Tag Archives: make it in america

President Obama is Right: We Need to Create American Jobs Now

With his State of the Union address, President Obama delivered an important message that Congress and the American people need to hear: our nation’s leaders must pass legislation that creates American jobs now.

America, our shining city on a hill, has been blessed with great fortune in our proud past, but as the President noted, every generation faces new challenges and new opportunities. We must be bold and forward looking, never forgetting that America’s prosperity has always relied on hard work, solid education, and well-maintained infrastructure. We’re a nation that has always thrived when we’ve built things – the light bulb, the automobile, the Internet, and the GPS. We need to build things again. We need to Make It In America

During the Great Recession, America stared into the abyss, but with the leadership of President Obama and Democrats in Congress, we steered our economy toward a better path. We invested in infrastructure, education, manufacturing, and smart tax incentives, putting millions of Americans to work. With the Recovery Act and other pro-growth, pro-jobs laws, we did a lot, but we need to do more. President Obama is right to call on this Congress to pass legislation that creates jobs now.

America – the idea and the nation – is at a crossroads. For decades we have stood by watching our manufacturing sector atrophy. We’ve seen hardworking breadwinners thrown to the curb, because big corporations can make more profits offshoring jobs to countries with atrocious labor and environmental standards. We’ve seen middle class families kicked out of their homes, because wages have not kept up with costs. We’ve seen too many great people on the sidelines of our economy, their talents wasted and dream deferred, because there simply are not enough jobs. We must do better. We must Make It In America again or else we’re not going to make it in America.

An American child born today will grow up in a world where her nation’s long held claim to economic supremacy will be challenged by peers in China, India, and elsewhere. She will live in a world where computer literacy and access to high speed Internet largely predict achievement. She will live in a world of infinite potential for people and nations committed to a better future. She will live in a world where mass transit and clean energy are everyday necessities of life, creating good jobs for someone somewhere. Let’s make sure we Make It In America and create American jobs now, so that she will live in a world where America is still the leader of the free world.

American manufacturing, which produced the largest middle class in history, is crucial to building sustained prosperity for the years to come. Across this country, we see evidence of a new fledgling Clean Energy Industrial Revolution. Detroit is producing hybrid cars, Pittsburgh is constructing robotic instruments, Schenectady, New York is developing advanced batteries, and Livermore, California is building solar panels. Across this country, clean energy is creating jobs.

In his State of the Union address, the President called for one million electric cars and a stronger clean energy standard. By setting this goal, the President was challenging Americans to dream big.

The President is right. This is our Sputnik moment. Imagine if we had responded to the challenge of Sputnik by soaring to the moon in a space shuttle that was Made in the Soviet Union. We could have gone that route – admitted failure and surrendered our economic and security assets to another country. Instead, we focused on inventing and constructing crucial technology, which sparked a wave of new businesses and jobs. Similarly, to address our twin 21st century challenges of energy security and advanced infrastructure, we cannot depend on the kindness of other countries. To enhance our geopolitical security and to create the jobs of the future, we have to strengthen these key manufacturing sectors.

As we see when basic scientific research spurs the flourishing of new industries and generates millions of new jobs, public policy has a valuable role to play in setting the stage for a return of America’s manufacturing prowess. A good first step would be to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent on American-made transportation and renewable energy projects. I am introducing legislation to this effect. Strengthening domestic content requirements for high-speed rail, solar panels, biofuels, and other growth industries will create jobs, right here in America, right now. It just makes sense.

America has energetic entrepreneurs, a skilled workforce, and visionary inventors. Let’s give them the opportunity to do what they do best- to work. The building blocks of a prosperous future are available today. Let’s start building.

Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) represents California’s 10th Congressional District, which includes parts of Contra Costa, Solano, Alameda, and Sacramento counties. As California’s Lieutenant Governor from 2006-2009, he chaired the California Commission for Economic Development.

On (Not) Making it in America

When I attended Netroots Nation last week, I didn’t need to drive the streets of Las Vegas to see the abandoned worksites, boarded up buildings, and closed factories. I can see that in my own district. Too many of us are not making it in America.

Congressional Democrats responded with a two-step approach. In the first half, we sought to stabilize the economy, rein in Wall Street, provide lifelines to families in freefall, and immediately put Americans back to work. We’re now nearing the second half, where our job creation strategies must be complemented by a long term commitment to bring back American manufacturing.

In California, Nevada, and across the nation, people out of work through no fault of their own outnumber new jobs available. Five people are out of work for every one job available. The Great Recession led to widespread job loss, and without a new approach to economic development, good manufacturing jobs will continue to be shipped overseas. If we don’t make it in America, we won’t make it America.

Continued infrastructure improvements, small business investments, and unemployment benefits extensions are helping turn our economy around, but we haven’t done enough. In the short term, we must continue investing in our economy to prevent a double dip recession.

The newly-minted Republican deficit hawks who supported President Bush’s unfunded tax cuts for the super wealthy and continue to support the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan (also not paid for) now insist that we can’t afford job creation and jobless benefits for out-of-work Americans. They don’t mind creating $11 trillion in deficits under the watch of the previous administration, but they’re all too willing to preach austerity to the unemployed on the verge of complete destitution. This economic approach is morally repugnant and empirically unsound.

As Mark Zandi, Senator John McCain’s Economics Advisor and Chief Economist for Moody’s Analytics, explains, there are basically two types of very effective pro-growth strategies in a downturned economy. The first provide immediate relief to the vulnerable, including food assistance for working families ($1.74 in GDP growth for every $1 invested) and unemployment benefits ($1.61 for every $1 spent). The second provide, protect, and nurture long term improvements, including infrastructure investments ($1.57 for every $1 spent) and aid to states to keep teachers, firefighters, and other public servants on the job ($1.41 for every $1 spent). Meanwhile, keeping the Bush tax cuts for the rich permanent ($0.32 recovered for every $1 wasted) would harm struggling families and the economy.

Additional stimulus is essential, but without new policies that bring back good manufacturing jobs, we’re only patching the Titanic. To thrive in the 21st century, we must “Make it in America”. Manufacturing matters.

I’ve introduced three bills to bring back manufacturing. The first, based on language in the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, closes $14.5 billion in corporate tax loopholes that reward the off-shoring of jobs, and I’m happy to report that a good small business bill likely to pass the House today utilizes this language as a cost offset. The second ends taxpayer subsidies for foreign-produced clean energy technology. The third ends taxpayer subsidies for foreign-produced buses, railcars, and ferries.

When we have so many welders, engineers, mechanics, electricians, technicians, and carpenters out of work, it doesn’t make sense to ship our tax dollars overseas. When we’re in the middle of a global clean tech race, it hurts our national security to use taxpayer dollars to pay for things that can be built here. It just makes sense to make it in America.

The House Democratic Caucus is introducing a number of “Make it in America” bills targeting different parts of our tax code, trade policy, grants policy, exports strategy, small business development, and more.   A few highlights are available on the Majority Leader’s website, but many other bills are in development. The ultimate goal for this pooling of good ideas is to create a Green Industrial Revolution in America.

It was a pleasure to see some of you at Netroots Nation, and I hope to see you next year in Minneapolis. For those of you who attended or have seen streaming highlights, I hope you had the same takeaway I did. None of us are completely satisfied with everything that’s happened in America, but we also can’t walk away from all that we’ve accomplished. From the Recovery Act to Wall Street reform to health care reform to Lily Ledbetter equal pay and hate crimes legislation, we’ve made tremendous progress.

Those of us in Congress who share your desire to lift up working and middle class Americans by bringing back good jobs, to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq while making sure our returning men and women in uniform are treated with dignity and respect, to get a robust public option on the books while working toward Medicare for All, to pass meaningful climate change legislation, to end the exploitation of our fragile coasts, and to create an America that grants true equality for all its citizens, we’re still fighting. And I know you are too.

Congressman John Garamendi represents California’s 10th Congressional District, which includes portions of Contra Costa, Solano, Alameda, and Sacramento counties. He previously served as California’s Lieutenant Governor and Insurance Commissioner and as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Interior Department. He is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.