Election Year Advice for Manufacturers


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Here is one economist’s view of the effects of Washington DC on domestic manufacturing and how to fix it. In the short-term, the growing debt levels represent a risk of systemic economic collapse. A small economy like Greece collapsing represented a huge problem. If the American economy collapses, it would be apocalyptic. But short-term risk is not the only issue here. Over the long-term, the growing burden from the debt and deficit will constrain private sector research and development.

This means that new manufactured products and the problems they solve will not be invented or they will not get to market. America’s competitive edge in the global marketplace in both technology and productivity will erode. This will not only affect negatively our standard of living, but it will compromise our national security. Manufacturers such as mold builders, plastics machinery OEMs and plastics processors help to make this country great, but if they cannot make products that the world needs and wants, then we will all suffer.

So this is not a partisan problem, it is an American problem, and as we should have learned by now, if the country goes down, then all of us (as well as the Democrats and Republicans) go down with it. We can no longer afford to bury our heads in the sand and just keep borrowing massive amounts of money from China, Japan, and others to finance our debts. All of us will have to make sacrifices. Let’s get started and get it done. If a candidate is honest and acknowledges both the urgency of this problem and its politically unpopular solution, then I will vote for him or her.

A popular election-year habit that must be broken is to stop pointing fingers and placing blame in an effort to get elected. I want to hear ideas, not accusations about your opponent. In recent years I have received thousands of e-mails and heard hundreds of talk show hosts that spew personal insults on Obama, Bush, Cheney, Pelosi, Reid, Palin, etc. Most people say that they agree with me here, but in many of the elections this fall, the campaigns will turn negative because all too often going negative works. All of these personal attacks have the cumulative effect of making the country ungovernable. My reaction to negative e-mails is to delete them. For negative talk show hosts, I turn them off and do not support their sponsors. So negative does not work with me. Not ever.

And finally, I will not ever vote for the candidate that spends the most money trying to get elected. I respond to ideas, not sound bytes. No matter what your party affiliation or background, I will take the time to listen if you take the time to explain. So I need more information then you could ever put into an ad or a bumper sticker. And one more thing. If a candidate spends a lot of money, then it usually means he is too beholden to the sources of that money to be a trustworthy legislator.

A lot of effort has been made in recent years to limit the amount of money in elections, but such limitations have been deemed unconstitutional. I actually agree with this. But I can still vote for who I want, and if I do not want to vote for a big-spender, then that is my constitutional right. Too much money buying elections has become a problem, so I will exercise my right to vote for candidates that do not spend their way to victory.