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October 2, 2017

Why Advocacy? “To Represent You And Your Companies” And To “Strengthen Your Businesses”

The following thought leadership piece by Metals Service Center Institute President and CEO M. Robert Weidner is reprinted from Edge:

“My responsibility is getting all my players playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back.”

That quote seems to have been attributed to almost every great coach over the years in most every sport as well. But the point seems to have gotten lost somewhere in the corridors of power in Washington these days. Compromise, bipartisanship, the calm search for intelligent solutions to very real problems are little more than ghosts of Congresses and administrations past.

With few exceptions and regardless of political party, the men and women who are supposed to be leading this country seem to be playing for themselves these days and not for the United States of America. The result, most especially for all of us who depend on the industrial metals supply chain for a living is disappointment and frustration.

To be sure, after an anemic 1.2 percent first quarter growth rate, the economy managed a 3.0 percent GDP jump in the second quarter. But we also know that this is not a sustainable growth rate with most economists looking for another full year of two percent, or thereabouts. And we are all too aware that while some parts of the economy are doing okay, metals shipments have never fully recovered from the recession.

MSCI’s authoritative Metals Activity Reports show that through the end of 2016, U.S. carbon shipments were down 34 percent, aluminum declined 23 percent and stainless shipments were off more than 15 percent since their 2006 highs. These numbers are not in dispute. Our proprietary data analytics and end market forecasting is unique in the industry, meticulously compiled, carefully checked and verified to guarantee accuracy. There are simply no other data on metals shipments past, and forecasts for the future, that are as reliable and comprehensive. The detailed monthly statistical breakdowns are a “members only” service that is an invaluable tool for staying competitive.

We know what our data show. And we also know that two of the most important initiatives that would help boost a still sluggish economy and our still depressed steel and aluminum shipments remain locked in the maneuverings of those who insist on playing for themselves and not the team. A massive infrastructure program, though promised by the administration and endorsed by both parties, is still nowhere to be seen. Same story with comprehensive tax reform that would, among other things, promote business investment and install lower rates for pass through entities.

At MSCI, we are doing our best to make our voice—your voices—heard on these issues. That is what our advocacy efforts are about after all, to represent you and your companies in an effective, fact-based push for government action that will strengthen your businesses. The goal is to create a stronger business climate for you, for the industrial metals supply chain, and for the country. The men and women we elected to Congress and the White House must now demonstrate their good faith in the most convincing way possible. Give us a creative, fair and simplified tax structure. Give us a powerful infrastructure program, based on the government’s willingness to—dare we say it? —make America great again. Do it. Stop playing around with the future of this country. Show us the kind of leadership that we expected when we elected you.

As management guru Peter Drucker said, “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.” Results, not attributes. Hard work in the service of the people. “Earn your leadership every day,” said Michael Jordon, a man who knew a bit about being a star, a leader and a team player.