Pelosi: Congress’ Coming ‘Making It In America’ Initiative

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.
At the Netroots Nation convention today in Las Vegas, Speaker Nancy Pelosi talked about an upcoming Congressional initiative to help restore American manufacturing. The initiative, called “Making It In America” will include a series of bills to be introduced after the summer recess.

A few days ago Politico wrote about the upcoming initiative,

Democrats are priming the House floor for a manufacturing agenda they hope will bolster the economy, produce easy bipartisan votes and boost their chances in the midterm elections — at least if the polls they’re using are on target.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) teased the plan — sometimes dubbed “Making It in America” — after a White House meeting with President Barack Obama last week. The agenda appears to be the Democrats’ final pre-election push to clear the deck of jobs-related bills that have been sitting around for months.
Democrats plan to present the agenda as a means of creating jobs, promoting green manufacturing through tax credits and grants and enhancing national security by rebuilding the domestic manufacturing sector at a time when many Americans are worried about China’s strength, according to aides.

The Politico story referred to the impact made on members of Congress by a new poll from the Alliance for American Manufacturing. According to the poll,

  • A majority believe the U.S. no longer has the world’s strongest economy—a title they want to regain
  • Voters are anxious about the economy—specifically China debt, spending and loss of manufacturing
  • 86% of voters want Washington to focus on manufacturing, and 63% feel working people who make things are being forgotten while Wall Street and banks get bailouts
  • Two-thirds of voters believe manufacturing is central to our economic strength, and 57% believe manufacturing is more central to our economic strength than high-tech, knowledge or financial service sectors
  • Across all demographics, voters’ economic solutions center on trade enforcement, clean energy, tax credits for U.S. manufacturing and replacing aging infrastructure using American materials, a surprising overlap between Tea Party supporters, independents, non-union households and union households.
  • Wednesday the House passed the first bill of the initiative, H.R. 4380, the U.S. Manufacturing Enhancement Act, to help American manufacturers by temporarily suspending or reducing duties on materials these companies use that are made abroad or opposed by domestic producers.
    California Rep. John Garamendi has introduced three bills to close corporate tax loopholes that reward the off-shoring of jobs and end taxpayer subsidies for foreign-produced clean energy technology, buses, railcars, and ferries.
    Garamendi says “I want to walk into Target and see “Made in America” throughout the store. We can make it in America,”
    At Netroots Nation Speaker Pelosi also said that Congress is looking at addressing the China currency problem, where China is manipulating its currency to give goods made there a huge pricing advantage. She also pointed out that China imposes many other barriers to free trade, including not allowing American companies to bid on government procurement, even when the goods are made in China.
    I will be writing more on this, but it is a breaking story and I want to get the news out.
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    Still In Vegas

    Last night I went to the bowling party and it was a blast but I had to leave for a 9:30pm meeting for an hour on manufacturing policy but then I went back to the bowling party, and went to watch the poker tournament… Ah the blogger life.
    Hey, down in the left column there is a DONATE button. Might need it.

    Republican Plan Working So Far

    The plan: Block everything Congress does, then run against Democrats as ineffective.
    What they have done: Blocked almost everything so far.
    Triumphant headline today at Drudge Report:
    PACK YOUR BAGS: CONGRESS CONFIDENCE AT 11%
    Why aren’t the Senate leaders making everyone stay on cots until filibusters end?
    Will the President use his Constitutional power to make the Senate stay in session through the summer to hilite to voters what has been going on? That would be called governing.

    President Obama, Make Congress Stay In DC Until They Pass Jobs Legislation

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
    The Constitution of the United States, Article II, Section 3: “He may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them…
    We have a jobs emergency and the Congress has not acted. Almost everything the Senate does is being blocked by an obstructionist minority that is trying to tank the economy, hoping a demoralized public will blame the other party and won’t bother to vote, which will help them take power in November.
    The government is not governing and the consequences for working (and out-of-work) people are severe. Millions of unemployed are not finding jobs. People can’t pay their mortgages or rent and are losing their health care. Small businesses are reaching the end of their ability to hold out. Communities, even whole states are out of money to cover even basic services.
    The President has the the power to do something about this. He has the power to show the public where he and his party really stand on doing something about the jobs crisis. He has the power to show that he can put his foot down and demand action.
    The Congress is planning to go on recess in August and the President has the power to make them stay until robust jobs legislation is passed.
    This is an opportunity to apply pressure to get badly-needed job creation and further stimulus underway. This is an opportunity to show the public who is acting and who is blocking. This is an opportunity to clarify for the voters who is working to get jobs going and who is keeping the Congress from acting.
    The President has the opportunity to lead. He has the opportunity and the responsibility to govern.
    This is an emergency. Make them stay.
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    Netroots Nation Panel: The 2010 Elections: Channeling The Power Of Jobs, Populism And The Angry Voter

    Will you be at Netroots Nation in Las Vegas later this week? I will be on a panel, The 2010 Elections: Channeling the Power of Jobs, Populism and the Angry Voter, Thursday at 10:30am. Come on by and attend the panel!
    Here is the complete description:
    The 2010 Elections: Channeling the Power of Jobs, Populism and the Angry Voter
    THURSDAY, JULY 22ND 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM, PANEL, BRASILIA 6

    “The rising tide of populist anger in the face of Wall Street bailouts and continued high unemployment threatens to take an ugly reactionary turn unless it is channeled to more progressive policies of job growth. This panel will address current public attitudes and ideas for steering opinion and action more progressively.”

    Also on the panel will be:

  • Scott Paul, founding Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM).
  • Annabel Park, documentary filmmaker, political activist and community volunteer. Founder, Coffee Party USA.
  • Mark Mellman, one of the nation’s leading public opinion researchers and communication strategists. He is CEO of The Mellman Group and recently named “Pollster of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants.
  • Alan Greenspan And Things Forgotten

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
    Ah, the things we forget.
    This was then: Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan greenlighted the Bush tax cuts, saying that Clinton was paying down the country’s debt too fast as a result of modest taxes on the wealthy. So the Bush tax cuts for the rich passed, which immediately brought us the huge, huge deficits. Bush called the deficits “Incredibly positive news” because they would force a debt crisis.
    In the 80′s Alan Greenspan’s Social Security Commission raised taxes and cut benefits on working people, providing a huge amount of revenue which was then handed out as tax cuts for the rich. And now, rather than pay back that money borrowed from Social Security from where it went, our elites are insisting that Social Security must be cut back, we must all work until 70, etc.
    Decades earlier Alan Greenspan was smack in the center of the Ayn Rand* cult that called the non-wealthy “parasites,”

    Mr. Greenspan had married a member of Rand’s inner circle, known as the Collective, that met every Saturday night in her New York apartment. . . . Mr. Greenspan wrote: “ ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is a celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.”

    This is now: Greenspan Calls for Congress to Let All Bush Tax Cuts Expire

    Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, whose backing of George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts helped persuade Congress to pass them, said lawmakers should allow the reductions to expire at the end of this year. “They should follow the law and let them lapse,” Greenspan said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations with Judy Woodruff,” citing a need for the tax revenue to reduce the federal budget deficit.

    And there was his “I was wrong” testimony,

    … a humbled Mr. Greenspan admitted that he had put too much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and had failed to anticipate the self-destructive power of wanton mortgage lending.
    “Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief,” he told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

    Alan Greenspan is in his 80s. He forgets — or at least wants us to forget. Don’t let anyone forget.
    The debt crisis was the plan, right there for everyone to see:

    • Step 1: Cut taxes to “cut the allowance” of government so that it can’t function on the side of We, the People. Intentionally force the government into greater and greater debt.
    • Step 2: Use the debt as a reason to cut the things government does for We, the People. When the resulting deficits pile up scare people that the government is “going bankrupt” so they’ll let you sell off the people’s assets and “privatize” the functions of government. Of course, insist that putting taxes back where they were will “harm the economy.”

    So don’t forget.

    * One more thing not to forget. I mentioned Ayn Rand. Rand’s work is very popular among conservatives now. It forms a core justification for their “on your own” philosophy praising the wealthy and discarding the rest. So it is useful to explore the formation and core of this philosophy. Early in her writings Rand became fascinated with a serial killer named William Hickman. Rand wrote that the serial killer was an “ideal man,” a superior form of human because he didn’t let society impose their morals on him. He didn’t worry about what others thought and just did as he pleased.
    Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should,” Rand wrote. Hickman had “no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel ‘other people.’” She considered these to be good qualities! And so does her cult.
    This is the foundation of the modern “tea party” conservative thinking. So when you look at the modern capitalism that has grown up around Rand’s philosophy and the big corporations that are chewing up the planet to enrich a very few at the expense of the rest of us, and think it seems sort of psychopathic, maybe that’s because it literally is.
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    Blog Birthday, 8 Years!

    It is the eighth birthday of Seeing the Forest.
    skippy is 8 years old. Pen-Elayne on the Web is 8 years old. Atrios is four months older (scroll to the bottom.) Liberal Oasis was June, 2002. Daily Kos was May, 2002. MyDD was even older. Credit where it is due: Dave Winer (scroll alllllll… the way down for a real shock).
    8 years is many, many lifetimes in internet time. This blogging career enabled me to be the first person ever to post a picture of my dog from a national political convention and they can never take that away from me! (When you get there scroll down a bit, but then scroll up a few posts for another.)
    To celebrate, here is a favorite post from August 2005, The Trade Problem:

    View of San Francisco from Sausalito.

    See how this ship is riding high off the water? This ship is loaded with empty containers, bound for China.

    Ships come into the port loaded with goods that we buy from China. But China doesn’t buy very much from us. So we have to send ships back loaded with empty containers. (Well almost empty, they’re actually filled with dollars, and jobs, and the future.)

    Continue reading

    Against All Odds: Save the Middle Class and the American Dream

    The American Dream is what is at stake for the Obama Administration, and they know it. This is the dirty, little secret that can longer be contained — it is escalating, cannot remain hidden, and may have significant political ramifications for the 2010 elections. The atrocity of the past years is this broken promise with the people, and it is deeply affecting the way they think, behave, vote and live. Moreover, it could begin to explain the groundswell response to candidate Barack Obama in 2008. The power of his words helped them believe that the dream was recoverable. He exemplified what was possible through education and hard work in his meteoric rise through American politics to the Oval Office. Further and more importantly, it also explains why we are now suffering such profound political despair reflected in the dropping poll numbers.
    The middle class, for its survival, needs life to return to a semblance of “normalcy” – a time when they didn’t know how to spell the word “deficit” and didn’t have to care. They want their retirement savings back so they don’t have to work until they drop. They want a bank account that makes more then one percent interest. They want to know what their health insurance premiums will be this year and in ten. They want to know if their kids study, and if they save and sacrifice, that their lives will be better. They want their kids to get good jobs, and they want to hold onto our own jobs. And with despair and anger they realize that despite the heroic work of the Congress with this President in passing landmark legislation in all of these areas — they still are not safe. Economic ruin may still be right around the corner, and makes it hard to sleep at night.
    You know we’ve all been hoodwinked and sold a bill of goods about the sanctity of the middle class in this country. It is a basic tenet of our lives, and made us different from other countries. The ranks swelled over the last decades after FDR to the present. But now for the first time since the Great Depression, the middle class is at risk of tipping over once and for all. They are not coming out of the financial, housing and environmental crises intact. Interest rates have ratcheted up on the family home, maybe there’s a balloon payment on the mortgage and its impossible to refinance under the “new” programs; savings have virtually no interest and are drying up; pensions have evaporated; health insurance premiums are basically unaffordable until 2014 if then; schools are overcrowded and on the decline; there are no jobs except in China and they don’t speak Mandarin; and unemployment is still at 9.5% — higher in key areas throughout the country. The new legislation is riddled with loopholes, as all legislation can be after laborious compromises and extensive details. What is different is that each of these loopholes is flagrantly being exploited by the banks, the credit card companies and the health insurance companies. For example, many of the unemployed cannot qualify for COBRA because their companies failed which is code for closed their doors. COBRA is not available when a company terminates their health insurance plan, and 2014 is a long way off when you need health insurance coverage now.
    Frankly, this is not what the middle class signed up for. It was not part of the implicit promise made to them. As a result, they are angry (enter stage right the Tea Party to exploit this vulnerability), and depressed (evidenced in the lackluster June election voter turnout). This is a deadly combination that could seal the deal on the November elections for the big, bad guys. Yet somehow the middle class and its Democrats must rally again and rise above the collective depression (no pun intended). We cannot let the brilliant and effective message machine of the Republican Party lull them into universal amnesia — forgetting all the wrongs of the past. Remember these are the same guys (Bush and Cheney) that put the nails in the coffin cementing the potential extermination of the middle class. These same guys two weeks ago even blocked the extension of unemployment benefits while they frolicked on vacation. How could they do that to working families in this country? The extension passed the House before the break, but was filibustered in the Senate. And given all that, imagine life when we essentially give away the House because we are too depressed to vote or disorganized to keep these seats.
    I will take liberal Speaker Nancy Pelosi any day over anti-choice, sanctimonious Republican Representative John Boehner as Speaker of the House. That would be a bad dream that just keeps on giving. This threat should be enough for the White House to saddle up and come out with a plan, a message (remember “hope and change”), and leadership to deliver – not the White House Press Secretary Gibbs message yesterday. David Gregory of Meet the Press has gotten so very good and Gibbs just walked into a fiasco announcing the potential lose of seats in the House. It was as bad as giving away candy instead of feeding the homeless, and maybe that’s why White House Special Advisor, David Axelrod, was so snarky with CNN’s Candy Crowley during the next hour on the Sunday morning political shows because it sure didn’t make any sense.
    Snarky or not, we all know Obama and his team are awful busy with the economy, the oil spill and a few dozen Russian spies, but we need them to reach out to that disenfranchised middle class again, aka big voting block. After all, Obama is the master communicator and we know that he can do it because he has done it before to win in 2008. And now the stakes may even be higher. If we allow 40 seats in the House to go asunder and a few more in the US Senate — we can start waving bye-bye to the American Dream, the middle class, economic recovery, and maybe the Supreme Court for the next couple of decades.
    Please see my Pearltree for some of the reference materials with more to come. This is a new tool to organize and share materials on the web. In full disclosure, I advise them as they build out the new features of this platform.
    Middlle Class
    Note, an earlier version of this article appeared this week on the Huffington Post.

    Obama Didn’t Deliver

    What Digby Said! Winning Isn’t Everything, It’s The Only Thing,

    … the party in power is expected to do what’s necessary to pass its agenda. If it can’t, it is held responsible for the failure, not those who stopped them from doing it.

    There are SO many things Obama and the Dem leadership could have done.

  • Obama and the Dems weakened the stimulus “to attract Republican votes.” When they didn’t get any Republican votes, they left the compromises in anyway! They did this time after time since.
  • Obama could have kept the Congress in session last summer until they passed health care reform.
  • The Senate could have “rolled out the cots” every single time the Republicans filibustered. The one time they did do this Republicans immediately caved. Why didn’t they keep doing it?
  • Senate leadership has to decide whether to keep letting Republican just block everything, or do what it takes to get things moving. They can do this, and are choosing not to.
    It is time to govern the country. It is time to get things done. Or get out of the way — the people, the unemployed, those without health care, communities losing factories, states laying off hundreds of thousands, all are depending on you to get the job done, not accommodate right-wing kooks.