President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address highlighted his focus on returning manufacturing to American shores—at a significant cost.
- President Joe Biden gave his third State of the Union address last night—discussing the state of the economy, social issues, and how he plans to use the federal government to benefit Americans.
- A crucial part of his speech was his focus on American manufacturing, mentioning his efforts to move factory production back to the U.S. and saying, “Where is it written that America can’t lead the world in manufacturing?”
- “For decades, the middle class has been hollowed out. Too many good manufacturing jobs moved overseas. Factories closed down … We’ve already created 800,000 good paying manufacturing jobs,” says Biden.
- Biden went as far as to sign an executive order requiring federal buildings to source “Made in America” construction materials, Fortune notes.
Why It’s Important
Biden has made appeals to the restoration of manufacturing as a key part of his strategy to attract working-class Americans, challenging China’s market supremacy in the aftermath of supply-chain shortages, providing subsidies for U.S.-made electric vehicles, and creating new jobs on American soil. Recent legislation such as the CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act have put alot of focus on centralizing production within the U.S.
The Biden administration has pushed for and passed more than $2 trillion in federal spending on these efforts—infusing that much money into the economy is a partial cause of the skyrocketing inflation that is only now starting to come down.
The U.S. focus on domestic production and shying subsidies away from global companies has come at the expense of other countries. European politicians have complained that U.S. subsidies put the global electric vehicle market at a disadvantage and have worked to rush out a European alternative called the European Sovereignty Fund.
As Politifact notes though, Biden’s claims about success may not fully be to his credit. Pandemic relief bills and manufacturing job increases began under President Donald Trump and have mostly kept in line with overall continuous increases in manufacturing growth since 2008. Biden’s policies have encouraged manufacturing growth, but it is difficult to tell how much his policies directly spurred the growth, especially with pandemic recovery being a factor.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data shows a growth of only 214,000 new manufacturing jobs since Biden took office in 2021 and that the 800,000 number suggested by Biden takes credit for pre-pandemic jobs returning after the lockdowns.
“Two years ago, our economy was reeling. As I stand here tonight, we have created a record 12 million new jobs, more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years,” says Biden.
“To truly unleash manufacturing investment, fully realize the potential of the infrastructure law, and achieve energy security in America, we need a smarter, balanced approach to regulations and significant permitting reform so that projects don’t languish for years in a bureaucratic mess just waiting for government approvals,” says National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons.