CHARLOTTE — As President Obama and Mitt Romney debate whether lower taxes or targeted investment would do more to create jobs, they would benefit from a trip to a brand-new manufacturing plant a few miles from the Charlotte arena where the Democratic National Convention is underway.
The factory opened last year after German engineering giant Siemens AG chose this North Carolina city as a hub for making gigantic gas turbines needed to power new electric plants under construction around the globe.
A few years ago, the factory and its 825 jobs might have gone to India, China or another low-wage country. This time, American workers won out. And that victory could be instructive as the candidates pledge to energize an economy struggling through its fourth straight year above 8 percent unemployment.
Ask Siemens executives why they placed their bet on Charlotte and they talk about public investments such as the state-funded rail spur that runs through their facility and the city’s international airport, which recently added a fourth runway using $132 million in federal funds.