Earlier this month, the Alliance for American Manufacturing released polling showing the overwhelming support—among all political affiliations and demographics—for Washington to focus on jobs, and particularly manufacturing jobs. To refresh your memory on that:
Now AAM's executive director, Scott Paul, has some concrete actions Congress can take to do just that.
Creating one manufacturing job will support four or five other jobs in the economy, which is why it makes sense to adopt a coordinated manufacturing policy which would include the following steps:
• Establish a national infrastructure bank to leverage capital for large-scale transportation and energy projects.
• Reshape the tax code in a revenue neutral way to provide incentives for job creation and inward investment. R&D tax credits should help firms that not only innovate in America but also make their products here. Lower tax rates for manufacturing activity in America and eliminate tax shelters for hedge funds or financial transactions that have no real value.
• Apply "buy America" provisions to all federal spending to ensure that American workers and businesses get the first shot at procurement contracts. (Nothing says "please steal our jobs" like using subsidized Chinese steel in construction projects.)[...]
Those are just a few ideas Congress could take, which shouldn't be controversial, even in this climate. Of course, eliminating tax shelters for hedge funds and financial transactions shouldn't be controversial, but Republicans will still balk, which makes them good targets for Democrats to push. Any opportunity to point out that Republicans prioritize tax breaks for rich people above jobs should be taken.
That said, getting anything through the obstructionist GOP in Congress will be next to impossible. So the good news is that Paul also has plenty of ideas for action President Obama could take unilaterally that wouldn't require congressional approval at all. That ranges from using the Small Business and Treasury to do what Wall Street has been dragging its heels on—making small business loans to directing the Defense Department to "leverage existing procurement to contractors that commit to increasing their domestic content of our military equipment, technology and supplies."
Josh Marshall write a good post telling us all to "get real" on Obama's would-be job creating efforts because, "Let's not forget the real story: Republican intransigence and hostility to any job creation measures." There's the other side to that real story, though: The American public overwhelmingly wants serious job creation out of Washington, and they'll reward those who act on jobs, and punish those who block that action.