Wow, that seems complicated

I know, I know, what I am proposing is fairly simple.  Buy more American made products which will create the need for American manufacturing firms to hire more members of our extended American family.  Others who are attempting to create more jobs for Americans have more elegant, sophisticated ideas of trying to get to the same place.  I came across a piece written by Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan, who is now a visiting public  policy and law professor at the University of California, Berkeley.  In her article, Ms. Granholm has eight ideas for bringing manufacturing jobs back from overseas, the reshoring that we hear about quite a bit these days.  Below are her eight policy suggestions and a brief discussion of each.

Aggressively incentivize states to create industry clusters that make a good business case for those jobs to locate here.

First off, I am not sure incentivize is actually a word.  I know a lot of people act as if it is a word, but it seems iffy to me.  Trying to turn nouns into verbs is a very popular avocation these days.  As to the substance of suggestion, it begs the question of who is going to do the incentivizing.  The Federal Government is broke and for every person who thinks economic incentivizing is a great idea, there is another person who thinks the government has no business doing that sort of thing.

Offer low-cost access to capital to get factories built — try zero percent, guaranteed federal loans if you build a factory.

Same problem as the first suggestion.  Federal government has very few dollars to throw around these days that aren’t borrowed and lots of people believe that the government has no role in choosing winners and losers in the economy.

Incentivize locals to assemble land for manufacturing and supplier parks.  

Three strikes here.  First, she uses the word incentivize again. Second, I don’t even know what it would look like if someone was to implement this suggestion.  Finally, no one has the money for the incentivizing.

Reward states that create training sectors to dovetail with specific industry-driven advanced manufacturing skill needs.

This suggestion is the best of the lot if you ask me.  As I have posted in the past, our education system is are doing a very poor job getting young people from high school into the new manufacturing jobs that are going wanting these days.  We have a couple of great templates for this sort of thing here in Washington with Boeing and some of the technical training programs that provide workers to make planes.

Reward states that streamline permitting for siting a factory

This suggestion would be very problematic to implement given the environmental sensibilities of large portions of the population.

Offer a five-year federal tax moratorium for brand-new or reshored factories

Any time you start monkeying with the tax code, there are large unintended consequences.    What qualifies as a reshored factory?  Did a manufacturer who shut down a factory five years ago get a federal tax moratorium when he brings the factory back?  You get the picture.  Oh and also, the federal government is broke and needs every federal tax dollar it can lay its mitts on.

Incentivize the repatriation of $1.7 trillion in multinational corporations’ offshore holdings by lowering the corporate tax on a one-time basis and put the hundreds of billions in resulting new tax revenues into capitalizing an infrastructure bank

Same comment as on the last one.  Can you imagine the money business that would result if you tried to implement this suggestion?  All I know is we would need a lot of lawyers and accountants on retainer.

Set specific Foreign Direct Investment goals for recruiting international companies to locate their manufacturing operations in America.

I guess this might work.

If you like Governor Granholm’s ideas, I encourage you to write your Congressperson or Senator and suggest they start implementing Governor Granholm’s suggestions.  And then I would recommend checking out a very long book from the Library because I would imagine you will be in for a long wait before you hear anything on your request.  Or, either before or after writing the letter, you could just head out to the mall or hardware store and buy Allen Edmonds shoes, Wigwam socks, Libman brooms, Libby glasses, Crane cards, or a host of other great American made goods.  That is the beauty of the Simply American approach.  It can be implemented today and everyday, you don’t have to have long policy debates about its implementation and you don’t need anyone’s permission or funding to carry it out.  In my book, simple practices are always more likely to achieve their goal than very complicated practices.  Go ahead, give it a try.  Make American consumer goods your default choice for the next week.  If you need help finding American brands, check my blog and the links to other blogs and websites on the right side of the page.  Together, we can put members of our extended American family back to work.  Now get shopping!

About Simply American LLC

I live in Seattle and love telling stories about Americans, the places where they work and the things that they make. I have just published a book, Simply American, encouraging Americans to purchase American made products; the book can be ordered at
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1 Response to Wow, that seems complicated

  1. Regarding the ideas of trying to create incentives (or passing an economic stimulus) is actually a fantastic idea. The problem many people have is because there is a $16 Trillion debt is that people think we are broke – that is the current Republican brainwave to win elections and their reasoning for not doing their job in Congress (they have dropped all pretense of creating jobs).
    If you look at the country like an individual, you would take into account the assets of the individual. And the assets of the United States is more than 1,000 times the debt. We, the USA, have no problem borrowing money (and besides we can print our own money, plus we have the largest military in the world – so who is going to argue). My point is we could be $160 Trillion in debt and we would still be able to borrow money at a very good rate. So, stop with the small time thinking – that is un-American. The stimulus of $787 Billion was chump change and created between 3 and 4 million jobs and jolted us out of a recession and caused an increase in the manufacturing sector for the first time in 25 years. So, a focused economic policy with rewards, incentives and punishments are necessary to cure an ailing economy. I would suggest trashing the silly policy of deregulation and free-market tom-foolery that got us into this mess. -Jack A

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