Politicians of every stripe can rest assured that no one will disagree with the idea of bringing back U.S. manufacturing. So it’s no surprise the Biden Administration has already introduced a revitalized Buy American campaign and a “foreign policy for the middle class,” fueled by “massive investments in [domestic] technology and infrastructure.”
That’s music to the ears of all of us working to make American manufacturers more competitive. The industrial heartland needs investment more than it needs tariffs and other trade barriers. Attaching the investment to foreign policy makes sense given that trade agreements (e.g., NAFTA) and diplomacy (like China’s entry in the World Trade Organization) were largely responsible for unleashing the forces that ravaged the Factory Belt over the past 50 years.
But here’s the hard truth: No amount of investment will return U.S. manufacturing to what it was in 1970. Many of the manufacturers who long served