Thursday afternoon, presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) laid out his plan for American manufacturing while visiting Weiler Manufacturing in Knoxville, Iowa.
"American manufacturing can thrive again in this century, but not in the same way as it did in the last," he said. "The products we build, the way we build them, and the skills required to do so will be different than in our parents' time. We will never restore American manufacturing by attempting to wish away the economic changes that have occurred, as Hillary Clinton seems to propose; we will only do so by embracing those changes."
Rubio said the next president needs to give manufacturers the space to innovate, grow, and be competitive in the 21st century. He said his plan will boost U.S. manufacturers by revolutionizing higher education, reforming the tax code and burdensome regulations, and embracing 21st century technologies by empowering innovators.
"Saying goodbye to the old economy is difficult, but it must be done before we can fully capture the promise of the new economy," he said. "And that promise is too grand to let slip away. In this century, we're going to make things again—and some of them are going to be things we can't even imagine today. By making them, we're also going to expand the hope of a better life to more people than ever before."
Rubio said manufacturing will be critical to American prosperity in the 21st century, but it will play a different role than it did 50 years ago. The routes previous generations took to the middle class, he added, will not necessarily be the same for the next generation.
He said 65 percent of Americans now work at information jobs that didn't exist 25 years ago, and that 25 years from now, jobs will be prevalent that don't exist today.
"It won't be our next president who creates these jobs," he concluded. "But it will be our next president who determines whether business leaders like [Weiler Manufacturing president Pat Weiler] and so many others have the space they need to innovate, to grow, and to win the global economic competition that will define this century."
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