At Boeing, Obama Promises Help To U.S. Exports

Feb 17, 2012

President Barack Obama visited the factory floor at Boeing in Everett, Washington Friday. He toured a 787 Dreamliner, and said his policies can help create more manufacturing jobs and overseas exports.
KUOW’s Amy Radil reports.

President Obama noted that he came to Everett’s Paine Field aboard Air Force One, a plane built in the same factory where workers are now assembling the 787. Speaking to hundreds of Boeing workers, Obama said manufacturing jobs are key to America’s middle class. He said while every job lost to outsourcing can’t be retrieved, China is getting more expensive for manufacturers.

Obama: “Meanwhile American workers have never been more productive. And companies like Boeing are finding out that even when we can’t make things faster or cheaper than China, we can make them better. Our quality can be higher. And that’s what America’s about, that’s how we’re going to compete.”

At Boeing, Obama toured a 787 to be delivered to United Airlines later this year.

Obama: “Yeah I was in there fooling around with those windows where you press them and they dim on their own.”

Obama noted that much of the 787’s new technology came out of NASA and other government-funded research. He said he wants to continue that, and also wants to change a corporate tax code which he says rewards companies for outsourcing.

Robert Franks is a 26-year Boeing employee. He says in the wake of supply chain problems that dogged the 787, he believes Boeing is putting a new value on doing work in the U.S.

Franks: “We’re three years late on this airplane, on delivering it. So we’re finding out that keeping the jobs at home in America, it seems to work out better.”

Obama told the crowd the tide is turning, with U.S. manufacturers hiring for the first time since 1990. But he said job security was slipping for U.S. workers even before the recession, and he wants to increase incentives for domestic companies to “make stuff” and “sell stuff.”