Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Petulance Isn’t Presidential

“Make me.” That’s how Donald Trump responded during the last debate when Hillary Clinton pointed out that he failed to use American steel to construct the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas.

Trump used Chinese steel. So he created jobs for Chinese workers. Not American steelworkers. He could have done the right thing. He could have inserted a clause in the contract requiring American-made steel. But he didn’t. Similarly, he could require that his dozens of signature Trump products from shirts to eyeglasses be made in America. But he does not.  The vast majority are manufactured overseas. Creating jobs in other countries.

Trump said during the debate that it was Clinton’s fault he didn’t use American steel. Like some sort of guardian, she should have passed a law forcing him to do the right thing, he said. With that, Trump described himself as a petulant brat, not a leader. A leader envisions what would be wise economically or morally for the nation, and takes that action to set an example, then urges others to follow. The president of the United States is the leader of the free world. For that person, leadership is an essential skill.

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Democrats Are Racking Up Some Good Early Voting Numbers

Millions of people have already voted this year—close to 1 million in Florida alone—which means election observers have lots of tea leaves to read. If you read the whole cup of tea leaves at once, things look good:

Most of them voted during a period when Clinton had a national lead — a narrow lead, if they voted a few weeks ago or a large lead if they voted more recently. So while it's probably not a surprise that early vote tallies in several swing states show a shift to the Democrats since 2012, it still means that Clinton has a greater percentage of banked votes than President Obama did at this point four years ago.

State by state, there’s some definite good news:

Democratic early turnout has stayed steady in North Carolina compared to 2012, while Republicans have dropped by about 14,500. In Nevada, Democrats have a smaller early voting deficit today than they did at this point in 2012. And Democrats are slightly ahead in Arizona in the early vote so far, though they are lagging Republicans in the tally of how many Arizonans have requested ballots.

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Watch Out For The Coming Corporate Tax-Break Trickery

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

One of the biggest fights coming up in the newly elected Congress next year will be “corporate tax reform.”

If you follow policy news you’ve been hearing that Congress wants to “reform” corporate taxes (again). When you hear talk of “reform” from our corporate-captured Congress it means you need to run as fast as you can — and organize. The way they use the word, it always means give them more and We, the People get less.

Senator Schumer Talking About Massive Break On Taxes Corporations Already Owe

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-Wall Street) might be Senate Majority Leader after the election. In a Tuesday CNBC interview he said he is hoping to work with Republican House Speaker Paul “Gut the Government” Ryan on “some kind of international tax reform tied to a large infrastructure program.” In the interview Schumer said:

If you can get overseas money to come back here, even if it’s at a lower rate than the 35 it now comes back at, and you can use that money for a major constructive purpose such as infrastructure, if you did an infrastructure bank, for instance, you could get $100 billion in equity in the bank and get a trillion dollars of infrastructure.

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GOP Senators Aren’t Happy That John McCain Was Probably Caught Telling the Truth

Ian Millhiser

Ian Millhiser Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst, Think Progress

On Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) confirmed one of Democrats’ worst fears. If Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wins the White House, but Republicans keep the Senate, the GOP “will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up.”

If America wants to have a Supreme Court in five years, in other words, it better elect the same party to the White House and the Senate.

Not long after McCain’s comment, however, a new talking point was born. McCain’s own spokesperson said McCain did not actually mean what he said. The senator will “thoroughly examine the record of any Supreme Court nominee put before the Senate and vote for or against that individual based on their qualifications,” according to his communications director Rachael Dean. Though Dean also added that “McCain believes you can only judge people by their record and Hillary Clinton has a clear record of supporting liberal judicial nominees.”

At least three key senators have now picked up on this two-part message that 1) Republicans won’t just reject any old person Hillary nominates, but 2) we don’t like the kind of people she would actually want.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), currently the chair of the Judiciary Committee, told reporters on Tuesday that “we can’t just simply stonewall” Clinton’s nominees, but “the type of people she’s going to appoint, I would say they are judicial activists.”

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Getting Beyond the ‘Buffett Rule’

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Warren Buffett, the third-richest man in America, has always been a bit of a traitor to his class. The super rich, Buffett holds, ought to pay income taxes at a higher rate than average Americans because they have the capacity — and good fortune — to contribute significantly more to our national well-being.

Current tax law, Buffett goes on to explain, lets the really rich routinely avoid that responsibility. In fact, as Buffett has famously declared, his secretary pays taxes at a higher rate than he does.

Billionaire Warren Buffett still remembers when he first paid income taxes in 1944. All of us today have a reason to remember 1944 as well. Krista Kennell/Shutterstock.com

Buffett believes in tax fairness. Donald Trump, on the other hand, most certainly does not.

The Donald has personally lobbied Congress for tax breaks that ease the tax bite on wealthy real estate developers like himself. And his latest White House campaign tax proposal, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities points out, would if adopted “raise after-tax income for those with annual incomes of over $1 million by 14.3 percent.”

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Union Matters

Election 2016: Members Speak Out

Dean Showers
Local 6996

Dean Showers, 62, of Reading, Pa., has been a Steelworker for 44 years and has been president of USW Local 6996 for the past 16. He works for Hofmann Industries, which locked him and 57 other USW members out on March 6, 2011 and is operating the steel tubing plant with replacement workers.

“I have personally felt that sword, what unfair trade does to collective bargaining. Hofmann contends it cannot pay union wages because of imports. And there have been so many plant closings and downsizings in our core industries, aluminum, steel and glass because of unfair trade.

“My hometown, Reading, when I graduated from high school, you could go and work for any of four or five union manufacturers. Now it is hard to find family-sustaining work. The city has been decimated by free trade back to NAFTA. It was designated one of the poorest cities in the country four or five years ago.

“So this election this year is personal to me. I can’t support a politician who supports free trade. I am glad to see Hillary Clinton came out against the TPP. We as workers need to focus on issues that affect us the most, and that starts with trade. Trump is a hypocrite. He claims to be all for America and yet he manufacturers everything with his name on it overseas.”

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Really, Don?

Really, Don?