No One Should Be Paid?

How often do you hear the argument that people in unions shouldn’t ask for reasonable pay and benefits because no one else gets reasonable pay and benefits anymore?

And people in unions certainly shouldn’t ask for pensions, because no one gets pensions anymore…

After Reagan came in they broke the unions, and by-and-large working people have not gotten a raise since — except the few who still have a union.

Isn’t the lesson to learn from this that people are much better off when they are in a strong union — not that people should hate unions? Duh?

Happy Labor Day weekend. Remember that the only reason you have Labor Day off is because of unio ns fighting to get that.

And the only reason you only have to work 8 hours a day, get a weekend off, a minimum wage (as low as it is now) etc. is because of unions.

A Corporate Tax Idea That Fixes Lots Of Problems

Here is one thing Congress could do that would create more jobs, boost the economy and reduce both the budget deficit and the trade deficit. This one thing would not only provide a big boost now, but would provide an ongoing boost from now on. Congress should modify the “deferral” tax loophole that lets companies dodge their taxes by moving and keeping profits “out of the country.” Tax this cash at 5% a year.

The top corporate tax rate is currently 35%. But corporations are allowed to “defer” paying taxes on profits earned outside of the country until they “repatriate” those profits, which means bringing the money back into the country. (Any taxes paid elsewhere are deducted from the amount owed.) There are solid reasons to allow corporations to do this. Simply put, they might need to put that money to good use, which will benefit the company, which in theory will later benefit our country.

But this tax deferral has turned into a huge loophole that is draining our country of jobs, tax revenue, investment, manufacturing infrastructure and other good things We the People are supposed to receive in return for allowing these corporations to operate. Companies not only are keeping profits out of the country, the loophole gives them an incentive to engage in schemes that shift more and more jobs, production and profit centers out of the country. (One well-known example: Apple transferred ownership of it’s “crown jewels” — “intellectual property” — to Ireland.)

A Ton Of Cash That We The People Could Really Put To Use

The amount now being held outside of the country is astounding. Some estimates say that it is as much as $1.5 to 2 trillion, or even more. If the full amount were brought back and the tax rate applied that would bring a $525-700 billion windfall that the government could use to hire people to get things done that really, really need to get done like modernizing our infrastructure, hiring teachers, building high-speed rail, retrofitting homes and buildings to be energy-efficient … so many things… (Of course it would be less because of taxes paid elsewhere, etc., but we’re still talking hundreds of billions.)

And, of course, after that $1.5-2 trillion is brought back and the appropriate taxes are paid the rest would either be invested or distributed to shareholders — another nice boost to the economy.

Beyond the one-time windfall from bringing that cash back there would be two other major effects of changing this deferral loophole. The first, of course, is that tens of billions of revenue now withheld each year would be coming in to be taxed, thereby reducing the budget deficit. But perhaps more important, the incentive to move jobs, factories and profit centers (“crown jewels”) out of the country would be eliminated, so companies would keep factories and jobs here.

 Why They Do It

The reason so much $$ is being kept away is that companies have good reason to believe that eventually they will be allowed to bring it back without paying the taxes they owe. Congress made a huge mistake in 2004 and gave corporations a “tax repatriation holiday.” They allowed companies that were holding profits outside of the country to bring those profits back without paying all of the taxes due. This created the expectation that Congress will of course do this again (and again). So, not looking a gift horse in the mouth, companies started to find ways to increase their outside-the-country profits and reduce their inside-the-country profits. Jobs, factories, production, profit centers (desks, chairs, carpets…) and everything else that could be moved out of the country started to be … moved out of the country. And it gets worse every year.

Solution: Put A Surtax On Money Held Outside The Country

Some people say we should just repeal the rule that lets companies defer taxes due on profits earned outside of the country until they bring it home. But that undoes the benefits that were the original reason to allow deferral.

Here is a simple idea that could go a long way toward solving this problem. Don’t eliminate the deferral, tax it. As I said, there are good reasons to allow it in certain instances. Instead, put a surtax on profits held outside of the country. Just for illustration, suppose this surtax was 5%. This means that if a company decides to keep $1 billion of profits outside of the country, they would pay 5% of that, $50 million, each year they do this. This is not later used to reduce the amount of taxes due when they eventually bring the money home; when they finally “repatriate” the profits they would be still taxed at the same rate as now (up to 35% minus taxes paid elsewhere, etc.) But instead of gaining from keeping the money out of the country, it instead costs them 5% each year they keep it out.

Of course, this must be coupled with the end of any hope that Congress will eventually give in to hostage-taking and let companies bring profits back at some reduced rate. That was a mistake that has cost the country dearly in lost revenue, jobs, factories, profit centers, (desks, chairs, carpets…) and also cost the country money that should be either invested or distributed to shareholders.

If the companies decide to continue to hold that $1.5-2 trillion outside of the country this surtax would bring the government between $75 and $100 billion per year of additional tax revenue, and these companies would also eventually have to bring it back and pay the up-to-$700 billion due in taxes as well. I’d be happy with that, and so would the country.
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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Trying To Provoke Racial Fear III

I’ve been writing about how the Republican site Drudge Report has been getting more and more racist. They have story after story about black people attacking white people, black mobs running around beating whites, etc.

Today, for example:

Woman brutally beaten by group of teens says attack was racially motivated…

‘Was so animalistic. So violent’..

“Animalistic?”

Well this is what they have up today. (Today is 50th anniversary of the March for Jobs and Justice and the “I Have A Dream” speech…)

OK, really?

PS someone pointed out this was one of the performers today. I suspect cultural advancement was not the motivation of Drudge, and is not the reception the photo is getting from Drudge’s audience.

On Ed Schultz and Randi Rhodes Today Talking Jobs

I’ll be on the Ed Schultz radio show at 2:30pm ET and then on Randi Rhodes at 5:30pm ET talking JOBS! Jobs fix deifict and jobs fix lives.

Update — 30 seconds before I’m on the air with Mike Papantonio who was filling in for Schultz, the producer says, Hey we’re going to talk about Syria instead. So if you listened, how did I do at completely winging it?

Trying To Provoke Racial Fear II

The other day I noticed that the Drudge Report was over-the-top, entering “out-and-out KKK territory.” It has only gotten worse. This morning:

RNC Speaker Tells Blacks: Gays, Immigrants Prioritized Over You…

HAD A DREAM: Black lawmakers lament flaring of racial tensions under Obama…

POLL: Just 1 in 4 blacks say situation better…

UPDATE: ‘Homeland Security’ employee behind racist website placed on PAID leave…

SHOCK: Pre-teen black kids bully 3-year-old white girl…

VIDEO: ‘When white people piss black people off’…

COPS: Black teen girls assault white woman; charged with ‘ethnic intimidation’…

PAPER: Black man attacks elderly white male, tells him he ‘shouldn’t be in his park’…

Report: SC restaurant refused to seat black patrons…

SCHOOL: Black student sent racist texts to himself…

And a new Nazi theme, flag included:


Student posts Nazi flags around liberal college campus as ‘joke’…

Nazi-themed wines come under fire…

Trial reveals secret life of ‘Nazi bride’…

Trying To Provoke Racial Fear

Headlines at Drudge today:

WWII vet, 88, beaten to death by black teens…
Suspect photos released…
‘PAULA DEEN SHOOTS TRAYVON MARTIN’
Buchanan: ‘Interracial violence is overwhelmingly black-on-white’…
Police: Man doused with gasoline, set on fire in vacant lot…
Hot Dog Vendor Beaten With Hammer, Robbed of Cell Phone…
UPDATE: ‘Homeland Security’ Employee Preparing for Coming Race War…

This is out-and-out KKK territory.

Martin Luther King’s Dream Of Jobs And Freedom

Martin Luther King Jr. outlined his dream 50 years ago this weekend. We made much of it happen. Let’s dream some more. Let’s dream about what we could do in the next 50 years.

Fifty years ago Martin Luther King Jr. led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and famously told the country “I have a dream.” Fifty years later there is progress and there are setbacks. We no longer have segregation — separate schools and bathrooms and the rest. Many states finally allow everyone to marry the person they love, but at the same time many states are returning to apartheid-era restrictions of voting rights.

One huge part of the “Jobs and Freedom” Dream that still evades us is the goal of full employment or an income until a job becomes available.

On August 16, 1967 King delivered a speech titled, “Where Do We Go From Here?” addressing the need for everyone to have a job or an income,

…our emphasis must be twofold: We must create full employment, or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position, we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available. In 1879 Henry George anticipated this state of affairs when he wrote in Progress and Poverty:

The fact is that the work which improves the condition of mankind, the work which extends knowledge and increases power and enriches literature and elevates thought, is not done to secure a living. It is not the work of slaves driven to their tasks either by the, that of a taskmaster or by animal necessities. It is the work of men who somehow find a form of work that brings a security for its own sake and a state of society where want is abolished.

A Country Based On A Dream

Our country was founded on the dream that We the People can do things for each other instead of depending on the rich and powerful to throw us scraps.

If you look at our Constitution you see that our country is supposed to be for We the People. And I mean just look at it, not read it. The only words you see from any distance are the words “We the People.” The Founders were making a point.

The Constitution told the world about a dream that “We the People” would build a country that protects and empowers us, where together we do things for the common good, to make our lives better. And for a while we did that.

We have lost sight of that dream. We no longer seem to recognize who our country is for. We no longer talk about the common good.

Who is our country for? Who is our economy for? Certainly a We the People economy would at the very least guarantee that We the People have jobs and an income until a job is available.

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Every New Job Helps Our Economy

Every new job helps the economy.

Because every new job is another person shopping at local stores.

And every few new jobs mean the stores are hiring, too.

Every new job is another person not trying to take your job.

So let’s hire people to fix our roads and bridges, and teach our children.

Then, every few police, bridge-repair and teaching jobs will mean local stores will hire people.

And every few stores hiring people means a supplier hires someone.

AND our children will be educated, and our streets will be better and safer.

If we fix a bridge, it means stores around the bridge are doing more business, and will hire people, and suppliers will hire more people.

AND we will have a bridge that has been fixed!

To politicians: You know that budget cuts cost jobs and hurt the economy, no matter what you are saying in public. So any cuts you approve now mean that things will be even worse when the next election rolls around. When you are up for re-election, there will be fewer jobs and a longer recession.

So giving in to the “conventional wisdom” of the “serious people” on cutting the budget means that you are hurting yourself in the next election.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Detroit, Manufacturing And ReMaking America

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We have to have things to sell to others to bring in the money to buy things from others. Detroit’s bankruptcy shows what happens when a country forgets that.

I hosted a blogger call yesterday with Carl Pope and Scott Paul to discuss the new book ReMaking America. I wrote about the book a month ago. (Harold Meyerson said, “Going down to Mississippi wages does not signal a bright future for American economy.”) Please visit www.remakingamericabook.com for more information about this book.

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Click this link to play a recording of the call.

But first, here are my remarks introducing the call:

On today’s call we are talking about the revival of manufacturing. This is especially timely because of the bankruptcy of Detroit, a city that used to exemplify of America’s manufacturing prosperity, now a wasteland of crumbling buildings and homes – and people.

So let me set the stage for today’s call.

Detroit’s bankruptcy shows exactly what this whole manufacturing discussion is really about.

Manufacturing is one of the main ways a country makes a living. We have to have things to sell to others to bring in the money to buy things from others.

American used to sell far more to the world than we brought in. Until the early 80s we were the largest “creditor” nation. We made things and sold them. Then tax and trade policies transformed us to the world’s largest debtor nation – we moved factories out of the country or just bought things from elsewhere – and since then that imbalance has only gotten worse and worse … and worse and worse.

The Southend portion of the 452-acre Buick City site, currently an EPA disaster area.

The Southend portion of the 452-acre Buick City site, currently an EPA disaster area.

Do you remember the movie “Roger and Me,” about what happened to Flint? THAT movie showed what happens to cities when “government gets out of the way,” and lets factories and industries move. That movie was in 1989, and the same thing has only gotten worse and spread around the country.

As the factories moved well-paying manufacturing jobs disappeared, and were replaced by low-wage jobs at places like Walmart and Staples. This started a downward spiral and now everyone feels the downward pressure on wages.

Entire regions were devastated as manufacturing left the country, and suppliers left the country, and design jobs and machine maintenance jobs and all the rest of the jobs associated with manufacturing left the country and over time the middle class started to shrink and feel the squeeze.

And now we see the results in major cities like Detroit.

So what are we going to do about it?

As a country we have to rethink this and remake America, and to talk about a new book called Remaking America I would like to introduce Scott Paul.

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Scott Paul, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Scott is President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a partnership of some of America’s leading manufacturers and the United Steelworkers union, working to restore American manufacturing competitiveness.

After Scott talked he introduced Carl Pope, former Executive Director of the Sierra Club. Carl’s chapter in the Remaking America book, “Energy Manufacturing: The Linchpin for America’s Future,” argues for more support for renewable energy technology innovation and explains precisely how this can be done. Carl is going to tell us about this today.

 Listen to the call below:

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

This Is A BIG Deal

This is a BIG deal. Huge.

They used the excuse of “anti-terror” legislation to detain and question the partner of a journalist for 9 hours, a Brazilian citizen, over the protests of Brazil, inside an airport as he was changing planes.

This means that ANY “anti-terror” legislation can be used against anyone whether they are actually engaged in terror or not. This is a very big deal. Because suddenly the excuse that the NSA spying is about “anti-terror” means it can be used against journalists and their friends and families, too. And you.