CPA's note: Jeff Ferry is Chief Economist at the Coalition for a Prosperous America, a bipartisan coalition of business, labor, and farmers focused on restoring US prosperity. Follow him at @menloferry.
President Trump is running behind his Democratic challenger in the polls. However, past polling has been badly wrong — we need only look as far as the 2016 election for a particularly sharp example. Polls mean nothing if the president plays his cards right. With four months to go until Election Day, he still holds the cards necessary to win in November.
[Jeff Ferry | July 20, 2020 | Real Clear Policy]
It’s no secret that the president’s message about jobs, manufacturing, and China, has resonated with voters on the Left and Right. It’s also no secret that a select few inner circle advisors to the president still privately object to the idea of reshoring and bringing manufacturing back to America. They are at best dovish on China and still see the world from a globalist point of view. But the president’s instincts are right, and he alone has the authority to use executive action to implement his vision.
Reshoring U.S. industry is just the play needed to reinvigorate voters and show them that industrial recovery is possible and that President Trump is the man to lead them for four more years. His message for the future must be about rebuilding America. He should follow a five-point plan to rebuild manufacturing and put money back in the pockets of voters.
Since taking office in 2017, President Trump has certainly broken some china — in a good way. No politician, Left or Right, in the last 20 years has done more to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party and attempt to rebalance trade. But more must be done, and the American voter is largely with President Trump when it comes to reshoring jobs and standing up to the communist regime of China. For example, China’s atrocities in the Uighur province of Xinjiang and Hong Kong — not to mention continued intellectual property theft — only reinforce voters’ dislike for the Xi regime.
President Trump should use his executive authority to get the reshoring process underway before the November election. Specifically, he should:
- Target Sectors. Identify critical industries where reshoring will start. He should choose industries critical to national security and/ health security, such as generic pharmaceuticals and PPE (personal protective equipment). The president must show voters that he is serious about creating several multi-billion dollar-industries, and thousands of jobs.
- Government Procurement Authority. The United States government should jumpstart demand in these industries by instructing federal agencies, like the military and VA hospitals, to give preference to American-made products whenever possible.
- Financial Incentives. The U.S. should provide financial incentives like tax credits, aggressive loan programs, R&D funding, and direct subsidies to ensure the growth and development of these industries. This is permitted under GATT Article XXI, which says clearly that a nation may take action to protect its “essential security interests.”
- Expand Free Trade Agreements to Exempt Trusted Allies. By focusing on trade with trusted allies, the U.S. can build a strong bloc of anti-totalitarian governments while making our supply chains more robust and reliable.
- Raise Tariffs. Boosting tariffs across the board (both bound and applied rates) will reduced import dependence and protect new U.S. industries from foreign predatory competition as they grow and scale up production. The priority should be on increasing tariffs for Chinese exports.
There is an obvious national security urgency about getting this done. Economically, this program will benefit voters, workers, and businesspeople in the American heartland.
The president can do all of this with a stroke of a pen. The outcome will be a massive groundswell of support from the Left and Right as well as key thought leaders in both parties in Congress. They understand that manufacturing employment makes a difference to the lives of every American.
The president holds the cards to make this happen. Now is the time to play them.
Read the original article here.