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ICYMI: Rubio Calls for Greater Economic Resiliency

May 23, 2022 | Press Releases

America’s Supply Chains Are Too Efficient. What We Need Is a Resilient Economy.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
May 23, 2022

…Supply chain disruptions are always an inconvenience, one that Americans are becoming increasingly familiar with…. And our society’s relentless drive for efficiency is to blame…. The sad truth is that for years, politicians, corporate CEOs, shareholders, and consumers alike have ignored the need for resiliency and redundancy….

30 years ago, foreign cheap labor and government subsidies made manufacturing less profitable in the U.S. As a result, under pressure to cut costs, industries began sending their factories and jobs abroad…. At the same time, our tax code encouraged companies to prioritize stock market gains over productivity and security….
Why didn’t we have enough masks or ventilators on hand for a pandemic? Why didn’t we have a buffer stock of baby formula? Because, as Professor Willy Shih of Harvard Business School explains, “Lower inventories, less cash tied up—these things make investors happy.” These things also make Americans more vulnerable.
It will take more than expanded inventories to make our economy more resilient, though. With supply chains stretched around the globe, we are vulnerable to the whims of other nations…. It’s an unsustainable situation, one that we must end by bringing critical supply chains back home….

This isn’t just about having goods on shelves, though that is important—it’s a matter of national survival. Large power transformers, for example, are key to America’s electric grid, but it might take “months, if not years” to build replacements. Having robust domestic manufacturing and a reserve stockpile could mean the difference between bad and catastrophic in the event of a future crisis.
Building a more resilient, productive economy is also about creating more stable, well-paying jobs…. These things cannot be quantified on a spreadsheet or summarized on a quarterly return, but they are foundational to the common good. And public policy should always seek to advance the common good, even if it makes us a little less efficient in the process.

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