President Obama or Governor Romney – Who should I vote for?Posted on October 24th, 2012 1 comment
I have spent a great deal of time debating myself on whether or not this site should endorse a candidate for President. I have tried to keep this site neutral, as best I could, on the topics discussed. I know that my tendency to lean “Green” slants some of my opinions. There are some very important issues involving manufacturing that I have stayed away from due to their political nature. In general, websites, twitter accounts, and Facebook groups that deal with a specific topic should stick to that topic only and not branch out into unrelated issues in support of a particular candidate. It is fair to praise or criticize a particular candidate on the specific issues related to the site. I have seen some pro “Made In America” websites tweet about candidate issues having nothing to do with manufacturing.
Some of the major issues that affect manufacturing are very political. Issues such as healthcare costs, regulations, taxes, China and cheap energy are highly charged political issues. Which candidate you support depends on some clearly personal opinions on what is an acceptable balance in the results of a candidates stance.
Concerning healthcare and manufacturing, all the parties want to bring down the cost disadvantage of healthcare for our manufacturers. The issue that divides the different parties’ boils down to whom in this country gets coverage. The views range from getting rid of Medicare and Medicaid to complete government control of healthcare. The two major parties are, for the most part, in the middle of this spectrum. Just remember that many studies on ObamaCare often reflect the politics of the organization doing the study. The CBO’s analysis is considered impartial and is probably a good place to start.
The issue of regulations is a little more complicated and covers sub-topic from the EPA to labor laws. On many of the sub-topics the many issue is where to draw the line on what needs to be protected. Although there are some members of each party that go to the extreme, for the most part the parties are not that far apart. Does anyone really believe that one party wants to remove regulations so we have the ecological problems that China now has? On the other side, I find it hard to believe that there are politicians that would take down the economy to save a few trees.
On taxes and manufacturing, there is more in common than disagreement between the two major parties. It is not uncommon for either blue or red states to give tax breaks for manufacturing companies to locate in their area. The issue with taxes is that there is a big difference between statutory (or sometimes referred to as marginal) vs. effective tax rates. The United States has one of the highest marginal tax rates at 35.6%, as compared to Canada which has a 19.9% marginal rate. The effective tax rate, which is what companies actually pay, is lower in the United States (13.4%) than Canada (14.5%). The problem is that the larger manufacturers often have more offsets that lower their effective tax rates to, in some cases, nothing. The small to midsized manufacturers pay significantly more. What I am looking for from the candidates, and their parties, is to get rid of the disparity so most of the companies are paying around the average effective rate.
China is also a very complicated issue. Some of the manufacturing issues with China are driven by social issues. In the end, both parties will talk tough, but operate in a small band of what they can actually accomplish. Labeling China as a currency manipulator might make a good sound bite, but most economics feel it is bad policy.
Cheap energy is probably the best thing we can do for manufacturing and our economy in general. By cheap energy I mostly mean natural gas, coal, nuclear power. The supply of cheap natural gas will produce jobs in the chemical and other high energy need manufacturing. The problem with natural gas is fracking and the potential for environmental problems. For natural gas, coal and nuclear energy the issue is where you draw the line on what the acceptable risk to the environment is.
So who should you vote for if domestic manufacturing is your most important issue? You will have to find out for yourself. Research the topics above, and others that you think are important, so you can decide for yourself. I am happy that we now have two candidates that have clearly stated that they understand the importance of domestic manufacturing for the economy.
One response to “President Obama or Governor Romney – Who should I vote for?”
I took your advice and started looking at some info about the candidates. Although this does not address manufacturing in general, it does give a good understanding of Mitt Romney’s tax plan, or lack thereof.
Leave a reply