The US manufacturing sector has lost over 5.1 million jobs in the last 10 years. Output and investment per GDP has fallen consistently and imports have risen sharply. (See charts below) This is not the time to implement risky unproven climate policy. The US economy cannot afford to lose any more jobs or shutdown facilities. Approximately 40,000 manufacturing plants have closed during the seven years ending in 2008. We have lost eleven industries that we were once dominant since the late 1990s. By late 2008, the US trade deficit with China alone was running at close to $1 billion per day, amounting to more than $90 per month or more than $1100 per year for every American.
That’s from one of the strangest pieces of testimony you’re ever going to see — by Paul Cicio, Executive Director, Industrial Energy Consumers of America.
Cicio was the GOP witness at the landmark hearings for the Senate climate and clean energy jobs bill today. He seemed to think that a strong argument against the clean energy bill was that the U.S. manufacturing sector has been devastated by eight years of conservative rule. I have argued many times that conservative do-nothing energy and economic policies led to sharp increases in energy costs (see “Senate GOP propose 25% ‘Do-Nothing’ energy tax on Americans”) and sharp decreases in US competitiveness (see “Invented here, sold there”).
But Cicio has the most (unintentionally) damning set of slides I’ve ever seen, a few of which I’m going to reproduce here since I’m sure progressives will want to use them in explaining why we must never go back to the Bush-Cheney policies. The figure above shows how conservative policies have killed manufacturing jobs. And lest you think that it is purely a coincidence that the manufacturing sector has been slammed by Bush-Cheney, Cicio provides this jaw-dropping figure which goes back another decade:
Invesment in industrial equipment recovered under the Clinton administration and stayed high for most of it, but simply collapsed under the Bush-Cheney administration and stayed low. Looks like those tax cuts for the rich didn’t do very much other than enrich the rich. The data in green is from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, but that amusing “trend line” is apparently from the Industrial Energy Consumers of America.
Here’s one more figure:
Yes, imports of manufactured goods soared, especially after 2003. Again, thank you Bush-Cheney and a conservative Congress.
Sen. Boxer herself turned Cicio’s argument on its head and said that she agreed completely with his historical analysis, but disagreed completely with his conclusion. The answer was not to continue these devastating do-nothing conservative policies, but to pass the clean energy jobs bill.