Skip to main content

We’ve discussed several of the myths and solutions to enhancing the current state of American manufacturing. Take a moment to watch this video and think about what it means to “Vote Manufacturing.” So, how do you identify a manufacturing vote? Well, presidential candidates all have their opinions of how to build the U.S. economy, but each candidate brings something that may work. However, the hype is practically the only thing played by mainstream media, and the conversation becomes diluted. As a result, you need to know the manufacturing viewpoints of each of the presidential candidates.

Hillary Clinton

Clinton’s view on manufacturing is reminiscent of how manufacturers were able to pull the country into a new era through providing hard-working Americans with a stable job. Her platform on manufacturing revolves around an incentive-based system to encourage manufacturers to avoid outsourcing jobs. According to Hillary for America, her plan for manufacturing includes a five-step strategy, which begins with opposition to trade partnerships, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Step 1: Make America the Strategic Partner for Manufacturing.

Clinton’s plan will link the supply chain together in an effort to entice manufacturers to continue reshoring of jobs and avoid sending any new jobs overseas in the first place. Part of the reason so many jobs have been sent to China involves resources.

China’s decades of experience in manufacturing have led to a virtual stockpile of the equipment and resources needed in manufacturing. Many suppliers have bases of operations in Asia, so simply making U.S. manufacturers cease all overseas production would be impractical. Instead, Clinton proposes a $10 billion investment into U.S. manufacturing to ensure the resources and suppliers can be available in the U.S., not overseas, reports Alana Wise.

Step 2: Ensure Global Trade Rules Stand.

Global trade rules have been a hot-button topic on the campaign trail. While the presidential candidates have expressed concern over the validity of other countries’ actions in international trade, Hillary plans to increase oversight of overseas trade rules, which will prevent other countries from “gaming the system.”

Step 3: Start With Hardest-Hit Areas.

Areas like Pennsylvania, which was among the areas most affected by the offshoring of manufacturing jobs, reports Anna Orso, needs some sort of government stimulus to revitalize manufacturing. These areas may be able to receive tax relief, tax credits and access to government-funding sources to further rebuild the infrastructure to be conducive of a return of manufacturing.

Step 4: Penalize Manufacturers That Move Overseas.

The damage of offshoring has already been done, but reshoring holds promise for the future. Under Clinton’s plan, manufacturers that move operations overseas without reason beyond “cheaper labor” will be subject to potential assessment of penalties. Yet, her plan for reshoring goes a step further by providing additional federal support, tax relief and government assistance for small businesses and startups, which includes access to capital.

Step 5: Help Workers Gain the Skills Manufacturers Need.

Manufacturers need skilled workers, and the days when parents taught children a specific trade have long since passed. Clinton plans to encourage apprenticeships, vocational programs and credentialing centers to help train and prepare more workers for jobs in manufacturing. As manufacturing moves toward a robotic future, the need for more skilled workers with engineering skills will grow, and this part of her plan will handle this concern.

Donald Trump

Saying exactly what’s on your mind may not be appropriate for restoring America’s manufacturing epicenter, but Trump’s policies do follow some beneficial pathways. According to, Trump believes the key to encouraging continued growth of U.S. manufacturing needs to focus on China.

He plans on to follow the same path as Clinton in terms of ensuring China does not violate international trade rules. Although Trump’s ideas for ceasing all overseas production by U.S. manufacturers seem ideal, they could have serious consequences for U.S. manufacturers. For example, the price of goods, such as the Apple iPhone, reports Issie Lapowsky, could rise dramatically.

Ironically, Apple has already made strides to return manufacturing to the U.S. In fact, Apple currently manufacturers Apple Macs in Austin, Texas, but Trump wants to provide some sort of relief package to U.S. manufacturers to further increase manufacturing in the U.S., which include the following:

  • Eliminating the corporate tax. As a result, Trump believes this action would provide the financial capital to manufacturers to continue reshoring without necessarily providing a government-funding source of capital. In other words, this is the same plan as Hillary, but it will not rely on taxpayer dollars as a funding source. Yet, any sort of elimination of taxes will inherently lead to the need for taxes from some other part of the system.
  • Reduce, if not eliminate, discounted or zero-tariff imports to the U.S. U.S. manufacturers have had the benefit of manufacturing overseas and paying little to no charges for importing of products from foreign factories to U.S. soil. If these tariffs were reconsidered or eliminated, foreign manufacturing would need to pay additional fees to import goods to U.S. customers.

Gary Johnson

Do you know who Gary Johnson is? He is the Libertarian candidate for president, and although his views have not been discussed as widely as the Republican or Democratic, presumptive nominees, his plans for manufacturing also have beneficial truths.

Johnson’s plan for restoring manufacturing jobs to the U.S. takes a traditional approach to business. Small and medium entrepreneurs must start the conversation by creating local jobs. His goals for U.S. manufacturing mirror the ideals of the other presidential candidates. However, his plan is based solely on the power of small and medium businesses, not a mass reclamation of foreign jobs. Ultimately, his focus will be on encouraging growth of existing U.S. companies who have and continue to perform all manufacturing activities in the U.S., reports Gary Johnson 2016.

In reality, his plans make sense, and they would avoid the nuances of attempting to reshore a huge overseas market. Only time will tell if he expands his views to include a means of enable reshoring, but right now, his plan is preventing offshoring.

Final Thoughts on Our Presidential Candidates.

In November, the U.S. will choose a president, and while the presidential candidates differ in opinion of how to approach manufacturing, the industry will be subject to a new administration’s policies and rules. Perhaps we will see the attainment of U.S. dominion of all manufacturing before 2020, but until then, we can only speculate on what will happen in November. Maybe we are wrong, and maybe we are right. The only thing we can do is to learn what each candidate brings to the table and how it will impact manufacturing in theory. When November gets here, we will revisit this topic to see how the market responds in the next presidency.