Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Trump Is Shoving His Agenda Up Ryan's Ass


Queasy unease about the unhinged, impulsive Trump has been quietly driving international gold prices higher.
Gold investors have focused on two main views since Trump’s election in November: one seeing him as a wild card upending policy on everything from trade to alliances, and the other betting that he’ll boost U.S. growth, equities and the dollar. The administration’s opening days have been marked by protests, disputes about what constitutes a fact and assertions from Trump that he’ll put "America first."

"The market is now worrying about what would come out from the new administration," Bob Takai, chief executive officer and president of Sumitomo Corp. Global Research Co., said by phone from Tokyo. "In this kind of very unforeseeable environment, people want to buy gold," he said, adding that the biggest factors are the dollar and the outlook for interest rates.
Yesterday may not have been a good day for the establishments of the two corrupt political parties in Washington, but grassroots Americans on both sides of the usual partisan split were rejoicing that Trump signed an Executive Order withdrawing the U.S. from the TPP. The congressman with the most progressive voting record in the House, Mark Pocan (D-WI), told his constituents in Madison immediately after Trump signed on the dotted line that "The defeat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a testament to the power of grassroots organizing. A large coalition of labor unions, human rights organizations, and environmental and consumer advocacy groups joined together with Members of Congress to successfully fight against the TPP, which benefited multi-national corporations at the expense of the hard-working Americans. U.S. trade policy must create good-paying jobs here at home, reduce the trade deficit, expand access to affordable prescription drugs, and protect human rights. Whether President Trump’s trade policies will meet these standards or not remains to be seen. I will continue to hold the Administration accountable to ensure that our trade deals benefit working families not big corporations. It’s time we give up the failed trade policies of the past and adopt a new 21st century trade framework to grow American jobs and protect U.S. consumers."

Bernie Sanders had a similar response, remarking that the TPP is now "dead and gone." He added that "Now is the time to develop a new trade policy that helps working families, not just multinational corporations," probably not exactly in line with what Trump intends in the end; we'll have to see. "If President Trump is serious about a new policy to help American workers then I would be delighted to work with him. For the past 30 years, we have had a series of trade deals … which have cost us millions of decent-paying jobs and caused a ‘race to the bottom’ which has lowered wages for American workers."

Longtime TPP supporter Paul Ryan may have been disappointed but he had his head right up Trump's ass, leaving Republicans who want to fight for "free trade" on a limb by themselves. No more of this kind of thing from Ryan, not on trade. Hopefully the corporate wing of the Democratic Party will not try to pick up the banner and further alienate the party from most working class Americans.

Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul was also enthusiastic about Trump's move. "If today is any indication of the Trump administration’s focus on manufacturing, it is an encouraging start. Withdrawing from the TPP is a first step in a long road toward reforming trade policy and we look forward to working with the administration on finding solutions to create trade deals that keep jobs here in America." His organization offered 5 criticisms TPP opponents have been making since it reared it;s ugly head, compliments of the Obama-Clinton wing of the Democratic Party working in conjunction with the Ryan-McConnell-Bush wing of the Republican Party.
The TPP would have lowered tariffs and some other non-tariff barriers to trade, but the agreement had no protection from currency manipulation.

TPP text substantially weakens the rules of origin requirements in the NAFTA agreement. That means that goods from countries like China could have been incorporated in products assembled in the TPP region and thereby enjoy the benefits of tariff-free access to the U.S. market without sharing any of the responsibilities of TPP membership.

According to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the United States’ GDP would be about 0.15 percent higher and there would be roughly 128,000 American jobs in 2032 if the Pacific-rim trade deal went through. None of those jobs were in manufacturing, though.

The same ITC report finds that American manufactured goods exports would be more than $15 billion higher than without the agreement, but that gain would be eclipsed by the $39.2 billion bump in imports.

The Peterson Institute for International Economics  said that 50,000 U.S. workers, most in manufacturing, could be out of a job each year during TPP's implemenation, and the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University cites nearly 450,000 lost manufacturing jobs.

The same organization is pushing heavily against another Paul Ryan/Mitch McConnell priority-- killing Buy American efforts-- that Trump appears to frown on. Ryan has successfully been purging Buy American provisions from procurement legislation. But he's now running into a bipartisan effort that looks to Trump to weigh in on their side. Illinois Republican Mike Bost in the House and Democrat Sherrod Brown in the Senate have been working together to thwart Ryan.

A number of House Republicans Trump last week in support of his own "Buy American, Hire American" initiative. In their letter, the Members note that a comprehensive infrastructure investment program "using domestically-produced iron, steel and other manufactured goods is keeping with the intent of America’s longstanding domestic content laws." This flies right in the face on Ryan's efforts to quietly remove this kinds of restrictions. "Many infrastructure programs," the Republicans wrote to Trump, "are not subject to any Buy America procurement preference laws. Where such procurement preferences are applicable, these laws are often not administered effectively-- resulting in hard-earned tax dollars leaking overseas and supporting job creation in China and other countries. These gaps in coverage have resulted in major public works projects being constructed with massive amounts of foreign steel and other imported products."

And Sherrod Brown announced, on the same day they sent their letter that he intends to introduce legislation to apply Buy America rules to all taxpayer-funded infrastructure and public works projects on Monday, Trump’s first full workday in office, something McConnell wasn't looking forward to. Brown has kept Trump in the loop about his intentions.
It’s a very good sign that bipartisan backing is building for Buy America. These commonsense preferences ensure that taxpayer dollars remain in the United States, helping to create new jobs, boost the economy and make America more competitive. Manufacturing jobs increase 33 percent per dollar spent on public works projects when Buy America provisions are applied.

There’s also major support for Buy America-- nearly three-fourths of voters say large infrastructure projects that use tax money should be built with American materials and workers.

But there’s proof in the projects as well, and there’s no better case study than the comparison of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and Tappan Zee Bridge in New York.

Back in 2004, then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opted out of federal funding so the Bay Bridge could be built with Chinese-made steel. His argument was that it would save some money.

That proved so, so wrong. Sending the steel construction overseas created an array of problems that cost the state tons of taxpayer dollars and delayed the project for 12 years. When the Bay Bridge was finally completed, it went $3.9 billion OVER budget-- and there are still questions about its safety.

Meanwhile, the new Tappan Zee Bridge in New York is being built with Buy America preferences. Its total cost is expected to be $3.9 billion, and while construction is still ongoing, it is making solid progress-- and thousands of American workers have been hired to complete it.

Also of note: New York could be among the states leading the way on Buy America. Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a plan last week that would require the state government to apply Buy America to any purchases for goods and services costing more than $100,000.
This issue-- demagoguing on it and taking all the credit-- is right up Trump's alley, of course. Ryan and Miss McConnell will just have to swallow hard and bite the pillow. Maybe they can commiserate with Hillary.

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At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think ryan will consider denying our least citizens their basic sustenance... and the absolute joy in watching them die... is his giant hard on. He'll let drumpf mess with "free trade" in that exchange all day and twice on Sunday.

Plus he knows that if drumpf ends up sooooo bad that a D is elected in 2020, he'll get his free trade shit from them then. Or maybe put the free trade shit into the bill that builds the southern wall. There's always a way.

What the money wants, the money gets. And more often than not it gets it from the democraps.


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