Original Press Release
NAM President Engler Says Rising Exports Are Keeping Economy Afloat
Press release date: October 6, 2008
State Policies Make A Big Difference
CHICAGO, Illinois, October 6, 2008 - National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President John Engler today told a meeting of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs that rising exports of U.S. manufactured goods are keeping the economy afloat, but that state government policies have a direct bearing on the ability of manufacturing to keep pace in the global marketplace.
"I believe states are still the masters of their own fates and can make a difference individually," Engler said. "Illinois is the equivalent of Mexico economically; Wisconsin of South Africa; Michigan of Argentina; and Ohio of Australia. Each of those countries seems confident enough to chart its own future and the future of manufacturing. So should the states."
Engler drew a stark comparison of the economic performances of Indiana and his home state of Michigan where he served three terms as governor. "Indiana is the most intensive manufacturing state in the country and in the past was just as dependent as Michigan on the automotive sector. But Governor Mitch Daniels has a record of lower taxes, less regulation and an emphasis on diversifying the economy. To promote innovation, he raised the tax credit for R&D. Indiana's tax rate is 12th lowest, Michigan is 49th. And while Indiana's unemployment rate is 6.4 percent, not great, Michigan's is the worst in the country at 8.9 percent."
Engler said national policies also bear a major impact on the ability of U.S. manufacturers to compete globally. "The United States has the second highest corporate tax rate in the world and prevents development of domestic energy supplies," he said. "Far too many of our public schools are graduating students unprepared for college or the working world."
Engler said that exports of U.S. manufactured goods were rising so fast that the U.S. now has a sizable surplus with free trade agreement nations. "That includes the North American Free Trade Agreement," he said. "And yet here in the Midwest we have U.S. Senators - including two here in Illinois - who vote against free trade agreements. One of them is campaigning for President as an explicit opponent of trade, a critic of NAFTA."
Engler told his audience that the U.S. was and remains the world's premier manufacturing power and will continue to enjoy that status indefinitely. "And if by some miracle we could persuade our political leaders at the national and state level of the wisdom of working with us instead of against us, there is no limit to what we can achieve," he said.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation's largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM's award-winning web site at www.nam.org for more information about manufacturing and the economy.