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MAKE: An American Manufacturing Movement

The Council on Competitiveness (www.compete.org) presents "Make: An American Manufacturing Movement." It transmits this strategy to the President, members of Congress, governors and stakeholders across the country in business, academia and labor.

Says the release from the Council, "ultimately, though, we are issuing a call to the American people with a renewed sense of urgency and resolve. Manufacturing is a cornerstone of American independence, economic prosperity and national security that we must not surrender."

Americans are makers—a nation of tinkerers, inventors, craftsmen and entrepreneurs. Our call for a robust manufacturing sector stems not from a nostalgic yearning for the past, but a clear-eyed determination to forge a dynamic future for Americans through a new era of production excellence. Manufacturing remains a driver of innovation and job creation, even as automation and technology make manufacturing more efficient.
 
The United States must implement sound policies to grow the manufacturing sector. We applaud the increased public and political attention given to manufacturing, though we remain deeply concerned that the United States has yet to understand and fully respond to the challenges affecting the American economy. America’s economic portfolio requires a healthy and growing manufacturing sector to tackle the grand macro-economic problems facing the country, like job creation, debt reduction and infrastructure investments.
 
We urge the President and Congress to act with us to implement this strategy and do their part to unleash America’s manufacturing potential. This strategy is powerful because it includes input from the highest levels of industry, academia, research and labor—representing sectors across the manufacturing landscape. These leaders and experts agree that manufacturing
is critical for American prosperity and national security. We must take immediate action to remain globally competitive.
 
The image of manufacturing as dumb, dirty, dangerous and disappearing is far from accurate. Today, manufacturing is smart, safe, sustainable and surging. It has evolved to encompass a wide range of digital, mechanical and materials technologies that infuse every step of designing, developing, fabricating, delivering and servicing manufactured goods. This includes high-tech modeling and simulation as well as robotics, artificial intelligence and sensors for process control and measurement. Manufacturing is about managing global supply chains and digital networks. And, more than ever, manufacturing is about engaging with employees and customers to create new tailored products and experiences to meet the discerning needs of customers around the world.
 
In this global, knowledge intensive and consumer-oriented economy, the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing has never been more uncertain or more important—nor have policy prescriptions been more contentious. All Americans would benefit from getting this right. A new era of manufacturing excellence offers hope for good jobs, new innovations and a higher standard of living. America would benefit from faster economic growth, a more secure industrial and defense base and an ability to produce solutions to national challenges in energy, health, environment and the economy. A robust American manufacturing sector can also spur global economic growth as well as help supply safe food and water to a global population that could reach more than nine billion people in the next 50 years.
 
America cannot rely forever on a consumption-based, debt-fueled economy. America needs to put its fiscal house in order, invest strategically, and produce more goods and services for consumers at home and around the world.
 
Although America remains the world’s top producer, our nation has surrendered important manufacturing sectors. They were not all lost in the pursuit of cheaper labor or as a result of products becoming low-margin commodities. We have lost production of cutting-edge innovations developed in America because of tax, regulatory, skill, finance and infrastructure limitations that make production elsewhere more competitive.
 
Americans have always been pioneers, risk-takers and makers. Our task is to set those impulses free and embrace production once more. We must create a business environment that fosters breakthrough innovations, rapid commercialization and manufacturing at scale. Americans have proven adept at rising to the economic challenge of their time. Such a time is now for manufacturing—and we are confident that Americans will set in place the policies to ignite a new era of competitive and sustainable manufacturing.
 
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