One of the oddest features of policymaking in the federal government is that little effort is made to connect defense goals with economic goals. Decisionmakers have often behaved as if there was no connection between the two areas. Now the Trump administration is trying to change that. Peter Navarro, President Trump’s trade and industrial advisor, has worked with Vice President Pence’s office to craft a plan for building more Army tanks in the struggling industrial city of Lima, Ohio. Lima is home to the last functioning tank plant in North America, but until recently it was only turning out one tank per month. Now the Trump White House wants to raise that number to 135 annually, creating thousands of new manufacturing jobs not just in Lima but in a supply chain stretching across the industrial Midwest. It’s a smart move, because the Army needs more capable tanks to keep up with emerging threats, so stepping up production helps both the military and the economy. This is the latest evidence that President Trump is willing to cast aside conventional wisdom about how to make policy if he can find ways of producing better outcomes for America. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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