I’ve posted a number of articles critical of stances taken by John McCain. Now it’s Obama’s turn. The big news yesterday was Edwards’ high profile endorsement of Obama at a rally in Grand Rapids. Getting less press, except here in the Detroit area, was Obama’s speech at a local Chrysler stamping plant. So here’s some excerpts followed by my commentary:
Obama told more than 200 people at the meeting that he wants to invest billions to help the auto industry become more competitive.
He proposed a $150-billion federal investment over 10 years in the green economy, including incentives for the auto industry to develop more fuel-efficient cars; $1 billion a year to provide manufacturers with grants to convert to cleaner technologies; double the amount of federal money going into the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, to implement plant conversions, and $100 million a year for the Advanced Manufacturing Fund, which would invest in research and development of technological advances.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about “investing in green technology,” as though somehow the manufacturing of “green technology” equipment is immune to outsourcing and foreign competition. We definitely need more investment in this area, but it will do absolutely nothing to address the trade deficit and the loss of manufacturing jobs.
The only incentive the auto industry needs for developing more fuel efficient vehicles is a profit incentive. They have to be able to make money selling their vehicles. How much profit potential is there, how much incentive, to invest billions of dollars in new technology, only to have the door thrown open to every global manufacturer who wants a piece of the U.S. market but has nothing to offer in return? How many of our cars will Japan and Korea commit to buying? How many American made cars will be exported to China? If the answer is few or none, as it has been for decades, then the only answer is to charge them a penalty, otherwise known as a tariff, for access to our market when they give us no equivalent access in return. This is just common sense.
These other ideas – a “Manufacturing Extension Partnership” and an “Advanced Manufacturing Fund” are high-minded sounding names designed to fool American manufacturing workers into believing that something substantive is planned for them.
Come on, Senator Obama, I believe you’re better than this; you’re smarter than this. You talk about “change.” Where is the change in our trade policy? Where will be the change in our trade picture? Can you promise us that our trade deficit will change into a balance of trade or, dare I say the word – a trade surplus? The time for trivial, meaningless measures is long past. There’s no time to waste. Our economy can’t endure year-in, year-out trade deficits approaching a trillion dollars a year. Show us REAL CHANGE!!