Washington Must Focus on Growth

Editor’s Note:

Bruce Katz and Mark Muro call on the federal government to strengthen the manufacturing sector by suggesting low-cost initiatives to bolster U.S. economic competitiveness. Katz and Muro highlight recent recommendations to create a ‘”Race to the Shop Competition,” designate “U.S. Manufacturing Universities,” and authorize a national network for 25 advanced industries innovation hubs. Read the full article at


Reviving America’s advanced industries is a critical component of building a more productive, sustainable, and inclusive economy. U.S. manufacturing, for instance, provides an important source of quality jobs that pay, on average, nearly 20 percent higher weekly earnings than non-manufacturing jobs, and are more likely to provide employee benefits.

Debt and deficits have dominated our nation’s capital for the last two years. From the near government shutdown over a budget impasse in April 2011 to the debt ceiling crisis and subsequent credit downgrade in August 2011 to the recent brinksmanship to avert a fiscal cliff, it has been “all deficits all the time.

And yet, amidst the fiscal obsession, a slow-moving economic emergency persists. The U.S. faces an overall “jobs deficit” of 11 million to make up the jobs we lost during the Great Recession and account for a wave of new entrants to the labor force. The number of poor and near poor in America skyrocketed from 81 million in 2000 to 107 million in 2011, nearly one-third of the U.S. population.

Given these trends, it is not enough for the federal government to simply get its fiscal house in order. Rather, it’s time for both sides to put aside deep ideological differences and work together to jumpstart economic growth.

Where should they begin? An obvious first step is to invest in growing the productive and innovative “advanced industry” sectors of our economy, such as advanced manufacturing.

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