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AFL-CIO President Trumka slams Jobs Council report

The following is crossposted from AFL-CIO Now:


The 72-page report, issued yesterday by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, makes many solid suggestions for how to address our nation’s jobs crisis, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. But Trumka says the fundamental focus is so flawed that, as a member of the council, he issued a dissent to the report. In sum, Trumka writes:

I believe the report downplays the need for a proactive role for the U.S. government in many of these areas; fails to address the significant additional revenues needed to address the challenges identified on an appropriate scale; and in many cases erroneously identifies the root causes of the underlying structural problems.

While agreeing with the report’s support for a vibrant and growing manufacturing sector, Trumka says the report does not address the fact that “our government’s own policies with respect to trade, taxes, and currency have created enormous competitive disadvantages for American-based producers.”

And while Trumka shares the report’s goal of attracting more investment and good jobs to the United States, he disagrees with its proposed reforms, which, he says, could instead result in providing tax subsidies for companies offshoring jobs while starving the government of the revenue it needs to create good jobs and upgrade infrastructure.

Trumka noted in his dissent that the 27-member council is “simply too narrowly representative of our country to provide a balanced set of recommendations to the President in these critical areas.”

Primarily made up of corporate CEOs (including Boeing CEO Jim McNerney), the council supports reforming the U.S. regulatory system and reducing the statutory corporate tax as crucial to competitiveness. Trumka disagrees, saying empirical evidence does not “support the claim that significant net new job creation would result from such ‘reforms’.”

In short, says Trumka, the report fails to recognize that:

our country has become dominated by the interests of the wealthiest 1 percent at the expense of the remaining 99 percent. It turns out that a country run in the interests of the wealthiest 1 percent systematically underinvests in public goods; systematically silences, disempowers and underinvests in its workers; and in the end is less competitive and creates fewer jobs than a country that focuses on the interests of the 99 percent.

President Obama appointed the council in February 2011 to replace the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Its job is to offer “non-partisan advice” on how to strengthen the U.S. economy and ensure competitiveness while creating “jobs, opportunity and prosperity for the American people,” according to the executive order that created the panel.

Read Trumka’s full dissent here.

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