Competing to Win

Manufacturers' Agenda for Economic Growth and American Exceptionalism

Every day, manufacturers go to work to serve their customers, strengthen their companies and improve their communities. And in doing so, they are advancing four core values that make America an exceptional nation.

“Competing to Win” is a policy roadmap that expresses the priorities of manufacturers in the United States. The strategy contained here would strengthen our industry and open new doors of opportunity for all Americans.

This year, we will head to the polls for another presidential election. We will consider which candidate is best prepared to lead us in the right direction, to improve the quality of life in our country and to protect freedom and opportunity for the next generation. We firmly believe that this agenda will be an asset to any candidate or officeholder working to chart a new way forward.

Jay Timmons
President and CEO
National Association of Manufacturers

Read the Full Agenda

Inertia on modernizing our nation’s tax code is no longer an option. Indeed, standing still is causing us to fall further behind as a nation while other peer nations compete to attract and grow their tax base. While this realization has nally resulted in broad agreement that comprehensive tax reform is an economic imperative, it is still not yet a reality. In 2016 and beyond, policymakers must be committed to enacting pro-growth, pro-competitive, pro-manufacturing comprehensive tax reform, and that effort must begin as soon as possible.

Manufacturers of all sizes can no longer rely on the U.S. market as the primary source of growth. To grow and thrive in today’s competitive global markets, manufacturers must increasingly reach new customers and seize new opportunities overseas. While opportunities are substantial in the global market, so too are the barriers, challenges and competition.

Today’s access to diverse, affordable and reliable energy was unthinkable 20 or even 10 years ago. Unleashing new and existing technologies to access and deploy a wide array of domestic energy sources was once an unrealized dream that many believed would not be possible in a lifetime. Today, manufacturers utilize and benefit from all forms of energy—oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear and renewables—while making smart investments to become more energy efficient.

Manufacturers have demonstrated a commitment to protecting the environment through greater sustainability, increased energy efficiency and reduced emissions. These improvements have helped usher in an era of cleaner air and a more sustainable environment. The United States has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions over the past decade more than any other nation in the world, led by manufacturers that have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10 percent since 2005, while our value added to the economy grew by 19 percent.

Manufacturers need competitive infrastructure to thrive in today’s global economy. Unfortunately, the nation’s infrastructure is outdated and resting on a legacy built by previous generations.

The United States will not maintain its mantle of economic leadership unless all labor stakeholders work together to ensure the best and most productive workplaces. Employees, organized labor, management and lawmakers should collaborate in search of outcomes that deliver a positive work environment, opportunities for employee professional growth and safe and healthy facilities. Labor law and workplace regulations do not reflect the changing dynamics of modern manufacturing and instead were designed for a previous era.

Comprehensive immigration reform holds the power to transform not only manufacturing but also our nation and economy to new heights. Unfortunately, political inertia has held us back from achieving progress and needed reforms.

The skills gap is widening, and over the next decade, 3.4 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled. The severe shortage of manufacturing skills in the United States has the potential to impede the trend of steady growth in our nation’s manufacturing.

Escalating health care costs continue to be one of the top concerns for manufacturers. In spite of recently enacted two-year suspensions of the employee benefits tax and the anticompetitive tax on medical devices, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to impact manufacturers by adding costs and making critical health care services and treatments even more expensive for employees of manufacturers. Recent increases in health care premiums have deepened the frustration.

Manufacturers in the United States have created an innovation engine that has delivered new technologies and processes that have brought us energy independence, new lifesaving medicines and medical devices, more efficient automobiles and countless other everyday products that make lives better and secure our nation’s global leadership position in manufacturing.

A more competitive economy demands a reform of the nation’s broken legal and regulatory systems. While both operate separately and require different sets of reforms, our legal and regulatory structures have become barriers to economic growth, hindering innovation and slowing productivity. Time and resources are spent complying with inefficient, duplicative and unnecessarily burdensome regulations.