Whip Hoyer and Rep. Carnahan Op-ed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Grow the Economy Through Manufacturing

For Immediate Release:

May 18, 2011

Contact:

Katie GrantDaniel Reilly, 202-225-3130

Wanted to make sure you saw the op-ed by Whip Hoyer and Rep. Russ Carnahan in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch regarding the Democrats' Make It In America agenda. To read the op-ed, click here or see below.

Grow the Economy Through Manufacturing

By Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer and Rep. Russ Carnahan

Families and small businesses have been hurting, and for far too long. Since 1979, the number of manufacturing employees has shrunk from 20 million to 12 million. And in the last decade, that process has accelerated. As a result, America's middle-class families have lost $2,000 in yearly income. And in St. Louis, from 2004 to 2010, the region lost 28 percent of its manufacturing jobs.

The world has changed, and Washington has taken too long to respond, ignoring American manufacturing and stifling American ingenuity.

Here's what hasn't changed: Americans still are the most creative and productive people in the world. We're still great at making things. And that's why we are working to pass the "Make it in America" agenda — because American manufacturing can and should be the central driver of our economy again.

Nowhere is this more true than in St. Louis. Manufacturing built this city, and its decline has had a devastating effect on businesses, communities and families across the entire region.

But as Harry Truman once said, "A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties."

St. Louis' strong history of making things provides a unique advantage. We need to tap into that strength and implement a multi-pronged approach to bring high-quality, high-paying jobs back home — an issue we will discuss together with businesses and workers at a "Make it in America" Forum today in St. Louis.

That's the purpose of the "Make it in America" agenda — to restore the manufacturing sector of our economy and get back to doing what Americans do best: making high-quality products.

That means making investments in education, innovation, infrastructure and manufacturing. As Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO put it, "Whether it is building roads, bridges, high-speed broadband, energy systems and schools, these projects not only create jobs and demand for businesses, they are an investment in building the modern infrastructure our country needs to compete in a global economy."

Make It In America also means leveling the playing field for small businesses here at home so they can compete in the global market. We know that when there's a fair playing field, American businesses and workers can successfully compete with anyone in the world.

This isn't a Democratic or Republican issue ­— it's a common sense issue, and we all share a responsibility to tackle these problems together.

Strengthening our competitiveness, continuing the rebirth of American manufacturing and creating more well-paying jobs are defining challenges of this decade. Meeting these challenges means recommitting ourselves to creating a thriving environment for the businesses that create jobs as well as the families who depend on them. It also means reclaiming what has long been a point of American pride.

We've always been proud to be a country that makes things. And with wise investments, tough enforcement and smart policies, we can be that country again.