‘Build Back Better’ Should Start with America’s Medical Mask Industry

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As part of his agenda for economic growth, U.S. President Joe Biden has said that his administration will pursue a “Worker-Centric Trade Policy.” It’s a popular phrase among Biden administration officials, and it essentially means rebuilding domestic manufacturing. That would certainly be helpful for America’s workers, given prior decades of offshoring that have resulted from failed U.S. trade policies. And it would also help to reinforce the Biden administration’s goals of “Build Back Better.” However, the Biden team has yet to take the steps needed to make this a reality. Focusing on domestic industry would be a smart move. Policymakers often overlook the fact that manufacturing pays more than service-sector positions. Unfortunately, much of the U.S. labor force has shifted from industrial employment into lower-paying work in tourism, home health care and food services. And so, the best way to start rebuilding U.S. industry is not through more trade negotiations with foreign countries. Instead, it’s time for direct action to rebuild key industries at home.

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