For tax policy expert David Hartman, the United States is being exploited by the world due to trade deficits abroad, which he argues is crushing the workforce here at home.
"How do you defend your country without a manufacturing sector? The bulk of our technological progress comes out of our manufacturing sector," Hartman said.
Hartman, a retired Texas bank CEO, spoke Wednesday night at the Rockford institute. To counter American manufacturing job loss, Hartman proposes replacing corporate taxes with border adjustable taxes. This means the tax rates would be more equal to the U.S.'s importing trade partners, and help level an uneven trading playing field.
"With it and at least with three quarters of the world other than China, it would in all probability in a short period of time restore a balance of trade," Hartman said.
Hartman argues tax reform is more critical than ever, with America's trade deficit increasing since 1971, and many manufacturing jobs decreasing during that span, especially in the Stateline.
"Rockford has twice as many a percentage of workers that the average city in the United States has, so they have to more to lose, but all of America loses with them," Hartman said.
Industry job losses one expert hopes can be reversed with a reversal in trade policy.