THE BLOG
12/01/2009 05:26 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

White House Jobs Summit -- A Bold Plan For U.S. Manufacturing

Where did our good jobs go? The U.S. market is the world's biggest and richest. But U.S. manufacturing is where we've lost millions of jobs in recent years under rapid globalization. It will take strong national action to recover!

Good companies and jobs just disappeared!: A major lost jobs problem has been U.S. manufacturing's inability to compete in our own market vs. foreign companies with cheap labor, government subsidies, or low currency exchange rates from nations like China, Japan, and Germany. For the most recent 5 year period, 2004 - 2008,the US had a total trade deficit of $3.5 trillion! That's in our own market where we should do well. We borrow $2 billion every day to pay for it! Far too many imports have caused the closing of thousands of good U.S. manufacturers, with more than 2.5. million good jobs lost since the recession began. Why did this happen? What corrective action can be taken now?

Legislation For a "Level Playing Field": Effective legislation is the surest way to force action on any big national problem. The best plan developed for fairer competition with foreign importers in our domestic market is draft Senate bill S.3899 "The Balanced Trade Restoration Act of 2006", sponsored by Senators Dorgan and Feingold. It lacked enough support to pass when the economy seemed O.K. in 2006. But now with our jobs and deficit situation so serious, updated legislation could attract wide bipartisan support for fast enactment.

Passing S.3899 is especially important if more stimulus money is spent to foster new "green" industries. There's no avoiding foreign competition. For example, Brazil is already supplying many of the large metal blades used in wind power turbines here. S.3899 will assure a competitive market where US producers can reopen and new companies thrive, with both providing good jobs. It will also cause US companies to reconsider the off-shoring of work to supply the US market. Under S.3899, all items brought in from abroad would have new import costs to enter the US that they won't incur if the work is done here.

Not "Protectionist" or "Anti-Globalization" and is Self-funding: No one should view S.3899 as "protectionist" or "anti-globalization". Instead, it's the fairest way to keep our huge market open to all by "leveling the playing field". No industry or country is targeted or favored in S.3899. All imports having the required import certificates are welcome. Certificates of a value equal to our exports will be issued by the U.S. each year and sold in open trading. It's also important that S.3899 is self-funding. It's the only plan being proposed that won't require more government deficit spending, and it will create many thousands of jobs while reducing our trade deficit and excessive borrowing from abroad.