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Stabenow in GR to push the transfer of public money into the private sector

April 30, 2012

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow was in Grand Rapids today to promote her support for what MLive called the “Bring Jobs Home Act.”

First, it should be noted that Senator Stabenow is up for re-election and her visit to Grand Rapids today is most likely motivated by her desire to stay in the Senate.

Second, the public should be very skeptical of such a proposal. The language of the proposed legislation on one level seems kind of like a benefit when it says the bill is designed, “To amend the Small Business Act to establish a loan program to assist and provide incentives for manufacturers to reinvest in making products in the United States, and for other purposes.”

The public and journalists are often swayed by any language that promotes the notion of job creation, but what this proposed legislation will actually do is transfer more public money to the private sector.

Why is it that those who promote capitalism never see the contradiction of the state intervening on behalf of capital? This contradiction is even more apparent when looking at US trade policy over the past 20 years.

The Bring Jobs Home Loan Act of 2012 is designed to provide financial incentives for manufacturers to bring jobs back to the US that have gone overseas. However, over the past 20 years US trade policy has facilitated an easy transfer of US manufacturing jobs to foreign countries with legislation like NAFTA, CAFTA and the most recent trade bills with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

These trade policies have generally been a bi-partisan affair, with the first major trade agreement being NAFTA. NAFTA was signed by the Clinton administration and has resulted in Michigan losing 287,923 manufacturing jobs (or 36 percent) during the NAFTA-WTO period (1994-2011), according to Public Citizen.

More recently, the US Congress passed legislation that would make it easier for US companies and investors to do business in Panama, Colombia and South Korea. Public Citizen was clear last fall about how these trade policies would impact US workers by stating:

Passing the Korea deal would kill U.S. jobs. Even official government studies show it will increase the U.S. trade deficit. Passing the Colombia deal would kill any leverage Colombian union, Afro-Colombian and other community leaders and their U.S. union and civil society friends and allies have to stop the murders, forced displacements and other acts of political violence that dominate life in Colombia. And passing the Panama deal would kill our ability to fight tax havens without risking attack by corporations under new privileges established in the pact.”

Michigan Senator Stabenow voted for the trade agreement with South Korea, which was the biggest US job killer of the three. She voted against the trade proposals with Colombia and Panama in October, but those will have less of an impact on US jobs.

Having supported some trade agreements, which export US jobs abroad, it seems a bit strange that Stabenow would now want to provide government incentives to have manufacturers bring jobs back to the US. However, as we stated earlier, in her bid to win re-election, the Senator is really pushing for legislation that will transfer taxpayer money to private businesses and then call it job creation.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Lisa permalink
    May 1, 2012 6:29 pm

    Just before Christmas 2009, when the Federal COBRA subsidy was set to expire and Congress was dragging its feet extending the bill, I desperately contacted then-Representative Vern Ehlers and Senators Levin and Stabenow, begging them not to break for the holidays without addressing this issue. Ehlers sent me a lengthy treatise on “what is COBRA,” which was useless – I was very familiar with how COBRA works and how impossible it is to maintain health coverage for a family when the main wage-earner has been displaced. Levin sent me a reply that basically touted his support for health care reform. Stabenow sent me a form-letter request for a campaign contribution. These assholes are all useless, but Stabenow is the worst.

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