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New Report Shows New Hampshire Workers Are Continuing To Lose Ground

New Report Examines New Hampshire Economy, Finds Wages for Many Workers Losing Ground    

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute (NHFPI) today released a new report, The State of Working New Hampshire, which finds that while the Granite State economy appears to be flourishing by some measures, the benefits are not being felt by everyone. 

“A well-functioning economy should ensure that the workers contributing to it share in the gains they have helped to produce,” said NHFPI Executive Director Jeff McLynch. “Yet wages for the typical New Hampshire worker have not regained ground lost during the recession. Those workers – and the financial anxiety they face – should be the focus of policymakers’ efforts to shape the New Hampshire economy in the years ahead.”

The State of Working New Hampshire examines short- and long-term trends in employment, workforce demographics, wages, and incomes. Key findings include:

New Hampshire’s workforce is aging in character and stagnating in size. More than 25 percent of the state’s workforce is over age 55; in 2015, only Maine and Vermont had larger shares of the workforce in this age category. As increasing numbers of workers retire, there may not be enough younger workers to replace them, which raises concerns for the future of the workforce.

While employment is expanding in terms of the number of jobs, the quality of these new jobs has declined. An analysis of New Hampshire’s major employment sectors from 1990 to 2015 finds a steady shift away from higher wage manufacturing jobs toward lower wage service sector positions. Employment gains are found largely in the health care, social assistance, administrative support services, and hospitality industries, which traditionally offer lower wages on average.

Economic output for New Hampshire is expanding, but income for the typical household has declined. The state’s median hourly wage fell nearly 7 percent between 2007 and 2015. While New Hampshire has one of the highest median wages in the country, it experienced one of the steepest declines among all states since the onset of the recession.

Since 1990, New Hampshire has experienced uneven wage growth, which has grown increasingly more pronounced over time, particularly for workers on the lower end of the wage distribution. After adjusting for inflation, a worker in the top fifth of the distribution saw wages grow by 11 percent, while the hourly wage for a worker in the bottom fifth is now 7.4 percent lower overall.

As NHFPI explained in its earlier report, Taking the Measure of Need in the Granite State, the official poverty threshold understates the degree of economic insecurity in New Hampshire and elsewhere, as a family of three is considered “not poor” if it earns a collective income of $20,000. Of the roughly 77,900 working age adults living in poverty in New Hampshire, around 54 percent were employed full-time or part-time in 2014, and one-third of these adults – around 28,900 individuals – had attended college at some point in their lives. 

“As we consider public policies that will bolster employment and enable individuals to engage in the workforce more readily, we should be mindful of the fact that some jobs simply may not pay enough for workers and their families to achieve economic security,” said McLynch.

 

Learn more in NHFPI’s report, The State of Working New Hampshire, available online here 

The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to exploring, developing, and promoting public policies that foster economic opportunity and prosperity for all New Hampshire residents, with an emphasis on low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Learn more at www.nhfpi.org.

Leo W Gerard: When a Coin Drops in Asia, Jobs Disappear in Detroit

Former Factory Closed (Image Michael Coghlan)

Former Factory Closed (Image Michael Coghlan)

Last year, free trade hammered Michigan’s 11th Congressional District, located between Detroit and Flint, killing manufacturing, costing jobs and crushing dreams.

It’s not over, either. Another 11th District company, ViSalus Inc., told the state it would eliminate 87 jobs as of last Saturday, slicing its staff by nearly 400 since 2013 when ViSalus was the second-largest direct sales firm in the state.

The numbers are staggering. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released a reportlast week showing that America’s $177.9 billion trade deficit in 2015 with the 11 other countries in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal caused 2 million job losses nationwide.

This trade deficit reduced jobs in every U.S. congressional district except two, EPI said, but Michigan’s 11th had the ignoble distinction of suffering more as a share of total employment than any other district in the country. It was 26,200 jobs. Just in 2015. It was tech workers in January and teachers in July and tool makers in August and auto parts builders in October.

Manipulation of money killed those jobs. It works like this: Foreign countries spend billions buying American treasury bonds. That strengthens the value of the dollar and weakens foreign currencies. When a country’s currency value drops, it acts like a big fat discount coupon on all of its exports to the United States. And it serves simultaneously as an obscene tax on all U.S. exports to that country.

Among the TPP countries, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan are known currency manipulators, and Vietnam appears to be following their example. EPI found that currency manipulation is the most important cause of America’s massive trade deficits with TPP countries. Trade deficits mean products are shipped to the United States rather than made in the United States. The math is simple. A drop in Asian currency means a drop in U.S. jobs.

EPI looked at what types of imports the 11 countries sent the United States last year to determine what types of industry and jobs America lost as a result. The overwhelming majority was motor vehicles and parts. That’s why Michigan was the biggest loser of all of the states. The auto sector was followed by computer and electronic parts ­– including communications, audio and video equipment – and primary metals – including basic steel and steel products.

In addition, EPI found job losses in industries that serve manufacturers, like warehousing and utilities, and services like retail, education and public administration.

Each of these kinds of losses occurred last year in Michigan’s 11th district, located in the heart of America’s car manufacturing country in southwestern Oakland County and northwestern Wayne County, where Detroit is parked just outside the district’s lines.

In January, in Michigan’s 11th, Technicolor Videocassette of Michigan, Inc., a subsidiary of the French multimedia giant Technicolor SA, laid off 162 workers in Livonia. That same month, what was once a vibrant chain of cupcake stores called Just Baked shuttered several shops, putting an untold number of bakers and clerks in the street, some with last paychecks that bounced.

In February, the Sam’s Club store in Waterford closed, throwing 122 in the street. Waterford municipal official Tony Bartolotta called it another “nail in the coffin” for the township’s east side.

In April, Frito-Lay told 17 workers that they’d lose their jobs later that year when it closed its Birmingham warehouse.

In July, 231 teachers in the Farmington Public Schools learned they would not have work in the new school year. One of them, 25-year-old Val Nafso, who grew up in Farmington, told the Oakland Press, “I hope things change where people who are passionate about teaching can enter the profession without 1,000 people telling them “Don’t do it…get out now.”

In August, DE-STA-CO, a 100-year-old tool manufacturer, told Michigan it would end production in Auburn Hills, costing 57 workers their jobs.

In October, Waterford laid off 39 firefighters. The township had received a $7.6 million grant in 2013 to hire them, but just couldn’t come up with local funds to keep them. That happens when factories close and bakeries shut down. Township officials told concerned residents they’d looked hard at the budget, “We started projecting out for 2017 and it flat lined,” Township Supervisor Gary Wall told them.

Later that month, FTE Automotive USA Inc., an auto parts manufacturer, told Michigan it would close its Auburn Hills plant and lay off 65 workers.

In the areas around Michigan’s 11th, horrible job losses occurred all last year as well, which makes sense since EPI found 10 of the top 20 job-losing districts in the country were in Michigan.

Ford laid off 700 workers at an assembly plant in Wayne County in April. GM eliminated a second shift, furloughing 468 workers at its Lake Orion Assembly Plant in Oakland County in October.

Auto supply company Su-Dan announced in September it would close three factories in Oakland County by year’s end, costing 131 workers their jobs.

In October, a division of Parker Hannifin Corp. in Oxford, Oakland County, that manufactured compressed air filters told its 65 workers they wouldn’t have jobs in 2016. “There’s a lot of people there that are paycheck to paycheck, and it’s going to hurt them,” Michelle Moloney, who worked there 25 years, told a reporter from Sherman Publications.

The threat of the TPP is that it does absolutely nothing to stop this job-slaughter. Lawmakers, public interest groups, manufacturers, and unions like mine all pleaded with negotiators to include strong provisions in the deal to punish currency manipulators. They didn’t do it.

They included some language about currency manipulation. But it’s not in the main trade deal.  And it’s not enforceable.

Swallowing the TPP would be accepting deliberately depressed currency values in Asian trading partner countries and a permanently depressed economy in the U.S. car manufacturing heartland.

It’s the TPP that should disappear. Not Detroit.

Making Ends Meet Conference Explores Solutions to Enhance Economic Stability for New Hampshire Families

nhfpi-budget-policy-conference-illoCONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute (NHFPI) today convened Making Ends Meet: Enhancing Economic Security, Fostering Shared Prosperity to examine a range of policy solutions that can help to ease the struggles New Hampshire’s working families face.

“New Hampshire has one of the higher costs of living in the nation, leaving many working families to face a substantial gap between what they earn and what they must spend on essentials — from housing and groceries to health care and child care,” said NHFPI Executive Director Jeff McLynch. “New Hampshire should pursue a comprehensive strategy that addresses both sides of the equation, boosting stagnant incomes and bringing the cost of basic necessities within closer reach.”

The event opened with a review of basic family budgets for New Hampshire, presented by David Cooper, senior analyst with the Economic Policy Institute.

“For most regions of New Hampshire, costs for housing and child care alone exceed what many low wage workers bring in,” said David Cooper. “In Concord, a single parent with one child faces costs that are more than twice what they would earn working full time at $10 an hour, forcing untenable choices between food, rent, heat, and basic necessities.” 

The first panel discussion examined low wages and workplace policies that make it difficult to care for family needs. Panelists outlined an array of strategies that can boost wages and incomes, from increasing the minimum wage and ensuring access to paid leave to creating an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and increasing financial assets. Panelists included Holden Weisman, state and local policy manager, CFED; Ben Zipperer, research economist, Washington Center for Equitable Growth; and Jeffrey Hayes, program director, job security and income quality, Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

A second panel of state and national policy experts examined New Hampshire’s high cost of housing, child care, and health care and discussed policy changes that can make these basic necessities more affordable. Panelists included Helen Blank, director, child care and early learning, National Women’s Law Center; Judith Solomon, vice president for health policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Elissa Margolin, director, Housing Action New Hampshire.

“Access to affordable health care is essential for families to achieve economic stability,” said Judith Solomon. “The reauthorization of New Hampshire’s Health Protection Program would ensure individuals have the ability to address health concerns before they become serious conditions and increase the chances that they can remain in the workforce.” 

The event concluded with a keynote address by Dr. Katherine S. Newman, provost of University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a distinguished author, researcher, and lecturer who has dedicated much of her career to the study of poverty, inequality, and economic opportunity in the United States and around the globe. Dr. Newman is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Missing Class: Portraits of the Near Poor in America and Chutes and Ladders: Navigating the Low Wage Labor Market.

“For far too many families across this country, the economic downturn accelerated the steady erosion of their economic security and sent them into a downward spiral toward poverty,” said Dr. Newman. “There is no single solution to reverse this trend. We should take a systems approach to addressing their challenges, so that working families have the ability to provide a solid foundation for their children and increase their access to economic opportunity.” 

The event’s nearly 140 attendees, which included New Hampshire legislators, business owners, nonprofit and community leaders, and concerned citizens, were provided with an opportunity to engage in dialogue around the numerous financial challenges facing low-wage earners and policy changes that can enhance their economic stability.

NHFPI’s third annual policy conference, Making Ends Meet was made possible with the support of presenting sponsor National Education Association-NH (NEA-NH), supporting sponsor Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, and the following partner organizations: Child and Family Services of New Hampshire, New Futures, Full Circle Consulting, and Kieschnick Consulting Services. 


The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to exploring, developing, and promoting public policies that foster economic opportunity and prosperity for all New Hampshire residents, with an emphasis on low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Learn more at www.nhfpi.org.

NEXTGEN Climate America Report Projects NH Job Growth Through Clean Energy Investment

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As we begin 2016, a brand new economic report released by NextGen Climate America is giving New Hampshire a glimpse into the clean energy future –and the economic prosperity that it will bring to Granite Starters from Manchester to Colebrook.   

As further detailed in Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States, efforts to cut carbon pollution and expand clean energy resources will create thousands of jobs in New Hampshire, increase Granite Staters’ household disposable incomes and help stimulate massive growth within the state’s economy.

Among the report’s key findings was the groundbreaking revelation that a clean energy economy will Create up to 8,000 additional New Hampshire jobs by 2030 and 15,000 new jobs by 2050; boost New Hampshire’s economy by over $1 billion by 2030 and over $2 billion by 2050; and increase New Hampshire families’ household disposable income by over $500 in 2030. 

This analysis confirms that transitioning to clean energy isn’t just good for the environment—it it’s also a key to ensuring a prosperous economic future for New Hampshire. Transitioning to clean energy will grow the Granite State’s manufacturing sector, creating 3,400 new jobs by 2030 and 3,600 additional jobs by 2050. Building out the clean energy infrastructure and facilities needed to power our economy will create more than 1,200 additional construction jobs by 2030 and 2,400 new jobs by 2050.

This study make clear that reducing greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning New Hampshire’s economy to clean energy is possible with existing technology. It will create jobs, grow the economy, raisehousehold incomes, and protect New Hampshire families against the worst impacts of climate change. 

Bernie Sanders Launches Four New Ads Focusing On Working Families

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Four new television ads from the Sanders campaign will hit airwaves in early primary states starting tomorrow. The spots focus on Sanders’ plans to end policies that leave American families working longer hours for lower wages.

“What this campaign is about is to demand that we create an economy that works for all of us rather than a handful of billionaires,” Sanders says in an ad titled “Working Families.”

In a second spot, Sanders tells a crowd about his fight in the Senate to stop Social Security cuts. “We said it will be over our dead bodies if you cut Social Security. As president, I will do everything I can to extend the solvency of Social Security and expand benefits for people who desperately need them,” Sanders promises in the ad titled “Social Security.”

“Bernie Sanders understands how pharmaceutical companies and major medical companies are ripping us off,” Mari Cordes, a registered nurse from Lincoln, Vermont, says in an ad on the cost of health care. “He’s the only one who can bring real change.”

“The 15 richest Americans acquired more wealth in two years than the bottom 100 million people combined,” Sanders says into the camera before laying out his plan to make the wealthy pay their fair share and bring prosperity to working Americans in a fourth ad titled “Bottom 100 Million.”

The new ads come on the heels of Sanders’ two millionth contribution and a 12-point pickup in the latest CNN/ORC national poll, including growing support among what the pollster refers to as non-white voters. The latest The Economist/YouGov poll shows Sanders gaining significant ground. Sanders is currently campaigning in Nevada where more than 2,000 people turned out to see him speak just two days after Christmas.

American Family Voices Campaign To Unite Progressives On Economic Agenda

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Sherrod Brown,
Rep. Raul Grijalva, progressive movement advocates, and business leaders
make the argument for a progressive economic agenda.

 

Washington, D.C. — Today, American Family Voices is launching a new campaign uniting progressive politicians, movement advocates, and socially conscious business leaders to make the argument for a progressive economic agenda, with the video release of “Fairness AND Growth: the Progressive Economic Alternative.” On Friday, October 2nd, AFV, in collaboration with State Innovation Exchange, will convene the “Forging an Alliance Between Progressive Leaders and Socially Conscious Businesses” conference to advance this agenda.

What does such an agenda look like? To make an expanding and prosperous middle class the engine of our economy again, we support ending corporate welfare and closing tax loopholes; increasing wages and strengthening working families; protecting the dignity of retirement by strengthening Social Security and Medicare; investing in infrastructure, education, and green energy to create more jobs; and taming the power of Wall Street.

Our video features exclusive interviews with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Dr. Gabriela Lemus of Progressive Congress, Damon Silvers of the AFL-CIO, Deepak Bhargava of Center for Community Change, Khalid Pitts of USAction, small business owner MaryAnne Howland, New Resource Bank President Vince Siciliano, and economist Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute, and quotes from Pope Francis, Richard Trumka, and Robert Reich.

The president of American Family Voices, Mike Lux, said, “Together, these voices tell the story of how a movement is rising once again to create an economy that raises working families up instead of enriching wealthy elites — an economy based on a prosperous and expanding middle class, not a trickle-down fantasy.”

Since the beginning of 2015, a variety of organizations and individuals have promoted a progressive economic agenda:

AFL-CIO

Alliance for a Just Society

American Family Voices

Campaign for America’s Future

Center for Community Change

Center for Popular Democracy

Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

MoveOn.org

National People’s Action

Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Progressive Congress

Roosevelt Institute

The Progressive Agenda Coalition

USAction

Working Families Party

“The emperor has no clothes: Reaganomics simply doesn’t work for the majority of Americans,” said AFV Executive Director Lauren Windsor. “This country was not built to be a serfdom. We need a progressive economic agenda to ensure we don’t become one.”

New Report Shows Ways To Help Small Businesses And Economy Include Raising The Minimum Wage

“Economic Agenda for America’s Future” includes set of short and long-term policy recommendations Washington can act on now and in the future that will drive economic growth, job creation and competitiveness 

(Image Sam Howzit FLIKR CC)

(Image Sam Howzit FLIKR CC)

Washington D.C.–Today, Small Business Majority released its updated Economic Agenda for America’s Future, a set of short and long-term policy recommendations government leaders can follow to ensure an environment where entrepreneurs, and our economy, can thrive. The Agenda outlines things Washington can do to bolster small business – including simple actions that can be taken during the next few months.

The recommendations range from action on access to capital, taxes, infrastructure, healthcare, immigration and freelance economy to minimum wage, workforce training, clean energy and exports, and are all tied to creating economic opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“There is no denying the impact our 28 million small businesses have on our economy,” said John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority. “Yet, small businesses too often find their needs being subordinated to those of big business, and sometimes even hijacked to support ideologically driven polices that don’t benefit them. Moreover, policymakers fail to recognize the rapid expansion of our new Internet-driven freelance economy, where much of the dynamic and innovative entrepreneurial activity happens today.”

Small businesses represent 99 percent of employer firms, employ half of all private sector employees and pay around 40 percent of U.S. private sector payroll. Small businesses and entrepreneurs have long been America’s engine for job growth and today more jobs are created by small businesses and the self-employed than any other way in America.

“Until we recognize and support the vital role of small businesses, we’re not giving our economy the best chance to flourish,” Arensmeyer said. “We must have a clear economic agenda that ensures we’re creating an environment where small businesses thrive, that provides the resources for small businesses to succeed and that ensures an economy that works for everyone. Focusing on small businesses and entrepreneurs is the surest way to drive the nation’s growth, job creation and competitiveness.”

The Agenda outlines things Washington can do over the next couple months that will create greater opportunity for entrepreneurs, which include:

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission can release final rules for crowdfunding to provide more opportunities for small business to access capital.
  • Congress can expand support for the State Small Business Credit Initiative, which funds new and existing state programs that support lending to and investment in small businesses.
  • Congress can pass long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank to ensure small businesses have access to global markets.
  • The Administration can facilitate the sharing of online tax data between the IRS and lenders, which will streamline the lending process for small businesses.
  • Congress can permanently raise the small business expensing (sometimes called Section 179 expensing) level to $500,000, and allow small businesses to deduct up-front the cost of purchasing new equipment, software and property.
  • Increasing the national minimum wage to $12 per hour.
  • Passing a comprehensive immigration law guaranteeing eventual citizenship for those who play by the rules and contribute to our economic success, coupled with appropriate and reasonable employment verification provisions

The list of things Washington can do to help small business over the next two years is even greater. To read the full agenda visit: http://www.smallbusinessmajority.org/economic-agenda

For an executive summary of the report, visit: http://www.smallbusinessmajority.org/economic-agenda/downloads/Economic-Agenda-2015-Executive-Summary.pdf

Colin Van Ostern: Should NH be more like TX?

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By Colin Van Ostern

Heads turned sharply in Concord this week when NH Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley and House Speaker Shawn Jasper both shared a press release inviting local businesses to relocate from New Hampshire to Texas. It was sent out originally by the Governor of Texas to New Hampshire political reporters Thursday, “Inviting New Hampshire Businesses to Seek New Opportunities in Texas.” All because Governor Hassan won’t approve an unbalanced state budget that, among other problems, creates special corporate tax giveaways without paying for them.

I can’t imagine a public policy dispute with a member of the other party that would cause me, as an elected official, to actively invite businesses to leave my state as Senator Bradley and Speaker Jasper did this week.  But let’s look past the backwards priorities and political gimmicks – on the substance, are they right?  Should New Hampshire try to be more like Texas?

Taxes?  It’s true Texas has low corporate taxes.  To keep them low, they rely on a hefty sales tax – which New Hampshire does not have. An Austin businessman pays an extra 8.25% on every supply he buys. So taken on the whole, the Tax Foundation found this year that Texas’s overall business tax climate ranked 10th in the nation.  Not bad, but still behind New Hampshire at 7th.

Workforce?  I’ve managed a $100 million business for a local manufacturer and currently work in a leadership role at our state’s fastest growing large employer – and I can tell you unequivocally that the most important resource for every great business is its people.  In New Hampshire, 91% of adults have a high school degree – the 4th highest state in the country, with high rates of bachelor’s and advanced degrees as well. Texas is dead last; 50th of 50 states. More Texans work at the minimum wage than almost any other state.  Only one in three adults in Texas have health insurance; again, 50th in the nation.

Quality of life? New Hampshire famously ranks as the #1 state in which to live, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. #1 in the country to find a home. #1 state to earn a living. #1 safest state.  On those rankings, Texas scores 38th, 47th, 25th, and 30th. And yes, our unemployment rate is 3.8% vs Texas’s 4.3%.

Welcoming & inclusive to all?  New Hampshire was one of the first states in the nation to embrace marriage equality; in Texas, a state constitutional amendment bans this basic human right. New Hampshire town meetings are famous. Our voter turnout leads the nation; Texas – well, you get the idea (47th).

The point is not just to compare brag sheets. New Hampshire succeeds because of a smart, balanced, and forward-looking portfolio of unique competitive advantages: our world-class workforce, best in the nation quality of life, inclusive community, and uniquely low taxes.  The ideologically-driven approach to state budgets that the Governor of Texas, Jeb Bradley and Shawn Jasper are pushing would undermine our workforce, weaken our high quality of life, and add a $90 million hole in the budget. 

It’s simply not worth spiking in-state college tuition, threatening to kick 41,000 NH citizens off newly expanded healthcare, undermining safe roads and bridges, and passing a deeply unbalanced budget that would result in even more cuts or tax increases later in the year, all to draw high-fives from conservative Republican governors in the Deep South.

Texas is a great state and it certainly has competitive advantages of its own (its beef brisket is admittedly hard to deny).  But when it comes to our overall tax climate, our workforce, our communities, and our quality of life – well, don’t mess with the Live Free or Die state.  That goes for Texas Governors and lawmakers here in New Hampshire alike.

Colin Van Ostern (www.vanostern.com) represents 49 towns across the state on New Hampshire’s publicly elected Executive Council, including Rochester, Dover, Concord, Franklin, and Keene.

 

STATISTICS/REFERENCES:

Quality of life & related stats:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/10/07/why-the-south-is-the-worst-place-to-live-in-the-u-s-in-10-charts/

Educational attainment: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_educational_attainment

Business tax climate: http://taxfoundation.org/article/2015-state-business-tax-climate-index

Uninsured: http://www.texmed.org/uninsured_in_texas/

Minimum wage: http://www.bls.gov/regions/southwest/news-release/MinimumWageWorkers_Texas.htm

Sales Tax: http://window.texas.gov/taxinfo/local/

Unemployment: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm

Marriage equality: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/states/entry/c/texas

Voter turnout: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/03/12/the-states-with-the-highest-and-lowest-turnout-in-2012-in-2-charts/

AFL-CIO Press Conference Ends with TPP Critics Being Locked Out of US Trade Representative Office

Show Us The Jobs TPP AFLCIO Banner

(Washington, DC, Tuesday, June 2) – Today, under the backdrop of a huge “Show Us the Text, Show Us the Jobs” banner, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler and Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre gathered with critics of Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to reinforce the message that working people won’t stand for another bad trade deal.

At the end of the press conference, a delegation of critics that included a faith leader, a nurse, an environmental activist, a veteran, a postal worker and a student walked to the United States Trade Representative’s office to ask to read the text. A large crowd followed and all were disappointed when they tried to enter the public visitor entrance and found the doors locked.

Earlier in the morning, Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Lloyd Doggett, Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen and critics of the TPP made it clear that they are not going to let another bad trade deal sail through Congress.

“Even though this trade deal will affect 40 percent of the world’s GDP, and even though no prior trade deal USTR has negotiated has ever lived up to its promises, and even though the administration has promised that this would be the most progressive, transparent trade deal in history, we still can’t see the text.” said Shuler.

Fast track supporters argue that the public will have 60 days to read the text on the internet before the President signs it.

“That is no change if we can’t make amendments to it. We need to see exactly what’s different in this Fast Track authority that’s any different from NAFTA or CAFTA, Gebre said. “We’re for trade that uplifts everybody. We’re against trade that drops everybody down and unfortunately our government over and over and over again has decided to drag us down instead of lift us up.”

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who has been asking to see the text for months wants answers.

“If this agreement were so good you’d be able to read it. But they’ve got a lot to hide in this agreement,” said Doggett. “On issue after issue we need to see the contract and we need to be able to read the text.”

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who has been championing the fight against Fast Track in Congress, fired up the crowd.

“Thank you for letting the country know about the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Fast Track,” DeLauro said. “Thank you for pressing Congress and the administration and saying do the right thing for the American people.”

Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen looked out at the crowd and reiterated that American workers are unified in opposition to Fast Track.

“Are you on the side of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or are you on the side of the American worker?” Cohen said. “Are you a corporate democrat or a people’s democrat? We had 30 years of work for less.

Workers Locked Out of USTR – YouTube Video and Twitter pictures and video

Read:  AFL-CIO Analysis of TPP and USTR Interaction

 

Every Child Matters Grills #FITN Candidates On Working Family Issues

“I think minimum wage is a classic example of a policy that is best carried out in the states,” Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina recently told MacKenzie Flessas at WMUR-ABC TV’s “Conversation with the Candidate” in New Hampshire.

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“To me, a national minimum wage does not make a lot of sense,” the former corporate CEO said in response to a question that began with the observation that, “In New Hampshire, someone who earns minimum wage earns less than $300 per week.”

MacKenzie is ECM’s New Hampshire field director. She and other ECM staff have also elicited replies during sessions of the TV campaign series from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Some highlights are provided here, and the full questions and remarks can be found at WMUR’s website.

ECM was able to ask former Florida Governor Jeb Bush a question today during taping of a program that will be broadcast Friday evening, May 29.

Senator Graham told ECM state director Mary Lou Beaver during one WMUR studio conversation that he has been a leading Republican champion in Congress for early childhood programs because, “by the time you are five years old, 90 percent of your mental development is there.” Graham promised that if he runs for president and wins, he will partner with states to assure adequate nutritional support for kids. But he warned that more ambitious plans to help children– “to give them a chance to compete in the twenty-first century” –will require entitlement reform.

Former Governor Perry told Beaver that he would “repeal Obamacare” and allow states to be laboratories of innovation for health care, suggesting health savings accounts, allowing insurance to be sold across state lines and tort reform as hopeful ideas. That was in response to a question from ECM about how to ensure that low-income children and their parents in New Hampshire would not lose health care access if the Affordable Care Act had to be replaced.

Governor Kasich said that he supports keeping the Earned Income Tax Credit to help low-wage working families, but he declined to endorse expanding or strengthening the program when asked. Kasich pointed instead toward education, including online programs, to help people get jobs that would pay more.

ECM will continue to ask candidates questions about policies that affect kids as part of our 2-year effort to put children at the center of campaign discussion during the presidential election process. In New Hampshire, Save the Children Action Network, a sponsor of the “Conversation with the Candidate” series, is a key partner in the effort to highlight early childhood issues.

We’ll continue to let you know what the candidates say!

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