Categories
Archives
HELP US KEEP YOU BETTER INFORMED ABOUT THE TRICKS OF THE RADICAL PROGRESSIVE REVOLUTION PLEASE DONATE ANY AMOUNT YOU CAN
target="_top">

Archive for the ‘AMERICA WINS AGAIN’ Category

EVEN WITH AN ANGELIC SUBJECT LIKE “MADE IN AMERICA,” THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS

By John F. Di Leo –

Reflections on government procurement and the Buy American Act

President Donald Trump traveled to southeast Wisconsin to make a speech and issue a proclamation: that he would require that – on the big government spending projects of his administration – everything had better be Made in America.

Hopefully, no one will quarrel with the intent.

A country should be proud of its manufacturing sector, and if tax dollars are to be spent at all, the preference ought to be that they be spent giving business to their own companies, employing their own people, utilizing their own local resources.  It’s important not only for the economy, but for national security as well.  Such an intention is good and honorable.

But we all know what the road to Hell is paved with, don’t we?

The Residency Rule

Before we analyze this rule, let’s spend a moment contemplating a rule with which we’re all familiar: the residency rule that many cities have in place for their employees.

Lots of cities decree that if you want to be a policeman, fireman, school teacher, or other city employee, you have to live in the city that issues your paycheck. The theory is, this keeps fine, upstanding citizens in the neighborhoods (especially important if the city is suffering a loss of fleeing taxpayers), and it keeps rents and home values up for everyone.  Granted, it limits the hiring pool a bit, but the bigger the city, the more manageable that should be. In theory.

So it is that many cities have specific neighborhoods, like Chicago’s northwest side and Milwaukee’s southwest side, for example, that become well-known for being particularly safe because they’re chock full of policemen. Fine, as far as it goes, right?

Until the property taxes, or crime levels, or school system collapses of such a city reach the point at which it becomes unwise to raise children there, or even becomes unaffordable or unsafe to remain at all.  A city may lose good employees when this rule drives them out, to search for other jobs that allow freedom of residency.  But perhaps, sometimes, the cities decide it’s worth the tradeoff.  It’s their choice, after all; that’s what home rule is all about.

And so the cities write rules to manage their residency rule, to deal with a grace period upon time of hiring, or to deal with marriages between city employees and suburbanites, or to deal with employees who own multiple properties, like a couple of small apartment buildings in different towns as their chosen investment method.

The questions get thorny: what if a new employee can’t sell his suburban house within the 30, or 60, or 90 days of his grace period?  Surely we can’t make him sell at a loss just because it’s a slow housing market.  Or what if his child is a junior in a suburban high school; surely we won’t make our new teacher, policeman, or fireman move his kid to a new school at a time like that, just to satisfy this rule, will we?

There are dozens of such questions, and each city writes their rules, and builds in provisions for exceptions.  Every city may handle it differently, and that’s their right.

We all recognize the value in the original goal of a local residency requirement, but we also see the complexity that it causes.  The devil is in the details.

The Buy American Act

Now, in this context, we can address the national issue of a “Buy American” rule.

For the exact same reasons – all good reasons – that cities have residency requirements, nations may want a rule that tax dollars are spent on their own taxpayers.

We want a thriving economy.  We want a strong business sector, full employment, profitable manufacturers.

Because of the scale involved in the national government’s purchases, federal spending can be a huge portion of the GDP.  It shouldn’t be, of course – government is much too big already – but to the extent that we’re stuck with it, it makes sense to at least direct those purchases of asphalt and concrete, steel beams and armaments, toward businesses that keep the most Americans employed.

This is the goal that President Trump reinforced this week, and it’s nothing new; the first major Buy American Act dates all the way back to 1933, and was signed by outgoing President Hoover for the incoming Roosevelt Administration to enforce. There have been plenty of permutations of this well-intentioned concept since.

The Complexity of Manufacturing

As we’ve seen, even a rule as simple as a local residency rule can become complicated in application, as different cities have different levels of affordable real estate for renters, homeowners, parents, and investors.  Cities need to carve out both permanent exceptions and individual waivers all the time, or risk missing out on desirable employees, while mindful of the fact that too many exceptions will infuriate their existing employees who live with the same rule.

By the same token, when the national government attempts a Buy American provision, therefore, it encounters plenty of problems that it likely never anticipated, because so few people in government know anything about the world of manufacturing.

Let’s start by assuming that we do manufacture this kind of product in the United States, so domestic sourcing is at least an option.  What is that product made of?  Is it a single item, such as an injection-molded article of plastic or a cast iron product poured in a foundry?

Or is it a complex manufactured product, like a huge water pump to keep a highway underpass clear during rainstorms, or a whole electrical power station for an airport or army base? Such products have Bills of Material – a manufactured product’s “recipe,” if you will – listing hundreds, or even thousands, of materials.  Cast or molded parts, wire and cable, nuts and bolts, sheet steel and brass rods, dials and controls.

No single company manufactures all those parts, so a manufacturer sources them from vendors all over the world.  Perhaps wire and cable made in the USA, nuts and bolts made in South Korea, dials made in Germany, cast steel parts made in the USA, molded plastic parts made in Mexico, gaskets made in China… the possibilities are endless.

If we require the finished product to be made here, that’s an accomplishment.  That does indeed satisfy the first goal of spending money on American companies that put Americans to work.  But then there is always an effort to go further, to the next tier of production, and manage those purchased raw materials and components as well.

When the government implements a Buy American rule, it first has to decide how far down to go in this supply chain.  In recent years, the choices have run the gamut from final manufacture all the way to requirements of 100% American content, right down to the rawest of raw materials.

Imagine requiring, for example, that a steel part be not only formed here, but made of steel that was alloyed here, of iron, chromium and carbon that were pulled out of the earth and processed here too.  Sound easy?  Well, not so much.  We have plenty of iron in the USA, but chromium just can’t be practically sourced here; most of it comes from South Africa, Turkey, India or FSU sources like Russia and Kazakhstan.  So at a certain point, it becomes impossible to mandate domestic sourcing… and that “certain point” varies by product, by material, by industry.

So at some spot in the sourcing process, we have to stop trying to control it.  We just have to.  We don’t make lots of nuts and bolts in the USA anymore; we’d like to, but we just don’t.    And we make lots of wire and cable here, but maybe not the exact kind that the power station contractor or the pump manufacturer needs for this particular finished product.  So we have to allow them some flexibility in sourcing, if we want our finished product to work.

But all these industries – yes, all of them – have lobbyists in Washington, lobbyists (and unions and reporters and donors and businessmen) who will point out that making the bridge or power station or water pump here is nice, but we really need to create jobs for the American steel industry too, and the American fastener industry, and the American wire and cable industry, and the American electrical controller industry…

Every administration, and even more so, every individual agency issuing government contracts, has to make this decision:  Where to draw the line? Where to give up and realize that the goal of making every single government dollar create an American job is just impossible?

Complexity and Practicality

These rules add complexity to the government contracting process, and also often-unmanageable complexity for the contractors and their subcontractors.  The myriad vendors on these government projects have different skill levels, and the farther back you go from the primary contractor, the less the others upstream may understand just what their commitment actually is.

In addition to making a great product at the right price, delivering it on time at the right place, they now have to meet rules of content origin that vary from contract to contract, but that always bear the exact same title: a “Buy American clause.”

What good is a commitment that means something different in every bid, especially when the contractor offering the project for bidding probably doesn’t understand the commitment himself?

If the vendor can’t meet a requirement because the part isn’t made here at all, he can seek a waiver, of course… but seeking, proving, and obtaining such waivers are an added cost, adding to the cost of the project… and if a vendor knows he’ll need such waivers, he may drop out entirely, costing the bid some potentially good vendors.

In most of the government projects authorized in the 2009 ARRA, for example, simple US origin was required – meaning that the product had to be manufactured here, but they didn’t dig deeper into the materials therein.  The following year, the government revised it, and most 2010 contracts from the 2009 ARRA had an almost impossible 100% US content requirement, extending right into raw materials.

This made compliance difficult for many products, and accomplishment often impossible, which meant more products having the total waiver: when it becomes impossible to meet a Buy American clause, you just give up and fill the order with a foreign product.

Foreign products have no requirement for US content at all, so once you have a waiver on the origin of the “master” finished product, it gets made in Canada or Mexico or Europe instead, and no Americans are hired at all.   This overly-ambitious version of a Buy American clause is truly the textbook example of the old saying, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

So, here is our quandary: Should the government impose a Buy American clause, if it’s so difficult?

Of course we should.  But it’s time to standardize it, and make it reasonable.  If the Trump administration wants to ensure that its projects employ lots of Americans, it needs to abandon the overly-ambitious clauses of the past, and apply a reasonable requirement, based on those used by the Ex-Im Bank or NAFTA in determining US origin.

We can require US manufacture, and set a percentage of minimum US spend on the manufacturer’s purchased materials, such as “50% or 75% must be US-manufactured parts as well. “  Something along those lines.

But we need to put an end to these promises that “Every product will be made of US steel!” that the lobbyists and unionists insist upon. Such pie-in-the-sky promises create more work for lawyers, bean-counters and foreigners than they do for American workers.

Copyright 2017 John F. Di Leo

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based Customs broker, writer, and actor.  A former county chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Party, he has been a recovering politician for twenty years.

Trump is about to destroy Obama’s offshore drilling ban with one decisive swoop

President Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order in the very near future that will reverse policies implemented by former President Barack Obama that heavily restricted offshore drilling.

According to Bloomberg, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made the announcement Thursday at a closed-door meeting with the National Ocean Industries Association.

More from Bloomberg:

The coming order is set to push the Interior Department to schedule sales of new offshore oil and natural gas rights in U.S. Atlantic and Arctic waters, amending a five-year Obama administration leasing plan that left out auctions there, according to an industry representative who has discussed it with officials.

The order is also expected to begin the process of revoking former President Barack Obama’s decision to indefinitely withdraw most U.S. Arctic waters and some Atlantic Ocean acreage from future leasing. Environmentalists say it would be unprecedented for any president to rescind such a designation, and the reversal would almost certainly be challenged in court.

The action would fulfill campaign promises Trump made last year when he routinely vowed that under a Trump administration, the U.S. would increase domestic energy production, which includes offshore drilling for crude oil and natural gas.

Trump already signed an executive order last week to undo nearly all of Obama’s climate policies. The order also directed the Interior Department and other government agencies to proactively find ways to undo Obama-era climate policy.

However, it will likely take a year or two to completely rid the government of Obama’s drilling lease plan, given its complexity and deep roots. But it will be worth it considering the billions of crude oil reserves that are ripe for harvest.

 

Toyota announces $1.33 billion investment in Kentucky plant – AMERICA WINS AGAIN – THANK YOU DONALD TRUMP

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Toyota said Monday it is investing $1.33 billion to retool its sprawling factory in Georgetown, Kentucky, where the company’s flagship Camry sedans are built.

No new factory jobs are being added, but Toyota says the upgrades amount to the biggest single investment ever at one of its existing plants in the United States. The retooling also will sustain the existing 8,200 jobs at Toyota’s largest plant, where about one-fourth of all Toyota vehicles produced in North America are made, the automaker said.

“This major overhaul will enable the plant to stay flexible and competitive, further cementing our presence in Kentucky,” said Wil James, president of the plant, which also assembles the Avalon and the Lexus ES 350.

The updates at the Kentucky plant are part of Toyota’s plans to invest $10 billion in the United States over the next five years, said CEO Jim Lentz of Toyota Motor North America, in a news release.

President Donald Trump, in a paragraph added to Toyota’s news release at the White House’s request on Sunday night, praised the investment and said it is “further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration.” The paragraph cited the National Association of Manufacturers’ first-quarter outlook survey. It found that 93.3 percent of manufacturers are somewhat or very positive about their company’s outlook, a record high that’s up from 77.8 percent in December.

But the Toyota investment has been in the works for years as it gears up for production of the revamped 2018 Camry, long the top-selling car in the U.S. Toyota has said the Camry’s new underpinnings were designed four or five years ago, and the factory upgrade is needed to build the new car which goes on sale late in the summer. The 2018 Camry features a new exterior design, an upgraded interior and a new engine. The plant recently added more than 700 workers to support its launch.

“The (production) line itself is being retooled to accommodate this change,” Toyota spokesman Scott Vazin said.

Toyota is betting that the changes will solidify Camry’s premier sales position. That dominance is under threat from the popularity of SUVs.

“When the 2018 Camry hits the roads later this year, I’m convinced that it will have heads turning,” James said Monday.

The automaker said the plans call for updating equipment at the Kentucky plant to streamline production and for construction of a new paint shop.

James said the upgrades will position the plant “to compete globally for new models, build ever-better cars for our customers now and enable us to respond quicker and more capably to market demands.”

The investment follows the automaker’s decision in 2013 to spend $530 million in the plant to begin building the luxury Lexus ES 350 in Kentucky.

Last year, the Kentucky plant produced more than 500,000 vehicles.

State and local officials attended an event Monday at the Georgetown plant to celebrate the automaker’s investment.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said Toyota’s investment is “further proof of their commitment to producing American-made cars.”

“Thank you for this investment,” Bevin said. “Words don’t even begin to fully express the gratitude that the commonwealth of Kentucky has for Toyota, for your investment, for your partnership.”

Kentucky economic development officials sweetened Toyota’s existing incentive agreement with the state as a result of its latest investment.

State officials added up to $43.5 million in tax incentives, making Toyota eligible for up to $190 million in incentives that span multiple projects. The performance-based incentives allow Toyota to keep a portion of its investment through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job retention and new capital investment targets, state officials said.

MAGA: Ford has plans for ‘SIGNIFICANT’ investment in Michigan 3 plants JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!

Ford Motor Co. will announce investments in three of its Michigan manufacturing plants Tuesday morning, according to three sources familiar with the automaker’s plans.

The Dearborn-based automaker will announce investments at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Flat Rock Assembly Plant and its Romeo Engine Plant, according to the sources who agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. It is unclear how many jobs will be created, or the total dollar amount. However, one of the sources characterized the investments as “significant.” A promised $700 million investment at the Michigan Assembly Plant was part of the 2015 Ford-United Auto Workers contract.

From The Detroit News

Tuesday’s investment announcement comes less than two weeks after President Donald Trump pushed auto executives for more U.S. jobs and new manufacturing plants in the U.S. during a stop in Ypsilanti Township. Trump hinted then that a big auto industry announcement was coming last week, though it did not appear to happen. It’s unclear if Ford’s announcement is the same news teased by Trump.

Trump tweeted again Tuesday morning:

Ford is on Tuesday’s Michigan Strategic Fund meeting agenda for business growth and investments, and likely will receive state incentives.

The automaker plans to invest $9 billion in U.S. facilities through 2019, resulting in 8,500 new or retained jobs, according to the 2015 contract. Besides the $700 million investment at Michigan Assembly for new products — the 2019 Ford Ranger pickup and the all-new Ford Bronco planned for production by 2020 — the contract outlines a $400 million investment planned for Flat Rock for Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental production, and a $150 million investment at the Romeo Engine plant for engine updates. It is unclear whether Tuesday’s announcements go beyond those plans.

The automaker would not comment on the details of the announcement expected Tuesday. The UAW could not be reached for comment.

Ford’s announcement will come nearly three months after the company announced cancellation of plans to construct a new $1.6 billion in plant in Mexico to build the Ford Focus.

Ford announced in January it would invest $700 million at Flat Rock assembly and create 700 new jobs in Michigan.

JOBS JOBS JOBS: Trump To Sign Executive Order Targeting Most Of Obama’s Climate Change Agenda

It’s refreshing to have a new sheriff in town. Today, President Donald J. Trump is expected to sign a sweeping executive order that rolls back much of President Obama’s job-killing climate change regulations, including the Clean Power Plan (via Time):

President Donald Trump will sign a sweeping executive order Tuesday intended to shift the direction of U.S. environmental policy and begin the process of undoing some of the most prominent Obama-era environmental regulations, according to a senior White House official.The executive order, billed as a measure to promote “energy independence” and create jobs, will target a slew of environmental measures aimed at combating climate change including the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Obama’s global warming efforts. Some directives take effect immediately, like the end to a moratorium on new leases for coal mining on federal land, while others, like the review of the Clean Power Plan, require a rule making process that could take years to complete.

[…]

The executive order also ends a moratorium launched under Obama on new leases of federal land for coal mining, scraps a measure of the economic impact of climate change used to justify regulation known as the “social cost of carbon” and changes how climate change is considered in federal policy-making.
The Clean Power Plan was an ambitious effort by the Obama administration to cut carbon emissions by nearly 30 percent from 2005 level by 2025. Both Democratic and Republican attorneys general opposed it, over half the states opposed it, and it targeted those living in rural America. Pretty much any state that voted for Romney in 2012 was going to get screwed over by this regulatory overhaul. In coal-producing states, like West Virginia, energy costs were projected to increase 20 percent.

The Supreme Court stayed one of the main provisions, the power plant regulation, last year. Such increases in energy costs also put fixed-income seniors in the crosshairs. The ozone regulations between 2008-2013 cost a projected $56.6 billion in lost wages, along with 242,000 jobs. If Obama had succeeded in the war on coal, 125,800 jobs would’ve been lost in total, along with $650 billion in GDP. Moreover, millions of jobs from the black and Hispanic communities could have been on the chopping block.

While coal mining jobs will never return to their full strength, Trump aims to stop the bleeding. Yet, for some coal miners, Trump’s presidency has allowed them to get back to work in the mines.

WE’RE GOING TO BUILD…

Trump Is Finally Putting a Stop to it All, Will Revoke This Major Obama Rule

Lawyers with the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed to change the federal government’s position on environmental regulations, which the Obama administration had legally defended against challenges from the oil and natural gas industry and several state governments.

“Trump is clearing out the political shenanigans from the Obama administration,” Christopher Guith, a vice president for energy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Regulatory kudzo such as the EPA Methane Rule, the Clean Power Plan, the Waters of The United States, and the last minute monument designations are certainly being reviewed right now. The previous administration just threw everything they could at the wall to cater to their environmentalist base after Trump won the election.”

Trump’s Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reviewed the rules as part of a White House directive to cut back on burdensome regulations, the attorneys explained.

Environmentalists are already furious about the government’s reversal.

“Many environmental advocates felt that the 2015 rule was already too lenient, but the Trump administration’s latest action could be even more worrisome to fracking opponents,” states the environmentalist blog Ecowatch.

Green groups largely got their way under the Obama administration when they attempted to prevent drilling on public lands.

“Even if it meant an advantage for the economy, the trade deficit, or U.S. jobs the Obama administration took steps to keep-it-in-the-ground,” Guith noted. “Under Trump we at least have an energy policy that is conducive to job creation and ultimately American competitiveness.”

Studies find that the removal of drilling restrictions on federal lands and water could create 2.7 million energy jobs, while another 1.8 million could be created by encouraging fracking. Such a regulatory change would add $663 billion to the economy annually for the next 30 years.

“Trump is setting the stage and creating the pathway forward to start unwinding some of the most restrictive energy policies in the history,” Guith said. “The way the Dakota Access Pipeline and other energy projects were treated was a lot like the ways banana republics treat companies. The law didn’t matter, the politics did.”

Congress has been working with Trump to repeal several major last-minute Obama regulations. Trump ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consider repealing Obama’s Clean Water Rule, Clean Power Plan, and several other major environmental regulations, for example.

“Keystone XL was the other poster-child for this,” Guith said. “It got drawn out for six or seven years and had to effectively go through the process twice. The Obama administration just waited for TransCanada to quit. This was a shovel ready project financed privately which would have created thousands of high paying organized labor jobs in several states and Obama sat on his hands because of environmentalists.”

DAVID HOROWITZ ON HANNITY: ‘PURGING THE DEEP STATE’

Freedom Center founder weighs in on Obama wiretapping Trump Tower.

Thursday, March 9, Freedom Center founder David Horowitz joined Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel to discuss “Purging the Deep State” and to weigh in on Saul Alinsky apprentice Barack Obama’s wiretapping of Trump Tower. Watch the clip below.

To order Horowitz’s new book, “Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America,” click HERE.

 

Major Resignation In Trump Administration That Will Have Conservatives Cheering!

One of the best things about Donald Trump being president is that the EPA is finally going to be put in check.

For years, the EPA has been running amok killing thousands of jobs with unnecessary regulations while also getting themselves caught up in several scandals.

From Young Conservatives

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s been a mess.

We have seen reports that EPA employees were in tears when Trump won.

Good. They should be nervous.

Now, a top EPA official has resigned.

Why?

Because Trump is mean or something.

From The Daily Caller:

The head of the EPA’s environmental justice program resigned Thursday over concerns President Donald Trump might slash funding for the 24-year-old project.

Mustafa Ali, a former senior to the administrator responsible for directing the agency’s actions protecting minority communities, stepped down in a letter to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. He also voiced concern the Pruitt plans on gutting the project.

Excellent news. See you later!

Winning! Neiman Marcus Is Selling Ivanka Trump Merchandise Again

Despite organized boycotts by liberal activists Ivanka Trump’s women’s fashion line reported record sales in February.

And now there’s more bad news for liberal hacks…
Neiman Marcus is selling Ivanka Trump products again.
Business Insider reported:

Neiman Marcus is once again selling Ivanka Trump’s fashion line after it disappeared from the retailer’s website in early February.

Shannon Coulter, the originator of the anti-Trump #GrabYourWallet boycott movement, posted on Twitter on Wednesday that two new Trump brand items had surfaced on the retailer’s website.

HELP US KEEP YOU BETTER INFORMED ABOUT THE TRICKS OF THE RADICAL PROGRESSIVE REVOLUTION PLEASE DONATE ANY AMOUNT YOU CAN