Michigan has lost manufacturing jobs to low cost countries. It’s about time we reverse this trend.
NAFTA is 24 years old and WTO is 17 years. Since these two treaties, our high paying manufacturing jobs have relentlessly migrated to low cost countries creating severe hardship for our families and towns. We have changed from a nation of manufacturers and innovators to a nation of consumers. I work in the automotive sector, so I’ve seen this first hand. We cannot just sit around and keep taking a beating. I believe trade treaties need to be re-negotiated every 10 years. This will ensure they continue to perform in the nation’s best interest. Proposed tariffs are insignificant compared to our larger problems. No country will tolerate devastation to their manufacturing and farming sector just because of some trade treaties.
More important is how we stay a viable manufacturing base for exports. We have to remove many constraints on manufacturing and farming industries that will make them competitive for export.
Where ever possible, government needs to promote local manufacturing without hurting it. Political leaders should work with manufacturers and township officials to setup manufacturing plants in our district. Make it easy and cost effective for manufacturers to operate. Reducing cost of operation and time to market will also allow manufacturers to become viable long-term exporters.
On the education front, we can do a lot more to create a skilled workforce kids leave High School. Twenty years of direction-less policies have devastated manufacturing communities and skilled trades. Being able to work with your hands is key to success. We have to bring back vocational classes to all schools starting as early as middle school.