While President Obama and Mitt Romney bicker over whose policies will send more jobs overseas, there is one side of the job creation coin that both candidates agree on: that the government should do its darndest to keep manufacturing jobs in America.
Unlike many of the job proposals both candidates are pushing, “Buy America” policies that encourage the government to buy products that are made in the U.S. whenever possible are hugely popular across party lines, according to a national survey commissioned by the Alliance for American Manufacturing and the United Steelworkers.
“On the federal level if we can expose where we can see tax dollars leaking overseas we can reverse it because there is the political will to do that,” said Scott Paul, the executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.
Overwhelming majorities of people from all political parties said they supported “Buy America” policies that would mandate that taxpayer money can only be used on goods that were made in America.
Nearly 9 out of 10 Republicans and Independents and 91 percent of Democrats said they support “Buy America” preferences, according to the survey,which was conducted by the Democratic-leaning Mellman Group.
Close to a quarter of the survey respondents said they had heard something about “Buy America” policies from ABC’s Diane Sawyer as part of her “Made in America” series.
About half of the respondents said they have heard Romney talk about made in America policies and 66 percent said they’ve heard Obama push for U.S. made good.
Paul said the president has done a “better than average” job supporting Buy America policies. All of his campaign swag is made in the U.S.A., as is Romney’s. But four of the former GOP presidential contenders- Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Herman Cain – got their campaign t-shirts overseas.
After ABC pointed out the outsourced t-shirts, Gingrich declared it was a fluke and that his campaign tries to buy only made in America items. Cain claimed ignorance, Santorum lamented how hard it was to find a t-shirt that’s made in America these days and Paul was unapologetic.
Congress, on the other hand, has shown an aptitude to take action on Buy America policies. While the divided legislature can hardly agree on anything, both chambers and both parties united to condemn the Olympic Committee for deciding on official USA Team uniforms that were made in China.
“After ABC News broke the story it took 48 hours for the Olympic Committee and Ralph Lauren to announce that they were only making uniforms in U.S. period,” Scott Paul said.
“I think that you’ll see even more of these types of shaming because they produce results,” Paul said.