After months of being bombarded by political messages pointing out differences, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons called for Americans to come together after President Obama's re-election.
"There is much work ahead of us, and manufacturers are ready to help the president and all elected leaders succeed in turning our economy around," Timmons said. "After all, it is time for our nation to heal and for Americans to come together.”
Timmons noted that the "president talked about manufacturing throughout his campaign as he has during his first term in office, and we will continue to urge the administration to achieve real results to bring about a manufacturing renaissance."
Timmons added, "We’ll work with the administration to double exports, on ways to strengthen our workforce and prepare Americans for jobs in modern manufacturing. We will also continue to make our case for pro-growth energy and tax policies, and for common-sense regulation."
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka sounded both a conciliatory and a partisan note in congratulating Obama on his victory. "With 'Osama dead and GM alive' and the economy beginning to pick up steam, we are ready to work together with the president and all willing parties to win greater equality and economic opportunity for all—starting with ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and opposing any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits."
It's time now for Congressional leaders, the president and their supporters to stop drawing lines in the sand and start drawing up some plans to boost the U.S. economy. The U.S. recently completed its fourth year with a budget deficit greater than $1 trillion. Total U.S. debt tops $16 trillion.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. is spending about half of the $2.2 trillion it needs to repair and upgrade its infrastructure, a critical issue for a nation locked in an increasingly competitive global economy.
At a time when manufacturing jobs go unfilled, 12.3 million Americans are unemployed, some 5 million long-term. Factor in those who have dropped out of the workforce and the number is much worse. Meanwhile, manufacturing, a primary engine of this weak recovery, has seen its employment growth flatten out.
Some 1.2 million kids drop out of school each year, according to the Broad Foundation. For just 2007, the cost to the nation of those dropouts was $300 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity.
These and many other problems won't be solved with easy campaign slogans. It will take work on both sides. And the time for our politicians to roll up their sleeves and start is right now. After making us endure all those political ads, you owe us at least that much.