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EDITORIAL


Time to Boost Economic Growth I


n the late 1990s, dot-com companies that had yet to generate a profi t were trading at astro- nomical valuations. Traditional measures like


price-to-earning ratios, we were told, were obsolete in an era when eyeballs and clicks were the metrics du jour. It didn’t take long, though, for the market to crash. It turned out the longstanding investment rules developed by the likes of Benjamin Graham and Phillip Fisher were timeless and trusty, not outdated and crusty. Over the past eight years, there has been another


“new normal.” Over that time, the U.S. has failed to enjoy even a single year of 3% economic growth. Not surprisingly, this lackluster performance has led to diminished economic opportunity and tax revenues. Even as the unemployment rate gradually inched back to 4.9 percent, the numbers of people who dropped out of the workforce has been staggering. T is has been the slowest economic recovery over the last 75 years. Some people have bought into the argument that we are destined to perpetual growth rates of 1 to 2 percent. Yet, this seeming new normal need not be a perma- nent reality. With the right public policies, robust growth is again possible. With that growth would come more demand for prod- ucts that contain cast metals, as well as other goods and services. Better opportunities for entrepreneurs, and more jobs would also result. In a phrase, a better future.


AFS is waging an


aggressive eff ort to improve the public policies that aff ect the casting industry. We have taken OSHA to court over its crystalline silica rule, and are a part of separate litigation against EPA over its “clean power” and ozone rules. Our tax system has cre- ated an uncertain environment that hinders our industry’s ability to compete, and AFS is therefore advocating tax reform. Metalcasters face trade challenges from trade-distorting policies and practices abroad, and AFS is advocating a more aggressive trade policy to combat these practices


to strengthen our manufacturing base. AFS is also en-


couraging Congress and the Trump ad- ministration to make a commitment to long-overdue invest- ments in infrastruc- ture. Over 30 percent of casting production goes into infrastruc- ture—accounting for 3 million annual tons of castings. Finally, AFS is opposing a recent Treasury De- partment draft rule that would remove legitimate valuation practices for estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes. On the workforce development front, a total


With the right public


policies, robust growth is again possible. With that growth would come more demand for products that contain cast metals, as well as other goods and services.


of 38 classroom classes have been redesigned over the last several years. AFS is now offering e-learning that makes metalcasting industry talent development more affordable and convenient than ever. AFS is also playing a


leading role in technol- ogy development and transfer, which positions the casting industry to meet the ever-evolving technology needs of its customers for many years to come.


Doug Kurkul, AFS CEO


If you have any comments about this editorial or any other item that appears in Modern Casting, email managing editor Shannon Wetzel at swetzel@afsinc.org.


December 2016 MODERN CASTING | 7


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