Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
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Mr. Trump in Wisconsin

Voters in the industrial Great Lakes region put their faith in Donald Trump’s promise to revive the manufacturing economy here, so when the President went to Wisconsin this week to announce his “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, it was a welcome act — a down payment on a promise kept.

Among other provisions, the executive order will bolster rules that require federal construction projects and transportation projects paid for with federal grants to use American-made materials. This is a good place to start.

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President Donald Trump speaks at Snap-On Tools in Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday.

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And now that he’s gotten started, the President also should direct his commerce secretary to accept an invitation from the region’s bipartisan congressional delegation, including Ohio Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), to tour a Lorain steel plant that has been decimated by layoffs and learn about the struggles of the U.S. steel industry.

Next, the President should move to make the trillion-dollar infrastructure project he promised a reality. That will take some grand deal-making. Once it is rolling, the President should insist that roads, bridges, airports, and other assets be built by American companies with American materials.

Along with creating jobs to plan, design, and produce these infrastructure projects, such a program would help to revive a region where many of those structures date back to the Great Depression.

The manufacturing sector in our part of the country doesn’t want a handout or an artificial leg-up in global competition. The auto industry, for example, does not need that sort of “help.” But what we all want is competition on a fair, level playing field.

Making good on promises is good politics for the President. Bolstering fair trade and Midwestern manufacturing and rebuilding infrastructure is also good government.

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