Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ford Introduces "Make America Competitive Again Act"

Congressman Harold Ford Jr. on Tuesday announced the "Make America Competitive Again Act," which he said will reinvigorate American business, spur innovation and make healthcare easier to buy and more accessible for Tennessee workers and seniors.

He noted the new initiative comes on the heels of auto industry layoffs and cutbacks.

In a statement, Rep. Ford said, "American businesses of all sizes face many disadvantages in the global marketplace. From pen and pencil makers in Shelbyville to aluminum makers in Alcoa to package deliverers in Memphis to coffee shop owners in Nashville, health care and energy prices impose downward pressures on their bottom lines."

"The federal government's answer has been lacking. Thus far, Congress and the President have bickered and procrastinated more than anything. And, when an answer was provided, it normally lacked boldness, clarity and coherence."

"Our campaign's ideas are the opposite of what the Congress and the President have offered. Here are some of them"

"First, we need to pass the constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment so deficits will come down, investments in education, new jobs and technologies will go up and Tennesseans can start working and earning more. Tennessee families have to balance their checkbook; so should the federal government."

"Second, a tax credit will be provided to every U.S. based business that creates a job in America. Parts of our tax code reward American businesses for leaving the country. We will reverse that policy and reward companies that create jobs here. Companies like Tennessee Apparel in Waynesboro, Tennessee are great examples of American manufacturers in need of support from proactive tax laws that encourage them to stay in Tennessee. "

"Third, Congress needs to pass the Association Health Plan law immediately so that small businesses can pool resources and buy health insurance for their workers at a lower price. These same small businesses should get a tax break for subsidizing their employees' health care up to a certain point. Government should be in the business of rewarding business leaders who encourage and incentivize their employees to maintain healthy lifestyles. In the end, it saves lives, makes U.S. companies more competitive and simplifies the tax code."

"Fourth, we need to simplify the prescription drug benefit for seniors by mandating that, in order for drug companies to participate in this program, they must identify the best plan for seniors interested in their plan, especially poor and middle class seniors with high drug costs. This will relieve the burden that so many Tennessee seniors are facing, and simplify the role of pharmacists in dispensing drugs."

"Fifth, we need a new energy independence strategy that reduces our addiction to Middle East oil by developing renewable and other green sources of energy, including farm based fuels. The high cost of energy will only increase in years to come because of the mounting energy appetite of China, India, Indonesia and Japan, to name a few."

"Sixth, this nation needs to graduate 1 million new engineers over the next ten years to help spur innovation and keep us at the cutting edge of emerging technology. Nations like China and India - which graduate four times the number of engineers and a million more students from college than we do, respectively - are poised to take a leadership role in this century's technology landscape. We need to change here at home, or else risk falling behind abroad."

"These six points address the areas in which we need to move the quickest to help maintain American competitiveness."

Source: The Chattanoogan