From NAM’s blog Manufacturing Economy Daily
Media coverage of Tuesday night’s seventh and final State of the Union address by President Obama highlighted the optimistic tone and his call for easing partisan rancor in Washington, although many commentators focused on Obama’s assertion that he regrets the polarization and considers himself partly responsible for it.
As Reuters reports, Obama said it’s “fiction” to describe the US as regressing economically or becoming weaker internationally. The Wall Street Journal similarly reports that the president argued the US has made great progress on economic and security issues and that he depicted a future the Journal says contrasts with many Americans’ feelings. According to the newspaper, with his presidency nearing its end, Obama chose not to discuss policy but instead asked the public to subscribe to his vision. In McClatchy’s assessment, Obama “spent much of the speech reciting what he said were his accomplishments” that improved Americans’ lives and raised the country’s standing in the world. According to the article, the president “touted” the Affordable Care Act, economic improvement, the global climate-change agreement, the nuclear deal with Iran, and rapprochement with Cuba.
NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, in a statement released following the speech, called Obama’s presidency “historic,” adding, “Whatever our policy differences, his election sent a powerful message to the world.” Timmons said that in the months leading up to this fall’s presidential, congressional, state, and local elections, US manufacturers “will outline their visions for the country” by continuing to “advocate those policies that will help manufacturing and the larger economy grow, create jobs and produce higher standards of living for all Americans.” He also called on policymakers “to work together to break down the barriers that stand in the way of manufacturers’ increased success,” citing obstacles related to taxes, trade, energy, and healthcare.
President touts manufacturing’s recovery, but other factors apply, too
The Washington Post , in its “Wonkblog,” notes that Obama’s speech touted a boost in US manufacturing, with the president saying 900,000 jobs tied to the sector have been created since 2010. The Post, while acknowledging the accuracy of “the numbers,” characterizes as “complex” the answer to the question of whether Obama can “really” claim credit for the fragile “recovery” in a sector whose fortunes have begun to erode.
Other factors to be considered alongside Obama’s claims, the blog asserts, are the dominance of the auto industry, whose rescue the administration orchestrated; the “bonanza of domestic oil and gas that made factories easier to operate and created demand for drilling equipment”; the impact of wages and technology on worker-hours per unit of output; and that the “speed of changes in market demand and global instability made shorter supply chains much easier to deal with.”
The Post also refers to the mention in Tuesday’s speech of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, “which would be part of Obama’s legacy” and is backed by the NAM and other business groups.
Associated Industries of Missouri is the sole official designated partner of the National Association of Manufacturers in Missouri.