Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Worse than traitors in arms
are the men who pretend loyalty
to the flag, feast and fatten on the
misfortunes of the Nation while patriotic
blood is crimsoning the plains of the South
and their countrymen moldering the dust.

- Abraham Lincoln, Discussing Greed in America

During the Cold War, when the United States and the Soviet Union competed with each other for Geo-strategic turf, consecutive U.S. presidents regularly encouraged U.S. firms to ship jobs overseas. The argument was that it was better to have Italians and Scandinavians making shoes and working on their docks than to have high unemployment, where socialist parties could gain a foothold.

It was a legitimate argument, given the stakes.

To be sure, where jobs had been lost congressional representatives complained regularly, but to no avail. The executive branch and national security concerns won out.

Today, rather than the executive branch leading the way, it's members of Congress working for specific corporate interests who are OK with shipping jobs overseas. Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic plan which would have encouraged companies to bring jobs back from overseas. The GOP caucus voted unanimously today against a motion to debate the measure on the Senate floor (the motion failed 53 to 45).

So much for Country First.

Specifically, the proposed bill would have:

(1) ended tax deductions for businesses when they close a U.S. firm and then shift the work abroad,
(2) imposed a new tax on products once made in the United States but now manufactured by foreign workers and shipped to the U.S., and
(3) enacted a payroll tax holiday for firms that brought jobs back to the U.S.

Republicans voted the bill down, by promising yet another filibuster. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) explained why he was going to vote no, claiming the issue was simply "a tool of political demagoguery."
Bringing jobs back to America is demagoguery? Seriously?
- Mark

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