To The Daily Sun,
Thank you, Mr. Rottenecker, for your recent letter about a topic so important and yet so often avoided by most of the presidential candidates: what to do about all those U.S. manufacturing jobs lost overseas and what might be done to keep here those we still have.
Hereʼs a modest proposal which I sent to Sen. Kelly Ayotte a few months ago.
It has been too easy and too inexpensive for the U.S. companies Mr. Rottenecker listed to move their manufacturing operations overseas or to Latin America in search of cheaper labor and/or other costs. As another example, in the 1980s, the Big Three automakers moved much of their manufacturing across the Rio Grande and to other places in Latin America. Tens of thousands of middle-class Americans lost their jobs. Hundreds of companies supplying parts and other goods to the Big Three lost business, and cities like Detroit and Flint, Mich., lost tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues.
Some argue that those cities, the Midwest region, and the American middle class have yet to recover what was lost when the Big Three shut down their American plants. How many millions of dollars had been given to the Big Three in subsidies, tax breaks, and taxpayer-supported infrastructure projects? Not a penny of it had to be repaid by those corporations before they pulled out.
So I urged Sen. Ayotte to sponsor legislation that would do the following whenever an American manufacturing company planned to move their operations overseas:
1. The IRS would do an audit to insure that the company paid the highest corporate tax rate (currently 39 percent) for the year prior to their exit. By this law, the company would forfeit the right to claim any exemptions or to pay a lower rate.
2. The dollar amount of any and all local, state, and federal subsidies, tax breaks and taxpayer-paid beneficial infrastructure would be calculated and presented to the company for repayment in full.
3. Except for profits and other liquid assets, the company would forfeit other property on American soil. This would include manufacturing plant(s), raw materials, every machine, piece of equipment, tools, furniture, and supplies — down to the last roll of toilet paper in the janitorial closet. Such forfeiture is justified because the loss of manufacturing jobs represents a threat to our national security. Too extreme?
Contact a German company like BMW or Siemens and ask if, by law, it can leave the home country.
4. The employees whose jobs are being lost would be given the opportunity and help to organize, assume ownership of the above assets, and to resume production as a cooperative.
Of course, even if my proposal were to become law, I realize that American companies would still leave the country. However, I believe it only right and fair that they should have to pay a cost for doing so.
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