By Bruce Braley
When it comes to the economy, there’s a big difference between President Obama and Mitt Romney — and it’s at the heart of this election. The president bets on American workers. Romney doesn’t. This week in Iowa, the president will highlight that difference.
The president’s bet is paying off in the resurgence of American manufacturing. They are jobs that pay well and have a strong multiplier effect for other jobs in the community. So when U.S. manufacturing and the American middle class were down, the president stood behind the worker. Now, manufacturing jobs are at their highest level since the 1990s.
Two reasons why:
First, President Obama challenged China’s unfair trade practices so Iowans can compete on a level playing field. The Obama administration has consistently pressured China on its undervalued currency, so they can’t cheat to make prices cheaper for their goods and more expensive for ours.
He created a new trade enforcement unit to hold other countries accountable for unfair trade and has brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate of his predecessors. Just recently, the president challenged China’s unfair trade practices against U.S. cars and trucks that have imposed $3 billion in unfair duties on more than 80 percent of our auto exports to China. Now we’re back to making the best cars in the world. Sales are up. Production is up.
And more than a million American jobs up and down the supply chain were saved and more are being created.
Romney’s response when a million U.S. jobs were on the line was “Let Detroit go bankrupt.” And two years ago, Romney attacked the president for enforcing trade laws against China, calling it “bad for the nation and our workers.” Now he claims he’ll be tough on China, even as he holds private investments in Chinese companies.
The second reason American manufacturing is coming back is because Obama is investing in Iowa’s clean energy economy. He has tripled investments in clean energy — bringing smart grid systems, renewable power, and jobs to communities across the country. Iowa has become the nation’s leader in wind jobs, helping to revitalize rural communities. Workers are being trained at our universities and community colleges for jobs of the future. And the president has worked with me to call on Congress to urgently extend the wind production tax credit that is responsible for up to 7,000 Iowa jobs.
But Romney would slash federal investments in clean energy, letting China and India lead the way and taking our jobs along with them. More than 60 percent of a U.S.-installed wind turbine is produced in America, a 12-fold increase from just a few years ago. Unlike virtually everyone in Iowa, Romney has refused to support the wind tax credit. That’s wrong.
Yet a plan to gut investments in clean energy and manufacturing and blow a hole in the deficit with tax cuts for the wealthy is what Romney’s selling. He would continue tax policies that encourage outsourcing and put taxpayers at risk by letting Wall Street write its own rules again.
Iowans deserve better. Obama is working to restore the middle class by investing in education, energy, innovation and infrastructure, reforming the tax code and responsibly paying down our debt. He’s got the back of U.S. workers so they can lead our country forward.
Bruce Braley is Iowa’s 1st District congressman. Comments: http://braley.house.gov/contact