Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

“Do No Harm” Still Hurts

Promises were made.

And workers believed candidate Donald Trump when he pledged to stop corporations from exporting American factories. Workers cast votes based on Trump swearing he would end the trade cheating that kills American jobs.

This week, though, workers got bad news from Washington, D.C. President Trump proposed virtually eliminating funding for a Labor Department bureau that helps prevent U.S. workers from having to compete with forced and child labor overseas. In addition, the administration issued only vague objectives for renegotiating the job-killing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

When NAFTA has cost at least 900,000 Americans their jobs, vague is unacceptable. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said his first rule in negotiations for a new NAFTA would be to “do no harm.” That’s not good enough. That’s the status quo, and promises were made. The first rule should be to “do substantial good.”  

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The Religious Left is Getting under Right-Wing Media’s Skin

Jack Jenkins

Jack Jenkins Senior Religion Reporter, ThinkProgress

For years, conservatives ignored them. Some dismissed them. Others chided their prayerful efforts as ineffectual or destined for failure.

But this year, right-wing media outlets can’t seem to stop talking about major players in the Religious Left — a strong sign that left-wing faithful are making a splash.

The shift coincides with a well-documented surge of activism among religious progressives, whose leaders have become increasingly visible since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016. Their members have organized in opposition to the president’s cabinet picks, anti-climate policies, proposed repeal of Obamacare, and both iterations of the Muslim ban. Other liberal faithful, hailing from a diverse range of traditions, have opened their worship spaces to harbor undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation under Trump, with some even contemplating offering up their homes.

Analysts were quick to cast aspersions on this rise, with commentators on the right and the left expressing doubt that liberal people of faith could muster a sustained political movement, especially given their relatively small size.

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Why You Should Support Made in America — Regardless of What You Think of Trump

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Made in America once was a guaranteed thing that brought Americans together.

Way back in 2014, 95 percent of Americans said they have a favorable view of American-made products.

Flash-forward to this week, which President Trump has officially named Made in America Week. American manufacturing companies from every state have been showcased at the White House, and the president is traveling to Norfolk this weekend for the commissioning of the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford, which was built with American-made steel.

But like everything Trump touches, #MadeinAmericaWeek has seemed to only generate division. The entire Trump clan has been (fairly) criticized for touting Made in America while manufacturing their own product lines abroad. Others have (quite unfairly) said promoting Made in America is merely “catnip” for politicians and doesn’t actually mean anything.

Considering our slogan here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing is “Keep it Made in America,” I think you can probably guess where we land in this debate. But let’s examine why we strongly support Made in America — and why we think you should, too, whether you love or hate the 45th president.

American Manufacturing Matters. A Lot.

There’s an awful lot of talk these days about how the manufacturing sector’s best days are long gone, but that simply runs counter to what is actually going on. As CBS News noted this week, the manufacturing sector is “by far the biggest contributor to the U.S. economy.” In 2016, American factories made $5.3 trillion worth of goods, surpassing every other sector, from real estate to health care to retail and construction.

Manufacturing is also essential to innovation. It accounts for 70 percent of private-sector research and development, and an astounding 90 percent of all new patents. American factories help drive huge technological advancements that transform the world.

We need to continue to make stuff for our economy to grow and thrive.

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First Meeting of Trump’s Voting Commission Makes Clear That Suppression is the Goal

Kira Lerner Political Reporter, Think Progress

Vice President Mike Pence claimed during the first meeting on Wednesday of the White House’s Commission on Election Integrity that the group will go about its work with “no preconceived notions.” Just minutes later, commissioners took turns insisting there is mass fraud across the country that could influence elections.

Kansas Secretary of State and commission co-chair Kris Kobach claimed in his introduction that as many as 18,000 non-citizens could be registered to vote in Kansas, without mentioning the shady math and questionable studies he used to arrive at that number. The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky insisted that massive fraud is occurring across the country. And even New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Garder, a Democratic commissioner, argued against making voting easier, saying it doesn’t require a massive amount of fraud to influence elections.

One by one, as the commissioners introduced themselves, they made it clear the commission would be laying the groundwork to suppress voters, whether through actions like cross-checking state rolls for duplicates or purging lists of inactive voters.

Kobach outlined the topics he hopes the commission will address, including the accuracy of voter rolls, vote fraud, voting by mail, cybersecurity, and voter intimidation.

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Mulvaney’s MAGAnomics Mix of Groundhog Day and Flat Out Lies

Dean Baker

Dean Baker Co-Director, Author, Center for Economic and Policy Research

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney had a Wall Street Journal column highlighting the benefits of “MAGAnomics.” The piece can best be described as a combination of Groundhog Day and outright lies.

In terms of Groundhog Day, we have actually tried MAGAnomics twice before and it didn’t work. We had huge cuts in taxes and regulation under both President Reagan and George W. Bush. In neither case, was there any huge uptick in growth and investment. In fact, the Bush years were striking for the weak growth in the economy and especially the labor market. We saw what was at the time the longest period without net job growth since the Great Depression. And of course, his policy of giving finance free rein gave us the housing bubble and the Great Recession.

The story of the 1980s was somewhat better but hardly follows the MAGAnomics script. The economy did bounce back in 1983, following a steep recession in 1981–1982. That is generally what economies do following steep recessions that were not caused by collapsed asset bubbles. Furthermore, the bounceback was based on increased consumption, not investment as the MAGAnomics folks claim. In fact, investment in the late 1980s fell to extraordinarily low levels. It is also worth pointing out that following both tax cuts, the deficit exploded, just as conventional economics predicts.

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Union Matters

Is Donald Trump Keeping His Promises on Trade?

Candidate Trump made a lot of promises about what he called America's "failed trade policies." But is President Trump keeping his word? Yes, no — and maybe? Host Scott Paul and the Alliance for American Manufacturing's Scott Boos take a deep dive.

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Support for Medicare-for-All is Growing

Support for Medicare-for-All is Growing