WASHINGTON - In response to President Obama's State of the Union Address, ITIF made the following statement:
"The President's affirmation of the importance of manufacturing is a welcome message. However, we cannot rebuild our economy or restore the hopes of workers without a bold, comprehensive and coherent strategy to revitalize manufacturing that includes state-of-the-art technology, well-trained workers, pro-innovation tax policies and rules-based trade.
As ITIF's analyses have shown, the depth of the Great Recession and the anemic pace of the recovery are directly linked to the manufacturing job losses in recent years, which are unprecedented in our history - exceeding even those experienced during the Great Depression.
The President's speech affirms the fact that manufacturing still matters. The reality is that when we lose manufacturing, we lose our innovation and technological knowhow, which are the basis of both U.S. competitiveness and a strong middle class.
We have a long way to go to revitalize this critical sector. What matters now is matching words with action.The President and many Members of Congress agree on such issues as insourcing, manufacturing competitiveness, and R&D. They should not wait until after the election to act.
We need a manufacturing strategy with an emphasis on technology, including expanded investments to support advanced manufacturing. Further, there is no reason why Democrats and Republicans cannot come together on pass tax laws aimed at encouraging and facilitating investments in equipment, innovation and technology.
At the same time, we urge the President and Congress to avoid tax simplification schemes that punish companies, particularly those in traded sectors where global competition is intense and growing every day.
Similarly, ensuring that global markets are truly open to American products-and that our trade partners adhere to the WTO commitments they have made-transcends party identification. We agree that the flagrant disregard for intellectual property is wrong and drains billions of dollars from our economy. We welcome the President's call for a new Trade Enforcement Unit. ITIF has long championed such an idea as ever more countries engage ininnovation mercantilism.
In addition, we have known for decades that American workers need to be better educated and trained. This is something business and labor leaders agree on and which policy makers can and must address, in part by improving STEM education and by tying more funding to performance to spur innovation in education, as the Department of Education's "Race to the Top" initiative has done.
The Charter to Revitalize American Manufacturing, which ITIF helped formulate with support from a diverse group of business and labor organizations, provides a comprehensive set of policy recommendations that can truly renew U.S. manufacturing."