Pres. Obama Addresses Master Lock Employees

On January 24, President Obama highlighted Master Lock in his State of the Union address as a prime example of an American business that has invested in returning jobs to American soil. Master Lock, a company whose headquarters can be found in Oak Creek, WI, has “insourced” around 100 union jobs from China since 2010.

Today, President Obama visited Master Lock’s Milwaukee plant to speak with employees. With over 1,000 employees and other union workers in attendance, Obama elaborated on the importance of continuing to insource work for Americans, as well as indicating that tax cuts may be in store for American based companies.

Obama admitted that the majority of outsourced jobs “will never come back,” but assured his audience that this “doesn’t mean we have to just sit back and watch.” He then commended Master Lock and its employees for the strides they have made, emphasizing that “there is always something we can do.”

He went on to discuss the wider implications of improvements to America’s manufacturing industry, painting a picture of an America that was not only more self-sufficient—selling its own products overseas—but also more economically stable. Obama recalled that, when he took office, the automotive industry in America was “on the verge of collapse,” adding that “many people said to just let the industry die…but with one million jobs on the line, I refuse to do that.” Today, the American automotive industry is being revived, in part because some consumers are increasingly willing to pay a bit more if products are “Made in America.”

However, companies that manufacture their products elsewhere do have an advantage. Corporations that outsource jobs to other countries receive tax breaks when they send those jobs overseas. Initially, one reason for this was to encourage companies to save money by producing goods more cheaply, thus providing American consumers with better prices. Considering there was an unemployment rate in America of 8.3% as of January, 2012 (according to the US Department of Labor), many find these tax breaks counterproductive. Obama intends to change that. To the palpably energetic crowd at Master Lock, he declared, “It is time to stop rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas and start rewarding companies that stay here in America.”