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Opinion Editorial-Kansas City Star-"It's Time to Bring Missouri Jobs Back"

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank
Opinion Editorial, The Kansas City Star
"It’s Time to Bring Missouri jobs back"

Made in America means jobs. And manufacturers in places such as Missouri are realizing that investing here at home is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. That’s what I heard as I traveled across Missouri last week, starting in Kansas City.

Over the last two and one-half years, we’ve seen the strongest growth in manufacturing jobs since the 1990s. Missouri alone has gained nearly 9,000 manufacturing jobs over the last two and one-half years.

Importantly, these jobs pay better than average. That means more families are finding economic security because of America’s resurgent manufacturing sector.

Today we need to do everything we can to support American manufacturers, especially those who are either keeping jobs here or bringing jobs back from overseas, also known as “in-sourcing.”

The good news is an increasing number of companies are doing just that. And their reasons for investing here at home are compelling. Some say they’re investing here because our financial industry has found a stronger footing than in other countries. Others cite our strong intellectual property protections or our stable legal and regulatory environment. Still others say it’s because we have the best universities, the strongest research and development, and the most robust supply chains. We also have a favorable outlook for expanded domestic energy and lower energy prices in the United States.

And, of course, everyone knows that we have the hardest-working people, the most innovative entrepreneurs and the strongest consumer market in the world.

In Missouri, it’s great to hear stories such as Invensys Controls, a manufacturer that supplies valves, thermostats and switches for cooking appliances. The West Plains company announced this year that it would be bringing back as many as 200 jobs from Mexico.

Today we have an important opportunity to build on the momentum we’re seeing and create even more jobs. Specifically, President Barack Obama wants to give tax credits to companies for moving operations back to the United States. This would be paid for by eliminating deductions for expenses associated with moving operations overseas.

The president is also pushing Congress to pass measures that would help state and local governments hire or retain teachers, police and firefighters. And he is calling to put construction workers back on the job while repairing crumbling American infrastructure.

These proposals would create a million jobs, according to independent economists. Along with the president’s call to extend the middle-class tax cuts—which would save more than two million Missouri families about $1,600 each—these actions just make sense for businesses and working families.

The continued strength of American manufacturing is vital to ensuring that our economy is built to last. Let’s continue to empower our private sector to out-compete and out-innovate the rest of the world.

If we’re successful, we’ll see more good products stamped with Made in America, and we’ll see more Americans proudly getting up each day to go to work at good jobs.

In short, we’ll see our nation retain its place as the strongest competitor and most powerful leader in the global economy.