We lost. Get over it. Move on.
Lets talk JOBS.
All the ideas out there that would actually put people back to work and bring real, robust economic growth immediately are off the table. Both the White House and the Congress have made sure of that. Trade deals are only going to make things worse. Tax cuts have not and will not work. I don't know who came up with the silly idea that reforming intellectual property law will make any difference. Those things are all half-measures or no-measures that wont do a thing for the average American.
The one good idea I see circulating around Washington is the American Infrastructure Bank. The idea is simple. We set up a bank. It could be a government agency or a government sponsored corporation. We allow companies that have over $1 trillion in profits parked offshore to bring those profits home as long as they deposit them in the bank. For doing so, they get a tax deferment. We can require them to keep the money in the bank for a minimum of five years or ten years. The bank pays them an interest rate based on how long they agree to keep the funds in the bank. Sort of like a certificate of deposit. Foreign sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, the wealthy, or companies just sitting on a mountain of cash (like Google that had $30 Billion last year) can put all that cash sitting around in the bank. Interest-earning, tax deferred accounts.
Corporate America will love it because it will allow them to book profits without paying any taxes. It will give them time to get Congress to eliminate the tax on those profits, which they will probably get anyway of the past is prologue. Wall Street will like it because the Bank could also issue bonds against its deposits. Bankers will be able to trade the bonds and make all sorts of new crazy derivatives. Unions will like it because it will put their membership back to work. You will like it because it will mean our crumbling infrastructure will finally get some attention.
The bank can then loan that money to private companies, government agencies, and local and state governments for infrastructure projects. Water, transportation, high speed rail. You name it. Some of these projects must pay revenues of some sort over time. Toll roads. A percentage of electricity sales, perhaps, on rebuilding the electrical grid. Or utilities that want to upgrade the electric grid. We direct the bank to accept taking losses on some projects and making it up in profits on others. The idea is that we direct the bank to break even, effectively non-profit.
The good thing here is that there are already bills on the table. Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Kay Baily Hutchinson have introduced a bipartisan bill in the Senate. Rep. Rosa de Lauro has introduced a similar measure in the House. Both these measure have been endorse by both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO.
This wont get done without presidential leadership. For that, we need President Obama to stop the muddled process message and just focus on this. Make this idea the centerpiece of a jobs strategy. It meets the Obama test of being bipartisan and it meets the Tea Party test because no government revenues will be used to finance it. But only a president can go out and sell it to the public in a simple, easy to understand way that will make the public understand it. Only a president can build support for it and push it through Congress. But to do it, the White House and the Obama Campaign, and the DNC, and Congressional Democrats have to be on message, selling it every single day.
There will be Republicans who oppose it because its a good idea. Remember, their goal is to destroy President Obama, no matter what. So what. That's no reason not to try. If we win, we get a good idea that puts people back to work. If we lose, the public knows exactly where everyone stands. The bottom line is that we can't accept the Plouffe strategy of simply shrugging our shoulders and going "What can we do?" We need a proactive, politically engaged President who is fighting for something more than a bipartisan process.
Lets put our engineers and construction workers back to work building and rebuilding America. This is a good idea. I support it. If the President gets behind and really pushes for it...and I don't mean in backroom negotiations or throwaway Saturday morning videos...I mean REALLY PUSHES FOR IT, I'll be behind him all the way. Will you?