Manufacturers reacted to President Trump’s address to the nation with glee, saying that “he hit the reset button and offered a message of unity and economic opportunity.”
Chief Executive Jay Timmons, who is on a tour to promote American manufacturing and who was speaking in Madison, Wis., said that the president was right to peel back the regulations facing manufacturers while at the same time offering to let government partner with private companies.
“Manufacturers are energized by the President’s proposals for competitive tax and smart regulatory reforms, as well as his call for significant investment in our nation’s infrastructure,” Timmons said.
“Manufacturers are ready to stand with him as he pursues $1 trillion of long-overdue investment in infrastructure, or as he declared: a ‘new program of national rebuilding,’” he continued. “Manufacturers are also ready to work with Congress and the Administration on comprehensive tax reform, and we look forward to seeing the President’s plan to provide a transformational jolt for manufacturers and our economy.”
He implored lawmakers to put politics aside. But what he didn’t mention is that the investments in infrastructure for which Trump is advocating — new roads, bridges and airports, for instance — is costly and considered “make-work” by most Republicans but they are thought to invaluable investments in America’s workforce by most Democrats.
“If ports are clogged, trucks are delayed, power is down, or the internet has a lapse, productivity and customer service are impacted. This is not just my story. Across the manufacturing sector, transportation logistics matter, and congestion—whether at a port or on a crowded highway—is waste that drives the consumer’s cost up like a hidden tax,” testified Mary Andringa, chair of the board for Vermeer Corp. before the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
By some estimates, she continues, without significant and timely upgrading of our infrastructure, the United States will lose more than 2.5 million jobs by 2025 and more than 5.8 million by 2040.
If there is room for bipartisanship, however, this pursuit might be it. The country spends surprisingly little on infrastructure — 3% of gross domestic product. But it’s hard to find common ground when the president is talking about tax cuts at the same time he is discussing government outlays for highways and byways. Trump, though, says his infrastructure plan is revenue neutral and that it will return $10 for every $1 invested.
Trump wants to allocate $1 trillion to the effort — something that he said would be funded by focusing more on the priorities and less on those overseas, such as Middle Eastern wars that he said this country has spent $6 trillion on. He said the steel used to rebuild America would come from this country and that it would be American workers who would do the job.
“We’ve spent trillions of dollars abroad while our infrastructure has crumbled,” Trump said last night. “Our crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads. Our dying industries will return.”