|Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO|
Mark Cooper President South Central Iowa Federation of Labor Op/Ed
As families and neighbors gear up for Fourth of July festivities, we’re reminded that not all homes will be sites of celebration. It’s hard to drive through neighborhoods and not notice all the shuttered homes and abandoned lawns, casualties of the foreclosures, layoffs and jobs that have moved overseas.
We have lost more manufacturing jobs over the last decade (as a percentage of the total) than during the Great Depression. The closure of more than 50,000 manufacturing facilities, the loss of nearly 6 million manufacturing jobs and chronic trade deficits are all troubling signs of our nation’s diminished industrial and innovative capability. In south central Iowa, 45 companies have shipped jobs overseas and we have lost 3,600 jobs.
And it’s not just manufacturing jobs that are being shipped overseas. Our service economy is suffering a similar fate. Workers from call centers, professional services and aircraft maintenance as well as computer engineers, administrative services, health care and more have seen their jobs leave. A 2009 study by economists Alan Blinder and Alan Krueger estimated one in four U.S. jobs is vulnerable to off-shoring.
Unfortunately, in the United States, our economic policies are stacked in favor of corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent rather than the 99 percent of working families. To ensure we reward companies for doing the right thing for our workers and for our economy, we need to put a stop to the policies that encourage businesses to ship good jobs overseas. For example, corporations can defer paying any taxes at all when they move production overseas and we need to end this tax incentive for off-shoring.
After the Fourth of July recess, Congress will have an opportunity to address one particular tax policy that is particularly outrageous. The tax code currently allows companies moving operations overseas to deduct their moving expenses and reduce their taxes in the United States as a result.
The Bring Jobs Home Act can help change this by eliminating the tax deduction for moving expenses while rewarding businesses that bring good jobs back to the United States with a tax credit. By supporting the Bring Jobs Home Act (S. 2884), and its companion bill in the House (H.R. 5542), congressional leaders can take a good first step toward a more comprehensive plan to stop incentives for off-shoring, reorient our economic policies to make the economy work for working people and reform our dangerously lopsided tax policies.
State legislatures can do their part, too, through these three big actions: shining a light on companies that receive taxpayer dollars through state contracts or economic development assistance, prohibiting taxpayer dollars from going to companies that ship work offshore, and ensuring that state tax dollars are used to buy goods and services made in America.
What is our vision? Do we want an economy that invests in working families or one that multiplies profits for CEOs? Do we want to keep our competitive edge and have the best-trained workers, or do we want to fall behind as companies move overseas and leave millions of Americans unemployed?
Nothing is more American than creating an economy that works for all.
— Mark Cooper, Des Moines, president, South Central Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
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