Published January 1984 — Download PDF of the original newspaper column
Byrd's-Eye View By U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd Boosting America's Economy Economic policies in recent years have left us with back-breaking joblessness, staggering budget deficits, soaring interest rates, anemic industrial production, and a record imbalance in our trade with foreign countries. One of the most damaging aspects of those economic policies has been the steady and alarming erosion of America's ability to compete head-to-head with many of our foreign trading partners. That erosion threatens our economic well-being and could mean the loss of many more American jobs. W e need to take actions to rejuvenate our American industries, such as steel, mining, oil and gas, glass, chemicals, and lumber, and to provide more jobs for our workers. Earlier this year, I appointed a Senate task force to develop such a plan, and work was recently completed by the task force on a proposal that I believe could help our industries regain an edge over foreign rivals. At the center of that plan is an advisory committee, composed of representatives from business, labor, government, and the public, to develop a national cooperative strategy to boost our economy. The task force proposal also concentrates on five other major areas, including: -- improved education programs to increase the skills and productivity of American workers; -- programs to speed up research, development, and commercialization of new products and processes for our industries; -- programs to help workers and industries to adapt to technological changes, including retraining programs; -- stepped up investment in new plant and equipment; and -- trade programs to spur the sale of U.S. products and services overseas. The challenge of increasingly stiff competition from our world trading partners and the corresponding decline in our own competitiveness make it essential for Americans to take bold and innovative steps. The proposals of the task force I appointed, to buttress our economic foundations, increase our industrial might, rival our foreign competitors, and provide more good jobs for American workers, would give us the launching pad we need to propel us into a better economic future.