Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Rep. Ro Khanna

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) speaks during an June 23, 2022 interview in his office. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images)

Ro Khanna Lays Out New Vision for American Manufacturing and Economic Progress

"Embracing a New Economic Patriotism plan isn't just about jobs. It's about unifying Americans—from the coasts to the heartland—with a shared purpose."

Brett Wilkins

U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna on Wednesday amplified his vision for what he calls a "comprehensive set of policy actions designed to restore American manufacturing and technology leadership" while centering respect for the "workers who will help our country achieve that goal."

In what some observers view as a messaging test run ahead of a potential presidential bid in 2024 or beyond, Khanna (D-Calif.) published a Boston Globe opinion piece laying out details of his New Economic Patriotism Plan.

Khanna's plan has three main planks.

"The federal government must partner with the private sector [by financing] factories at zero-interest loans and commit the purchasing power of the federal government to support American-made products and materials like batteries, electric heaters, steel, and aluminum," the congressman wrote.

Additionally, "the departments of Commerce and Education should work with companies, community colleges, and universities to invest in the next generation of workers," while "the federal government should provide grants to support new manufacturing process innovation and productivity enhancements so that we can bring back manufacturing of major consumer goods like refrigerators, microwaves, and pharmaceuticals."

"As part of this vision, the president should set a bold goal to achieve a trade surplus again by 2035," Khanna asserted. "This is a proxy and metric for new industry, exports, and good-paying jobs. Germany maintains nearly 25% of its workforce in manufacturing jobs by investing in export industries to counteract the decline from imports and running a trade surplus. "

"Coordinating these efforts will take work, and the government can't do it alone," he continued. "To scale up this vision, it should create a National Economic Development Council to bring together different agency heads, economists, and business and education leaders."

"Embracing a New Economic Patriotism plan isn't just about jobs," Khanna added. "It's about unifying Americans—from the coasts to the heartland—with a shared purpose. Together, we will build the prosperity that is foundational to become the world's first truly multiracial democracy."

Khanna's vision—which reminded some observers of the Plan for Economic Patriotism unveiled by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during her 2020 presidential run—comes amid a debate among Democrats about who will bear the progressive torch after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Warren exit politics.

"Khanna has quickly risen to the top of progressives' preliminary draft lists as an appealing alternative to Sanders, whose presidential campaign he co-chaired and with whom he still enjoys a close relationship," Hanna Trudo, senior political correspondent for The Hill, wrote Wednesday.

"The California congressman has fine-tuned Sanders' populist vision to address the nation's income inequality as voters continue to rank the economy as their top concern," she added. "He has made the argument hit home by focusing on innovation in industrialized parts of the country that he believes don't get enough attention, including in struggling areas of the Midwest and some cities."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Citing 'Unprecedented Crisis,' House Dems Push Biden to Protect Haitians From Deportation

Warning of "mortal danger," one advocacy group argues extending and redesignating Temporary Protected Status for Haitians "is a matter of life and death."

Jessica Corbett ·


The Pentagon Failed Another Audit, Yet Congress Is Poised to Approve $847 Billion Military Budget

"This isn't using our taxpayer dollars wisely," said the National Priorities Project. "It's robbing programs that we need, like the discontinued child tax credit that cut child poverty by half."

Kenny Stancil ·


Experts Warn 'Doomsday Scenario' for Colorado River Basin Possible in 2023

"The problem with massive projects like Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam," said one climate journalist, "is they were engineered for a climate that no longer exists."

Julia Conley ·


Starbucks Violated Law and Must Bargain With Union in Seattle: NLRB

The coffee giant, which plans to appeal, "is continuing its aggressive anti-union campaign against workers by delaying, confusing, and flat-out refusing to bargain with them," said Starbucks Workers United.

Jessica Corbett ·


Three UK Universities Ban Fossil Fuel Industry Recruiters From Campus

"It is vital that our universities show with actions, not words, that they are taking the side of climate justice, and not of the industries driving us deeper into a climate crisis," said one campaigner.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo