Days ago I wrote about the opportunity costs of the debt ceiling debate. Well, those costs have sharply increased to the point where the only prominent politician discussing jobs right now appears to be Mitt Romney.
Well, I and some other stalwarts are here to change that. I’m speaking on a jobs panel tomorrow, held by Politico.
And today, there’s an important piece by Leo Hindery up at HuffPo—a very compelling, thoughtful, and pretty sweeping jobs policy agenda, with a welcome emphasis on manufacturing.
Give this a read yourself, but cherry-picking a few points that especially resonated:
—Buy-Domestic Procurement requirements: When the federal government procures goods, the default should be that those goods are made here. When there’s a significant cost differential—when it’s a lot cheaper for contractors to buy project components abroad—it’s not hard for them to get waivers and they should do so. But we had this provision in the Recovery Act and it worked pretty well.
— Restructure the tax code so American companies stay here: total no-brainer, though a very heavy political lift, of course. Ask yourself why, as my former White House colleague Gene Sperling used to say, it should be cheaper to create a job in Germany than in Cleveland. My vote: end deferral—the ability of multinational firms to avoid taxation on foreign earnings by holding them abroad for as long as they like.
—Better Enforcement of Fair Trade, including currency management: I’ve touted a bill that would give the president the authority to label currency management an unfair trade practice, a bill that got 99 R votes in the last Congress. I challenge anyone to find a bipartisan bill that would make a real difference on the jobs front and doesn’t add to the deficit.
–Create and finance an Infrastructure bank: “The administration and Congress should create a national infrastructure bank that would be an independent financial institution owned by the government. Able to fund a broad range of infrastructure projects beyond roads, rails and runways, it would make loans and loan guarantees and leverage private capital.”
–Renew the 48c Tax Credit: A great idea to help promote green manufacturing here in the USA—again, a policy that worked well during the Recovery Act. Note that this tax credit levers two dollars of private investment in domestic manufacturing for every one dollar of the credit.
Also, we should implement this work sharing idea that Dean Baker’s been pushing for awhile. What’s important about Dean’s take here is that he’s thought through some of the implementation challenges that keep employers from taking advantage of the option. Remember, this is the main reason why German unemployment is back to pre-recession levels, even while their GDP losses were comparable to our own.