Australia must manufacture some Obama zeal

Australia has all the resources required to copy the US by saving and reinvigorating its manufacuturing sector, but our leaders need to wake up and follow Barack Obama's lead before its too late.

Please, Mr Obama when you have finished your four-year term as US president would you come to Australia and show our politicians on both sides how you build a country?

By that time, Australia will have been really hit by the full effects of the Obama masterplan set out in the inauguration address.

Today, I will select sentences from Obama’s inauguration address and you can see how he proposes to transform the US and I will add my comments to show how he will also dramatically change Australia. In Canberra, our people (on both sides) do not have the slightest idea what that inauguration address meant to Australia and how we will need to (and can) duplicate what is happening in the US. Maybe this commentary will help.

Barack Obama: Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. Futures where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world.

Robert Gottliebsen: America will no longer depend on the Middle East for oil. It will therefore not need to fight Middle Eastern wars. America’s revival after World War Two was based in part on low-cost energy. Obama plans to repeat that given the looming dramatically higher US gas and oil production plus the effect of the proposed huge boost in Iraq’s oil and gas output on global supplies. In Australia we just export energy (coal and gas) and are running down domestic industrial usage. We will be hit hard by the lower prices caused by the boost in supply.

BO: American manufacturers are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s... On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen. In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We got workers and automakers to settle their differences. We got the industry to retool and restructure. Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number-one automaker. (Applause.)

Chrysler has grown faster in the US than any major car company. Ford is investing billions in US plants and factories. And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs.

We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity. And tonight, the American auto industry is back.

What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries.

RG: Most people in Canberra (particularly the coalition) want Australia to get out of the auto industry and have the workers sacked. They have no idea that the looming lower energy prices being engineered in the US will mean that our export revenue will fall so we will need that industry. And Obama has other nasties for ‘down under’.

BO: Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it. So let’s change it.

First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it. (Applause.)

That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home. (Applause.)

Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. (Applause.)

From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here in America. (Applause.)

Third, if you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut. If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making your products here. And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers. (Applause.)

So my message is simple. It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. Send me these tax reforms, and I will sign them right away. (Applause.)

RG: Obama wants to take jobs out of China and put them back in the US and he is offering tax breaks to do it. And those US companies that don’t shut their China plants will be penalised. It’s a new form of protectionism but it will happen and we had better understand what it means. The Chinese will have to develop their internal consumption, which will not require as many resources. Our good old Canberra politicians still think life is going to go on as before. It will not. Because of our shambolic energy policies our manufacturers will hit with shortages and much higher costs – the reverse of what is happening in the US. (Painful extraction from an energy morass, January 9).

I could go on but that’s enough. Please come Mr Obama and show us what we need to do because we have the energy, the work force, the markets and the capital to duplicate the US but we don’t have the leaders.

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