61 House Republicans Co-Sponsored China Currency Bill, Now Side With China

Last week, in These Are The House Republicans Blocking The Crackdown On China Currency Manipulation. Call Them. I named 61 House Republicans who had co-sponsored the China currency bill, but who now side with China by refusing to help force a vote on the bill. The bill has passed the Senate and Republican leaders are refusing to allow a vote in the House. This bill means jobs. This bill means confronting China over their trade cheating. Call these members of Congress and demand that they side with American workers instead of China.
From last week’s post,

We buy a lot from China, and they don’t buy much from us. Some call that “trade.” The result is that our jobs, factories, companies, industries and wealth are moving to China. One very big thing we can do about this right now is to confront China over their currency manipulation and the Senate passed a bill to do just that. The House leadership, under the control of lobbyists siding with China, refuses to allow the bill to come up for a vote. You can contact co-sponsors of the bill and ask them to sign a “discharge petition” that will make that vote happen.

Why Is This Important?
From Trade Deals Pass Congress — China Currency Bill More Important Than Ever,

Congress just passed three more NAFTA-like trade deals, so our country’s trade deficit is going to get even worse. And pressure on working people to accept pay and benefit cuts and longer and harder working hours is going to get even worse. And the rewards to the top 1%, at the expense of the rest of us, are going to get even greater. But we can still win the fight over China’s manipulation of its currency. If we win this it lessens the difference between prices of goods made there and goods made here and can bring some jobs, factories, countries, industries and wealth back to the 99% of our country that doesn’t benefit from these trade deals.
… China manipulates its currency to keep it “weak” (low) compared to the “strong” dollar. This means that goods made in China cost much less – up to 40% less – than goods made here, even before any wage differentials, exploitation of the environment, trade cheating, special subsidies and other trade violations are taken into account. China does this in order to capture the jobs, factories, companies and industries that make a country strong. We have let them do this for many years, leading to the economic situation we find ourselves in today.
One reason this continues is that big companies can threaten workers here with moving a job or factory there if they don’t go along with big cuts in wages and benefits and working standards — or just move the factory or company to take advantage of the differential. This benefits a wealthy few in the short term, and China in the long term after those wealthy few have sold the rest of out and cashed out for themselves.
This trade situation with China, while greatly enriching the top 1% here (and there), has hurt the rest of us so much, and drained so much wealth from the country, that even some Republicans are willing to support doing something about it. There are 61 Republican cosponsors of the bill to confront China over their currency manipulation!

The Club For Growth, a Wall Street front-group that backs China’s positions on these issues, has demanded that Republicans side with China on this, and has called it a “litmus test.” One Republican who actually did sign the discharge petition to force the House to vote, Harold Rogers, was forced by House leadership to remove his name!
What You Can Do
There are 61 Republican members of the House of Representatives who co-sponsored legislation to confront China over their currency manipulation: Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (HR639). Contact them and ask them to sign the “discharge petition.” They are:
Tim Murphy (PA)
Todd Aiken (MO)
Steve Austria (OH)
Lou Barletta (PA)
Brian Bilbray (CA)
Rob Bishop (UT)
Mo Brooks (AL)
Dan Burton (IN)
Shelley Moore Capito (WV)
Howard Coble (NC)
Chip Cravaack (MN)
Rick Crawford (AR)
Charles Dent (PA)
Jo Ann Emerson (MO)
Michael Fitzpatrick (PA)
Randy Forbes (VA)
Jeff Fortenberry (NE)
Jim Gerlach (PA)
Chris Gibson (NY)
Sam Graves (MO)
Morgan Griffith (VA)
Gregg Harper (MS)
Duncan Hunter (CA)
Bill Johnson (OH)
Tim Johnson (IL)
Walter Jones (NC)
Mike Kelly (PA)
Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO)
Steven LaTourette (OH)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ)
Donald Manzullo (IL)
Tom Marino (PA)
Thaddeus McCotter (MI)
Patrick McHenry (NC)
David McKinley (WV)
Patrick Meehan (PA)
Candice Miller (MI)
Sue Myrick (NC)
Tom Petri (WI)
Joe Pitts (PA)
Todd Platts (PA)
Jim Renacci (OH)
Scott Rigell (VA)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA)
Harold Rogers (KY)
Mike Rogers (AL)
Mike Rogers (MI)
Dennis Ross (FL)
John Runyan (NJ)
James Sensenbrenner (WI)
John Shimkus (IL)
Bill Shuster (PA)
Marlin Stutzman (IN)
Glenn Thompson (PA)
Michael Turner (OH)
Lynn Westmoreland (GA)
Ed Whitfield (KY)
Joe Wilson (SC)
Rob Wittman (VA)
Frank Wolf (VA)
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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Here Are Reps To Contact On China Currency Manipulation

We buy a lot from China, and they don’t buy much from us. Some call that “trade.” The result is that our jobs, factories, companies, industries and wealth are moving to China. One very big thing we can do about this right now is to confront China over their currency manipulation and the Senate passed a bill to do just that. The House leadership, under the control of lobbyists siding with China, refuses to allow the bill to come up for a vote. You can contact co-sponsors of the bill and ask them to sign a “discharge petition” that will make that vote happen.
As Steven Capozzola explained yesterday in Why Should Congress Pass China Currency Legislation?,

What few seem to understand is that we are already in a trade war with China. It’s not one that we launched, nor one that we wanted. But China’s undervaluation of its currency, which violates world trade rules, is part of a deliberate, well-coordinated strategy to undercut U.S. manufacturers.
Currency manipulation has helped fuel China’s massive rise as a manufacturing powerhouse. And it’s also helped drive our massive trade deficit with Beijing, which reached a record $273 billion in 2010. This huge trade gap has cost 2.8 million U.S. jobs over the past decade—jobs in every state and congressional district, jobs in manufacturing, jobs in high-tech sectors… It’s a terribly one-sided trade relationship.
How did this happen? China intervenes in the currency market to buy dollars and set its own currency at an artificially low exchange rate. This makes Chinese goods 40% cheaper when entering the U.S. market while making our goods significantly more costly when exported to China.
… This is a bipartisan issue, one that marks a clear chance for Congress to stand up to a very protectionist, predatory campaign. China can purchase dollars, which are freely traded, in order to set its currency peg. But conversely, it is illegal to buy China’s closely held currency.

I wrote yesterday, in Will The U.S. House Side With China On Currency?

If we want to bring jobs and wealth back to the United States for the 99% of us who have been under extreme pressure we’re going to have to do something about trade. The huge trade imbalances — especially with China — are sucking our jobs and factories and companies and industries and money out of the country. The biggest thing that can be done right now is to take action on China’s currency manipulation.
…Speaker of the House Boehner is siding with China and is refusing to allow it to come before the House for a vote. (Reminder to self: do some research into the Citizens United Supreme Court decision enabling foreign money to influence our elections.)
The bill can be forced onto the House floor using a “discharge petition.” You can take action to help get Republicans to sign the discharge petition so it comes to the floor. Click here to contact members of Congress and ask them to sign this discharge petition and end Chinese currency manipulation now.

What You Can Do
There are 61 Republican members of the House of Representatives who co-sponsored legislation to confront China over their currency manipulation: Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (HR639). Contact them and ask them to sign the “discharge petition.” They are:
Tim Murphy (PA)
Todd Aiken (MO)
Steve Austria (OH)
Lou Barletta (PA)
Brian Bilbray (CA)
Rob Bishop (UT)
Mo Brooks (AL)
Dan Burton (IN)
Shelley Moore Capito (WV)
Howard Coble (NC)
Chip Cravaack (MN)
Rick Crawford (AR)
Charles Dent (PA)
Jo Ann Emerson (MO)
Michael Fitzpatrick (PA)
Randy Forbes (VA)
Jeff Fortenberry (NE)
Jim Gerlach (PA)
Chris Gibson (NY)
Sam Graves (MO)
Morgan Griffith (VA)
Gregg Harper (MS)
Duncan Hunter (CA)
Bill Johnson (OH)
Tim Johnson (IL)
Walter Jones (NC)
Mike Kelly (PA)
Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO)
Steven LaTourette (OH)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ)
Donald Manzullo (IL)
Tom Marino (PA)
Thaddeus McCotter (MI)
Patrick McHenry (NC)
David McKinley (WV)
Patrick Meehan (PA)
Candice Miller (MI)
Sue Myrick (NC)
Tom Petri (WI)
Joe Pitts (PA)
Todd Platts (PA)
Jim Renacci (OH)
Scott Rigell (VA)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA)
Harold Rogers (KY)
Mike Rogers (AL)
Mike Rogers (MI)
Dennis Ross (FL)
John Runyan (NJ)
James Sensenbrenner (WI)
John Shimkus (IL)
Bill Shuster (PA)
Marlin Stutzman (IN)
Glenn Thompson (PA)
Michael Turner (OH)
Lynn Westmoreland (GA)
Ed Whitfield (KY)
Joe Wilson (SC)
Rob Wittman (VA)
Frank Wolf (VA)
Don Young (AK)
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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Will The U.S. House Side With China On Currency?

If we want to bring jobs and wealth back to the United States for the 99% of us who have been under extreme pressure we’re going to have to do something about trade. The huge trade imbalances — especially with China — are sucking our jobs and factories and companies and industries and money out of the country. The biggest thing that can be done right now is to take action on China’s currency manipulation. Here are two things you can do today.
The Senate votes today on a bill to push back against China’s (and a few other countries’) currency manipulation, and the bill is expected to pass. The bill also has to pass the House and be signed by the President before it can take effect. CNN explains, in Senate targets China’s currency,

For years, U.S. officials have been pressuring China to allow its renminbi — or yuan — to appreciate more rapidly. Between 2008 and 2010, China had pegged the yuan to the dollar, keeping its value artificially low and Chinese exports comparatively cheap.
Besides hiking tariffs on Chinese goods, the bill also takes aim at the administration, which already has some ability to point out nations that purposefully manipulate their currency but has avoided doing so.
The bill would:
— Force the administration to officially red-flag nations whose currencies are undervalued for long periods with the term “fundamentally misaligned currency.”
— Make it tougher for the Commerce Department to ignore calls to investigate accusations of undervalued currencies.
— Force the administration to give Congress a list of nations with “misaligned” currencies.
And if a nation is accused of having an undervalued currency and makes no effort to rebalance the currency for three months or more, that’s when the tariffs kick in.

Jobs And Wealth
It’s complicated, but by manipulating its currency instead of letting it “float” to world market value, China can sell goods to other countries at a much lower price than they would cost without the manipulation. In effect China puts its own money into the currency markets, which works out the same as subsidizing the products directly so they have a lower price, in order to get the orders. While this might seem like a dumb thing to do the long-term result is that China is buying themselves a very big chunk of the world’s manufacturing business. In the long term this pays off for them in jobs, industries, wealth and power.
And as we now know, the result for us is a big loss of jobs and wealth and factories and companies and industries — in other words, our ability to make a living in the world.
The House
Even as the bill likely passes the Senate today, Speaker of the House Boehner is siding with China and is refusing to allow it to come before the House for a vote. (Reminder to self: do some research into the Citizens United Supreme Court decision enabling foreign money to influence our elections.)
The bill can be forced onto the House floor using a “discharge petition.” You can take action to help get Republicans to sign the discharge petition so it comes to the floor. Click here to contact members of Congress and ask them to sign this discharge petition and end Chinese currency manipulation now.

Tell Congress to stop China’s cheating on currency manipulation, which stands in the way of free and fair trade, job creation, and a higher standard of living for millions of Americans.

Click here to see the actual discharge petition.
The President
In his news conference last week President Obama said that China is manipulating their currency but that he doesn’t want a law that is just “symbolic.” He was not clear about whether he would sign this bill or not, should it pass. He said,

“…China has been very aggressive in gaming the trading system to its advantage and to the disadvantage of other countries, particularly the United States. And I have said that publicly, but I’ve also said it privately to Chinese leaders. And currency manipulation is one example of it. [. . .] My main concern — and I’ve expressed this to Senator Schumer — is whatever tools we put in place, let’s make sure that these are tools that can actually work, that they’re consistent with our international treaties and obligations. I don’t want a situation where we’re just passing laws that are symbolic knowing that they’re probably not going to be upheld by the World Trade Organization, for example, and then suddenly U.S. companies are subject to a whole bunch of sanctions. We’ve got a — I think we’ve got a strong case to make, but we’ve just got to make sure that we do it in a way that’s going to be effective.”

So it is not clear if he intends to sign this legislation. You can sign a petition encouraging him to sign it, should it pass, and take other steps to push China to stop their trade violations. Click the following: WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO: Take Action to Stop China’s Job-Killing Currency Manipulation.
Please take the time to urge members of Congress to sign the discharge petition, and to urge President Obama to sign the bill if&when it passes.
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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The Phony Solyndra Solar Scandal

Well here’s a surprise: conservatives and oil interests are pushing deceptive and destructive stories about President Obama and clean energy. Imagine that! Their intent (as always) is to turn people against President Obama, clean energy, national energy policy, stimulus to help the economy, and government in general. It’s what they do. Here is some information to help you push back on the latest whipped-up, anti-green, anti-government, anti-Obama “scandal.”
Solyndra
Solyndra was a startup solar-power equipment manufacturer based in Fremont, California that went bankrupt at the end of August. The company’s solar collectors used a special tubular internal design that let it collect light from all directions, and were made with a copper-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS) thin film that avoided using then-expensive silicon. It was one of several companies that received assistance from the government, in an attempt to push back on China’s strategic targeting of green-energy manufacturing.
The company, partly backed by the conservative Walton family had received a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. The loan, which was originally pushed by the Bush administration, was 1.3% of the DOE portfolio.
The economy tanked and cut demand, and at the same time Solyndra could not compete with subsidized companies located in China as they rapidly scaled up. So Solyndra ran out of money. Conservatives and oil interests are using the bankruptcy as a platform to attack green energy and the idea of green jobs in general, solar power in particular, President Obama as always, stimulus funding and the idea of developing a national strategic industrial policy to push back on China and others who have their own national policies to win this key industry of the future.

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Capital Gains Tax Cuts Prove: Rich Win, You Lose

Why are “capital gains” taxes so much lower than taxes on other income? The reason capital gains taxes are lower is because most of the income of the rich is from capital gains. And the reason most of the income of the rich is from capital gains is because capital gains taxes are lower.
Our System
“Capital gains” are the gains, or profits, made from the investment of capital — the big pools of money that a few of us have the great responsibility and burden of being stuck with. The theory is that the few among us who have bundles of money (capital) use that money to start businesses or buy stocks or property (or race horses) and thereby “create jobs.” (For more on how businesses and the wealthy “create jobs,” click here and then click here.)
If the value of the business or property (or race horses) goes up those wealthy few make even more money (gains). This ability to obtain these huge gains is a benefit offered to those who have lots of money in the first place. Thus the term “capital gains.” These gains are differentiated from the gains the rest of us make from … working … because the rest of us do not have the intelligence and wisdom of having those huge pools of money to invest.
Incentives
In our system the income gained from these investments by these wealthy few is therefore taxed at a special very, very low rate, because they have the wisdom and intelligence to have large sums of money available to invest, and the rest of us do not. This low rate is considered an “incentive” to those who have these large accumulations of money, to try to persuade them to make these huge profits. They require these “incentives” to make huge profits, because otherwise they might not be interested in making the huge profits that can result from owning most of the property and stock and race horses (and yachts and private jets and multiple homes and million-dollar cars.) So that is why they must be given the incentive of these very special low tax rates – to persuade them to make investments that reap huge profits that they otherwise would not want to make.
Government Interference
Of course, the wealthy usually complain when government gets involved in creating “incentives” and “picking winners and losers” in ways that help We, the People, saying government interference distorts decision-making. But when the “incentive” is special low tax rates to persuade the wealthy to invest and make huge profits, that’s different. Because it is, that’s why. Shut up. Hey, look over there!
Job Creation
This reaping of huge profits from “efficiencies” like downsizing, laying people off and making the remaining workers do 2 jobs each in the same amount of time, outsourcing, buying companies and firing everyone and then selling off the pieces, offshoring, force reductions, firing people and then bringing them back as “contractors” at half the pay, relocating factories out of the country where people don’t have the protections of democracy, replacing workers with machines, etc. is called “creating jobs.”
Effect Of Cutting Capital Gains Taxes
In 2001 these special low tax rates for the very rich “job creators” were made even lower. This was done in order to provide even more incentive for them to make even more profits from their large accumulations of property, houses, cars, yachts, private jets and race horses, so that these “producers” – the “job creators” – would produce even more and create even more jobs. (Click here for more on who and what really creates jobs.) The result of these 2001 tax cuts was spectacular: eight years of the lowest economic growth and lowest job-creation rate since WWII, followed by the collapse of the entire financial system and mass layoffs of millions of us.
So the 2000s brought upon us an even greater need to provide incentives for the producers to create jobs! In fact, each time these incentives are increased and jobs do not result there is even greater pressure to provide even more incentives to the “job creators.” A great system, this, if you’re already rich, no? The worse things get, the more you get, because you had the wisdom and intelligence to be sitting on a huge pile of cash. Brilliant! (See Did The Rich Cause The Deficit?)
So with all this in mind, today the Washington Post looks at these super-low tax rates for those who have large accumulations of money, in Capital gains tax rates benefiting wealthy feed growing gap between rich and poor,

For the very richest Americans, low tax rates on capital gains are better than any Christmas gift. As a result of a pair of rate cuts, first under President Bill Clinton and then under Bush, most of the richest Americans pay lower overall tax rates than middle-class Americans do. And this is one reason the gap between the wealthy and the rest of the country is widening dramatically.
[. . .] Over the past 20 years, more than 80 percent of the capital gains income realized in the United States has gone to 5 percent of the people; about half of all the capital gains have gone to the wealthiest 0.1 percent.

Repeat, “about half of all the capital gains have gone to the wealthiest 0.1 percent.”
The Washington Post story explains the strongest reason why it is so important for legislators to pass these lower tax rates to “incentivize” the wealthiest to invest and make huge profits:

Some lawmakers who have backed low tax rates on capital gains have later been hired by the financial industry.

So you see, it is very clear why it is very, very important for members of Congress to make sure that there is a special very, very low rate of taxation for the wealthiest few. And the result?

The 400 richest taxpayers in 2008 counted 60 percent of their income in the form of capital gains and 8 percent from salary and wages. The rest of the country reported 5 percent in capital gains and 72 percent in salary.

Yes, that is the very same 400 wealthist who have more wealth than 60% of all Americans combined. (That’s right, I had it wrong when I wrote that it was more than 50%, it is now more like 60%.)
So here is how it is: the rich are rich because they are smarter than the rest of us. And what is the proof that they’re smarter than the rest of us? That’s easy:
Because they’re rich!
Take a moment to browse a collection of pictures of the job-creating results of these special exemptions from taxation enjoyed by these wealthiest, in Nine Pictures Of The Extreme Income/Wealth Gap. And read more about the ideology behind this idea that the wealthy are “producers” who “create jobs.”
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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President’s Plan: First Step Toward A Win-Win

President Obama has taken a step in the right direction with his speech and jobs plan. It was a small step – but it has to be to present Republicans with the choice to cooperate or get pushed out of the way. If this passes it is a win for jobs and the economy — and therefore the President’s re-election. If Republicans block it, the President wins because voters will push Republicans out and the country will be able to get moving again. But it all depends on follow-through. The President has to keep out there, pounding on this and only this every single day until there is a vote. Every. Single. Day. That is the key.
The Plan – Barely Enough
The American Jobs Act is a mix of extensions of current efforts and new tax cuts and infrastructure spending. Extend and add to the Social Security tax cut. Cut various taxes for hiring new workers and returning veterans. Money to states to prevent laying off even more teachers. Modernize schools to hire construction workers. The total including tax cuts is around $450 billion.
If passed this will help and people will be able to feel the difference. It isn’t enough, but there is a reason for that. It is small in order to keep Republicans from having any excuse to block it.
The Republican Choice
It has become pretty clear that Republicans are blocking … everything … in order to keep the economy from getting better, because doing this hurts the President’s re-election chances. So the President is giving them a package they have to vote for, or explain why not. This is a win-win because passing this helps the country and the economy and the unemployed. And not passing this helps the country and the economy and the unemployed because it exposes exactly who is behind the lack of progress in Washington that everyone is so upset about.
Full Engagement
The President has to be fully engaged on this one. A few words are not going to win it. The only thing that will win this is for the President to use the “bully pulpit” and be speaking about it every single day until there is a vote. Nothing else will do. This is all up to him now. He has taken the first small step toward pulling us all out of the mess we have been in. He has to recognize that it was only a small step and there is a big, big fight in front of him, and that he has to be fully engaged on this every single day until there is a vote.
Every. Single. Day. Until. There. Is. A. Vote. Nothing else will do. If the President does this we win and that means he wins.
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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For Jobs Obama Must Bypass Congress

Here is a fact about bipartisanship and civility in Washington: the Republicans in Congress will obstruct anything President Obama proposes to create jobs and help the economy, period. A bad economy helps them in the coming elections, and that is that. Deal with it. If you want to see results on jobs and economic growth you are going to have to get around a Republican House of Representatives intent on blocking jobs and growth. The President can and should “go big” and make dramatic proposals to Congress for job-creation. Doing so will draw contrasts so the public has a clear choice in the coming elections. Fortunately there are things the President can do right now, without the approval of Congress, that will have a big impact on job-creation now and in the future.
China Currency
China doesn’t buy from us nearly as much as it sells to us and this has cost us dearly. China manipulates its currency to give Chinese-manufactured goods a competitive advantage in world markets. In effect this subsidizes their products so they have a cost advantage of as much as 30-40% coming out the gate, even before other competitive factors come into play. This has created huge imbalances not just with us but across the world.
The biggest thing the President could do right now is declare China to be a currency manipulator. Doing so enables the administration to impose sanctions, including tariffs, that would remove any cost advantage China gains from their manipulation. This would have an effect on reversing the loss of American jobs, factories and industries to Chinese imports, and would be supported by the public.
The President should officially declare China to be the currency manipulator that it is, and impose tariffs as a remedy. That takes care of China’s advantage in US markets, and encourages other countries to take action, too.
With a level playing field our manufacturers can compete in world markets. Our government can take steps to help bring about such a level playing field, or to help our own companies against countries that do not play fair. This would tell companies that it is safe to manufacture here again, and our government will back them up.
But, But ,But…
There is concern about angering China when “we owe them so much money.” It is important to remember why we “owe them” money. We owe them money because we thought we had a trade deal with them. By definition a trade deal involves actual trade, which involves buying and selling. We bought from them and they were supposed to use the dollars we spent there to buy things from us. But they didn’t. The huge amount we “owe them” by definition means they didn’t live up to their part of the bargain. We should insist that they use those treasury notes they have accumulated to purchase US-made goods.
Other Actions That Don’t Require Congress
Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing wrote in The Hill last month that there are things the President can do without needing Congress’ approval:

There is plenty that President Obama could do on his own right now:
• Expedite small business loans through the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department to help firms expand, retool and hire.
• Convene a multilateral meeting to address global imbalances and in particular Chinese mercantilism. If China doesn’t agree to participate, designate it a currency manipulator. (China ships fully one-third of its exports to the U.S. and finances less than 10 percent of our public debt, so we have more leverage than some might suggest.)
• On the heels of the landmark agreement with automakers on fuel economy standards, secure an additional agreement from all foreign and domestic car companies to increase their levels of domestic content by at least 10 percent over the next three years.
• Direct the Department of Defense to leverage existing procurement to contractors that commit to increasing their domestic content of our military equipment, technology and supplies.
• Approve additional applications for renewable and traditional energy projects, contingent on the use of American materials in construction.
• Kick any CEO off of federal advisory boards or jobs councils who has: (1) not created net new American jobs over the past five years, or (2) is expanding the company’s foreign workforce at a faster rate than its domestic workforce. Replace them with CEOs who are committed to investing in America. Shame is a good motivator.

National Industrial Policy
Even long-term things like promising the development of a national industrial policy could have an immediate effect on jobs here and now. If companies know that the US government is going to stand behind them if they manufacture here, and enforce trade agreements, and aggressively push for balanced trade where our trading partners don’t just sell to us but also buy from us, they’ll put the US back into their manufacturing plans. If they know that the government understands and intends to assist key industries with tax policies, education and training policies, energy policies, infrastructure modernization,key research and development initiatives, and the other components of national strategy — which is what other governments do — they will know they are no longer going out to international markets alone, up against national systems.
By making it clear that our government is going to stand up for American manufacturers — and their employees — and won’t pull the rug out from under them again, companies will have a reason to change their strategies and start bringing these jobs back home.
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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So You Want To Talk About Jobs?

Before leaving on vacation President Obama said he is going to talk about creating jobs in September. The latest word is he will give this speech next week. Campaign for America’s Future has put together some ideas for creating jobs. See our series Big Ideas To Get America Working:

The task is not simply to give the economy a stimulus, as if we were giving a charge to a dead car battery. We need to rebuild the engine and modernize the wiring, creating a new strategy for America in the global economy. We asked our writers and contributors to lay out the “big ideas” and framing you can use to push a jobs-first agenda to the forefront of the national debate.

Here is where we are: People need jobs and jobs fix deficits. We have to get people back to work and the American people deserve good-paying jobs, not just any new job at half the old wages. Lots and lots of regular people are not working or have settled for jobs that don’t offer enough hours or just don’t pay enough or provide benefits. And here’s a fact: people who are working are paying taxes, are not collecting unemployment and are less likely to be collecting food stamps, so putting people to work lowers deficits.
Of course people want their President to be reasonable and bipartisan and compromise to get things done, but more than that they want results. Mr.President, if you can’t get results any other way people want you to move the obstructers out of the way. Republicans in the Congress are blocking every effort to boost the economy and create new jobs – especially good-paying jobs. Many think they are doing this to sabotage Democratic chances in the coming elections.
Go Big
So, Mr. President, you have to take this to the public. Go big. Draw contrasts. Give the public a clear choice. You don’t have to propose something that Republicans will pass — because no matter what you propose, they won’t. Instead you have to bring forward proposals that will clearly put lots of Americans to work, so the public can decide what they want to do.
Above all, it is time to be reality-based in the approach. The country is sick of spin and propaganda and putting the best face on things. Reality and good policy are the best politics. Here are some “reality-based” ideas to help get this going.

  • Reality: Millions of Americans are out of work or are working in low-paying jobs and outside of the DC area it is not getting better.
  • Reality: Getting people back to work lowers deficits because they are paying taxes and require fewer government services.
  • Reality: Tariffs on goods made by exploited workers in exploited environments = jobs and good wages here. Our trade agreements have created huge trade deficits that are draining our economy. “Free trade” is a myth that has been used to drive wages down here, not to create trade partners who buy as much from us as they sell to us.
  • Reality: Other countries have national industrial/economic strategies. This means we increasingly send our companies out alone to compete with national systems and they won’t win that fight no matter how big they are.
  • Reality: Other countries use national domestic-content procurement policies, and we need a “Buy American” procurement policy.
  • Reality: For decades all income gains have gone to the top. This is distorting everything in our society and democracy.
  • Reality: Tax cuts for the rich cause deficits. They also incentivize predatory business models by rewarding get-rich-quick schemes over good, long-term, sustainable business strategies.
  • Reality: Climate change is real and it is serious and we have to address it. And addressing climate change means millions of green jobs will be created.

The same old same-old debt and bubble economy won’t work and got us into this mess. Last week in The Jobs Question, Robert Borosage described the problem:

Twenty-five million Americans are in need of full time work. One in four teenagers not in college can’t find a job. Wages aren’t keeping up with prices. Our trade deficit is rising, as more and more good jobs get shipped abroad. It’s projected that a staggering 48 percent of homes with mortgages could be underwater – worth less than the mortgage – by the end of the year.
Moreover, there is no recovery to an old, healthy economy. The old economy didn’t work for most Americans even when it was growing. The cancer was spreading before it metastasized in the financial panic. In the so-called Bush recovery years before the collapse, the few captured all the rewards of growth. The average income of the bottom 90% dropped. That economy was built on debt and bubbles. We were hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs and borrowing $2 billion a day from abroad. And we were in complete denial about global warming and the catastrophic climate changes that have already begun. We can’t recover to that old economy – and we wouldn’t want to.

Summary: The old way didn’t work and led to disaster. Don’t try to bring that back, thinking it will be better this time. We need a new vision, and new strategies.
So let’s get down to business. Here are the ideas presented in our Big Ideas To Get America Working series:
Today’s Big Idea To Get America Working: Fix The Housing Crisis by Liz Ryan Murray.
Today’s Big Idea to Get America Working: Hire the Young to Build Their Own Future by Richard (RJ) Eskow.
Today’s Big Idea To Get America Working: Revive American Manufacturing by Dave Johnson.
Today’s Big Idea To Get America Working: Make Work Pay by Anne Thompson.
Today’s Big Idea To Get America Working: Invest In Public Education by Jeff Bryant.
Big Ideas To Get America Working: Rebuild Our Infrastructure by Dave Johnson.
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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Three Charts To Email To Your Right-Wing Brother-In-Law

Problem: Your right-wing brother-in-law is plugged into the FOX-Limbaugh lie machine, and keeps sending you emails about “Obama spending” and “Obama deficits” and how the “Stimulus” just made things worse. Solution: Here are three “reality-based” charts to send to him. These charts show what actually happened.

Spending

Bush-Obama Spending Chart

Government spending increased dramatically under Bush. It has not increased much under Obama. Note that this chart does not reflect any spending cuts resulting from deficit-cutting deals.

Deficits

Bush-Obama Deficit Chart

Notes, this chart includes Clinton’s last budget year for comparison.

The numbers in these two charts come from Budget of the United States Government: Historical Tables Fiscal Year 2012. They are just the amounts that the government spent and borrowed, period, Anyone can go look then up. People who claim that Obama “tripled the deficit” are either misled or are trying to mislead.

The Stimulus and Jobs

Bush-Obama-Jobs-Chart

In this chart, the RED lines on the left side — the ones that keep doing DOWN — show what happened to jobs under the policies of Bush and the Republicans. We were losing lots and lots of jobs every month, and it was getting worse and worse. The BLUE lines — the ones that just go UP — show what happened to jobs when the stimulus was in effect. We stopped losing jobs and started gaining jobs, and it was getting better and better. The leveling off on the right side of the chart shows what happened as the stimulus started to wind down: job creation leveled off at too low a level.

It looks a lot like the stimulus reversed what was going on before the stimulus.

Conclusion: THE STIMULUS WORKED BUT WAS NOT ENOUGH!

More False Things

These are just three of the false things that everyone “knows.” Some others are (click through): Obama bailed out the banks, businesses will hire if they get tax cuts, health care reform cost $1 trillion, Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme or is “going broke”, government spending “takes money out of the economy.”

Why This Matters

These things really matter. We all want to fix the terrible problems the country has. But it is so important to know just what the problems are before you decide how to fix them. Otherwise the things you do to try to solve those problems might just make them worse. If you get tricked into thinking that Obama has made things worse and that we should go back to what we were doing before Obama — tax cuts for the rich, giving giant corporations and Wall Street everything they want — when those are the things that caused the problems in the first place, then we will be in real trouble.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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Everything You Need To Know About Fixing Deficits & Jobs

Here is everything you need to know about how to fix the deficits and jobs problems. This is a chart of job creation over the last few years:

6011256843_d5ec22e3ab_z

There is a report in Saturday’s New York Times, “White House Debates Fight on Economy,” saying the Obama administration is choosing between doing very little about jobs, or doing nothing.

Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact. … But others, including Gene Sperling, Mr. Obama’s chief economic adviser, say public anger over the debt ceiling debate has weakened Republicans and created an opening for bigger ideas like tax incentives for businesses that hire more workers, according to Congressional Democrats who share that view.

So according to the Times the choices being debated are a) do nothing, because the mean Republicans will block it anyway, or b) offer even more tax cuts for businesses. Yikes!
Meanwhile, out in the Real World…

The ailing economy, barely growing at the same pace as the population, has swept all other political issues to the sidelines. Twenty-five million Americans could not find full-time jobs last month. Millions of families cannot afford to live in their homes. … [. . .] A wide range of economists say the administration should call for a new round of stimulus spending, as prescribed by mainstream economic theory, to create jobs and promote growth.

But, back in the White House?
Mr. Plouffe and Mr. Daley share the view that a focus on deficit reduction is an economic and political imperative, according to people who have spoken with them. Voters believe that paying down the debt will help the economy, and the White House agrees, although it wants to avoid cutting too much spending while the economy remains weak.
They think that taking money out of the economy will put more money into the economy. Great. As I wrote the other day, this is austeridiocy. As England, France and every other country that ever tried to grow an economy by cutting the economy has learned, taking money out of the economy takes money out of the economy.
What Works In The Real World
Here is everything you need to know about how to fix the deficits and jobs problems:

6011256843_d5ec22e3ab_z

This is a chart of the monthly job losses that were occurring before and after the “stimulus” package.
Before The Stimulus
In this chart, the RED lines on the left side — the ones that keep doing DOWN — show what happened to jobs under the policies of Bush and the Republicans. We were losing lots and lots of jobs every month, and it was getting worse and worse.
During The Stimulus
The BLUE lines — the ones that just go UP — show what happened to jobs when the stimulus was in effect. We stopped losing jobs and started gaining jobs, and it was getting better and better.
The Stimulus Winds Down
The TAIL — the leveling off on the right side of the chart — show what happened as the stimulus started to wind down. Job creation leveled off.
It looks a lot like the stimulus reversed what was going on before the stimulus.
Conclusion: THE STIMULUS WORKED BUT WAS NOT ENOUGH!
Jobs Fix Deficits
When people are working they are paying taxes and are not collecting unemployment. And they are buying things, which means there is demand in the economy again, so businesses will hire people.
Customers Create Jobs
Actually, the rich don’t create jobs, we do. Lots of regular people having money to spend is what creates jobs and businesses. That is the basic idea of demand-side economics and it works. In a consumer-driven economy designed to serve people, regular people with money in their pockets is what keeps everything going. And the equal opportunity of democracy with its reinvestment in infrastructure and education and the other fruits of democracy is fundamental to keeping a demand-side economy functioning.
When all the money goes to a few at the top everything breaks down. Taxing the people at the top and reinvesting the money into the democratic society is fundamental to keeping things going. Cutting taxes at the top steals from democracy’s ability to continue this reinvestment.
It doesn’t matter how much more money you give to business owners, businesses are not going to hire any more employees until they have a REASON to — and that reason is customers coming in the door.
Businesses Do Not Create Jobs
Businesses do not create jobs. In fact, the way our economy is structured the incentive is for businesses to get rid of as many jobs as they can. It costs money to pay employees, so businesses want to trim down to the minimum number required to get the needed work done.
Many people wrongly think that businesses create jobs. They see that a job is usually at a business, so they think that therefore the business “created” the job. This thinking leads to wrongheaded ideas like the current one that giving tax cuts to businesses will create jobs, because the businesses will have more money. But an efficiently-run business will already have the right number of employees. When a business sees that more people are coming in the door (demand) than there are employees to serve them, they hire people to serve the customers. When a business sees that not enough people are coming in the door and employees are sitting around reading the newspaper, they lay people off. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.
A job is created when demand for goods or services is greater than the existing ability to provide them. When there is a demand, people will see the need and fill it. Either someone will start filling the demand alone, or form a new business to fill it or an existing provider of the good or service will add employees as needed.
Once again:

6011256843_d5ec22e3ab_z

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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Contract For The American Dream And The Emergency Jobs Bill

Rebuild The Dream
As I wrote earlier in Ten Years Ago We Were Paying Off The Nation’s Debt. But Then We Elected Obama., the The American Dream Movement is rolling out their Contract for the American Dream. The Tea-Party-fascinated press is largely ignoring this, but this movement represents the majority of the public, and can’t be ignored for long.

Today on a call with bloggers and the press to announce the The American Dream Movement Van Jones described the movement’s origins. He has been traveling around the country giving talks and talking to people, and found that it seemed that the American people had smarter solutions to our problems than our politicians seemed to. So he helped set up an “open source” process to gather ideas from regular people. 131,203 participated, held 3,600 house meeting, and came up with 29,000 ideas. These ideas have been distilled down to the ten most popular ideas, which are now the Contract for the American Dream.
No Help From FOX News
Unlike the Tea Party, they had “no help from FOX TV or the billionaire Koch brothers.” And unlike the Tea Party, which began with much smaller numbers, the American Dream movement is getting almost no press attention.
The Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act

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How Free Trade Made Democracy A Disadvantage

This is my presentation from last week’s Netroots Nation panel session: Revitalizing Manufacturing: The Road to Renewed Job Growth. Click through for panel details and other panelists, here for a pdf of slides, including Jared Bernstein’s. See below for video — and be sure to watch Beri Fox!!!
Four Stories
I want to share four quick stories:
1. Democracy
The story of America
We fought a wealthy powerful few who had all the say and didn’t let us have a say, and made a country where We, the People made the decisions and share the benefits.
So because we had a say we built up a country with good schools, good infrastructure, good courts, and we made rules that said workers had to be safe, get a minimum wage… we protect the environment, we give out social security. We take care of each other.
And we used to protect that. We used to put a tariff on goods coming in if they were made by people who didn’t have the ability to speak up and better their condition. It was called the American System. Look it up. We’d let the goods in but we would use a tariff to strengthen our country, our infrastructure, our schools – our democracy.
But that changed. Superman left and we stopped protecting the American Way. We started letting goods in made by people who had no say, so the goods were cheap and they undercut us.
We have made democracy a disadvantage. We made it a disadvantage instead of an advantage.
Make no mistake, people who say they want things more “business friendly” they mean they want America to be less of a democracy, with fewer of the protections we fought to build for ourselves.
2. Trade
Once upon a time some areas made some things well, and other areas made other things well, and they would trade, and both areas could have the things they made AND the things made somewhere else, and everyone benefitted. And both areas increased the customers they had.
And so to most people “trade” means we buy things made somewhere else, and they buy things we make. In what world does “trade” mean closing a factory that is located here, moving it there where they don’t already make something, laying off all the people, and then bringing back here the same things that used to be made here and selling them in the same stores?
And the result is a lot of people have lost jobs, devastating our communities.
And then they tell workers who still have jobs that the same can happen to them, we can just close this factory, so shut up and don’t expect raises or benefits or safety or dignity.
What we see happening when a company moves production out of the country is not trade, it is getting around the borders of the democracy we built, and the things we fought and sacrificed to build.
Letting companies move factories away was giving up our ability to make a living. Sure a few people might get really rich from it, but look around you the rest of us, and our communities, and our economy have been sent sliding down a hill into the sewer.
3. The Deal
There once was a company. The company made a deal with a company in the next county, they make something you don’t, and you make something they don’t. So the deal is you’ll buy things from them if they buy from you. And you start buying from them, but they aren’t buying from you. And this goes on, and they still aren’t buying from you, but you are starting to owe them a lot of money. And they you’re borrowing from them to buy from them, and they still aren’t buying. And then they show up in your county selling the things you already made and sold, buy they used the money they got selling to you to set up to make what you made.
And by the way they say you have to pay them what you owe them.
That is how our deal with China is working out. We bought from them, they didn’t buy form us, and now they have accumulated $1.5 trillion which they were supposed to have been buying American-made goods with.
And they cheated. Or I would say they were smart and watched out for their own interests excessively, and we didn’t at all.
$1.5 trillion! So imagine what would happen if we said we’re going to default on the debt but these bonds are redeemable in the next 3 months for American made good. Can you imagine what $1.5 trillion of orders would do for our economy right now? $1.5 trillion in orders? Factories humming…
Well the picture of what that would do FOR our economy is a way of understanding what that has done TO our economy.
4. The Cost
I like to tell you a story about the cost of our free-trade deals and tax policies.
I took a road trip last fall, through four industrial states, MI, OH, WV, PA to visit some of the Manufacturing Town Hall meetings that Scott’s group put on. [Note – see posts about this tour here.]
They call it the “rust belt” because so many factories are closed and rusting.
From town to town you see downtowns devastated, because the way you make a living is gone and the cheap imported goods at wal mart competing with local businesses. Michael Moore wrote about Flint after the auto plants closed. That kept happening, town after town, year after year, and got worse.
You have to see to first hand. [Note – there are pics in this post.]
But I’ll tell you, we’re even seeing it now in Silicon Valley, seeing downtowns with lots of empty storefronts. Empty office and manufacturing buildings everywhere. That wave that hit the Midwest has reached the tech areas now.
So the moral of the four stories is that We the People have to protect the things we fought for and won. And we have to remember that We, the People have to take care of and watch out for each other because the wealthy and powerful won’t do that for us. And markets aren’t about that, either.
When we relax our eternal vigilance they will come back with a vengeance.
Progressive Solutions

    a. Industrial Policy
    We don’t believe in having the government help. We think the markets will fix everything. But other countries don’t see it that way.
    We are pitting our companies on their own against the national resources of governments. We can live in an ideological dream world and say we shouldn’t, but our competitors in the rest of the world DO.
    b. Protect Democracy
    Tariffs. Call it a democracy tariff. Or a thugocracy tax. Use this to help lift others out of their exploitation. By making democracy a disadvantage we are only encouraging the worst, and encouraging it here, too. “Business friendly” is a code word that means get rid of all the protections We, the People have built for ourselves.
    They can protect the environment, etc, or charge a tariff to bring those goods in.
    c. Renegotiate Trade Deals
    Trade can mean something different. We still have a huge market. We can require goods to either be made by people who are not exploited and who have a say so
    d. Enforce Trade Laws
    China cheats in so many ways, and we all know it. Currency rates. Indigenous innovation . Forcing companies to turn over proprietary IP…

We can do these things. Because of the strong prosperity that democracy brought us others really want to sell into our markets.
And my own favorite:

    e. Top tax rates
    With high top rates it takes time to build a fortune. You have to have long-term plans, sustainable businesses that are surrounded by healthy communities, good schools, good infrastructure.
    Lower rates, you can make a fortune in a few days. Business models changed, became short term, cash in, quick-buck schemes. Harvest infrastructure, close factories, no need for healthy communities, etc.

Video Of The Panel
Scott Paul opens
Jared Bernstein at 6:02
Rep. Jim McGovern at 17:00
Beri Fox at 31:29
Dave Johnson at 48:13
IF the video below doesn’t show up, click to see it here.

Sobotka
As always, Frank Sobotka explains what’s wrong:

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
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