Here’s A Solution: Why Not Declare War On Manufacturing?

Declaring 'war' on manufacturing just may be the ticket for recovery, if past 'wars' we've waged are any indication ...

Watching the government in the US dance around solutions for our economy and manufacturing base would be funny, if it wasn’t actually (not) happening.

And that’s the problem isn’t it? President Obama seems to have a pathology for talking about issues – issuing decrees & observations, creating initiatives with little or no follow-up, and delivering heartfelt speeches that will have little tangible, short-term effect – in ways that almost look like he doesn’t have an idea what to do next. In the military, we called it ‘flailing about smartly’ – that is, doing nothing, but looking awfully impressive while doing it.

But it’s not all the President’s fault. His cabinet, his advisers, our Congress (on both sides of the aisle) – our entire government seems to be exclusively stocked by academics and economists that only measure those things which have already happened. There appears to be no clue, except to listen to multinationals and lobbyists – still others that aren’t really good at building something outta nothin’.

While things look pretty bleak right now, I had an idea to get us unstuck from this malaise right quick. It’s simple, effective, and our government has shown that it’s up to the task.

I say we declare a war on manufacturing.

I mean, think about it – we have a pretty impressive track record in this regard, in ways that transcend political parties, international borders and cultures.

In 1964, we declared a War on Poverty. This campaign began as an investment of 1.2% of GDP back then, and was only intended to be temporary. And nearly 50 years later, we’re still in the battle, the investment has risen to an estimated 13-times the original amount, and – here’s the best part – there are more people living in poverty today than since such numbers were tracked in the US Census. For those of you keeping track, that’s 52 years of ineptitude.

And how about my personal favorite, the War on Drugs? How’s that going for us? Our federal government spent approximately $15-billion in 2010 on this war. And it’s estimated that state and local governments spent an additional $25-billion in ’10, bringing the cost of the fight to a cool $40-billion, along with who knows how many lives and liberties lost. (In case you’re wondering, the total cost of this war since Nixon declared it in the 70s stands at right around $1-trillion.) Our prisons spend countless resources incarcerating ‘criminals’ that aren’t violent – they just need help (that we don’t have the gumption – or money, now – to provide). And what have we gotten for this national sacrifice? Abuse is still rampant, and the violence that evolves around this failed prohibition has made gazillionaires out of the real criminals.

Two ‘wars’ – that is, two national policies formed to eradicate things that national policies have little chance of eradicating – that are both abysmal failures.

So, maybe – just maybe – if we declare a War on Manufacturing in the US we could expect 13 times growth. We could see the number of small & medium manufacturing businesses explode in this country – like children living in poverty and drug ‘criminals’ –  with all the intrinsic and downstream jobs created around them.

Hey, it’s worth a shot – ’cause what we’re doing now isn’t working.

Where do I enlist?

AJ Sweatt
  1. I was expecting ‘A Modest Proposal’ style sardonic post from the title, but appreciate that you went straight to the (somewhat depressing) facts.

    Keep up the great work, AJ and if you decide to write that awesome satire, I’d love the chance to coauthor 😉

    • Heather! Thanks so much for the comment – the main point of this is to take another approach to the grim reality that government isn’t the solution to manufacturing’s (and employment’s) ills. The solution is a comprehensive manufacturing policy that establishes a level playing field upon which to do business. In short, get ’em out of our way and let us do what we do best – build tangible value and create meaningful jobs. These are not the cats we want digging too deep in this.

      And I’ll definitely give you a shout so’s we can stir it up, collaboration-style. Thanks for all you do – keep up the good works yourself, yo.

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