Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

China Protects its Workers; America Doesn’t Bother

China Protects its Workers; America Doesn’t Bother
Image by Bananastock.

Confronted with a dire situation, a world power last week took strong action to secure its domestic jobs and manufacturing.

That was China. Not the United States.

China diminished the value of its currency.  This gave its exporting industries a boost while simultaneously blocking imports. The move protected the Asian giant’s manufacturers and its workers’ jobs.

Currency manipulation violates free market principles, but for China, doing it makes sense. The nation’s economy is cooling. Its stock market just crashed, and its economic powerhouse – exports – declined a substantial 8.3 percent in July ­– down to $195 billion from $213 billion the previous July. This potent action by a major economic competitor raises the question of when the United States government is going to stop pretending currency manipulation doesn’t exist. When will the United States take the necessary action to protect its industry, including manufacturing essential to national defense, as well as the good, family-supporting jobs of millions of manufacturing workers?

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'Smell Something, Say Something!' Teachers' Unions Do Not Hurt Student Outcomes.

Jared Bernstein

Jared Bernstein Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

'Smell Something, Say Something!' Teachers' Unions Do Not Hurt Student Outcomes.

Welcome to the first edition of a new On The Economy feature, dedicated to the parting admonition of the great Jon Stewart: when it comes to BS, "smell something, say something!"

To be clear, I'm not trying to emulate the fact checkers out there. Nor am I going to peruse the papers, like Dean does so effectively, to find errant economics reporting. Instead, I'm just going to occasionally pounce on a specific brand of assertion: a stylized, accepted fact that isn't a fact at all.

For example, conservative partisans (as well as many centrist Democrats) consistently assert that teachers' unions are bad for student outcomes, and if we want to improve such outcomes, we must diminish the impact of teachers' unions. Most recently, this negative role of unions was a featured assertion in a Republican primary debate.

That claim smelled bad to me, as in I know of no body of evidence to support it. I know it's a constant refrain, but I figured I'd have seen something from the deep academic community that runs analyses of such issues over the years to support it, and I haven't.

Maybe I missed it. So I asked some experts in this field and they confirmed my intuition.

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Two Brothers Allegedly Beat Up A Latino Man, Say They Were Inspired By Donald Trump

Esther Yu-Hsi Lee

Esther Yu-Hsi Lee Immigration Reporter, Think Progress

Two Brothers Allegedly Beat Up A Latino Man, Say They Were Inspired By Donald Trump

A pair of siblings in Boston, Massachusetts targeted and ambushed a 58-year-old homeless Latino man because one brother was “inspired in part” by 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, the Boston Globe reported.

Police arrived on the scene early Wednesday to a homeless man covered in urine, whose nose was broken and chest and arms were battered. The victim told police that “he was awakened by two men urinating on his face.” He said they ripped away his blankets and sleeping bag, hit him in the face and the head, and punched him several times. According to the Boston Globe, several witnesses saw the homeless man being attacked.

The victim is in fair condition, though he has a broken nose and multiple bruises on his head and torso.

Scott Leader, one of the two brothers, told police that the victim started the confrontation. He also reportedly said that “it was OK to assault the man because he was Hispanic and homeless,” adding, “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”

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The Puzzling Reason Why Carly Fiorina Wants To Shrink The U.S. Department Of Education

Casey Quinlan

Casey Quinlan Education Reporter, Think Progress

The Puzzling Reason Why Carly Fiorina Wants To Shrink The U.S. Department Of Education

Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and Republican presidential hopeful, said that one “metric of success” would be to make the U.S. Department of Education a “whole lot smaller.” She made the remarks at an education summit hosted by The Seventy Four, an education news website, and moderated by its founder Campbell Brown. Fiorina said she would like to see the department justify every single part of its funding every year:

What we need to do is have zero-based budgeting in the federal government. That’s a fancy word for saying every single department has to justify every single dollar every single year. We don’t know what the department of education does anymore. We don’t know what they’re doing. We don’t know what they’re spending money on.

In fact, we do know what the U.S. Department of Education is doing. The department does release reports on where its federal dollars went and provides organizational charts, a list of its main goals that year, such as ensuring high schools with persistently low graduation rates decrease by 5 percent annually by September 30, and comparisons of liabilities, assets, and net position to previous fiscal years. You can read the 160-page report on the 2014-2015 fiscal year here.

As a broad overview, the department of education provided $27.13 billion in grants and 467 billion in Pell for discretionary appropriations this year, which includes Pell Grant funding, provides oversight to make sure the states spend federal money in the way it is intended to be spent, uses financial incentives to ensure schools don’t discriminate based on gender through Title IX, and collects national education data.

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The Reason Income Inequality is Rising

The Reason Income Inequality is Rising

Union Matters

Solidarity to Save our Steel Jobs

By Jerry Santos
USW Local 1010, Arcelor Mittal

Let me start by saying I love my job, and I’m highly grateful for being able to have the opportunity to work in the steel making industry.  How I would love to see another 30 plus years of steel making here in the Great Lake region!  However, I don’t see it at all.  There is a real dilemma hanging over the heads of us hard-working individuals young and old. 

We are the middle class, and we drive the economy in our local communities.  What will happen to our local businesses if the steel mills were to vacate from the Great Lakes region?

Several factors are hurting the production and profits of steel making today.  The first and most important is steel dumping by foreign counties. Another is the failure of politicians act to protect American steel. And a third is greed by corporations.   

Just like any other corporate train with no brakes or no physical conductor that could be held accountable for their actions, these corporations march forward for one goal with no regard to what is in their way. The goal is profits.  Profits today have replaced ethical morals.

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