Now that it is clear who are likely to be presidential candidates in the November election, wouldn’t it be great if both made appearances at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) this September? It would be the perfect place for them to clarify and promote their support for manufacturing in this country.
At IMTS, a major segment of the manufacturing industry could take a closer look at the strengths and weaknesses of these candidates’ positions. Likewise, the candidates could take a closer look at the position that manufacturing holds in the U.S. economy in general and at the status of metalworking technology in particular. IMTS is ideal because machine tools and related equipment represent an especially significant factor right now. They are critical to industries such as energy, aerospace and medical—industries that are likely to hold their momentum despite a weakening in other sectors of manufacturing.
Moreover, many issues of great concern to manufacturing are also important to the rest of American society. Immigration, corporate taxation, regulations related to the environment and climate change, health insurance and job creation are a few of these. Let the candidates speak pointedly to issues such as accelerated depreciation, R & D tax credits, training initiatives and programs such as the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships. High-sounding rhetoric meant to evade hard choices that might alienate certain blocks of voters won’t cut it here.
Even if neither candidate uses a stop at IMTS as an opportunity to address the concerns of manufacturers, their visits would certainly attract national attention to the often-overlooked and under-appreciated role that manufacturing plays in this country’s standard of living. For a change, media coverage might put a positive spotlight on the high level of technology that characterizes the industry today.
Whether or not the candidates make IMTS part of their campaign trails, top managers at shops and plants who rely on manufacturing technology need to make this show part of their campaigns to improve operations and cut costs. Choosing the next leaders of our country is a serious and urgent affair. Likewise, choosing machines and equipment that will lead to greater productivity and stronger competitiveness calls for careful consideration and a thorough evaluation of product features and capabilities.
So, next month’s issue of Modern Machine Shop, backed by additional content on MMS Online, will be devoted entirely to what is on display at IMTS. The array of new products and innovative applications testify to the vitality and power of our free market at work, just as the vigorous rivalry between political candidates reflects the health and endurance of our democracy.