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Public Statements

Make It In America

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. KAGEN. I certainly appreciate my colleague's comments and I couldn't agree with her more that what we are talking about is our national security. If you don't make anything, you won't have anything. If we don't have a viable economy, we cannot defend ourselves with our military. So we need to manufacture things here in America if, for nothing else, for our own national security.

Mr. GARAMENDI. Well, we have about 10 minutes left, and I would like to bring us back really to where we started, or where I started this discussion, and that is, for the first 18 months, the strategy of the Democratic Party in this House, in the Senate, and with President Obama has been to stabilize the American economy. Let me go back to this. Let's review what was happening.

Beginning in December of 2007, the last 2 years of the George W. Bush administration, the American economy slid into a recession. It became the greatest recession in America's recent history, since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

By December of 2008, in January of 2009, the last months of the Bush administration, we were losing over 700,000 jobs, 750,000 jobs a month. President Obama came in and my two colleagues here--I was not yet in Congress, having just joined last November--you put through the stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It stabilized. It stopped the slide, and people began to go back to work, with the largest, middle class tax cut in America's history, the largest middle class tax cut ever in American history. There were major investments in infrastructure. The result, after 18 months, was 2.8 million Americans working that otherwise would have been out of work or had gone back to work; 2.8 million Americans.

We see that here. We see the improvement, the monthly reduction in the number of people losing jobs. So that by this year, 2010, after 1 year of the stimulus program and other programs that were all voted on by Democrats with virtually no Republican support, we began to see job growth; not enough, not nearly enough.

We are now shifting gears. We are into the second half. We have stabilized the first half. We have reached some improvement, and now, now it is the second half.

In the second half, manufacturing matters. This is the heart, the soul, the strength of the American economy, and it is where the middle class makes it. It happens to be, as you so eloquently pointed out, Dr. Kagen, it is where the middle class lost. When those manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas, middle class lost. We will make it in America when we manufacture once again in America.

Both of my colleagues here have laid out some very important elements. One is the international competition, and I would like, Dr. Kagen, if you could review with us the international competition and the disadvantage of one--both hands tied behind the American manufacturer's back.

Dr. Kagen.

Mr. KAGEN. We are beginning to build a better Nation. We are beginning to put people back to work. There is a great deal of work to do, but our trade deals have to be balanced. Where I come from, people don't want fair trade or free trade; they want it to be balanced.

And if China is sending us a ship with $50 million worth of goods that they produced and unloading it for sale here in the United States, then they should purchase from our manufacturers, from our workers, $50 million worth of goods, again, to take back to their country. We have to balance our trade deals.

But it is hard to balance a trade deal when the country manipulates its currency and begins with a 20 to 40 percent price advantage just because they are cheating on the price of their money. It is hard to balance a trade deal when China is subsidizing foreign investors to come in and gives them taxes for free, a free ride for several years. It is hard to have a balanced trade deal when you have got value-added taxes that benefit the Chinese Government's corporations.

When you understand that there is no difference between the government and a corporation, I don't know of a single company that can defeat a government, especially one that is manipulating its currency. You know they have got a ``buy China'' policy.

We need to balance this deal, have a level playing field, and it begins by manufacturing, giving our manufacturers the tax advantages they need to create American jobs for American workers. For too long, for too long the Republican tax policy has been to reward the wealthy, not those who are working.

If you reward work instead of wealth, we can begin to not just balance our trade deals, but keep people in their own homes to solve our housing crisis and make certain that people have a positive future once again.

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