Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Trading Rules for Workers

President Donald Trump met with a bunch of CEOs at the White House last week, prompting the same old, tired and untrue round of assertions that America lost millions of manufacturing jobs because of automation, regulation, illegal immigration and lack of education.

The real culprit is globalization – fostered by a series of bad trade deals. That’s not what the CEOs talked about, though, mainly because a huge portion of them already have moved factories from America to low-wage, high-pollution countries.

Bad trade is, however, what President Trump talked about constantly on the campaign trail. He repeatedly assured cheering crowds he would stop corporations from offshoring factories. A new report from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation proves his diagnosis was right – bad trade caused the vast majority of the job losses. He was right when he said the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and NAFTA had to go. Offshoring CEOs are trying to bamboozle the administration about the cause of job loss to prevent President Trump from keeping his promises to industrial workers.

And those CEOs are wrong about automation. Robots didn’t do it. They didn’t kill 5.7 million manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2010. That’s the bottom line in research published this month by Adams Nager, an economic policy analyst for the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation and in another report by economists Lawrence Mishel and Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute

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Trump’s new deportation rules could cost the economy trillions

Bryce Covert

Bryce Covert Economic Policy Editor, Think Progress

President Trump pushed forward on his campaign promise to deport all undocumented immigrants on Tuesday by releasing new guidelines to expand and speed up deportations. The memos from the Department of Homeland Security target all undocumented immigrants for deportation, even those who haven’t committed serious crimes, while necessitating the hiring of thousands of new agents and building new detention facilities.

These policies are going to wreck havoc on the lives, families, and communities of those who end up deported. And they will also come with a steep cost for everyone in this country.

It’s still not clear whether the administration will actually have the resources and ability to deport every undocumented immigrant. But even if it were able to deport just the 7 million undocumented workers in this country, out of the estimated 12 million total, it would reduce GDP by 2.6 percent over a decade, according to research from Ryan Edwards and Francesc Ortega at the Center for American Progress (CAP), taking a $4.7 trillion bite out of the economy. (ThinkProgress is an editorially independent project of CAP.) That’s comparable to the job losses experienced during the recent recession.

That lines up with other recent findings from Edwards and Ortega, which calculated that undocumented workers contribute 3 percent of GDP, or nearly $5 trillion in economic growth over ten years. Those contributions would disappear if all of those workers were deported.

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Will the Trump Administration Fix the Distortions in U.S. Trade Data?

Lori Wallach

Lori Wallach Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

Recent press reports reveal that the Trump administration is exploring changes in how U.S. trade data is reported. Depending on what those changes are, that could be good news, because the current method for reporting bilateral trade flows significantly distorts trade balances to dramatically and deceptively reduce U.S. trade deficits. No doubt that defenders of status quo U.S. trade policies will gin up an attack on any efforts to fix these distortions.

So it is ironic, but not surprising, that the coverage insinuates that the Trump administration is trying to bias the data for political purposes: For years, members of Congress and trade analysts have demanded changes to U.S. trade flow reporting to make it more accurate. Why? Because proponents of past trade agreements have politically exploited the way that the current trade data inaccurately inflates export levels and artificially suppresses trade deficit figures to try to hide past pacts’ damage. 

Namely, the trade data that is reported monthly by the Census Bureau counts “foreign exports,” also known as “re-exports” as if they were U.S.-made goods. This can dramatically and inaccurately inflate export figures and hide trade deficits. According to the official Census Bureau definition, re-exports are goods made abroad, imported into the United States, and then re-exported again without undergoing any alteration in the United States. Re-exports support zero U.S. production jobs.[i] 

To put this into perspective, if one counts as U.S. exports only goods actually produced here, the 2015 U.S. goods trade deficit with Mexico was $109 billion and with Canada $63 billion – a $172 billion North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) goods deficit. However, if one includes the foreign-made re-exported goods as U.S. exports, the NAFTA goods deficit shrinks by more than half - to $76 billion. The Mexico goods deficit falls to $60 billion and the Canadian deficit to $16 billion.

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CPAC attendees trolled into waving Russia flags during Trump’s speech

Aaron Rupar

Aaron Rupar Journalist, Think Progress

During his Friday speech to CPAC speech, President Donald Trump tried to quash coverage of his administration’s Russia scandal in an indirect way by taking aim at the anonymous leakers who have regularly revealed new allegations about his shady connections with Russia and the Russian government’s attempt to sway the 2016 presidential election in his favor.

“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name,” Trump opined. “Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out.”

The president might not have directly addressed the Russia scandal, but liberal activists trolled CPAC attendees into making it visible during the speech by handing out Russia flags with “TRUMP” emblazoned on them.

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Lawmakers, Unions, Challenge Trump To Rewrite NAFTA In Favor Of Workers

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

Backed by a wide array of unions, led by the Steelworkers, the Teamsters and the AFL-CIO, a group of House Democrats formally challenged Republican President Donald Trump to completely rewrite NAFTA, the controversial 23-year-old U.S.-Canada-Mexico “free trade” pact, in favor of workers, not multinational corporations.

In a non-binding resolution introduced Feb. 16, the legislators, led by Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., laid out the pro-worker principles any new NAFTA should uphold. By and large, they repeat the pro-worker principles the same group – plus AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka – unveiled for a new NAFTA on Jan. 3.

Those include abolition of the secret trade court, called the Investor State Dispute System, now in NAFTA and other trade pacts, and writing strong enforceable labor rights into a new NAFTA’s text, and enforcing them.

They also include keeping Buy America provisions free from company challenges, putting in strong rules of origin for imported cars and parts, and requiring foreign trucks to comply with U.S. truck safety and driver licensing laws.

That last requirement would restrict creaky Mexican trucks and ill-trained, tired drivers to within 20 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, a key cause of the Teamsters. NAFTA lets Mexican trucks roll nationwide.

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Union Matters

ACA Repeal Would Cost More than Just People’s Health

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) this week released an interactive map that you can use to see how many jobs would be lost in your state if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act. Because aside from 29.8 million people across the nation losing their health coverage, 1.2 million jobs would be lost too.

The ACA has helped millions of Americans afford their care. Without that support, these people will have less money to spend on things like food and rent. When you connect the dots, you see that “fewer dollars spent at grocery stores and other businesses means 1.2 million jobs would be lost.”

According to the EPI map, some of the hardest hit states that would suffer the most job losses are Kentucky, West Virginia, and New Mexico.

Kentucky is also one of the many states embroiled in tense emotions in regards to Obamacare with Sen. Mitch McConnell fully supporting its repeal. Citizens have been confronting the senator fiercely and speaking out about the devastating effects the repeal would have on their health, their families, and their communities.

Just like Trump’s new deportation rules could cost the economy trillions, nixing the ACA could do the same thing and have the same overwhelming economic impact.

 

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The Real Job Thieves

The Real Job Thieves