glaring example of how the life of our economic freedom –manufacturing — is bleeding out to other countries.

Relying on other counties – some hostile – for key links in our manufacturing chain will be especially dangerous during natural disasters and terrorist attacks, according to a new study by former Pennsylvania Governor and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security Col. Robert B. Stephan (USAF Retired).

Commissioned by the Alliance for American Manufacturing, ‘The U.S. Too Dependent on Foreign Suppliers in Crises’ is the first comprehensive analysis of America’s growing reliance on global suppliers, some of which might not meet demand quickly – or at all — in emergencies.

Governor Ridge and Col. Stephan were in Harrisburg last week to discuss the study during an event sponsored by the Pennsylvania Steel Alliance.

“American’s national security and prosperity are inseparable,” Ridge said. “The epicenter of maintaining both is manufacturing. Revitalizing America’s domestic manufacturing capacity must become a clear and urgent national priority at all levels of government and among industry leaders.”

The United States relies on foreign suppliers for everything from steel, cement, batteries, and critical high-technology components to everyday medical supplies such as antibiotics and penicillin.  The risks include not having access to needed materials and products, delayed delivery times, and the poor quality of some imported products.  A shoddy infrastructure only compounds the problems.

The report recommends restoring the nation’s internal capacity to address emergencies — including revitalized manufacturing, investment in America’s infrastructure using U.S.-made materials, strengthened public-private collaboration, and enforcement of trade laws.

“Having a dominant manufacturing in certain areas is critical to our safety and well being moving into the 21st century risk environment,” Col. Stephan said.

Below is a snapshot of our manufacturing fall-off just in the high-tech arena.

Source: http://americanmanufacturing.org/files/Homeland%20Security%20Report.July23.2012.pdf

“We have to assess the risks associated in the manufacturing sector to see how to end the slide,” Ridge said. “We can no longer depend on external sources.”

The report recommends taking a two-track approach to reduce vulnerabilities and to build the capacity to respond and recover quickly and efficiently in the aftermath of a catastrophic disaster.  Some recommendations include:

  • Develop a plan to make the restoration of a strong American manufacturing sector a key component of both national and economic security strategies.
  • Reinvest in America’s infrastructure, using U.S.-made materials.
  • Incentivize the revitalization of American manufacturing, including the use of domestic-content preferences that maximize the power of federal procurement funds.
  • Enforce trade laws to ensure a level playing field for U.S manufacturers and their workers facing unfair competition.
  • Invest in the American workforce to ensure we have the trained workers needed to rebuild our infrastructure and work in a larger, more modern manufacturing sector.

“The nation’s worn out infrastructure is the soft underbelly that provides an inviting target for attacks that can have a widespread, devastating impact,” said Stephan.  “Hardening our critical infrastructure is key to preventing and mitigating disastrous events such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters concerning power plants, pipelines, and transportation systems.”

The full report is available online at: http://americanmanufacturing.org/homeland

One Response to “Report: Preserving Our Manufacturing Base More Critical Now Than Ever”

  1. Mo says:

    Fiat money has allowed the US industrial base to decline and to be offshored. The following excerpts from the article, Gold: The Protector and Creator of Jobs, linked below explains how fiat money has distorted the economy:

    Had Nixon not gone off gold in 1971, China would have taken generations to create its industrial base. It would have been necessary for China to accumulate capital slowly, because its exports to the US would have been limited by the need for the US to pay up with gold for the amount by which Chinese exports exceeded its imports from the US.

    The Chinese would have had to buy as much from the US, as they sold to the US; and since they were so terribly poor, there was not much they could have bought from the US.

    The US would never have allowed China to drain US gold from the Treasury by selling more to the US, than the US sold to China. But since payment was in fiat dollars and not in gold, the destructive effect of huge Chinese imports was not considered important by policy makers. And so, the US sailed into unemployment and had a great time doing it. Only now, that the party is over, are the grim facts visible: no jobs! Manufacturing is decimated.

    The fiat dollar – unanchored to gold – was the greatest strategic gift that the US could have made to China. Now, they have a huge industrial base and the US has Oh, so little

    References:

    Gold: The Protector and Creator of Jobs
    http://www.goldstandardinstitute.com/Article.aspx?UniqueName=HSP20120420

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