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Author: Stephen Gold

How to Save US Manufacturing? A Conflict of Vision

How to Save US Manufacturing? A Conflict of Vision

The good news is, President Obama yesterday signed into law "The Manufacturing Enhancement Act," a bill that would reduce tariffs on materials used by manufacturers, an important step in helping reduce costs and make US manufacturers more competitive.  The bad news is, the signing came the same day that the Commerce Department announced the trade deficit had ballooned again, with exports falling and imports rising.  Not only is a jump in exports needed Read more [...]
China and US Manufacturing Compete for Top Producer Spot

China and US Manufacturing Compete for Top Producer Spot

Two years ago, IHS Global Insight predicted that China would surpass the United States as the world's manufacturing leader (in real value-added terms) by 2016-17.  Now, the economic consulting firm is projecting the baton will be passed as early as 2011.  While America produced about 20% of the world's goods last year to China's 19%, IHS says the positions will reverse next year.  (Note that research by NAM's Manufacturing Institute and MAPI offer a slightly different Read more [...]
The Start of a New Era for Programmable Thermostats

The Start of a New Era for Programmable Thermostats

At the end of last year, EPA "suspended" its Energy Star program for programmable thermostats, effectively ending a federal public awareness program that pointed consumers in the direction of energy-efficient thermostats. Today, NEMA announced the launch of Energy Aware, a new program designed to fill the void. NEMA President Evan Gaddis made the announcement at a High Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition meeting on Capitol Hill.  Members of NEMA's Residential Read more [...]
Could Cost of Regs Impede Rebound?

Could Cost of Regs Impede Rebound?

Sometimes industry views regulations an an "ally," such as when they set safety standards that reduce counterfeit and substandard products from the marketplace.  But regulations can also hinder competitiveness by raising the cost of doing business.  That's particularly problematic in an economic climate where U.S. manufacturers (including electrical) are struggling to regain their footing. Unfortunately, while our members have a clear understanding of their annual tax bills, Read more [...]
A Rising Middle Class Lifts All Boats

A Rising Middle Class Lifts All Boats

Back in 2006, New Mexico State University economist Lowell Catlett gave a memorable keynote address at our annual meeting.  In his address, he explained why a rising middle class in the developing world was so important to our members. For starters, a bigger middle class means higher living standards, which in turn means a bigger and more advanced electrical infrastrucure. Like more energy efficient lighting systems, and safer circuit breakers and wiring devices, Read more [...]
A Presidential Spokesman for the Industry

A Presidential Spokesman for the Industry

Not many industries can lay claim to a U.S. president as a spokesman.  But the wind energy industry should start claiming President Obama as its spokesman.  He's probably spent more time promoting the benefits of wind power than any other energy source -- such as his visit to Siemens' Iowa wind turbine plant this week, and a visit to another wind energy plant in Iowa on Earth Day 2009 to promote the need for more renewable energy sources. But long before Read more [...]
Showcasing Smart Grid Technology at FERC

Showcasing Smart Grid Technology at FERC

“Clean Skies,” the energy and environment online network, posted a news report on Smart Grid yesterday that included scenes and interviews from last week’s NEMA Smart Grid Technology Day at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  As the report notes, the showcase for advanced electrical equipment and devices -- the second such NEMA-FERC demo collaboration in two years -- was well attended by FERC commissioners and employees. The Clean Skies report observed that Read more [...]
Yes, There’s Other Business in DC Besides Healthcare Reform

Yes, There’s Other Business in DC Besides Healthcare Reform

Reading the headlines, you'd think the only think Congress is working on these days is healthcare reform.  Tain't true.  Just yesterday, NEMA went up to the Hill to announce its support of the Residential Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act (HR 1796) sponsored by Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Nev.).  In fact, NEMA member First Alert, represented by Mark DeVine, had the opportunity to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Read more [...]
New Push to Protect Children from Battery Ingestion

New Push to Protect Children from Battery Ingestion

CBS' "The Early Show" featured a segment this morning on a topic near and dear to the hearts of some NEMA members:  ingestion of button cell batteries by children.  NEMA represents the manufacturers of dry-cell batteries, including button cell batteries that are found in such products as pocket calculators, wrist watches, hearing aids, and toys.  While statistics by the National Capital Poison Control Center (NCPCC) show that ingestion of such batteries is Read more [...]
Small Manufacturers and the Lending Crisis

Small Manufacturers and the Lending Crisis

Yesterday's front-page, above the fold WSJ headline jumped off the page: "Lending Falls at Epic Pace."  Epic, as in the "biggest full-year decline in total loans outstanding in 67 years."  It's a critical challenge -- for some companies, nothing short of a crisis -- that NEMA's smaller members have faced for awhile now. The answer is simple enough (you'd think): The feds gave banks billions of dollars to increase lending and stimulate Read more [...]