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My contribution dollars at work: Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) just appeared with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, refuting Republican talking points about domestic content provisions of the renewal package and about the White House making strategic mistakes in trying to get it passed.

This comes from a long exchange. There may be a clip somewhere on the net by now, but here are a few excerpts:

Mitchell: First of all, let me ask you about “Buy America”, because the Senate passed an amendment authored by Senators, I guess, Dorgan, Backus and you clarifying buy-America provisions and saying that they are consistent with international trade agreements; then, the European trade union said, “Not so fast. It would still result in a trade war.” Where do we stand now on Buy America in the current trade package?

Brown: Uh, the Senate spoke resoundingly. First of all, passed our amendment by a voice vote. Then, when Senator McCain tried to do away with all of the Buy America language, even though it has been in law, in U.S. law for seventy-five years, the Senate resoundingly more than two-to-one defeated it. I just find, I’m just incredulous, when we have, we have a $750 billion dollar trade deficit; we have the most open borders, the most open markets in the world; and, anyone would dare to say we are protectionist? It just doesn’t…, in Ohio we would say that just doesn’t pass the straight face test.

So, that’s just what the Europeans are going to say. They’re protecting their industry. They do subsidies as do the Chinese and they use tariffs; we’re doing none of that. We’re simply saying if we’re going to reach in our pockets and ask taxpayers to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in a stimulus package that the jobs should be in this country, when we build infrastructure and the materials that go into that infrastructure, into the building and the construction, should be made in the United States. It’s pretty simple.

It’s so refreshing to see someone talking sense about trade policy. Instead of just accepting the Republican talking point that this will be bad for trade, Brown goes back to the basics about it. First, if the playing field were level, we would not be handing over three-quarters of a trillion dollars a year to other countries to buy their products. Something is clearly wrong with this picture. Second, we don’t have to buy in to the European take on our trade policies. This legislation is first and foremost to get the American economy working again. Frankly, a better economy is better for all because so many other countries depend on our dollars to get by.

There’s a page on international trade policy in dKosopedia (see Framed: International Trade Agreements), which outlines what’s wrong with our trade policies. It’s time other Senators got on board with this.

Mitchell: A lot of economists would say that it raises the price by paying more for steel, let’s say, on construction projects, and that it will end up costing jobs and having the reverse effect. Since Boeing will lose contracts to AirBus, let’s just put it that way …

I hear them cry that every time every time there’s a trade agreement. The fact is, our trade policy, we have a $750 billion trade deficit. We…$2 billion dollars a day in trade-related dollars leave this country every single day of the year, and our trade policy clearly hasn’t worked. And, these same people that have written that trade policy are arguing against Buy America provisions. And, they’ve been proven wrong for ten years as my state and this country have lost hundreds of thousands, in my state and millions of manufacturing jobs because of our trade policies and because of our tax policies that encourage these companies to outsource jobs instead of hiring Americans. I just don’t understand how they can argue with any credibility that what we are doing is making sense.

Nailed it! These are the people who got us into this mess. Before they try to tell us how to spend the money maybe they should rebuild their credibility.

Ohio has been losing wealth-creating jobs for about fifty years. It took that long for them to throw off Republican rule and get a Democrat, but I guess if you literally starve a people eventually they’ll notice that they’ve been following the wrong policy and take action. The action here was to finally elect a Senator who will go to bat for their jobs (and ours, as Americans).

After this, there’s a clip of McCain whinging on on the Senate floor about how wrong the bill is, how he’d like more tax cuts. Tax cuts are useless as a stimulus. The only reason they are in the bill is because we need tax cuts for workers to get money back into the spending part of the economy. I’m sure McCain would like to extend those tax cuts to his rich buddies, but the stones don’t have any more blood to give.

In answer, Brown says McCain’s simply not right. We need infrastructure, he said, and “They’re standing in the way.”

Mitchell: And, where do you think, if you do think, the administration went off track here, when the President goes to The Hill, spends all that time with Senate and House Republicans, basically lets the House Democratic caucus write a bill and plan to fix it later in the Senate, in conference—did he give too much weight to the House Democrats and not scrub the bill enough going in?

Brown: Well, that’s the Republican talking points, that they can read the polls. Obama’s popular, so let’s blame Pelosi and Reid, and let’s blame the Democratic members of the House. This is a team effort. The bill is a good bill—it’s not perfect, it never will be when you spend that much money and when you need to do it in a pretty rapid way. But, this bill has accountability built in, it’s bold, it’s done right, it’s done with all kinds of Republican ideas, too. I wish they would be more bipartisan, but again, the people that oppose this are the ones who got us into this with their tax cuts for the rich and their deregulation of Wall Street. That’s why we need to do something very different.

Bingo! That’s a Republican talking point. ”It’s off track.” This is classic. You take a process that is inherently divisive, where it’s going to take a lot of haggling to get something passed, and then when there are delays and compromises, you claim that the President did something wrong. You claim that he made a mistake.

Brown shows this up for what it is: empty rhetoric. Let’s think about this. Did the President make a mistake? Did it get “off track”.

Actually, what he did was brilliant. He let the house put up something with all sorts of things the Republicans could object to. Then he “reluctantly” had them taken out, leaving only what he wanted in the first place. He went to the Republicans and heard them out. He cherry-picked their best ideas and put them into the bill. Then, when they thought they were winning, got overconfident and started pushing for things they shouldn’t get, he went over their heads to the American people and said, “These guys are standing in the way of you getting a job.”

Not very far off track, is it?

Originally posted to Liberal Thinking on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 11:38 AM PST.

Poll

Should the stimulus package include buy-American provisions?

80%229 votes
8%25 votes
9%28 votes
0%2 votes

| 284 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am watching C-span (25+ / 0-)

    Why do I want to strangle waffling obstructing GOP morons?

    Could someone please explain this sentiment?

    I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.~Terry Pratchett

    by LaFeminista on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 11:42:15 AM PST

  •  My take on Andrea - (23+ / 0-)

    Andrea Mitchell - conflicted reporter and wife to Epic Failure Alan Greenspan. I was watching Andrea Mitchell Retorts on MSNBC this morning and I couldn't get over her foxic comments, er toxic.

    She had Brian Williams on for an Obama stimulus plan slamfest. The one statement that stood above the cess was that Obama had so much to be embarrassed about in the plan.

    Really Andrea? So much? Like a lack of tax breaks for the rich? Like a change in policy that might dampen the effects of your husband's Hindenburg economy and thereby further disprove his theory?

    Hilda! Hilda! Hilda!

    by JerichoJ8 on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 11:45:33 AM PST

  •  Surely job creation must remain in America, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    soms

    I'm not so sure that buying steel at a very non competitive price is the way to foster growth.  If the item that has that steel costs twice as much as their foreign equivalent, will Americans purchase it?  So I voted "maybe" on that one.

    It's not whether government is too big or too small, it's whether it WORKS.

    by hcc in VA on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 11:48:40 AM PST

    •  They're not 'purchasing' anything (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Man Called Gloom, sovery

      this is for INFRASTRUCTURE projects. You know, bridges, govt buildings, etc.

      Manufacturers can buy whatever the hell they want.

      And yes, I want the materials that build my bridges, my schools, and my govt buildings to be AMERICAN materials when at all possible.

      Frankly, I don't care what the cost difference is.

      •  I would tend to agree, assuming quality is the (0+ / 0-)

        same. But of course you will not whine when other countries specify the same and don't buy American made products for their infrastructures? (Maybe they don't anyway, ok)

        It's not whether government is too big or too small, it's whether it WORKS.

        by hcc in VA on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 01:47:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I doubt they do (0+ / 0-)

          and actually, I suspect they use the very same reasoning for NOT buying from us.

          Besides, we don't make enough of ANYTHING for them to buy it for an infrastructure project. And the transportation would be prohibitive, as well as something like depending on some OTHER country for things that are vital to their security.

  •  Brown is working fast (21+ / 0-)

    Rumor at my office today is that Brown has personally contacted a number of Main Street and other community development organizations in Ohio and ASKED THEM to please CONTACT HIM directly at the Senate to ask for their inclusion in the stimulus bill.  We heard he was literally talking to some of them via cell phone in the cloak room as the bill was being worked on.  He is really working hard and trying to move our interests forward.  Great Senator who really does get it 98% of the time.

  •  What a great representative (7+ / 0-)

    He really does Ohio a great service.  I'll be giving him a call with my thanks tomorrow.

  •  The rest of the world is wrong too? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    publicv, Betty Pinson

    It's not just Republicans who are against it, the rest of the world is complaining as well.

  •  I love that last line: (10+ / 0-)

    I wish they would be more bipartisan, but again, the people that oppose this are the ones who got us into this with their tax cuts for the rich and their deregulation of Wall Street. That’s why we need to do something very different.

  •  Unfortunatly , Obama is backing down on "buy amer (4+ / 0-)

    Im afraid the Obama administration will try to take down the "buy america" language because the European is threatening him.

    Right now , we need some protectionist.

    If we were to halt all trade with China , we'd actually make money since they run a $600 billion deficit on us.

    •  He's Not His Strongest Supporter (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      priceman

      Obama may well do that. Sometimes I think that Obama is not Obama's strongest supporter.

      We have to push Congress to do the right thing and not expect Obama to do it. He can only do so much for us on his own.

      But on this issue, I don't think he will have much influence. If the Senate already turned down changing this by a two-to-one margin, I don't think it's going to change. Senators know that they will face extremely pointed criticism if they go against this because the only people who actual vote for them are American citizens.

      •  The problem with Obama (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Liberal Thinking, priceman

        the only people who actual vote for them are American citizens.

        Obama does not understand that his audience are Americans...European dont get a vote.

        He seems to want to please everybody.

        I agree with you that congress should go on their own here and even draft a bill to raise tariff on China goods.

        This country is bleeding and no one seems to realize it...Free trade is killing us softly.

        I hope you are right that the "buy american" stays in the final bill , although Obama has put some other language inside the bill.

        I just hope the money stays in house.

        •  Free trade is not killing the US (0+ / 0-)

          Overconsumption, lack of savings and ever increasing public and private debt is.

          A wiser approach would be "Invest in America" to reverse capital flight and attract FDI that would put foreign investment to work productively as capital instead of using it to finance public debt.

          The US cneeds apital to rebuild; protectionsism would only make credit tighter than it already and result in retalatory measures that would ultimately hurt US exports.

          Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

          by koNko on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 02:00:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Overconsumption? (0+ / 0-)

            How does that work?

            We've lost 25% of our manufacturing jobs since they peaked in 1978. And that doesn't count population growth, which would have had them increase by maybe 25% just to stay even.

            We are over consuming because the wealth-creating jobs have been shipped overseas. We now employ people en masse in jobs that don't pay their bills. People work two and three jobs to make ends meet. (Remember Bush telling that woman who worked three jobs, "That's uniquely American"? Un-huh.) We have thousands of people working at a company (Wal-Mart) that doesn't pay them enough to live on. In order to make ends meet they have to get food stamps and public health care. Wal-Mart has wealth-distributing jobs. If you work in a wealth-distributing job then you are not adding the money to the economy necessary to pay off the debt we are running up. That can only come from wealth-creating jobs like farming, manufacturing, mining, research, and so on.

            The reason for this is simple. We opened up our jobs to international competition. Do you know that in China, Wal-Mart employees have a union?

            Do you understand the law of supply and demand? Well, it applies to wages. If you have more people compete for a job, then wages drop. So, if you have a balance of jobs and workers, the wages are stable and pay the bills. If you then increase the number of workers to infinity, the wages drop through the floor. That's just the consequence of the law of supply and demand.

            The U.S. has just over 4% of the world population. When we decided we would have completely unrestricted trade, suddenly every other person on earth could compete for our jobs. We increased the supply of workers by a factor of 20.

            There isn't any practical difference between increasing it to 20 and increasing it to infinity. They both mean that workers cannot get work for a price that pays their cost of living.

            In order to make up the difference, the financial community came up with many different ways of leveraging things, and when the money ran short, they invented ways to hide the fact that the borrowing was more than the assets supported. We took all the accumulated wealth that American laborers produced since the beginning of the country and squandered it to pay our bills because, in fact, there was no way to actually earn the money.

            Until we address this imbalance and bring wealth-creating jobs back to the country we will continue to have acute economic problems and we will continue "overconsuming". People have to live and if they can't create wealth then they have to borrow to do it.

            We have run up trillions of dollars in debt. Unless we have the wealth-creating jobs to earn the money we need to pay off that debt, we will sink into one of the most miserable debtor nations on the face of the earth. Right now, the Chinese own $10,000 or $20,000 of you through our national debt. If there are no jobs with which to pay it off, no army can defend us.

            •  Overconsumption (0+ / 0-)

              Is taking more than you need and living beyond your means to the point of putting the system out of balance.

              Americans, by any reasonable measure, are over-consumers as much as Chinese and Japanese tend to be under-consumers. This is partially what needs to come into better balance.

              What I'm suggesting is that in the case of the USA, people need to come down to earth and consume less (almost a given considering the lack of credit) save more and rebuild a more balanced, rational society. This will, itself, have a moderating effect on the global system since a drop in US consumption forces net exporters like China to consume more or face the consequences (which is exactly what is happening - millions of Chinese have lost jobs over the past 2 quarters and the governement is scrambling to respond).

              China, too, has numerous problems related to fast-track development and the market distortions an inflated US dollar has caused in our trade relationship. It's not healthy for either side.

              Why I say don't put up trade barriers but do "Invest in America" is that trade barriers will be a lose-lose for both sides (all sides) and would cut off a source of foreign investment the US will need while policy to incentivize domestic and foreign investement in the US would be productive.

              Actually, China too has increasing income disparity and the Chinese governement has been quite focused on addressing the sotuation for more than 5 years and starting to make some progress. But there is really far to go.

              We don't disagre about much. Chinese and American workers can use a few unions.

              I'd just like to highlight that to bring jobs back to the USA will take not just good policy on various levels, but a lot of outside investment (given the high national dpebt that will go higher). For that resson, a positive approach of promoting investment may be more effective than reactionary protectionist measure that shut doors and promote retalitory measures.  This is something economists from everywhere seem to agree on.

              BTW, I'm Chinese and own a bunch of US national debt. But then, China has benifited from the relationship as well and so have I so I won't complain.  I think the Average Chinese can recognize the problems oif the USA today, we have some experience with bad government and distorted economies.

              Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

              by koNko on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 12:27:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koNko

                I don't think we disagree on much, either. Certainly, the average American consumes too much, and wastes too much. However, the immediate economic problem has more to do with the sudden drop in real wealth-creation in this country.

                I don't think tariffs would be a good idea, and I don't want to see any sudden changes made, in any event. We, in the U.S., need to replace the current policy with one that creates a slow and steady pressure to redistribute manufacturing jobs back to the areas where consumption happens. To do that, I'd favor an international minimum wage, which slowly brought all wages everywhere in line with modern standards, pushing workplace standards and environmental standards (generally higher in the U.S., but not uniformly) into international trade agreements, and a carbon tax on shipments of goods that accounted for their damages to the climate. All phased in slowly enough that industry could adjust. I'd also like to see a policy of buying up key technology for energy efficiency and green production that is then given to other countries at a reduced cost or free, so that they can skip over environmentally questionable practices as their economies grow. And, much more money go into supporting family planning, internationally, to address the population problem.

                That would be a real trade policy and a real industrial policy for the country, one we haven't really had for years.

                •  Bingo - Industrial Policy (0+ / 0-)

                  This is wat is most lacking in the equasion. Most developed and developing nations have a strong focus on industrial policy and it helps to balance trade is very direct wats by promoting active participation verses consumption.

                  The US definately needs stronger Industrial policy  to act in a positive fashion rather than reliance on isolationist tactics.

                  I think all reasonable people expect some protectionist measures in the short term and the detials are as negotiable as trade deals.  However, without a plan to get US industry back on track in a positive way, protectionism simply won't work.

                  We agree more than you may think.

                  Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

                  by koNko on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 08:54:45 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Nonsense. (0+ / 0-)

      Broad-based protectionism won't really help and is more likely to make things worse.

      And apperently you are unaware that China, followed by the EU and Japan hold the greatest amount of US Treasury Bonds, which, in effect, finance the US government.

      Virtually all developed and developing countries including the US use tarrifs but what the US fails to do is to encourage FDI, which is a more productive means to balance deficits by attracting foreign capital investment that would be more productive than the debt financing current policy encourages.

      If you search, I'm very confident you will find a great number of countries have progressively oriented programs and laws to attract FDI; even the French, who are arguably as cheuvanistic in atttudes as Americans if not more so, agressively seek FDI. Goggle "Invest in France".

      Current American policy discourages both domestic and foreign investment in the US with the effect that the profits made in the US market are more likely to be invested elsewhere, a regressive process.

      Paradoxically, the more capital flight from the US increases, the more the US public resists foreign investment that would restore balance and benifit the US ecomomy - potential investors are demonized as trying "own" and "control" the US. This is phobic. Compare the rate of FDI in China and the US - apperently American ownership in the Chinese economy hasn't quite destroyed China yet.

      If country A invests in country B, a majority of the value is retained in Country B (as assests, consumption and taxtion) and if it increases exports from B to A or elsewhere, a positive inflow is created.

      Protectionist measures inhibit trade and FDI, and the opportunity to balance trade.

      Given the huge (and increasing) public and private debt of the US today, what, exactly would protectionist measures accomplish?

      How would the existing debt (which will be effectively doubled by stimuls spending) be reduced? History has proven printing more mony doesn't work.

      In the last great depression, protectionism only made things worse and ultimately led to a world war.

      Please explain how protectionism would work.

      BTW, many nations including China and Japan use both import tarrifs and export tarrifs to manage trade and generate tax revenue (just as a VAT or other sales tax does).

      Policies that would encourage FDI rather than depbt financing would have a benificial effect.

      China, like many nations, is currently increasing public spending to stimulate the economy (in this case to stimulate domestic spending to offset the effects of rapidly declining exports and re-align the economy to be less dependant on exporting). Foreign countries are welcome to participate in the projects and quite a few do, particularly in the transportation and infrastructure sectors.

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 01:41:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bullshit (0+ / 0-)

        And apperently you are unaware that China, followed by the EU and Japan hold the greatest amount of US Treasury Bonds, which, in effect, finance the US government.

        The money that the Chinese are using to buy our bonds "with interest" are actually the trade deficit money that they runs against us.

        So they are actually taking our money , then loaning it back to us with interest.

        China runs about $600 billions trade deficits against us....

        Also , China is protecting their market from U.S goods + they have cheap labor advantage.

        This ensures that this massive trade imbalance stays intact.

        This huge deficit is murdering us slowly and we'd be best to just cease trading with China.

        If we cease trading with China , we'd actually make money and then repay china all the money they loaned us , which is actually our money.

        •  Um ... what? (0+ / 0-)

          I think the problem is more like a self-inflicted wound you would like to blame on others. Sorry to say that, but take it as tough love.

          What does the US have to offer China or any other nation to balance the trade?

          The US led the way on globalization and made the choice to divest itself of manufacturing in preferance to services, particularly financial services that produce no tangible value. Not all indusrialized countries did so, Germany, for example, is the leading exporter in the world far ahead of China (but we don't read any anti-German retoric here that I can find).

          Name 10 famous Chinese brands that have significant market share in the USA - I can probably name more than 100 US brands that have dominant positions in the Chinese market. You are killing us.

          The US debt is financed mainly by trading partners and has been for years; before China, Japan, UK and Germany were leading holders of these bonds and still are.

          Americans got a lot out of this and have benifited greatly from the privledged position of the US Dollar as the defacto standard for monetary exchange.

          Soon we will see that change, and it would be wise for Americans to consider how to attract investment since the existing debt makes it pretty unlikely the US economy can recover without outside help (as numerous other nations have done so befor you).

          As for Who Owns Who, I suggest you check some statistics on FDI or various nations and you will find the US and many other nations have quite a big slice of the pie in China.

          Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

          by koNko on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 12:27:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Chinese (0+ / 0-)

            The chinese are stealing our jobs , taking our money and loaning it to us with interest...You cant refute this.

            Chinses have cheap labor and they are manupulating their currency.

            Who's fault is it that we are running very high trade deficit against China...Its the politicians fault who refuses to get tough on the cheating chinese.

            I call on congress to suspend trade with china for the full year and watch what would happen.

            Let the chinese whine all they want.

            •  "Stealing"? (0+ / 0-)

              First, perhaps you may not realize it but you are conversing with a Chinese person - me. (;-)  Just in case that would matter, you have the information.

              Chinese or other people from other places are not stealing jobs or anything else from Americans.  We all live in a world where we work to survive and make the best of our situation. Sometimes this puts people or nations at odds, but cooperation is usually a better solution than isolation.

              If you think Chinese people don't have a right to exist, just say so, I've faced that before from some Americans and can deal with such attitudes.

              Frankly, you are spouting protectionist rubbish of the same sort directed at Japan in the 1980's.  Now China is a convienient scapegoat to blame for American problems (and global problems).

              I could argue this in detial but I'm not sure it would convince you so let me keep it simple; we live on one planet with one very complicated but interdependant economic system (nothing new, has been that way for centuries). The system is badly out of balance and needs cooperation from all directions to get back in balance.  That will happen faster with nations working together.  Protectionism made the great depression worse and the same thing would happen again, that is why it is such an importiant topic of discussion now.

              What you are suggesting is to jump out of a moving car. The likely outcome of that is not good for the jumper, perhaps you should calm down and think it through a litle.

              As for currancy manipulation, the US Dollar is the most aftificially manipulated one in existance and one of the root causes underlying the present economic crisis.

              Answer these questions:

              Why should the world's currancies be pegged to the US Dollar?  

              What is so special about the US Dollar that we should judge the value of all currancies in relationship to it?

              Who made the system to do so?

              Who has benifited most from this system?

              Why should the currancy used by a country with 5% of the world's population consuming 20% of the world's power rule the system for the other 95% of the world's population?

              Doesn't sound very Democratic or fair to me. But then life in not fair, right?  We should just accept that.

              BTW-1

              Oh, by the way, more than 20 million Chinese workers have lost their jobs in the past 6 months, and unemployment in China has been and ramins hight than in the USA. We have our own problems too.

              BTW-1

              Another thing - sorry to make this so complicated - world labor leaders are meeting in china this week and the big topic of discussion is how governments can be inflanced to put people first in recovery measures. Apperently, some people think it would be better to have international cooperation, even labor unions.

              Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

              by koNko on Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 08:49:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  BTW (0+ / 0-)

          It's technically impossible for the US, China, Japan and various other nations to stop trading since they are mutually dependant on each other for various materials and technologies, not to mention the cross investments.

          It simply isn't going to happen.

          One world, sink or swim. The sooner Americans catch that idea the better. Welcome to the club.

          Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

          by koNko on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 12:31:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Jobs Not Borrowing (0+ / 0-)

        FDI would be another disaster for the U.S. It's borrowing more money. It does nothing to create wealth. Wealth is created by work.

        With FDI, we would simply be creating wealth for foreign investors.

        As for the U.S. and other countries being dependent on foreign trade, that's only true if you expect things to change in an instant. By setting the right policies (such as implementing a global minimum wage and demanding that it go into all trade agreements), the U.S. can prevent further export of wealth-creating jobs and slowly bring those jobs back to the country.

        For example, we buy virtually all of our clothing from foreign countries. With a global minimum wage, there is a point where it is more efficient to manufacture those clothes domestically than to manufacture them in Indonesia, China, and other countries and then transport them here. At that point, clothing manufacturers will start building and reopening plants here to manufacture those clothes. There's nothing fore-ordained about having these made in another country and shipped here.

        Unless the U.S. has more wealth-creating jobs, we can't pay off our debt. We will then get into a debt spiral that will impoverish the whole country. The time to act is now!

  •  The anti-trade left is irritating at best. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmacdDE, koNko

    Supporting "fair" trade and subsidies is wonderful for the American middle class. However, it's entirely hypocritical to support foreign aid while promoting "fair" trade and subsidies. Subsidies KILL Third World agriculture. Protectionism forces countries to remain poor, since they can't industrialize. It's good for you, but as a global citizen, anti-trade measures are abhorrent.

    -9.88 -8.67 Reid is building Joementum for his primaries.

    by politicalpirate on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 11:54:35 AM PST

    •  Yes... (9+ / 0-)

      as we've seen what glories NAFTA and GATT have brought to the third world the past fifteen years!
      /snark

      •  GATT hasn't existed for fifteen years... (0+ / 0-)

        As I noted below, NAFTA has stimulated Mexico's economy and it is moving closer and closer to become a first world country. I won't try to analyse the WTO (what you're looking for)'s influence on the world economy since A: there is no global free trade agreements and the United States has consistently pushed to allow itself exemption from any anti-protectionism measures in any deal and B: any data will be contested since it will be so broad.

        -9.88 -8.67 Reid is building Joementum for his primaries.

        by politicalpirate on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 02:03:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  free trade is killin us (0+ / 0-)

          Free trade has done nothing but harm to this country..there's just no doubt about it.

          In 10 years , we will become a fucking 3rd world country.

          The chinese are laughing at us because they are rolling huge trade deficit against us , then loaning us the same money that they made against us , then put interest on it.

          Every years , the same , and im sick and tired of this fucking unfetted trade.

          I say halt on free trade for 2-3 years.

    •  Right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Man Called Gloom

      Because "free" trade has really pulled the majority of the countries of the world out of poverty...

      (And has sent many areas of America BACKWARDS).

    •  The Anti-Jobs Right Is Irritating at Best (5+ / 0-)

      Where do they think this money comes from? Does it grow on trees?

      No one I know on the left is anti-trade. What we are is anti-stupidity. It is pure stupidity to let the labor market in this country plunge while expecting to keep the economy strong.

      People that work are the people that spend money. The money flowing in our economy is all but equal to the wages and salaries paid to workers. The reason the economy is diving is because those people can no longer afford to borrow from their stored-up assets to spend. They need jobs. The right-wing saw the U.S. as just a fat goose that they could render and eat. Well, just about all the goose is gone, and the golden eggs with it.

      We are operating in a world of protectionism. All the other major countries do it. If we weren't then the U.S. trade deficit would be zero. We have the most productive workers anywhere. But does that translate into high wages and increases in jobs?

      Not so far.

      •  I'm not right-wing, I'm just about as liberal as (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koNko

        one can be without delving into communism.

        Mexico's poverty rate dropped from 24.2% to 17.6% from 2000 to 2004 and the rural poverty rate dropped from 42% to 28%.
        (source- http://www2.eluniversal.com.mx/... (spanish))
        It's GNI (purchasing power parity) is the highest in Latin America at almost $15,000. Its inflation has dropped, reaching only 3% in 2005.

        I certainly do not believe that the American working class recieved a net benefit from NAFTA. I believe that the highly skilled workforce recieved a benefit, and of course the very rich, though this shouldn't factor in. However, the American working class lives substantially better than the poor in Mexico.

        We should think about more than just ourselves. We live in an increasingly global world and we shouldn't try to shut ourselves out of it. Many liberals think that we should give foreign aid to take away the burdens of poverty. It won't though- Jobs take away poverty. Aid helps temporarily, but giving out food to someone for a week will not help someone. Education will not help someone unless that education does something. If you teach someone all the knowledge in the world but there are no jobs, he's still in poverty. Free trade creates jobs. Protectionism destroys them.

        I hope President Obama agrees with his US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, who I believe was a fantastic choice.

        -9.88 -8.67 Reid is building Joementum for his primaries.

        by politicalpirate on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 01:54:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not in Favor of Protectionism (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not in favor of protectionism. I'm in favor of making it a level playing field. I think that our trade agreements should specify that only products made by people earning our minimum wage should be sold here. I would start with an international minimum wage that's some reasonable fraction of ours (say, 20%) and ratchet it up by 5% a year until it reached parity.

          I agree with you that "foreign aid" if it just means giving away money to people is a waste of money. I wouldn't do that at all. But I want them to come up to our standard of living, not the other way around. And, while the wages in Mexico might have climbed, they did so by literally throwing people out of their houses here.

          The best thing we can do for Mexico (other than clean up our own corruption) is to provide technology (at a price they can really afford, which is probably free), and investment for infrastructure there at a reasonable rate (which is probably 0% interest) so that they can clean up the water supply, build roads, and generally create their own jobs. We should also be helping them with family planning. It is totally unconscionable that the population there doubled since the 60s. Foreign aid? Condoms. Standard of living has two components: technology and population. Increasing the first increases the standard of living; increasing the second decreases it.

          The road we are on now will not help the rest of the world. What it has done is wreck the American economy, and it may have done so in a way that can't be fixed. If we go down, they all go down, too, and if so we will be responsible for that.

          Irresponsible trade is at the core of our economic problems and must be fixed.

          And, BTW, if the U.S. had put technology and infrastructure investment into Mexico over the last 50 years, the population wouldn't have grown like topsy and they would probably have a much more stable, prosperous society. Instead, we had a global gag rule and NAFTA. Ugh!

    •  And do worse. (0+ / 0-)

      Please read my comments here. The basic problem is the US system is self-defeating by encouraging foriegn financing of non-produtive public debt and discouraging Foriegn Direct Investment (FDI) that would provide productive capitalization.

      The US needs fishing poles, not fish.

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 02:04:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice to see (8+ / 0-)

    Naturally conservatives will say Smoot-Hartley or that Dems are trying to start a trade war.  All I can say is the wars been going on for quite a while and we aren't doing so hot.

    Hey you, dont tell me theres no hope at all Together we stand, divided we fall.

    by marcvstraianvs on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 11:54:38 AM PST

    •  We Unilaterally Disarmed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      island in alabama

      We unilaterally disarmed in the trade war. If the implications had been made clear to the American people all along, unrestricted trade would have never been on the table.

      I'm in favor of globalization and international trade, I just want it done sensibly so that it doesn't wreck our economy in the process.

  •  I agree with you and I agree (5+ / 0-)
    with Senator Brown.  The opposition doesn't have any credibility with me, but they do have credibility with people who don't think like me.  

    I don't think Senator Brown changed any minds.  The best he can hope to do is change the false "balancing" act the media go through all the time.  But he won't succeed because discord, not concord, sells advertising.

    President Obama might have thought that he could the bully pulpit to start an avalanche of change.  Well he actually did think it, because I had him say so when he was campaigning.  He was talking about healthcare and he said that he would get the insurance companies and the drug companies and the other groups that make up the healthcare system all around a big table, but, he said, "I will have the tallest chair because I will be President."  The clear implication is that he thought his voice would be amplified once he got in office.  But I knew he was wrong when he said it and the facts prove it.

    Because of the way the media works, he cannot have a larger voice than his opponents, even though the People clearly support him.  But because of the way our constitutional system works, the opinion of the People only matters in national elections, and not always then.  So now his fate lies in the hands of his opponents.  They are better organized, more determined (for they are fighting for their power), are more on message and, in short, are simply more effective than President Obama.

    I said on this blog long ago that his idea of bipartisanship was silly and doomed to failure, but I was shouted down.  But I was right.  And things will get worse.  As President Obama's popularity declines and as the depression hits us harder, and as his opponents identify story lines and lies that resonate with the electorate, things will get worse.

    So the time for working within the system disappeared when Dwight Eisenhower left office.  You can't work within the system today because the system doesn't work.

    In order for President Obama to have any significant success and make a real difference in the problems we have today he will have to destroy the system and use the ruins to his advantage.  Bush did, and he got us into situations that President Obama can't get out of, as long as he tries to works within the system.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning.

    by hestal on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 11:54:58 AM PST

    •  Not That Pessimistic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      priceman

      I think Obama has his work cut out for him. But, this is not a done-deal.

      For one thing, Obama has a mechanism that the opposition doesn't have: a direct channel of communication to the American people. He can bypass the media and go direct if he wants.

      At the same time, we have better mechanisms for controlling Congress. We need to use them. We have blogs to help us agree on policy and candidates, we have ActBlue and other means to contribute directly, we have Meetup to organize meetings, and we can work directly on campaigns if we want.

      It's time to turn those mechanisms towards Congress. That's why I am constantly promoting finding and supporting liberal challengers in the next Democratic primaries for House races. I think we progressives should set as our goal replacing one or more Democrats in Congress in 2010.

      It's only when they start to fear for their jobs at the hands of an angry populace that they will get on board and make the necessary changes. We have the power to make that happen.

      So, let's find and support liberal candidates in 2010. It's the next logical step in changing that broken system to one that works. For us.

      •  Well, it seems to me that you are (0+ / 0-)

        actually very pessimistic.  You are talking about the future, the next election which is two years away.  In the meantime the depression will, as President Obama said today, only get worse.  He said that the rate of job losses is accelerating not decreasing.  This is not good news for those who say they want change now, for those who want to mitigate the effects of the Bush years.  Every second lost now becomes three seconds needed next year.  

        I said in my comment that the People support President Obama, they really do.  But that is no help.  They voted and put him in office and gave him a majority in both houses -- that is all they can do for now.  But the majority they gave him is not big enough because of a quirk in the system, a quirk that is not part of the Constitution.  This quirk is a major symptom of a system that is not working.

        These guys in Congress are not afraid of losing their jobs now, and your idea is to hope that the People will make them concerned about losing their jobs in 2010.  They understand all this, they understood it before you and I were born.  They know that two years is an eternity in politics.  They are betting that they can torpedo President Obama's plan now and he will get the blame over the next two years.  They are betting that President Obama's popularity will decline as the depression deepens.  They are betting with the house, because that is the way that thing usually unfold for new presidents.

        But I reject your charge that I am pessimistic.  I am not.  I am realistic.  You are betting against the house.

        Now the next thing you will do is feel that hard work and netroots campaigns will change the future, but that is the dream of the young not the realism of the experienced. About the time you have lived through two or three of these you will come to realize that the system is broken and you will call for change, but when that day comes nobody will listen to you.  

        As my father often said, "We are all born ignorant, but not all of us overcome it."  His next line was, "And those of us who do overcome our ignorance take so long to do it that we don't have enough time left to apply what we have learned,and the still ignorant fight us every step along the way."

        Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning.

        by hestal on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 01:59:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Make Me Optimistic (0+ / 0-)

          The next election is less than two years away. Candidates will be selected to run in the primaries by early next year. At most, we have about 12 months to get organized, which isn't a long time.

          And, really, by organizing for the Democratic primaries in 2010 we have more influence on what happens than you might think. These guys have two-year terms and they are constantly looking over their shoulders to see who's coming. I think a herd of liberal Democrats should be coming. That's what will make them vote the right way NOW.

          I don't know how "young" you think I am, but since I've been through about 8 or 9 presidential cycles since I became an adult, perhaps I'm experienced enough to know how things are. But, by the same token, I'm very familiar with what's changed. The reason we have Obama in office isn't because he's bright, well-spoken and a superb statesman (although he's all those things). It's because the Internet put him there. Or, to be at least a little precise, he saw the opportunity created by Al Gore's Revenge, and he caught the wave.

          But the wave that deposited Obama in the White House is not just a rogue wave. It's a tsunami that is washing through Washington. (So, that's why they call it Wash....) That same wave is going to start depositing smart politicians in Congress. The incumbents won't be any more aware of what hit them than the Republicans are after the last election, the ones washed out of their seats.

          We should use that tidal wave to deposit liberal politicians in the House. And, doing so will make the brighter incumbents orient to the wave now. The dumb ones will end up hanging in a tree somewhere, dripping water and cursing.

          I'm neither optimistic nor pessimistic at this point. I don't know what the future holds. I only know what the trends seem to be today. I'm suspecting that the system is completely different than what people in Washington think it is because the entire ground changed underneath them in the last five years. They haven't got to grips with it yet.

          Will that mean that Right wins out? Only if it catches the wave and uses it to maximum advantage.

  •  Good diary. (5+ / 0-)

    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

    by publicv on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 11:56:39 AM PST

  •  Vast difference between protectionist legislation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, mali muso

    which encourages trade nations to retaliate via tariffs on our products and encouraging companies to buy American.

    I'm in the minority here but I agree with stripping the legal requirement. However, I would also make it clear to companies that get recovery funds that it would help the economy more if they used American-made materials. I would even go so far as to say that if their bid is higher than someone else's because they're using American-made materials and their competitor isn't, that would be taken into account in awarding bids. However, it's also a matter of bottom-line cost. If the bid from the company using American-made materials is significantly higher than other bids, maybe American-made isn't in the best interest of the country. Problem is, what's an acceptable amount, 10%, 15%, ???

    The Tyranny of the Minority - when did 60 become the new 51?

    by 1BQ on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 11:58:30 AM PST

    •  does my idea help with this? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sherlyle, A Man Called Gloom

      don't REQUIRE but create a preponderance of favor toward American-made materials.  

      REQUIRE foreign-made material use to be voted on by Congress on a case-by-case basis.

      Justice, mercy, tolerance, hope, love, grace, and redemption are all Judeo-Christian values.

      by Benintn on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 12:01:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure that requiring Congress to vote on (0+ / 0-)

        exceptions is productive. Look at what's happening now. How quickly are these projects supposed to be built?

        That's why I was thinking of setting an acceptable variance in materials cost. If set in advance, all projects where materials cost X% more because they're American-made would still be considered competitive.

        Yes, encourage American-made. Don't require it.

        The Tyranny of the Minority - when did 60 become the new 51?

        by 1BQ on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 12:08:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That is totally unworkable. (0+ / 0-)

        What you are suggesting is a beauracracy that would micro-manage the economy back to the stone age.

        Being Chinese and having personal experience with centrally planned and managed economy, I can honestly state your idea is simply impratical, unworkable and regressive.

        The US needs vast political and policy reform to promote growth, not to constrain it.

        If you must take lessons from China, take them from the present governement not the past.

        BTW, China encourages foreign participation in it's infrastructure and commerical markets that will be the benificiaries of it's stimulus spending becuase it attracts FDI.

        Please get over the ownership thing and try that, it's a lot more effective than discouraging participation and rewarding financing of public debt.

        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

        by koNko on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 02:16:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is a great question - "other" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Thinking

    I said "other"...

    I'm fully in favor of Buy American provisions on infrastructure projects.  I know folks up on the Iron Range in MN are happy about it.

    It's possible that what we should do is create an "out" provision which would allow for the Congress to specifically approve (up/down vote) specific projects where foreign products might be used, and for all non-American products to be tracked in terms of expenditure amount, purpose, etc.

    I'd allow some kind of "waiver" and I hate legal language that is extreme and uses "all or no" when we're talking about billions of dollars of investment.

    Justice, mercy, tolerance, hope, love, grace, and redemption are all Judeo-Christian values.

    by Benintn on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 11:58:42 AM PST

  •  On Morning Joe this morning, (0+ / 0-)

    Pat Buchanan was rhapsodic in his praise of this provision.

    You say it's "refreshing to hear someone talking sense" on the subject; I guess that means that Pat Buchanan is "talking sense".

  •  When I was in Europe up until 2000, (7+ / 0-)

    There was a 12% EU import tax on anything made in the US, which when coupled with German VAT tax that is currently 17% comes to 29% tax on US made goods.  AirBus is subsidized by France, Germany, Italy and Spain yet we hafta comppete on a "level" playing fied with them?  I'm sorry, this just doesn't pass the logic test.

    The best thing for the world economy is to get ours going again and if we demand "buy American" in our stimulus bill, so be it.  Foreign economies shouldn't be lining up behind Wallstreet for our tax dollars.  Trade war?  Sure, that's one helluva stimulus in and of itself if we have to produce everything here.

    ..most profound moments of my life...the last few -- And, for Global COOLING, if it's man-made and doesn't move, paint it WHITE!

    by tristan57 on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 12:13:53 PM PST

  •  time to dump trade treaties that do not include (5+ / 0-)

    minimum wage and strict environmental standards.  Enough of run-away, unfettered "globalism."

  •  Getting to the Heart of the Matter (3+ / 0-)

    I want to thank Sherrod Brown for taking up this cause. It's about time someone pointed out that we can't continue to give away jobs and expect our economy to do well.

    Personally, I would prefer that they just pass a global minimum wage bill that would mandate that all products sold in the U.S. were made at (at least) some fraction of our domestic minimum wage. It's no wonder wages have stagnated while vast quantities of money--the equity in our homes--is shipped overseas.

    I'd also like to see a carbon tax on shipping, so that we can take care of two problems at once: the trade imbalance and the global warming it gooses up.

    But, at least the issue is on the table, and until Congress warms up to more sensible regulations (which need to be worked into the international trade agreements), this is the minimum we can tolerate.

  •  Our Reps Need to Begin Questioning Moderators (2+ / 0-)

    based on the fact that everyone knows we tried X and we've gotten Y in return, how can they take Republicans seriously when they claim things that happened the opposite?

    We should ask why we have to spend interview time debating things that have proven false.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 12:46:51 PM PST

  •  What's to keep steel companies from jacking (0+ / 0-)

    up their prices WITHOUT investing the additional profits in hiring more workers or increasing pay/benefits for existing workers?

    The Tyranny of the Minority - when did 60 become the new 51?

    by 1BQ on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 01:09:40 PM PST

  •  I explain myself (0+ / 0-)

    I favor "buy American" provisions that are part of the stimulus, but the bill right now contains items that cannot really be described as stimulus.  To the extent that the "buy American" provisions affect only the spending under this bill, I'm all for it.  But I do not want to impose them on previously authorized spending, or on private conduct unrelated to spending.

    Maybe that should be the fifth box to check in the poll?

    •  It's Law (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      priceman

      As I understand it, this is already law. So, I don't think the current bill changes anything. Money the government spends, I think, generally comes with a buy-American provision. I expect there are wavers, since there are things you can't find produced in this country anymore. Like, well, much of anything.

      Fasteners for towers, like wind turbine towers, are apparently made in America with American materials. I know that because Obama managed to find a company that did that as he made his way to the inauguration. But that factory was running at 50% capacity.

      For a myriad reasons we should be making more of this stuff ourselves. A little encouragement in the stimulus package is a good thing.

  •  Sherrod Brown rocks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    priceman, island in alabama

    of course I am biased, he's my Senator. He also refuses to partake in the Senate health care plan until ALL Americans get a similar plan.

    He is right on the money with everything mentioned in this diary. I would so love to see him calling out the Repubs (and the frickin Blue (aka Bush) dog Dems) every single day. He gets it, he really does. He has seen the catastrophe that has become Ohio up close and personal.

    I really wish he would take the lead and introduce legislation to cut the pay, benefits, and perks of Congress and the Senate until the economy picks up. They should have to feel the same pain as many, if not most, American families. If we are expected to take cuts in pay, reduced or no insurance, and continuous fear of losing our livelihoods, they should, too.

    I know it would be voted down by those greedy legislators, but the publicity and attention it would bring to the people who are hurting the most would be worth the effort.

    "Remember back when W and the Republicans f'ed up the entire world?"

    by A Man Called Gloom on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 01:35:06 PM PST

    •  I Just Want to Make Them Work Harder (0+ / 0-)

      I think they should pass a rule in both houses that says that each member has to spend at least one full week (forty hours) each quarter in their home districts in their offices with their doors open, taking constituents on a first-come-first-served basis to hear what they have to say. That would force them to hear from someone other than the lobbyists.

      I'd like to see them doing honest work for their money.

      But if we cut their pay, it just means taking money out of the economy. You might think they get paid a lot, but the truth is that it isn't that much considering they have to travel back and forth to their districts and maintain two residences. In fact, a number of members of the House apparently sleep in their offices or shack up in joint housing in order to afford to be in Congress.

      It's like a lot of memes about how much money the government supposedly wastes. Sure, you can find examples in a trillion-dollar budget. But, I bet I could find "waste" in your budget, no matter how paltry. Do you really need that roof over your head???

  •  Just in case any kossacks want to peddle WTO TP: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    justCal, island in alabama

    And unfortunately I've seen it as well as the BS about how globalization is ending inequality here. Sherrod Brown is one of the most progressive Senators around and he is absolutely right. Whine, cry, fear monger about fair trade killing other countries economies erroneously like Fareed Zakaria, it's all stupid BS and neoliberlaism is not that different form neoconservatism here and that is what you sound like if you are one who peddles this kind of filth. There are a number of kossacks who get this and seeing diaries like this makes me feel better about this place, but unfortunately there is entirely too much BS about free trade "leveling the playing field."

    Here are the indisputable facts that dispel the WTO myths being propagated by the right and even here by some people:

    Myth: Manufacturing doesn’t need any help.
    Fact: 4 million U.S.. manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000, amounting to losses of nearly one-fourth of all U.S. manufacturing jobs. In 2007 alone, the U.S. shed 800,000 manufacturing jobs. Factory orders now stand at record lows while the U.S. racked up a $700 billion trade deficit in 2007. [U.S. Census Bureau data.]

    Myth: This is a major and unprecedented expansion of Buy America laws.
    Fact: The U.S. has had such laws in place for 70 years, starting with the Buy American Act of 1933. The Department of Defense has had its own Buy America provision (The Berry Amendment) since 1941. In addition, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) all have long-standing Buy America provisions. In part the provisions in H.R. 1 simply provide greater transparency in the use of Federal funds.

    Myth: This violates our trade agreements.
    Fact: The Visclosky Amendment in H.R. 1 contains complete flexibility to ensure that the U.S. complies with all international commitments for procurement and will allow the waiver of domestic preference when required by trade agreement obligations. These trade agreements do however allow for domestic preference under a number of circumstances. The amendment merely insures that U.S. materials will be preferred when it is permitted. These preferences were negotiated for a reason. It would be irresponsible not to utilize them to the fullest extent possible.

    Myth: This will ignite a trade war and deepen the depression.
    Fact: Total two-way U.S. trade in goods and services amounted to approximately $4 trillion in 2007. In comparison, the economic recovery bill is projected to include approximately $90 billion for infrastructure projects. Ensuring that some of the $90 billion used to rebuild American infrastructure is spent on American materials is a tiny fraction of the $2 trillion in goods that the U.S. purchased from the rest of the world in 2007. [U.S. Census Bureau data.]

    Myth: As the world’s "largest exporter," the U.S. could be hurt by not buying foreign-made goods because our trading partners would then refuse to buy from us.

    Fact: Actually, the U.S. is, by far, the world’s largest importer, soaking up a net $819 billion in goods in 2007. [U.S. Census Bureau data.] The U.S. imports far more than it exports, a balance of sales that our trading partners are anxious to preserve. This is not about restricting imports. It is about using taxpayer dollars, when allowed by our international obligations, to purchase U.S.-produced goods. As the global downturn has progressed, many industrialized countries such as France and China have already taken similar action to support their domestic manufacturing base.

    Myth: This will raise the cost of projects.
    Fact: Additional cost—if any—is more than justified. Purchasing high-quality American-made materials yields an enormous productivity dividend, both in terms of jobs created and the overall reward to the economy. Infrastructure investment would undoubtedly create millions of new U.S. jobs, but there is also the importance of revitalizing the American manufacturing base, which is uniquely capable of generating 4-5 new jobs for each employed manufacturing worker. There are also provisions in Buy America laws to protect American taxpayers. [Source: Heintz, Pollin, Garrett-Peltier, "How Infrastructure Supports the U.S. Economy."]

    Myth: This is poor economics.
    Fact: Supporting domestic manufacturing by purchasing American-made products is the one method that will not result in the "leakage" of U.S. funds overseas, a problem cited by such mainstream economists as BusinessWeek’s Michael Mandel. A concerted domestic procurement program could actually increase U.S. manufacturing job creation by 33% while ensuring that taxpayer dollars actually go directly to job creation. [Heintz, Pollin, Garrett-Peltier.]

    Myth: The recovery package won’t stimulate jobs, just spending.
    Fact: A recent University of Massachusetts study finds that infrastructure investment could create as many as 18,000 jobs for every $1 billion invested. [Heintz, Pollin, Garrett-Peltier.]

    Myth: This is special treatment for manufacturing.
    Fact:The recent TARP legislation and auto rescue package were limited to domestic banks and automakers, yet no objections were raised. This is simply the use of U.S. taxpayer money to sustain vital American jobs.

    Myth: The U.S. is setting a bad example.
    Fact: The U.S. has been a leading party in reaching broad international procurement agreements, has adhered to all related obligations, and has set a strong example of sourcing materials globally for its domestic governmental projects. By contrast, other countries have held themselves out of the reform movement and have instead opted to promote their own manufacturing base through closed self-procurement programs. A good example is China, which, in addition to a recent $586 billion stimulus program, continues to subsidize its own producers via deliberate (and illegal) currency undervaluation. Until countries like China make the same commitments, and sign-on to internationally accepted procurement agreements, the U.S. will accomplish nothing by making yet more unilateral concessions.

    Myth: Buy American provisions are controversial.
    Fact:The Visclosky Amendment was adopted in committee on a 55-0 vote. A domestic sourcing amendment (Kissell) related to textiles was adopted by the full House of Representatives on a voice vote. A Harris Interactive poll released last week shows that more than 90% of the public surveyed support Buy American requirements.

    Thanks for the update, Thinking Liberally.

    Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin

    by priceman on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 01:49:14 PM PST

  •  Foreign gov'ts, multinationals, editorialists lie (0+ / 0-)

    They said Brown's amendment would violate international law.  But the provision says the U.S. taxpayer money will be used for U.S. goods except to the extent it violates international law.  It is by definition not a violation, but you would not know it from the press releases issued by multinationals.  The Chinese, Europeans, Canadians do more domestic preferencing than the U.S.  They are hypocrits to complain, but they are lawful practices.  Their credibility is nil.

    Only 39 countries signed the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement, that regulates domestic preferencing.  It allows what Brown is doing.  The other 100+ countries have no rights regarding domestic preferencing, including non-signatories like China and India.  And we have no right to complain of their existing practices.

    The Rupert Murdoch editorial page hyperventilates about a "trade war" but if Buy American is included in the stimulus.  But if other countries retaliated against our lawful measures, then the U.S. would be the aggrieved party under international law.

    The op-ed writers who complained did not even read the legislative language.  Their ears heard... their knees jerked... and they penned baloney for op-ed readers.

    At some point, we have to work for U.S. interests.  We did what the free traders wanted.  It did not work.  It failed miserably.  Millions of jobs lost and a tanking economy because we import record amounts more than we export.  A national strategy for trade to support U.S. workers and farmers is needed.  That includes Buy American with U.S. taxpayer money.

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