Skip to main content

Come December, months after it should have happened, the White House will convene a jobs summit. That’s a good thing if we’re really going to talk about all options. Because important ones are missing right now. To that end, I’d like to suggest a few names for the summit’s guest list: Bob Borosage and other people at the Institute for America’s Future; Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers; Carolyn Barthomew, chair of the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission; Bob Kuttner, founding co-editor of The American Prospect; and L. Randy Wray, professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City,  and Research Director with the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability. These five take the long view, the big picture view. And what they see – what anybody who really looks sees – is that America’s job situation needs a transformation before the race to the bottom becomes an irrevocable plunge.

The key to that transformation is industrial policy, which includes trade policy and a labor-market strategy. The kind of thing countries as far apart culturally and politically as Denmark and China have successfully engineered to make life for their citizens better. America’s fate now rests in the hands of other countries’ industrial policies. Not having our own is, ultimately, an economic suicide pact courtesy of the promoters of the same policies and behavior that got us into this gigantic economic mess.

While the festering unemployment rolls and the growing number of experts with clout mouthing the words "jobless recovery" may not fall into the traditional category of leading economic indicator, they clearly are a leading indicator on the minds of people who still care about working Americans. And also on the minds of a few politicians who normally don’t care but are pondering the approach of midterm elections.

It can never be repeated too often that Barack Obama inherited the mess. Not just the disaster bred of the Cheney-Bush years, the longest recession since the Depression, but that deeper wider mess that’s plagued us for far longer than any single administration. The mop the President chose includes some fiscal and relief policies which prove that progressive economic policy isn’t totally dead. But so far it’s been little beyond old-fashioned stimulus and saying hosannas to the pieces of the New Deal and Great Society whose continued existence have made the situation a good deal less horrendous than it would otherwise have been. But relying on decades-old cushioning programs and inadequate government spending isn’t going to solve either the short term or underlying long-term problems of the economy.

After close to four decades of allowing the screwing of American workers to take place amid a chorus of lionized public intellectuals shouting that the screwing is good for us, the current disaster ought to be one of those crises that Rahm Emanuel says we should never waste. Forty years after LBJ added to the New Deal, it’s time to do it again. This time with a permanent jobs program such as the one that L. Randall Wray proposes here:
 

Direct job creation programs have been common in the US and around the world. Americans immediately think of the various New Deal programs such as the Works Progress Administration (which employed about 8 million), the Civilian Conservation Corps (2.75 million employed), and the National Youth Administration (over 2 million part-time jobs for students). Indeed, there have been calls for revival of jobs programs like VISTA and CETA to help provide employment of new high school and college graduates now facing unemployment due to the crisis.

But what I am advocating is something both broader and permanent: a universal jobs program available through the thick and thin of the business cycle. The federal government would ensure a job offer to anyone ready and willing to work, at the established program compensation level, including wages and benefits package. To make matters simple, the program wage could be set at the current minimum wage level, and then adjusted periodically as the minimum wage is raised. The usual benefits would be provided, including vacation and sick leave, and contributions to Social Security.

Note that the program compensation package would set the minimum standard that other (private and public) employers would have to meet. In this way, public policy would effectively establish the basic wage and benefits permitted in our nation--with benefits enhanced as our capacity to provide them increases. I do not imagine that determining the level of compensation will be easy; however, a public debate that brings into the open matters concerning the minimum living standard our nation should provide to its workers is not only necessary but also would be healthy. ...

As the economy begins to recover, the private sector (as well as the public sector) will begin to hire again; this will draw workers out of the program. That is a good thing; indeed, one of the major purposes of this program is to keep people working so that a pool of employable labor will be available when a downturn comes to an end. Further, the program should do what it can to upgrade the skills and training of participants, and it will provide a work history for each participant to use to obtain better and higher paying work. Experience and on-the-job training is especially important for those who tend to be left behind no matter how well the economy is doing. The program can provide an alternative path to employment for those who do not go to college and cannot get into private sector apprenticeship programs.

A year-round, year-after-year jobs program that produces real value in new public infrastructure and maintenance and repair of what already exists.

Or you could go for the Danish model. In his book, Obama’s Challenges, Bob Kuttner writes:

This idea [of an active labor-market strategy] is not just to cultivate a broadly educated population but to subsidize the customized training of workers for emergent technologies, as well as their living expenses so that they can afford to train – and do so at a scale to make a difference. This strategy is combined with a national commitment that there shall be no bad jobs an; and that every job shall pay a true living wage, with the productivity to justify it.

Last year, I conducted a study of the country that comes closest to realizing this strategy, the small, highly trade-dependent nation of Denmark. The Danes call their model "flexicurity" – great labor-market flexibility combined with superb worker security. If that sounds lie an oxymoron, the rest of the Danish model defies the usual economic categories and manages to square several other circles

I published my findings in the March-April 2008 issue of Foreign Affairs, but here are the headlines.

On the one hand, the Danes are passionate free traders. They score well in the ratings constructed by pro-market organizations. The World Economic Forum Competitiveness Index ranks Denmark third, just behind the United States and Switzerland, and even the far-right Heritage Foundation ranks Denmark eleventh, giving it demerits only for the size of its public sector. Denmark’s financial markets are clean and transparent, its barrier to imports minimal, its labor markets the most flexible in Europe, its multinational corporations dynamic and largely unmolested by industry policies, and its unemployment rate of 2.8 percent, the lowest in the OECD. [Now 4.1%, and the lowest in the OECD – MB.]

On the other hand, Denmark spends about 50 percent of its GDP socially and has the world’s second-highest tax rate after Sweden, as well as strong trade unions and one of the world’s most equal income distributions. For the half of the GDP that they pay in taxes, the Danes get not just universal health insurance but also generous child-care and family-leave arrangements, unemployment compensation that typically covers around 95 percent of lost wages, free higher education, secure pensions in old age, and the world’s most creative system of worker retraining.

What makes the flexicurity model both attractive to workers and dynamic for society are six key features: full employment; strong unions recognized as social partners; fairly equal wages among different sectors, so that a shift from manufacturing to service-sector work does not typically entail a pay cut; employer freedom to hire and fire as necessary; a comprehensive income floor; and a set of labor-market programs that spend an astonishing 4.5 percent of Danish GDP on programs such as transitional unemployment assistance, wage subsidies, and highly customized retraining. In return for such spending, the unions actively support both employer flexibility and a set of tough rules to weed out welfare chiselers; workers are understood to have duties as well as rights.

It’s not hard to come up with all kinds of reasons why the programs of a small, far more homogeneous country won’t work as well in big, diverse America. But if Democrats really want policies that go further than merely wielding a mop every time there’s a recession, they should invent an American version of an active labor-market strategy that helps stop putting so many people through the wringer.

Combined with this fresh approach to the labor market should be a focused effort to create green jobs and green careers, and more investment in research and development. Currently, the United States ranks 7th among the 30-country membership of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development when it comes to R&D, 22nd when it comes to non-defense R&D.

Several billions in stimulus money have already gone into weatherization projects, providing jobs and home upgrades that will pay off in lower utility bills and reduced energy consumption. But other stimulus money is not being so well spent. In fact, it’s exacerbating one of the very problems we should be trying to solve, off-shoring American jobs.

Some students at American University concluded in their report Blown Away that more than 80% of the $1.05 billion federal clean-energy grants handed out since September 1 has gone to foreign wind companies.

Even more striking is the fact that there are few restrictions on the how the grants can be used, according to a transcript of a Treasury Department briefing. In fact, more than $800 million has been given to firms for wind farms that were already producing electricity before they received the grants, according to a review of the records by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University.

"There are no restrictions on the use of the funds," Dan Tangherlini, an assistant secretary for management at the Department of Treasury, said, during a Sept. 1 conference call to announce the grants.

Could the money be used to pay shareholders?

"You know, that's possible," Tangherlini said, when a reporter asked that question during the call.

Foreign wind companies, however, say that their U.S. subsidiaries are creating jobs.

But where? As Muskegon Critic and others have discovered, a lot of those jobs are being stimulated abroad – the vast majority in the case of the Chinese wind-turbine manufacturer who will be supplying the machines for a Texas wind farm. In America, 330 jobs, 300 of them temporary; in China, 2000 jobs. The Campaign for America’s Future is urging progressives to  send emails or letters backing Sen. Chuck Schumer's call for Steven Chu at the Department of Energy to "reject any request for stimulus money unless the high-value components, including the wind turbines, are manufactured in the United States."

As Jerome a Paris has pointed out, one of the reasons for this is exactly what we’re talking about, the lack of an industrial policy, especially a green industrial policy, over the past 30 years. The U.S. doesn’t currently have the manufacturing capability to supply all the wind turbines slated for installation. Inconsistent and incomplete government policy nearly bankrupted some turbine makers who, if they weren’t bought out, downsized their operations to avoid being caught in a bind the next time Congress decided to let the production tax credit expire. Not just no industrial policy but an anti-industrial one.

Leo Gerard fumed:

So accustomed to being bought and sold, Washington simply begins processing forms so it can hand over your tax dollars to create jobs in a turbine factory in the city of Shenyang, China at a subsidy of $193,133 each.

It's like these bureaucrats live in Wonderland. Or an America where the unemployment rate isn't 10.2 percent. Or where 40,000 American manufacturing facilities didn't disappear in the past decade. Or where banks didn't repossess nearly a quarter million American homes in the past three months.

We've got a message for Washington: Hell no! We're not giving tax dollars to China. What's wrong with these businesses and our government? It is the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It's not the Chinese Recovery and Reinvestment Act. ...

China has an industrial policy. And it uses that policy to dominate. Here is how Keith Bradsher of the New York Times described China's policy to become a world leader in renewable energy, which of course, would include construction of wind turbine factories:

"Calling renewable energy a strategic industry, China is trying hard to make sure that its companies dominate globally. Just as Japan and South Korea made it hard for Detroit automakers to compete in those countries - giving their own automakers time to amass economies of scale in sheltered domestic markets - China is shielding its clean energy sector while it grows to a point where it can take on the world." ...

"European wind turbine makers have stopped even bidding for some Chinese contracts after concluding that their bids would not be seriously considered, said Jorg Wuttke, the president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China."

As Gerard says, this wouldn’t be happening if the U.S. had an industrial plan that operated with the same kind of attitude toward Americans that China has toward the Chinese. Free trade on level-playing field, sure. But accepting the masquerade of a free trade policy while China engages in broad-based protectionism is not on the level. And stimulating their economy with our stimulus money demonstrates just how far our lack of an industrial policy has pushed us out of whack.

Nobody should begrudge tens of millions of Chinese who are being lifted from poverty by the Red capitalists running their government. But that doesn’t mean we should let this happen at the expense of American workers, today’s and tomorrow’s. That’s not a prescription for a trade war, but rather a plea for common-sense trade policy, one that doesn’t cower every time the Chinese scowl when the U.S. or some European company files a World Trade Organization complaint against them.

Next Thursday, the U.S.-China Economic And Security Review Commission will release its 2009 Annual Report to Congress. Included will be a look at:

China’s detailed industrial policy designed to attract foreign investment and production
and to create "national champions" to compete on a global scale.

China’s use of subsidies and other trade-distorting measures in violation of its international commitments.

China’s role in the creation of the economic imbalances that that helped produce the global financial crisis.

At Building the New Economy: Making it in America, a conference put on by the Institute for America’s Future and the Alliance for American Manufacturing two weeks ago, the chair of the China commission, Carolyn Bartholomew, pointed out that China has adopted a centralized process focused on China’s national interests, a policy that builds, supports and protects. China owns many companies and highly controls others. It uses subsidies, intellectual property theft, currency manipulation, price controls, ruthless eminent domain. It underpays its workers and it permits no free unions. The arsenal of government policies in no way makes for level ground. The green wave that is bringing those Shenyang wind turbines to America isn’t going to lift our boats, it’s going to swamp us if Washington fails to adopt an industrial trade policy that doesn’t ignore these inequities.

Regarding that relationship, Natasha Chart has blogged some good ideas here as well as why we should look to other countries on industrial policy, too.

Finally, when Democrats start talking about an industrial, trade and labor-market policy, they shouldn’t forget the labor movement itself. Without the pressures it once brought to bear, we wouldn’t have minimum wage laws, Society Security, unemployment compensation or a very big middle class in this country. Over the years, Democrats have let their alliance with labor drift as union membership – along with union jobs – have disappeared or departed overseas. Forming unions, the legal right of all workers as another consequence of the progressive pressure in the New Deal years, has been made more difficult by decades of union-busting and negligent enforcement of the law.

There’s a campaign promise on the table in this regard. It’s not radical, won’t take nearly the political capital of initiating an industrial policy or even a permanent jobs program. It’s called the Employee Free Choice Act. By giving workers wishing to unionize a better chance against the corporate foes of anything that says they can’t treat employees exactly as they please, it would help even the playing field between corporations and workers whose productivity gains in the past 30 years have been siphoned into profits.

Altogether that's a big bite. But we're in a big crisis. The jobs summit can tread old ground. Or it can go bold.  

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 03:59 PM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Going Bold (9+ / 0-)

    Whatever it  takes to get OH, FL, Penn and NC.  Again.

    •  1. Tax the wealthy more (16+ / 0-)
      1.  Spend $3 trillion rewiring the entire American economy for the 21st century

      It's the only thing that's gonna work AND address the energy crisis and global warming at the same time.

      •  Yeah, all we have to do it is let the Bush (7+ / 0-)

        Tax Cuts run out.  More would be good, but that would be pretty good alone.

        Bush's Tax Cuts really skrewed the pooch.

      •  Don't raise taxes (0+ / 0-)

        until we are out of the woods.  

        I hate the tax cuts Bush passed, but until we are sure we have sustainable growth any move to reduce the deficit is fool hardy.

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:47:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm talking people earning $1 mill + a year (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wsexson

          Slap 10% tax on them - ASAP.

          And their estates.

        •  Raising taxes on the top 5%, with gradually (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ignacio Magaloni, wsexson

          heavier increases as you get to the top 1% and even more at the top .1% would have almost no impact on the productiveness of the country. Most of the super rich are making money on the financial markets and are not providing any financial boost to the rest of us at all. If anything, they've been sucking wealth out of the real economy as they redistribute dollars from the rest of us into their own pockets. If you took the proceeds from those taxes and used them to create productive jobs within the US then the country as a whole would greatly benefit. The top 1% of the country currently own 40% of all wealth and to top 5% currently own 67.5%.

      •  That's not the point exactly... (0+ / 0-)

        As a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, under Dr. Wray and his colleagues at CFEPS (notably my macro and history of economic thought profs), the point of a full employment program isn't to raise taxes. Rather, the funding would be achieved by functional finance. That is, only tax (or subsidize) to achieve a certain desired outcome. If you want the rich to be less rich, tax them. If you want the poor to be better off, subsidize programs to assist them. But don't tax the rich to feed the hungry.
        I know that seems counter-intuitive, but functional finance does away with the idea that we have to run a national debt pay for programs, and instead sees the national debt as an attempt to maintain a specific level of interest. I know that may not make sense, but I'll put together a full diary on it, after Dr. Wray guest teaches my macro class this week.

        "Its' got to be done and done quickly, so let's get it done." - General Henry 'Hap' Arnold

        by afguy08 on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 09:14:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  How about instead... (15+ / 0-)

      ... whatever it takes to get people to work?  A social goal rather than a political one?

      jest sayin'

      Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden, 8/30/09)

      by Land of Enchantment on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:10:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think the two are the same (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phonegery
      •  Any large scale social goal can't help (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        renzo capetti

        but touch heavily into political processes.

        -- We are just regular people informed on issues

        by mike101 on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:49:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Trouble in San Diego (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder, Azazello

        A wind farm proposal with the happy name "Tule Wind" is maybe going to be built by Spanish Co. Iberadora.

        Drawing the most attention is a plan by the Spanish conglomerate Iberdrola to build about 100 skyscraper-sized towers in and near the McCain Valley, a federal conservation area abutting Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

        This compliments a move by local energy utility SDG&E who constructed a LNG terminal in Baja, to fuel power plants that will send electricity to the US. The utility claims that the power will benefit local users, when the real goal is to send the power north towards the Riverside and Los Angeles part of California.
        I camp in McCain Valley. Have you seen the turbines near Palm Springs?  This is not the best site for a wind factory.
        Wind may be seen as clean energy, please use it wisely.
        News piece

        Give me a public option, or give me Death!

        by tlemon on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:53:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Fool me once, shame on you (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      formernadervoter, Jagger, Kickemout

      fool me twice, shame on me.

      Obama and the Dem Congress had their chance with their idiotic "stimulus" package.

      They devoted how much to infrastructure jobs out of nearly a Trillion Dollars?  ta da!  5%!

      Woooohoooo!

      The "stimulus" just wasn't very stimulative,. nor did it bring any real jobs.. except for the 1 million jobs in Obama's head.

      The Dems had their chance to do it right, but they took the pork route and the gifts to their stateside buddies in local government so said buddies could retain their local overpaid patronage workers.  They screwed to proverbial pooch.  No one is going to let them do this again.

      Common dude and dudette in OH, FL, Penn and NC got shit out of the "stimulus".  How will you convince them that "this time it will be different?  I swear it! Really!"

      "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

      by Skeptical Bastard on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:24:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "The Dems?" Uhm, don't you mean "we Dems?" (0+ / 0-)
      •  The mistake in the stimulus bill's jobs portion (7+ / 0-)

        was allowing any of the money to filter to the states to be divvied up and used as political leverage and one-upsmanship.

        The jobs should have been created by the federal government, bypassing states and taking care of the big things like high-speed rail infrastructure from coast to freaking coast, 21st century power grid along with all of the air, water and solar harnessing machinery to go with it.  also, air security inspectors should be federal employees, not some underpaid, give-a-shit rent-a-guard.  This goes for container inspectors at each and every port as well.

        No matter what Dems do, they'll be called tax and spend liberals.  we may as well embrace it and do some good.  We all know republicans are the biggest spenders of all-time, projecting at every corner, but no matter, Democrats need to do the right thing and stop trying to reason with a bunch of tea-bag-wearing "morans" and get the job done.

        Do I look like a scab? No? Then quit picking on me!

        by heavysole on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:28:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There are more than a few right wing frames (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Egalitare

        in your comment.

        The grants to "statewide buddies" was designed to forestall layoffs - and it worked.  In my county alone Education would have been destroyed.

        They are very good things in the stimulus package.

        It's main problem was that it wasn't big enough, and had too many tax cuts.

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:49:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh BS.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kickemout

          everything is "right wing" if it doesn't fit into your worldview, eh?

          Yes, layoffs were forestalled.  Layoffs in bloated state bureaucracies would not matter a whit except to the well-connected patronage workers..  and that has nothing to do with party affiliation.  Furloughs and cutbacks would have made more sense, with the "stimulus" money going towards real jobs, not the pencil pushing campaign work done on state time that is rampant at least in my state of Illinois.

          Just remember.. 5%.. that is all the Congressional Dems, including president Obama, cared about stimulating the economy as far as infrastructure. 5%.

          That, and the bill to pay for it in the future, is what will be remembered in Nov of 2010.

          "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

          by Skeptical Bastard on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 08:41:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Obama’s Job Plan is lame (6+ / 0-)

      http://economistsview.typepad.com/...

      Two-thirds of the stimulus went toward tax cuts, fiscal aid to states, and expanded unemployment benefits and food stamps. These efforts helped cushion the recession’s blow, saved public jobs and, by injecting demand into the economy, bolstered employment indirectly.

      The remaining third of the stimulus, however, was expected to be the real jobs generator: $250 billion for infrastructure — roads, transit, water treatment — and for investments in energy efficiency, broadband access and other areas. But it is becoming clear that much of that spending is not producing many new jobs. ...

      Administration officials argue that these investments, if done right, will lay the groundwork for growth for years to come. And they say that given the depth of the recession, it’s hardly a bad thing for the stimulus to deliver some punch a year or two from now. ... Summers said. "We designed the Recovery Act to ramp up over time, through 2010, and to make sure that the investments we made were important for the country’s future."


      The Worst is yet to Come: Unemployed Americans Should Hunker Down for More Job Losses

      http://www.rgemonitor.com/...

      Think the worst is over? Wrong. Conditions in the U.S. labor markets are awful and worsening. While the official unemployment rate is already 10.2% and another 200,000 jobs were lost in October, when you include discouraged workers and partially employed workers the figure is a whopping 17.5%.

      While losing 200,000 jobs per month is better than the 700,000 jobs lost in January, current job losses still average more than the per month rate of 150,000 during the last recession.

      Sad for the demise of middle class America due to obscene and excessive greed by the elite and the assclown politicians who prefer to kick the can down the road.

      For most baby boomers 50+ that think they're going to retire at 62 or 65 for the good life well Think again ;)

      However, those born between around 1975 and 2000 are really, truly screwed.

      Those born since 2000 will end up OK since we'll have devalued/digested the worst of it by 2030 or so ( when they enter their peak earnings ) and they'll also have the benefit of significantly lower expectations and standards.

      •  Some of the baby boomers 50+ (13+ / 0-)

        are already "retired" -- forcibly so -- and we aren't eligible to draw Social Security benefits until 67.

        So, we were pretty sure we weren't going to be able to AFFORD to retire early, what with the removal of pensions and the rise of the 401(k) at a time when we were too old to contribute meaningfully unless we were high-wage earners, but we had no idea we'd be forced into it with no benefits and no way to make a living because of rampant age discrimination that just skirts the laws enough to make it unenforceable.

        Without an industrial policy, we're ALL screwed, so please don't try to divide us up by generations. The accumulated wealth of the baby boomers is just as unequally distributed as that of the entire society.

        In other words, we aren't all rich, so your hate is misplaced.

        "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

        by Brooke In Seattle on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:04:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  sorry for the sobering reality Brooke In Seattle (0+ / 0-)

          Without an industrial policy, we're ALL screwed
          R U serious....not going to happen in today's intense competitive global world

          re-read my post and reflect a bit more...

        •  Until the health care plan is in practice (0+ / 0-)

          cover anyone over 55. Offer them Social Security for a limited time, and let their high wages fade while younger workers enter industry.

          Let them leave the workforce if need be. The jobs market can't afford many of them, and many of them can't afford to be without security.

          (By the time younger replacement workers' wages are comparable, the economy would presumably be much more robust.)

          These clowns claim to admire him [Cronkite] but do not wish to emulate him - GUGA

          by Nulwee on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:24:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Nice summary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4km

        Obama is much more like Hoover than FDR.  Actually Hoover is looking better and better.

        "I happen to be a proponent of a single payer health care program." Pres. Goldman Sachs Obama, 6/30/03

        by formernadervoter on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:15:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  i've got another name that should be on that list (12+ / 0-)

    van jones.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:05:10 PM PST

    •  Yeah, baby! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thethinveil

      Grab a mop or shut up, dammit!

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:11:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah. Speaking Of The Un+Underemployed (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, Nulwee, phonegery, divineorder
      There are many temp agencies and equivalents, such as security and guard companies who pay paltry wages while charging their various site clients 2 to 3 times what the contract employees get. And the company benfits packages are spare, bare and trapdoored.
      To put it more simply:
      An officer might get paid $10 to $15 an hour out of the $30 to $35 their hiring company receives from the client who contracts for their services. It has some advantages for everyone to be sure. But it's gotten out of hand and doesn't well suit the lower scaled workers.
      Some parttimers, office skill specialists, account temps or those who patrol higher paying areas like special service, business improvement districts, or around deeper pocketed urban colleges and universities get by okay. But most struggle, occasionally filling in the income gap by working overtime.
       The same is true for like modeled cleaning service companies. There may be others in this category. Sewing factories perhaps.
      However, there's nothing better to do for all of us, aside from approaching employment as though it were as important as defense, space, intelligence and lobbying, than to apprehend the slew of suits who sold and stole so much from the banks, brokerages, musical chairs IOU schemes,  contracts and bonus bailouts, and confiscate every possible tainted accrued asset they should forfeit upon conviction. RICO, they call it. Applied to drug lords and 'organized crime.' Use it. If people rob you, it doesn't matter whether they're wearing ski masks or 3 piece suits.

      Enact good solutions, you get contributions. Big Business dotes can't deliver votes.

      by renzo capetti on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:24:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hurray! And another bill that the Senate should (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, JanL, divineorder, renzo capetti

      pass ASAP: the Clean Energy JOBS and American Power Act.  It's already passed the House and three of the six committees with jurisdiction over it, and it will provide 1.9M good paying American jobs (it does need to have loopholes closed to keep the jobs American, as Muskegon Critic and Senator Schumer are working out).

  •  Too true. All too true. (15+ / 0-)

    America’s job situation needs a transformation before the race to the bottom becomes an irrevocable plunge.

    The difference between Lawrence Summers and Harry Hopkins (New Deal key advisor) is ginormous.

    Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden, 8/30/09)

    by Land of Enchantment on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:07:11 PM PST

  •  This is FAR TOO IMPORTANT a diary (20+ / 0-)

    to be posted on the FP on a Sunday evening.  May I ask you to please re-post it tomorrow in the morning on the other diary list?  I am pretty sure that FP diaries do not move over to the rec list or recent diaries?.

    We have to be talking about this subject for the next weeks in conjunction with the final push on the HCR legislation.

    Thank you.

  •  We need an industrial policy, (10+ / 0-)

    I believe Robert Reich was calling for one in the 1980s. But how can we overcome the ideological opposition to it? It would be called 'socialism' and all other kinds of bad names. How do we convince our fellow citizens to set aside ideology and do what's best for the economy?

    Also, it takes so long in this country for infrastructure projects to go through all of the reviews, approvals, and bureaucracy to get something approved. That's one reason it has taken so long to get the stimulus money spent. Is there any way that a special channel could be set up to circumvent or streamline some of these processes? I can't see industrial policy working well without such a channel.

  •  Will Steven Chu be there? (4+ / 0-)

    Cold hearted orb/That rules the night/Removes the colours From our sight/Red is gray and/Yellow white/But we decide/Which is right/And/Which is an Illusion

    by KingofSpades on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:10:36 PM PST

  •  DFH (3+ / 0-)

    "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

    by Benintn on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:11:00 PM PST

  •  I've got a name for the list (10+ / 0-)

    Robert Pollin, from the Political Economy Research Institute.

    And I've got a topic:  the Green Bank that my congressman, Chris Van Hollen, suggested last summer and which is incorporated, albeit in watered-down and less effective form, in ACES.

    The Green Bank would be for two things:  first, r&d in alternative energy, and second (more importantly, I think) essentially a green WPA, to retrofit our cities for greater energy efficiency and to upgrade our infrastructure to bring it into the 21st century.  This would be a win-win-win, as far as I can see, reducing carbon emissions, providing jobs, and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure which currently provides no sound foundation either environmentally nor economically.

    Grab a mop or shut up, dammit!

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:11:03 PM PST

    •  "Bank" (5+ / 0-)

      That was what was wrong with the first stimulus.

      Rather than making a real government program like the Green WPA.

      They just decided to lend money.

      Instead of buying the products and providing the demand. They just lent money.

      I want real goods. I want the money/profit the project makes on the investment to again reinvest in more projects for the people.

      I want a real government program.

      "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

      by thethinveil on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:38:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it would work marvellously (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bluehawk

        as long as it wasn't handed over to Wall St. to run--and it wouldn't be.

        Grab a mop or shut up, dammit!

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:11:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure those private companies sell stock don't (0+ / 0-)

          they? Those private companies can use their profits to reinvest or to pay shareholders and CEOs rather than reinvest in the public good.  

          Wall Street has a say in those companies.

          I want to give NO say to the stock holders only a say for our representatives.

          "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

          by thethinveil on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 08:21:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Anyway, we can't just make a green WPA (0+ / 0-)

        without showing where the funding's coming from, because of this benighted Paygo policy.

        A green bank would enable the government to create these programs without adding to the deficit, which is currently verboten.

        The only other option is to tax the hell out of the rich.  I'm in favor of that, but 1)it will be a hard lift politically and 2)it might still not provide enough money, on its own, to do the infrastructure upgrades and building retrofits we need

        Grab a mop or shut up, dammit!

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:14:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can't cut spending in unstimulative (0+ / 0-)

          military projects that the military doesn't want or need?

          And we have been adding to the deficit, with the last stimulus. And the bank would add to the short term  deficit as well as the long term deficit if you consider inflation, correct?  

          "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

          by thethinveil on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 08:25:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  *I'd* love to (0+ / 0-)

            cut unstimulative military projects.  That's not going to politically fly in this climate.  Obama hasn't suggested anything that radical, and if he doesn't suggest it, which legislator is going to be brave enough to do it, or even to sign on?  Cut military funding? I don't think so.

            Yeah, the last stimulus was supposed to be the last thing we were going to do before going under Paygo rules. So, yes, the stimulus added to the deficit, but nothing after that is supposed to.  Paygo went into effect after the stimulus package was passed.

            Establishing a bank doesn't count as "spending" because it's based on selling bonds, which will be paid back over time.

            P.S.  These are not my rules, and I'm not that into Paygo.  This is a set of budgetary restraints that Obama has adopted.  And I understand why (I get worried about the deficit too) but, unlike Obama, I consider getting the economy moving again a higher priority than avoiding deficit spending.  I guess I'm a Keynsian, as far as I understand these things.  I think you have to spend to get the economy moving, and the government is the spender of last resort.  But I'm not the President, nor a mover and shaker in Congress, and they're abiding by Paygo.  Thus, we need to get money from somewhere to make these infrastructure improvements and energy efficiency upgrades.

            I think the Green Bank is a great idea--making the ordinary banks pay for their bailout money by extending credit for these green improvements would have been an even better idea, but it's too late for that now.

            Grab a mop or shut up, dammit!

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 10:32:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  As kleptocratic as it may be in the PRC, the US (4+ / 0-)

    could stand to adopt a "centralized process that builds, supports and proects", especially in green infrastructure development financed by continuing fiscal interventions and re-regulation.

    The US also practices "ruthless eminent domain" needless to say and the prior administration's Halliburton and Enron scandals at home and abroad are not really anomalous.

    Carolyn Bartholomew, pointed out that China has adopted a centralized process focused on China’s national interests, a policy that builds, supports and proects. China owns many companies and highly controls others. It uses subsidies, intellectual property theft, currency manipulation, price controls, ruthless eminent domain.

    I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person. -- Pogo

    by annieli on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:12:13 PM PST

  •  a small glitch at the very end, MB (6+ / 0-)

    Altogether that's a big bite. But we're

    we're ... ?

    Anyway, thanks for this important post. I'm looking forward to news of this summit and what can come of it.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:12:49 PM PST

  •  Zero Sum Gain (5+ / 0-)

    The industrialized nations creating enough work to do to have 5% or less unemployment across the Globe. It's one thing to ship a job offshore then play lip service to the victim "Oh go get retrained" vs finding something productive for this person to contribute to society.

    Afghanistan:Graveyard to empires-It's not just a bumpersticker

    by JML9999 on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:14:07 PM PST

  •  Go BOLD or go Home! (9+ / 0-)

    If this summit is all talk and no action then it will be very disappointing and disasterous for the Democrats and more importantly for the American people.

    Obama 7/09: "Don't bet against us" (unless the Dems screw it up).

    by Drdemocrat on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:17:55 PM PST

  •  FOCUS on friggin JOBS, stick the big picture up.. (7+ / 0-)

    ... you know what I mean.

    Fire up a surtax to take back the Bush taxcut from the top 1%, $5 TRILLION lump sum.

    Pay for 3 years of WPA/CCC-like employment for 30 MILLION Americans at $30,000 per year tax free. That is the equivalent of a $45K salary, enough to let people keep thier homes and get back on thier feet.

    Work out a modern way of using the actual labor, whether it is actual work, or providing business a worker pool from which they can get people, effectively subsidizing private employment for a short term directly.

    This will help the 30 million unemployed get on thier feet, and help business small and medium and some large jumpstart the economy.

    Combine with FAIR TRADE alteration of all trade agreements to fix the labor and import insanities of the current system that has killed off so much employment.

    If the Other nations bitch, make them understand, if this trend continues it WILL MEAN WWIII... whether we like it or not, the current trend cannot be sustained, the American people will ultimately not stand for it any longer.

    Think of this as the upsidedowninsideout equivalent of holding up oil shipments to Imperial Japan in the late 30's... very bad things will come of it.

    •  If it weren't for a lack of good paying jobs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Jester

      Our health care crisis wouldn't be half as traumatic.

      Sunshine on my shoulders...

      by pkbarbiedoll on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:32:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If We All Had Health Coverage, Outsourcing Could (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Jester
        Cease undermining our economy and underemployees. Universal healthcare is a perfect incentive for hiring at home. Corporations could compete to show how patriotic they really are by including America in their big picture.
        Does anyone else ever feel like there's more brains on this blog than there are in the whole capitol circus clownocracy?
        (Myself excluded)

        Enact good solutions, you get contributions. Big Business dotes can't deliver votes.

        by renzo capetti on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:46:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A public works program (a la WPA mode) (13+ / 0-)

    dedicated to repairing and laying down this country's infrastructure toward a green economy is desparately needed and it needs to be done right:  Government built wind turbine and solar panel farms in the US where the equipment is made in the United States and the farms are managed either by the US gov't or by US wholly owned companies.

  •  Thanks for this Meteor Blade. A little down (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wsexson, nzanne, thethinveil, RLMiller

    on what came out of APEC re: COP15.

    Something like this is needed in Australia. May just start a diary on this now.

    Have the support of an ex-prime minister it seems.

    Former PM Bob Hawke calls for climate change summit as Kevin Rudd prepares for possible trip to UN talks in Copenhagen

    Dealing with Climate disruption in my eyes = dealing with industrial policy. The two are inseperable.

    Those folks who are trying to get in the way of progress - let me tell you, I'm just getting started. I don't quit. I'm not tired; I'm just getting started.

    by Unenergy on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:24:25 PM PST

  •  So me let get this (10+ / 0-)

    straight."we are(were) in a depression only comparable to the great depression" since last year.

    And it's only now the WH is going to focus on jobs for Americans.And Wall street is still being governed by the same regulations that caused the crash.

    Very disappointing.

    •  Something like that, yeah (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thethinveil
    •  Here's Elizabeth Warren giving a good half hour (0+ / 0-)

      discussion of exactly this. My paraphrase: "For Wall Street, the game remains the same. There has been no change -- except for one big change: now the government is giving them a guarantee . . . .

      The question is, will the government start to support the people, also . . . .

      We have not developed a robust program to get ahead of the foreclosure problem . . . ."

      ');

      In case the link to the Flash video does not work, go to http://www.pbs.org/...

      A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

      by NBBooks on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:11:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  and for crying out loud... (7+ / 0-)

    ...the only thing I want to hear about the deficit is that we're not worrying about it until the economic recovery -- including recovery in employment -- is well-established.

    This administration's fascination with deficit reduction will be the death of it.

    Prison rape is not funny.

    by social democrat on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:32:52 PM PST

  •  Just bought Visual Studio 2005 on ebay (10+ / 0-)

    While it was installing, I was struck by the fact that every face in the accompanying slide show was Indian or Chinese. Both sexes, but no African-American face, no European-American face. It seems Microsoft knows that virtually all development has been off-shored. You can't have an industrial policy without an industry. I work at the USPS with a lot of mechanics and electronics technicians whose last job for Motorola in Harvard,IL, was to crate up all the equipment in the (cell phone) plant for shipment to China. Harvard is rather remote, hence Motorola got the land cheap and probably a good tax deal. This hurt a lot when the workers who had been laid off lost not only their jobs but now owned white elephant houses with no market. I'm sure some execs got multi-million dollar bonuses for this cost savings that devastated a community and thousands of lives.

    •  or, if... (7+ / 0-)

      ...the jobs haven't gone to China and India, India and China have been brought to the jobs, through the H1-B visa program.

      In the software engineering group where I last worked, 8 of 10 of us were on H1-B. All of them professionally competent and admirable people, they remained in the United States at the pleasure of the company, as high-tech indentured servants.

      To be honest, I'm not sure what the right level of immigration is, either in tech or elsewhere in the economy. In tech, it seems awfully high right now, but then I have U.S. citizenship, so the fact that I would benefit from lower levels of immigration biases me very strongly.

      But regardless of how many immigrants we admit, they should given either green cards or citizenship. The H1-B visa weakens bargaining power for all of us.

      Prison rape is not funny.

      by social democrat on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:48:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh yeah, I remember (5+ / 0-)

        Back in the day, HR types would always ask me what kind of visa I had. When I replied,"None. I'm a native born citizen.", they didn't know how to handle it.

        And I still see idiots on TV bemoaning the fact that young Americans are entering business schools instead of engineering schools. Hmmm! Let's see. Go into business, specialize in finance and make a fortune raping the public. Or go to engineering school, learn a productive skill, and live with your parents forever because you're overqualified for Mcjobs which are the only employment available to you.

        These days, I service machinery for Uncle Sam for a living (used to be a hobby), and program as a hobby (used to be a living).

        •  yes, I've heard these complaints... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Anthony Segredo, pkbarbiedoll

          ...my whole adult life from corporate drones decrying the shortage of qualified employees in science and technology, and how critical such employees are to innovations that drive economic growth, or even to maintaining national security.

          If that's actually true, we should have policy (we could even call it industrial policy!) that includes provisions to improve the odds that investing in a science/technology education pays off for U.S. students.

          Prison rape is not funny.

          by social democrat on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:22:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Don't know about science (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Anthony Segredo

            but in IT I don't think more and better education even solves the problem. Employers always want to replace workers with more recent graduates, whether from India or from right here. They not only make less but have studied more current technologies. Even if we eliminated the H1Bs and hired only American workers, half of them would be laid off and unemployable in their fields before they're 40. My guess anyway, from what I've seen - most people will get chewed up and spit out after a while.

            "There -- it's -- you know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --GWB

            by denise b on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 11:49:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  "Months after it should have happened"? (0+ / 0-)

    Yeah, because our president has had nothing but time; there's nothing on his plate.  Maybe this article should have been written months ago.  Where have you been with all this great advice.  Do you even have a real job?  Do you even actually do anything except criticize?  Just wondering.

    President Barack Obama; I helped make this happen!

    by PittsburghPete on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:37:48 PM PST

  •  This essay is an important one MB, (5+ / 0-)

    thank you for this.

    "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

    by thethinveil on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:41:54 PM PST

  •  A problem that needs to be addressed immediately (7+ / 0-)

    It's been going on for almost fifty years and it needs to end. Now. Not tomorrow. Not someday. Now.

    Stop the fucking off-shoring. Stop it NOW.

    And yeah. It's probably a safe bet to say that a good deal of China's "technology" and innovation has come from intellectual property theft. I witnessed some of it firsthand on more than one occasion.
    .
    .

    -8.00, -8.26 "Fascism is capitalism plus murder." - Upton Sinclair

    by djMikulec on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:47:17 PM PST

    •  Want to stop offshoring? (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, djMikulec, Eric K, JanL, marsanges

      Stop fucking buying from Wal*Mart, Target, Ikea, and Big Lots.  Just stop.

      Start reading the labels and vote with your dollar.  You don't need that rake right now.  You can order from companies like Midwest Rake who manufacture their tools in America.  

      Craftsman and Snap-on make all their hand tools in America (and both come with a lifetime replacement warranty - try that with the cheaper 'made in China' tools available everywhere else).  

      Sunshine on my shoulders...

      by pkbarbiedoll on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:42:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And yes, clothes and shoes are still made in USA (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marsanges

        too.  It's not that hard to find this stuff.  

        We can do it if we want to.  

        Sunshine on my shoulders...

        by pkbarbiedoll on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:43:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'd be quite the hypocrite... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pkbarbiedoll

        if I didnt'.

        I changed my buying habits long ago (as you've seen me post elsewhere before). ;)

        -8.00, -8.26 "Fascism is capitalism plus murder." - Upton Sinclair

        by djMikulec on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:47:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm with ya (0+ / 0-)

          I can't buy everything domestically, but I sacrifice and sometimes pay more for imported goods that could be bought more easily at the box stores.  That temptation is always there, especially when I need a tool for my business.

          Sunshine on my shoulders...

          by pkbarbiedoll on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:50:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  That won't stop IBM from outsourcing tech jobs (0+ / 0-)

        Unfortunately that will not stop IBM or nearly every single other "American" tech company from outsourcing tech jobs. It seems to me that American corporations frigging HATE American workers and are doing everything in their power to disemploy them. Which American tech company should you buy from when they're ALL outsourcing to cheaper countries?

        Californians: The Courage Campaign is working for changing the 2/3 budget rule and for ending Prop 8. Go!

        by tmo on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:00:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hate? More like a huge sense of entitlement. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tmo, pkbarbiedoll, marsanges

          MBAs think they're gods. Their job security and pay scales come first, at the sacrifice of all else if necessary. I grew up in a blue collar family and was the first to spend time in a corporate environment. I learned quite a bit in my decade there.

          -8.00, -8.26 "Fascism is capitalism plus murder." - Upton Sinclair

          by djMikulec on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:25:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Actually "shareholder activists" often Sue to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tmo, pkbarbiedoll

          offshore.

          With no industral policy or any principal such as the "common good" in the law, corporate directors that refuse to offshore are "denying the shareholders the higher profits that might be achieved by manufacturing offshore."

          We are the only country that allows hostile takeovers on these grounds
          I personally think this state of affairs is bullshit,, the Milkins and the Romneys and the Dan Quails and Karl Ikons need to burn in HE\, and when Barney Frank says that "say on pay" is an answer to obscene finanical sector bonuses, I cringe because the present state of affairs where private equity firms buy out companies and then vote to transfer the assets of the companies to themselves were enabled by similar shareholder control laws.    We are the only country that allows this kind of destruction.  But that is the landscape that corporate directors have faced for the last 30 years.

  •  Why isn't there an Jobs Protection Agency? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, Jagger, mike101, phonegery

    We throw employee protection in with the DOL amid other interests, specifically employer interest agencies.

    If we value employees, there should be a Jobs Protection Agency, and their sole mission should be full employment in this country. Anyone who wants to work should be working.

    If their mission runs counter to the interests of employers, then so be it. The EPA's mission runs counter to the oil companies, or at least it's supposed to.

  •  You have described the template for outsoucing (4+ / 0-)

    our jobs, livelihoods to overseas, leaving the communities in ashes. What is America anymore, but a desolate, broken society, that is ignored, whilst the elite continue to profit. Like the soldiers coming home in caskets but barely reported, our society of workers is sinking in quicksand to anonymity. No attention or mention of the suffering, the alcoholism, the domestic abuse, child abuse, failing schools, state budget social cuts. All we hear is that the "economy is picking up"....ha ha
    What's to worry, we can't hear you....
    Byrnt

  •  Nice story, MB. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, Jagger, JanL, pkbarbiedoll, marsanges

    May I suggest that you send your suggestions to the White House? They have a handy comment page.

    If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

    by MikePhoenix on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:53:07 PM PST

  •  educational programs are needed too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluehawk

    I think US must invest much more in its own citizen's education. Not only huge job programs are needed, huge, huge educational programs as well.
    Engineers and scientists should get free tuition plus living expense support to give more American students the chance to learn and study stress free from financial burden.

    Since decades I think Americans relied on getting their engineering and scientific workforce replentished by admitting "the intelligent immigrant" to their universities and research labs. It looks as if those might not work for American companies anymore, after they are ready to hit the workforce, while American students can't afford to study science and engineering, because they don't get financial support to do so.

    Highschool education being a problem in large parts of the country the workforce is untrained and can't be compaired with skilled laborers in other countries.

    If the US wants to export more, I wonder why I never hear anybody saying in the media what the real reason for it might be, i.e.your products are not better than those produced in other countries around the world. Instead they analyze the role of a weaker dollar for better export etc. May be the US doesn't manufacture the products other countries want to have. (aside from weapons)

    "Made in America" isn't a label you find on too many products, sadly so.

  •  Those names mentioned aren't the only people (7+ / 0-)

    who know what we should do. Muskegon Critic, Land of Enchantment and I have been talking about a radical transformation in the labor market for a long time now. While it wouldn't be the best thing if we were going to the White House instead, it's a testament that if there are dozens--maybe thousands--of us on Daily Kos who get it, how many millions out there might know what to do to some large degree?

    In economics there are choices. Christina Romer has rejected Depression and New Deal history in favor of right-leaning revisionism. But more than that, her and Larry Summers take a side of history that is not only evil, but in market terms counteractive to recovery in jobs.

    Acting beholden to centre-right economics for 40 years not only led us to this mess but also provides mediocre and horrible solutions. Obama going for "the best of the best" to guide him--when the judges of who's best see with clouded vision--wasn't going to be a win-win situation.

    These clowns claim to admire him [Cronkite] but do not wish to emulate him - GUGA

    by Nulwee on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:01:11 PM PST

    •  "Radical Transformation" (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think many Americans like that kind of rhetoric.

      I prefer to say things like, "people paying their fair share of taxes" "living wage" and such.

      •  2+2 (0+ / 0-)

        this economy rewards Wall Street and those who can afford CPAs and Investment Managers.

        This isn't the economy we had in 1965, or 1935. Millions of Americans want this economy to die its death already. It's worn out its welcome.

        These clowns claim to admire him [Cronkite] but do not wish to emulate him - GUGA

        by Nulwee on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:44:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can't honestly say that (0+ / 0-)

          an economy that would pay down it's debts, reduce its Pentagon and health care bills and return employment to robust levels would be the same economy, not transformed radically.

          Over 150 years ago a young Republican founded the New York Times. He said the values of the paper were to advocated radicalism when radicalism was needed, and conservatism when what existed worked.

          There are worse models, and far less American ones, than what I've described.

          These clowns claim to admire him [Cronkite] but do not wish to emulate him - GUGA

          by Nulwee on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:49:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  We've had radical changes in our history (0+ / 0-)

          And they involved violence, with lots of dead Americans.

          Count me out.

          I think the changes that occurred over the past 40 years happened gradually.
          That is the way we will change it.

  •  Bob Herbert has been carrying this load all (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, Jagger, JanL, Egalitare, Micheline, Gatordiet

    by himself.....for months. This is an imperative. The fucking banks know it. They're dead without a vibrant middle class.

  •  Old or Bold (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pkbarbiedoll

    It shouldn't be too long into the process to see which way they intend to go. If the Climate Summit is the template, we are in for a very long, slow grind.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:02:36 PM PST

  •  so who is invited? (4+ / 0-)

    do we know who is goign to this summit? krugman? siglitz? labor? some progressives at all?

    •  From the first link: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, pkbarbiedoll, phonegery

      And that's why, in December, we'll be holding a forum at the White House on jobs and economic growth.  We’ll gather CEOs and small business owners, economists and financial experts, as well as representatives from labor unions and nonprofit groups, to talk about how we can work together to create jobs and get this economy moving again.

      -- We are just regular people informed on issues

      by mike101 on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:12:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The real solutions off the table (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pkbarbiedoll, marsanges

    As with every one of Obama's major decisions.

    Weren't you listening when he said there are times when government should not be spending money in reference to this jobs meeting?

    He really means what he says.  You just have to listen.

    "I happen to be a proponent of a single payer health care program." Pres. Goldman Sachs Obama, 6/30/03

    by formernadervoter on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:13:54 PM PST

  •  Obama has got to create FEDERAL JOBS! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mimi, JanL, Nulwee, Egalitare

    Obama's administration has got to create a million jobs that are paid directly from federal coffers, no more state, county and city government.
    .
    .
    The goal of the Republicans, from the Stimulus get-go, has been to derail, decry, and delay any and all forms of progress.  So far, as we've seen, it's been somewhat successful.  While the funds are mired down in partisan baloney, middle America sits, breath held, in hopes something big happens soon.

    Obama needs to take a page from Roosevelt's book.

    The jobs created need to bypass any local political mumbo-jumbo, they need to number in the 100's of thousands, offer great wages with excellent benefits, and they need to focus on important projects like maintaining federal highways, serious inspections at all ports (no more 3rd party security guards for hire crap), rebuilding major bridges, high-speed rail infrastructure, national park and reforestation efforts, and new grids that utilize air, water and wind power.  It cannot be left to local governments and rip-off contractors for hire, politicians will cut their own throat (and ours) if they think it will make Obama look bad or if they can't gain politically from going along with it.
    .
    .
    No more local a-holes muddying up the recovery.

    Federal jobs, now, for everyone.

    Do I look like a scab? No? Then quit picking on me!

    by heavysole on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:18:46 PM PST

    •  Shorter work week (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo

      A 6-hour day for jobs like postal work would reduce employee stress, help with work-family balance and provide some level of work for more people.

      •  My brother in law has worked for the postal servi (0+ / 0-)

        ce for 29 years.  You should hear him talk about how much better it was when it was still federally run and now that it's privatized, how awful many of the new hires are and what crummy wages and benefits they receive.

        frankly, I'm surprised when people go on about Obama's big government getting into your business when it's for things to help us like healthcare and jobs.  It was Bush who systematically worked to remove and ignore Constitutional Rights at every corner and in effect made federal government much more ominous and bigger in the wrong way because it was always in favor of corporations and not people.

        I was in my teens in the 1980's and started working full-time at the age of 18.  I remember then that everyone wanted county, state and government jobs because they meant security and excellent benefits.  Today, people still want those jobs, so what is everyone yelling about?

        to me, it's Obama's big government that is having to step in and protect its citizenry from the corporate greed-whores who have been pigs at the trough for decades.

        Do I look like a scab? No? Then quit picking on me!

        by heavysole on Mon Nov 16, 2009 at 02:52:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just talk ...endless meetings (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    djMikulec, Jagger, pkbarbiedoll, hmi

    It's all been nothing more then talk. The stimulus has given people who already have great Gov't jobs raises and better benefits and sent $$ offshore to employ non-Americans. It's BS and look at the results so far 10.2% and rising. Wall st. is given trillions and where does the $$ go, into a few people's already bloated bank accounts and again offshore to either Cayman accounts or China, India, etc. Nobody in Obama's admin. IMO has a fucking clue.  Why he doesn't  fire that arrogant piece of shit Larry Summers and his butt boy Geitner is beyond me? Both of these two are less then worthless. People don't want extended unemployment checks they want opportunity they want work.

    "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

    by Blutodog on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:20:10 PM PST

    •  Not my idea of taking charge. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Blutodog

      More meetings?
      More "advisers"?
      More "experts"?

      That's your big eff'ing plan?

      Seems like I've seen about 49 years worth of these kinds of conferences already. And we've gone absolutely nowhere. Nowhere beneficial to the American worker that is.

      No. What we need are some damn answers. And some action.

      Doubtful I'll see either in my lifetime from the looks of it.

      -8.00, -8.26 "Fascism is capitalism plus murder." - Upton Sinclair

      by djMikulec on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 07:25:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Meetings as change we can believe in? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        djMikulec

        The Dems. only seem to move to immediate action if Wall st. sends them orders to raid the treasury so they can keep gambling away our future and our kids future it seems. Beyond that it's just f*cking lip service and coffee breaks for a crowd with great jobs, benefits  you name it! America is being slowly turned into a third world country by both parties.

        "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

        by Blutodog on Mon Nov 16, 2009 at 04:54:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  An industrial policy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, Nulwee

    shouldn't be a controversial topic. It's impossible not to have one. It's like not having a foreign policy. Not possible.

    The question is what it should be, and a policy that explicitly encourages and supports the creation and protection of high-value jobs here in the United States should be the first priority of any Democratic, nay, patriotic, Administration.

    A jobs program of the sort you describe would be the best thing that we could possibly to right now. If we want to rebuild our economy, our society, and ensure Democratic rule for the next generation, this idea should be implemented as soon as possible.

    •  The GOP believes in economic anarchy. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pkbarbiedoll, pragprogress, skillet

      And some Democrats believe in this too.  What they forget is that human beings interfere with the "free" market and its laws of supply, demand, and competition. If the truth were to be told, there is no such thing as a "free market."  If government isn't going to do some controlling, it will be controlled by greed and the power of big money.

  •  Blown Away report link doesn't work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo

    Can someone please provide a link to the Blown Away report?

  •  Comparing Denmark and the United States (0+ / 0-)

    and expecting the U.S. to copy some of Denmark's successes might be a difficult thing to do.  For starts, for the past thirty years the United States has been following the free market model of deregulation.  The majority party in Denmark follows a democratic socialism model that allows the government to do things that even our so-called Democrats would never do.  Also, I don't know what percentage of the Danish budget is spent on the military, but I would be willing to bet that it's not over 50% as it is in the United States.  The Danish military takes a back seat to the ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Interior and Health, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation.  Denmark has oil resources and 20% of its energy is powered by wind.  This would have been difficult to accomplish in the United States when we had two oil men running the U.S. government and keeping their energy policies secret.  Obviously the Danish people are not indoctrinated to believe that government is the problem as we have been in the U.S. since the days of Ronald Reagan.  In the U.S. all our media has been bought out by big business, and it has been used effectively to stop educating people in the serious things they really need to know.  For example, how many people knew that Bill Clinton and his Congress were deregulating our economy and that it was done by acclamation?  How many people knew that Clinton also gave the digital spectrum to corporate America when it rightfully belonged to the American people?  Our corporate media never covered this story, and it was only carried briefly by Public Television.  The money raised would have been enough to pay for health care.

    Our economic problems are complicated by an iseology that will take years to change.  Also, we need serious government reform of the Senate and have to find ways to control the influence of lobbyists.  It's hard to believe that all these problems will be solved anytime soon.  I wish it were otherwise.

    •  Quit lying. US DOD = 20% of fed spending, 5% GDP (0+ / 0-)

      Get your facts straight.  Cutting DOD budget by 75% would be a good thing, but it's nowhere near as bad as you imply.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:21:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Inheritor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pkbarbiedoll, Kickemout

    At what point does this administration take responsibility for  itself?
    How about for a job stimulating, homeowner-saving TARP program that turns out to have gone for neither jobs nor mortgage renegotiation, but for financial company bailouts? Exactly how was this the fault of some other administration? For spending vast sums on the promise that all this was necessary, otherwise unemployment might exceed 10%?  This was not the Bush administration's forecast. A year on, I see astounding outlay to little useful effect, paired with the promise that only still greater outlay will be necessary. But that's all the fault of some other guy.

    http://keithhennessey.com/...

    •  Something had to be done to stop total collapse (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo

      of the economy.  I agree with that.  What bothers some of us is that the people responsible for the problems were given the job of cleaning up the mess. They seem to be more interested in helping their friends on Wall St. than they are in keeping banks from getting too big to fail or in restoring the regulations that could have kept us from getting into this mess in the first place.

      In short, I think Obama has surrounded himself with some people who don't belong in the White House.  

    •  It took years to ruin the economy. (0+ / 0-)

      It will probably take years to get it straightened out, that is if we can straighten it out.  It all started with Ronald Reagan and his overhaul of our tax code and attack on unions.

  •  Change in the hiring system (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, ctsteve, JanL, phonegery

    Corporate America is creating a class of people who will always be unemployable unless the hiring system is changed.  Corporations are attempting to limit the workforce to those in the age range 25-40, able bodied, predominantly male except in support roles, and preferably from cultures with a hierarchical and authoritarian culture.  Barriers to employment are being contracted for older workers, women, African Americans and Latinos, the disabled, anyone who doesn't scpre as a business "type" on a psychological test, anyone with a mark on a credit rating, anyone with job changes or gaps in a resume.  This is coupled with a job seeker "lore" filled with plaitudes that a person doesn't have a job because he or she needs resume help, made mistakes in an interview or doesn;t know how to network.  Meanwhile jobs are posted with long laundry lists of "necessary" qualifications that can be used to justify excluding anyone.  There needs to be a way that anyone who wants to work can have the opportunity to work, and not just in menial jobs.

  •  A very thoughtful and needed comment. (0+ / 0-)

    Getting people to work in this country, setting limits on where the money can be used are the right ideas.  What's with Geitner that no limits were placed on where the money could go?  I'm not a nationalist but I believe we must get it done here NOW.

    •  Geithner and Summers were leaders in deregulation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery

      of everything.  It's hard to believe that they're going to change.  Summers was Clinton's Sec. of the Treasury and he and his protege, Geithner, pushed Clinton to go along with deregulation of banking, derivatives, etc., etc.  At the time, it was not really explained to the American people as it should have been.  Clinton also gave China most favored nation status, or free trade and promised that China was going to buy lots of things from the U.S.  That was a stupid move because you can't have trade with no restrictions when the two parties involved are not economic equals.  I wish I had saved The NYT page one article on free trade with China.

  •  Forgot to agree that the advisors listed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, coffejoe

    are the right ones and not associated with Wall Street.  Obama has time to get some decent advice, but so far only Volker has been on target.  Kuttner's book you mentioned is excellent, came out before the election, but Obama must not have read it.  Obama must have gotten too much Milton Friedman roll-off at the University of Chicago.  

    And proposing to put people to work in an Illinois prison will work, but it's a miserable way to put people to work.  There are so many public parks and public forestlands that need attention.  Millions could be working there Now!  I am not sure the administration really gets it.

  •  mass transit now. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Long views are good, but that's part of what's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery

    wrong with the so-called "stimulus" package that was passed way back at the beginning of the year, when unemployment was in single digits.

    In medical terms, triage and first aid come before ultimate treatment and we need a lot of both.

    Jobs are needed now, to the greatest extent we can encourage them without destroying the whole works.

    Let's hope this jobs summit doesn't become an academic thought piece on what an ideal economy should look like. Getting a picture of the prize -- a sustainable economy providing decent work for a diverse work force without crushing international competitiveness -- is absolutely desirable, but...

    jobs now.
    jobs now.
    jobs now.

    Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

    by dinotrac on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:07:47 PM PST

  •  I'll suggest Robert Leighninger (0+ / 0-)

    If one believes that we can learn from the past, then the man that wrote Long-Range Public Investment, a book that details the infrastructure legacy left by the New Deal, must be on the invite list.

  •  thanks for this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo

    very comprehensive report, MB.


    If workers don't really matter to an Economy --

    The what, really does?


    That race to bottom,
    needs some serious brakes applied!

    Perhaps returning to a 90% marginal tax rate
    for the super wealthy
    would slow down this mad dash,
    to oblivion

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act -- George Orwell

    by jamess on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:27:08 PM PST

  •  A sensible adjustment of the tax policies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluehawk

    of the U.S. should also be on the agenda.

    1.) All interest on savings accounts in local banks, savings and loans, and credit unions should be tax free. This in recognition that those accounts provide an engine for housing and small businesses in their community through those financial institutions' loan policies.

    2.) There should be a tax on all brokerage transaction fees that is earmarked to go straight to the small business association.

    3.) All government business grants, tax credits, etc should be limited to businesses with the majority of their employees being in America or American citizens working abroad. NO MONEY should go to develop or support outsourcing. It is not only using Americans taxes to undercut their futures, it also undercuts the future of the country, states and localities where those jobs should be by eliminating jobs with decent wages from the tax base. It doesn't interfere with free trade, companies are still free to outsource or import supplies, they just have to do it without our tax monies subsidizing those choices.

    4.) We need to recognize the difference between 'investment' that provides value for its lower tax rate, and speculation that is essentially merely income.   Our tax code should not encourage speculation - that should be taxed at the same rate as income. Real investment worthy of a lowered rate should be long term, and should be in American businesses contributing both american jobs and enriching the communities where they reside. Standards for this will take time, but it is time to demand that the tax cuts actually trickle down or you don't get them.

    Essentially we need to demand that the American Public receives value for their largesse. Said largesse being lower taxes, tax credits, grants, loans or services.

  •  How about this for a jobs program. (0+ / 0-)

    Rather then have ship wreckers take apart ships in third world countries, with no way of knowing what they do with the Hazmat, we spend some funds to take them apart here.

    I would rather spend the funds to train people on how to do this, and do it well, then build another
    aircraft carrier.

    New Port News is working on the USS Gerald Ford.

    Will rant later on this.

  •  Unless we look (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery

    at the Black Hole in the US we will never be a prosperous country again.

    The Defense Department is eating us alive with the $700 billion being thrown into it every year.

  •  You know MB (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, phonegery

    You have been one of the very few in the popular lefty blogosphere to focus on the issue of employment and the absence of any jobs programs or policies in this -- and the previous -- administration.

    I read somewhere recently that Larry Summers has declared "there's nothing to be done about it" -- ie: the unemployment problem.

    And it is obviously very difficult for a lot of libertarian leaning folks to address the issue at all.

    So. Nothing has been done, and I don't expect much to come out of the summit. After all, the people you say should be invited, aren't being invited, are they?

    I have some questions about Randall Wray's proposal. For example, how does his hiring program prevent further domestic wage and benefit declines? He's suggesting federal hiring at minimum wage with minimum benefits for what appear to be all kinds of relatively complex and high-skilled work. Wouldn't this cause the private sector to lower wages and benefits to match the federal levels, in effect making the minimum wage a ceiling for a lot of workers rather than a floor? I realize he's suggesting there ought to be a "discussion" about what the minimum really ought to be, but it seems to me we've had that discussion.

    What effect would his hiring program have on federal and other government employees? Isn't there a risk of displacing them with new workers doing the same jobs for much less? And what of the unions?

    But at least he's proposing something.

    It looks like too many Americans have forgotten -- or never knew -- "why" unemployment needs to be addressed both symptomatically and systemically. Or, alternatively, why it needs to be addressed at all. Yet another of those Wonderful Reagan Legacies.

    Keep at it MB.

    -- felix

  •  What will the Republican stance on this be? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery

    Will they simply say that unemployment is just the result of the workings of the "free market" and resist any government intervention, or will they recognize the enormity of this problem, and want to do something about it?

    (Methinks probably the latter...)

    •  Oh, I think they will be able to (0+ / 0-)

      insert one or more Stupaks into any potentially successful job creating bill, so that it comes out a crippled mess.

      For instance, each new job could be designated as training, and the bill would require:

      1. that corporations designate and perform any training, and no government paid employees be used, and
      1. that the federal government reimburse the corporation at cost plus 10% and
      1. that all females between the ages of 15 to 55 would have to show proof of maternity/abortion health care coverage, so that the training would not go to waste, and
      1. the government would have to supply at no cost  any fully operational buildings/equipment deemed necessary by the corporation for said job training and  
      1. the corporation would have full control over what  the training consisted of and how it was performed and
      1. the corporation could, at the end of the training period, test the trainees and if they failed the test, be granted the right to retrain those who failed and

            7. after successful training of a sufficient number of people per the contract, the buildings and equipment would belong to the corporation.

      It's the least we could do to help jobless Americans.

      Justice, if not pursued, does not exist.

      by phonegery on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 07:52:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Republican answer is to let this (0+ / 0-)

      unemployed become a new underclass. They have no intention of changing their ways.

      And I'm sorry to say I'm watching the Democrats go down the same path of American self destruction.

  •  The Danes appear to be grownups (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishBiscuit

    We are not.

    "There -- it's -- you know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --GWB

    by denise b on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 09:05:26 PM PST

  •  Stop with the R&D! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Faroutman

    We need some real world results. Start installing solar panels on roofs and on site windmills.

    We are running out of time, people. The US is in a death spiral on so many fronts I can barely even keep track.

    Every billion wasted is a billion we won't have in the future to use wisely.

    Because we are going down fast.

  •  Tonight's Big Number (0+ / 0-)

    While all this is nice, it won't solve the problem. The U.S. has an industrial policy, it's just one that's doing us in: export all wealth-creating jobs.

    The idea of fixing the tax code or educating people to do better is nice, but totally misses the point. And, of course, where do you go when your productivity is already tops? (Which is where the U.S. workers are, frankly.) More training, more education to make them more productive? Why? It hasn't raised wages.

    It won't, either, unless we fix tonight's big number: the minimum wage. Our minimum wage is higher than the basic wage in most other countries. No matter how much stimulus, no matter how much education, no matter how much progression in the tax code, we simply cannot compete against countries that have cheaper labor unless we are willing to end this differential.

    Of course, I am not proposing isolation or tariffs. I'm proposing an international minimum wage. That's the only way we are going to see wealth-creating jobs return to this country. We must demand that a reasonable international minimum wage be added to all our international trade agreements. Until this is done we will continue to lose jobs to other countries.

    Many poorer countries pay wages that are only a fraction of ours. The U.S. only has about 5% of the world population, which means that every worker here is competing with about 20 others that are willing to work for less. Our economy will continue to spin downward until wages equalize. If we don't intervene to stabilize this now we will soon be operating like all the other third-world countries around the globe.

    The only thing that really matters is whether this summit will bring some progress on an international minimum wage. Unless this is on the table, there's really no point in talking about it. You can't fix the problem without addressing wage differentials.

    It is unconscionable for companies to be selling products in the U.S. that are made by people not earning our minimum wage. This is just profits by wage arbitrage. It ought to be illegal. Every union that participates in this conference should be there for one reason above all others: get an international minimum wage written into our trade policy.

    Look, workers earning a high wage in some countries are making 1/8th what our workers do. We can solve this problem by waiting until the buying power of our minimum wage has descended to that level and the problem will take care of itself. Does anyone here want to be working for 1/8th of what they are earning now?

    I didn't think so.

  •  Lost Decade (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare

    Well put, MB.

    As it stands right now, the US private sector economy has created a net -300,000+ in the last ten years.

    Photobucket

    This is truly a lost decade for American workers.  

    In the absence of a jobs creation program and an industrial policy that focuses on creating jobs domestically, double digit unemployment will be persistent and long term. We as a nation need to acknowledge this. The old solutions will not solve this structural problem.

    The magical wonders of the invisible hand of free market capitalism will not address the reality of our broken 21st century economy.

    American workers know they are in dire straits, and the Democratic Party needs to enact policies that deal with this crisis. We know the Republicans will only offer tax cuts, warmed over supply side Reaganomics, and pro-business/anti-labor policies  that got us into this mess in the first place.

    A lie ain't the other side of the story. It's just a lie - The Wire

    by klingman on Mon Nov 16, 2009 at 01:03:11 AM PST

  •  Thanks for your informative and through post (0+ / 0-)

    Meteor Blades. I always enjoy your contributions.

    God save us from incompetence and neglect at this perilous juncture in our history. I visualize it as a collective hanging on the edge of a cliff by our fingernails as the balance teeters between renewal and forward change  or a sickening and pathetic decline takes place.

    The Fierce Urgency of Later

    by Faroutman on Mon Nov 16, 2009 at 01:40:58 AM PST

  •  And voted for it when he was in the Senate... (0+ / 0-)

    It can never be repeated too often that Barack Obama inherited the mess.

    Barack Obama is a free trader.  Until he kicks it (Geithner and Summers) to the curb, nothing is going to change.  Obama wants a jobs summit, and Geithner wants to strengthen the dollar killing even more imports.  They don't have a coordinated thought driving their actions about the future of this country.  

    The jobs summit will tread old ground.  It will blame workers and deliver more training for jobs that don't exist.   It will create high end jobs, and not keep them here in the US.  It will create low end jobs for the country.     For as much time as Obama has spent on Michigan, including Ed Montgomery, the administration's USDOL hasn't a clue.  They are dumping money in with so many strings and all of the wrong strings that it makes it virtually useless.  They just gave us 39 million to serve people who aren't eligible for it because they lost their jobs "before" USDOL got around to authorizing it for MI.   Don't mean to be ungreatful, but I'd sure like some of that Haliburton/bank money.   You know the kind.  Throw it off the back of a truck, leave no paper trails, shhhhh its a secret, who knows where it went.  Instead, employment and training is so full of paper, regulations, and excessive documentation of eligibility and services that it consumes the limited resources available to hire staff.  Staff that is hired can only help people inbetween proving their every step and the clients every claim.  

    •  Just so (0+ / 0-)

      That's my expectation as well.

      The jobs summit will tread old ground.  It will blame workers and deliver more training for jobs that don't exist.   It will create high end jobs, and not keep them here in the US.  

      But D.C. backward culture isn't the whole story. I don't get how the guy who preached a "broken" government could put all the breakers inside his government. But that's how it is now. Beyond that, we can look to the real innovators in our country - as this diary does - and as the grassroots do all we can to promote change from where we stand now. Complaining without doing is part of what's broken.  

      The Corporate Empire Strikes Back. Leader Harry Reid drops his lightsaber.

      by mrobinson on Mon Nov 16, 2009 at 08:26:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They say 'rust never sleeps.' Wonder if MB (0+ / 0-)

    ever sleeps?  Great story, thanks!

    Single Payer is the Moral Option. Educate for single payer today.... Visit Physicians for A National Health Plan www pnhp com

    by divineorder on Mon Nov 16, 2009 at 06:59:12 AM PST

  •  Asia Floor Wage - A big picture campaign? (0+ / 0-)

    http://asiafloorwage.org/...

    wanted to share this PDF link to an article on a US/Asia/Europe campaign that looks at the entire garment industry, alongside the supply chain, and how this model of campaign can be a counter to the race to the bottom we're currently a part of.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site