Chain Reactions

What Hath Obama Wrought?

As you could probably imagine, no sooner did the networks declare Obama the winner than a flood of press releases and opinion pieces speculating on what an Obama Administration will mean for manufacturers started hitting my inbox. Some of these were just plain cranky (there are at least as many sore winners out there as there are sore losers), some were your basic "we look forward to working with the new President" platitudes that when put into context could be translated into, "we look forward to hounding you every chance we get until you see things our way," and some were just plain goofy.

As a public service to IndustryWeek readers, here are a few of the better "post-election" analyses I've seen so far. More inevitably to follow:

Peter Morici, professor at the University of Maryland School of Business and former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission:

"The huge trade deficit, caused by too much imported oil and intervention by Asian governments in currency markets to boost their exports and ship unemployment here, had a lot to do with flooding U.S. capital markets with cheap funds and creating the first credit bubble. President-elect Obama waxed a lot about free trade agreements in his campaign but failed to adequately explain how he would fix either the oil or Asian-trade messes. Investments in alternative energy sources, as Obama has proposed, can't fix the oil import problem alone. Both drilling off shore and windmills, as well as much tougher mileage standards, are needed to make America less dependent on unfriendly Middle East states. If China and others won't stop subsidizing their exports by buying U.S. dollars to keep their currencies and exports artificially cheap, then offsetting taxes on purchases of yuan and other currencies are in order to encourage trade based on comparative advantage. Obama has not said nearly enough about conventional energy development or the China trade problem. Come January, he needs to implement policies on these issues or fixing the banks will only lead to another credit bubble and crisis, the stimulus package will prove a palliative, and neither will usher in lasting prosperity."

Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in an open letter to Pres.-Elect Obama:

"During your campaign, you often said that as president you would tell Americans what they need to hear, not necessarily what they want to hear. We operate the same way at the Chamber in our relations with each administration and Congress. We'll give you our honest, best judgment about the impact of your proposals on the ability of our businesses to prosper, create jobs, and compete in the worldwide economy. We'll agree on many issues and disagree on others, but our approach will always be based on our principles and our responsibility to vigorously represent our membership and always with the highest respect for the office you will soon hold."

John Engler, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM):

"Now is the time to go to work for the country -- we must come together to revitalize our economy. Our nation is in a financial crisis that is discouraging investment and consumption. Manufacturers are severely impacted by the credit squeeze. Companies with solid balance sheets, good credit histories and order backlogs cannot obtain routine financing. There is no question that we face daunting challenges ahead. The NAM stands ready to work with President-elect Obama to overcome these challenges and move forward as a stronger, united nation."

Kevin Kearns, president of the U.S. Business and Industry Council:

"For too long, American leaders have insisted that borrowing, consuming, and importing could maintain our economic superpower status and a high standard of living for the average American. The result was bubble-ized growth that collapsed into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. We'll have to produce our way out of this mess, and that means reinvigorating domestic manufacturing. We must supply more of our goods market from domestic producers to stop the hemorrhaging of trillions of dollars overseas. Unless we start replacing financial gimmickry with genuine wealth creation, we'll never pay off our debts, create middle-class jobs with solid incomes and good benefits, cut our dangerous dependence on foreign capital, and generate healthy, sustainable growth."

Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR):

"Many Americans voted for change yesterday. But change does not mean they want Congress to give the plaintiffs' bar more ways to sue. Our survey shows 73% of voters identify lawyers as benefitting most from lawsuits, and only 4% say victims do."

TAGS: Supply Chain
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