Thursday, July 10, 2014

Entice companies to return home

February 19. 2013 9:32PM
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General Electric has been slowly moving manufacturing jobs from China and Mexico to the United States, and Apple says it will spend $100 million to manufacture Mac computers in this country. That sounds like the beginning of a good trend, but it needs a shove.

Democrats in the last election made campaign promises to pass legislation to eliminate the destructive practice of rewarding businesses for putting Americans on the unemployment line by allowing companies to take a tax deduction for the cost of exporting jobs overseas.

But neither the Senate nor House version of the proposed Bring Jobs Home Act has budged since July. The legislation also gives companies a 20 percent tax break for inshoring jobs.

If more companies are going to follow GE and Apple in bringing jobs home, the government must send a clear message that it wants to help them do it.

Manufacturers, already worried about having their designs stolen, are now seeing their labor costs inch up as third-world economies mature. They're also learning that the American consumer, although wounded by a rough economy, likes to see Made in America on products. So U.S. companies already have good reasons to look within.

All those factors make this an opportune time for the government to help with a tax policy that brings jobs home. No doubt this country's 1979 peak of 19.6 million manufacturing jobs is unlikely ever to be seen again, partly because the American worker's productivity keeps getting better.

But if Democrats and Republicans are serious about righting the economy, they need to encourage companies sending jobs offshore to instead expand at home.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

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