October 29th, 2011
11:04 AM ET

GPS reader: America needs an industrial policy

A GPS reader named Joseph left the following, thoughtful comment on the post, U.S. economy recovered from recession but jobs lag far behind. He was responding to the question: Given that economic output has returned to pre-2008-crisis levels, why haven't jobs done the same? 

"Joblessness recoveries correspond to the "unbalancing of our economy". We now have a service economy that in some cases barely provides a living wage. This was camouflaged a huge trade-gap financed by our borrowing as a nation and the long-lasting housing bubble. The truth is we don't make very much any more. American "industrial production" has fallen off a cliff. We have transferred our technology and jobs for decades. Even "Apple" the largest company by market capitalization in America s not made here."

"This is symptomatic of the problem. We don't make enough of what we consume, or produce enough other stuff for export. Unlike Germany that has a "national industrial policy" that has maintained domestic industrial jobs and ensured its status as a net exporting country, we have weak programs and ineffective jaw-boning that doesn't translate into a definitive, strong "American industrial policy" plan that ensures Americans jobs first and foremost!"

"The programs politicians propose, like more consumption, cutting government, tax the rich, flat tax, and tariffs just address the symptoms, and dances around the real problem. We need to re-industrialize America to produce here with the addition of developing light industry. Virtually everyone we have a negative-trade balance with represents American jobs gone somewhere else."

"I say lower taxes on domestic production over 5-years, while raising taxes sharply on foreign goods targeted to this market over 5-years. The federal government can get with states to offer declining incentives over 5-years to invest here. Some people have called this protectionism. Nonsense! It is our internal policy. China requires you to open a factory, divulge your patents, which they steal, and take a 51% Chinese partner. I say our policies should allow us to compete and win."

"This is not 30's protectionism. Jobs have not dried up, just gone somewhere else. The [world's] second largest economy does not play by our rules and considers them irrelevant. We need a new set of rules that allow us to win. We need a definitive 'American industrial policy" that takes care of our citizens first and foremost! Producing nations win, consuming nations become debtors.

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Topics: Jobs • Reader Comments

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Onesmallvoice

    Aother reason for all this joblessness is the automation of our industries. For example, many of our workers are being replaced by robots which work around the clock and thus eliminating 3 jobs in a row!

    October 29, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Reply
  2. j. von hettlingen

    "I say lower taxes on domestic production over 5-years, while raising taxes sharply on foreign goods targeted to this market over 5-years".
    One has to manufacture high-end products to make the labour costs worth the while. Cheap items might as well be imported.

    October 29, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  3. Ann R. Key

    Americans wanted inexpensive consumer goods and manufacterers were more than happy to give them that by moving most jobs overseas where labor is cheap. The obvious downside is that products are poorly made and have to be replaced much more often-so in the long run we aren't saving any money by buying this junk and a lot of Americans have no decent paying jobs anymore! I would definitely be willing to pay more for better quality items made in America (if I could even find them!) And with the economy still in the toilet,that's not possible for a lot of us. It's a no-win situation.

    October 29, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Reply
  4. PeterM

    America has an industrial policy. Its purpose is to build a National Security State. The policy is about spending trillions on the military-aerospace-transport-information technology sector to create an unassailable national security state that can maintain a preeminent position internationally for 50 years and can control any domestic threats that may emanate from civil society, organised crime or terrorism. It may also be called Paranoia state.

    October 31, 2011 at 3:01 am | Reply

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