Friday, May 13, 2011

Caterpillar CEO on Trade and How to (Really) Win The Future

President Obama and his underlings just love to talk about improving American competitiveness in order to Win the Future.  But what does the US business community - well, those not on the milky-end of the government teet - think about the current state of American policy and its impact on our companies' future global competitiveness?  Courtesy of HotAir comes a fantastic CNBC interview with the CEO of Caterpillar - one the shining stars of America's thriving manufacturing sector - on just those issues.  It's well worth your 15 minutes:

In short, Mr. Oberhelman sees the global economy not as a threat, but as a great business opportunity.  He's smartly positioned Caterpillar to take full advantage of both foreign and domestic market conditions - through things like advocating robust trade liberalization, currency hedging and maintaining near-total control over business operations in interventionist foreign markets - and he sees competitiveness-killing US government policies, not free trade or low-cost competitors in China or Brazil, as the greatest threat to his company's viability and the future of the American economy.

And what kind of US government policies are undermining our global competitiveness and thus jepoardizing our companies and jobs?  I'll let Oberhelman explain:

My favorite quote:
We've announced three or four arguably brand-new facilities [in the United States] bringing work in from outside. And frankly we weigh all of these things in which state is the most business friendly. It's not a question of labor cost or who's cheaper. If you chase cheap labor around the world, you're never going to win. It's a lot more than that. The state's got to be competitive.  The country's got to be competitive....  You see states going the other way [from Illinois], where they're very pro-business and reducing taxes, and guess where we land our plants that are very competitive.... The latest and greatest is in Texas.  We brought a plant that in the past has assembled hydraulic excavators in Japan for shipment to the U.S.... we've moved that plant to south Texas... 5,000 to 6,000 units a year, 600 to 700 high-paying assembly jobs.
Nice.  And how exactly does Mr. Oberhelman think the current administration is doing to keep American companies strong and competitive?  Well, the answer to that is in the second video, but I'll let HotAir spell it out for you.

(Hint: it's not good.)

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