Baltimore manufacturer: 'I have never felt as optimistic as I have over the last year'
By Drew Greenblatt
Jun 21, 2018 | 6:00 AM
The order marked the first time in more than three decades that a U.S. president has invoked national security as the basis for ordering such trade restrictions.
As a manufacturer in the heart of Baltimore, I’m proud of the contributions my company, Marlin Steel, has made to our area over the years, providing good jobs and wages that empower people to build better lives. But I have always felt that we could give back so much more to this community if the policies coming out of Washington, D.C., were not holding us back.
Last year, our leaders down in Washington finally listened. They began restoring some sanity to our regulatory system. And then, in a truly game-changing move six months ago, they passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
For decades, manufacturers across America have been calling for this type of leadership. President Donald Trump and leaders in Congress delivered. Now, as manufacturers, we have a responsibility to deliver on our part of the bargain: more jobs, more opportunities and more investment in our businesses and communities.
At Marlin Steel, which only buys American steel and exports to 39 countries, we have already done just that. We increased our workforce by 10 percent to manage more than $1 million in new USA-made equipment. Tax reform gave us the confidence to make these important investments — investments not just in our company but in the lives of hardworking Marylanders. One of the machines we bought makes products here in Baltimore that we will export to Mexico two times a week.
Our existing employees are also better off, given that tax cuts mean they are taking home more money in their paychecks. It’s a little extra security after years of economic anxiety and uncertainty. One of our employees put the savings toward buying his new house. Some of our new employees hired since tax reform have also achieved important life goals: One bought a car; another moved to a new apartment; and a third is able to pay off debt, support his daughter and move to a new apartment.
This isn’t happening only at Marlin, though. Manufacturers of all sizes and in all regions are investing in their people. The National Association of Manufacturers recently surveyed its members on their plans for their companies following tax reform: 72 percent said they are planning to increase wages and benefits, 77 percent are planning to hire more workers, and 86 percent are investing in new equipment and facilities.
That’s great news for working families in America — and a sign that much more good news is yet to come.
I have been in manufacturing for more than 20 years in Westport in southwest Baltimore, but I can honestly say I have never felt as optimistic as I have over the last year or so. I’m not alone. According to the NAM’s most recent Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, released Wednesday, more than 95 percent of manufacturers surveyed have a positive outlook for their businesses. That is record high optimism in the more than 20 years that the NAM has fielded that survey.
Tax reform is a big part of the reason why. There are plenty of people out there who want to go back to the old, outdated tax system and who want to raise taxes on working families. But why would we want to undo all this progress? For any American who believes in manufacturing, tax reform is something to celebrate. It certainly has been for this manufacturer.
Drew Greenblatt is the president of Marlin Steel Wire Products and chair of the Small and Medium Manufacturers committee within the National Association of Manufacturers. His email is email@example.com.