By James R. Grosmann
Congratulations Mr. President! You showed how a good team can run a campaign and capture the most powerful office in the world. You now have a great duty — to represent all of America, not just your most loyal supporters. You promised during your campaign to “bring America together and unite the country.” We hope you will. Having been in office for almost 90 days, I expect you’re starting to see how campaign promises differ from the decisions faced by elected officials.
As you face these decisions, we hope you will listen to facts, and not just to those people and groups promoting their specific agendas. Most specifically, we hope you’ll recognize that U.S. manufacturing is not dead, but that if some of your advisors have their way you will damage it severely. Will passing the Employee Free Choice Act unite the country? Consider these facts:
• 80% of jobs created in 2008 were created by small businesses;
• Small businesses account for more than 50% of all jobs in the U.S.;
• U.S. small manufacturing companies pay an average of $11,000/employee to cover the cost of federal “mandated” rules/regulations;
• The U.S. metalworking industry is comprised primarily of companies classified as small businesses, and currently it has an estimated 40,000 unfilled openings for skilled positions;
• Skilled workers in the U.S. metalworking industry earn starting salaries averaging $45,000/year to over $60,000/year.
How can the Employee Free Choice Act help you to represent all of America if it takes away U.S. citizens’ right to a secret ballot when voting on union representation. It also forces binding arbitration and a two-year labor contract on employers. In 2001, 18 members of your own party sent a letter to the Mexican government “demanding” that Mexico allow its citizens a secret ballot when voting for (or against) a union. Why don’t U.S. citizens deserve that same right?
Companies that compete globally must be flexible and innovative, and forcing a government-mandated union contract on these businesses will prevent them from being either of these. The vast majority of U.S. business owners want to pay their employees as much as they can, and they want them to be safe and happy. Will raising payroll taxes unify the country? No! It will encourage small business owners to consider eliminating jobs in order to pay the higher taxes. The higher taxes you propose will lead to job losses, an effect that nobody wants.
Will raising taxes on individuals making aboveaverage incomes unite the country? Again, no! Usually, these are the same business owners who create jobs, and punishing them for being successful will impair their efforts at job creation. These smallbusiness owners cannot take another hit to their profitability, which has been declining every year for over a decade. They cannot pass on higher costs to customers that are demanding lower costs from them. They’re competing against foreign companies that receive government subsidies and don’t carry the same overhead costs. The U.S. government has no business hindering the competitive position that U.S. companies are fighting so hard to gain.
How will job growth be supported by increasing taxes on the companies that have created the most jobs, by increasing the cost of regulations on those same companies, or by making it harder for them to compete? It won’t! It can’t. It never has. Increasing the overall costs of creating jobs has the opposite effect, as history has proved. Instead of hindering job growth, it should be the role of the U.S. government to help sustain job growth.
Mr. President, many of your plans call for projects to be funded by tax dollars. How will private employers sustain the cost of increasing the scope of government if there will be fewer people working to pay the taxes to support that expansion? If you want to create goodpaying jobs, then help the millions of small familybusiness owners to hire and train those workers.
The U.S. manufacturing sector consists of so much more than large organizations, like automakers. It includes thousands of family-owned companies supplying parts and services to many other, larger companies, across many different sectors. These companies have been, and are, the core of the U.S. economy.
Mr. President, over 60 million voters elected you, but another 50 million preferred another candidate. Your party has control of both houses of Congress. If your policies hamper this economy further, and make it harder for U.S. companies to compete, who will be blamed for the damage? Don’t be the President who’s remembered for ending manufacturing in America!
The National Tooling & Machining Association working for United States of America Small Business Manufacturers