FROM Scott Paul
Manufacturing: Heritage of the Past or Wave of the Future? After years of decline, all the talk about a "service economy" and predictions that it might never return, manufacturing is making a comeback in the United States. The Obama Administration is making the most of it, planning a forum tomorrow on what it calls " Insourcing of American Jobs " by companies returning from foreign shores. But will the jobs of the future bring back the Middle Class that made the US a superpower in the half-century after World War II? What industries are on the upswing? What kind of training will they require? What role should — or should not — be played by the federal government?
Stimulating the Economy, Now and in the Future The whole world is waiting to see what President Obama's stimulus package will bring. It will have consequences not just for the United States, but also for both trading partners and economic competitors. The House stimulus bill calls for prohibiting foreign steel and iron from infrastructure projects. The Senate version being debated this week goes further, with few exceptions to the requirement for American-made goods and equipment. Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, call that “protectionism.” In this rebroadcast of To the Point, we preview the debate raging in Washington over the biggest government spending package since WWII.
Stimulating the Economy, Now and in the Future The President and the Congress are prepared to break records for government spending, with consequences for America and the rest of the world. The stimulus package is supposed to move fast enough to have immediate impact, but not so fast that it's reckless or wasteful. The House bill calls for prohibiting foreign steel and iron from infrastructure projects. The Senate version being debated this week goes further, with few exceptions to the requirement for American-made goods and equipment. Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, call that "protectionism." Could such provisions lead to foreign retaliation? Do other elements advance the Democrats' social agenda, rather than focusing on creating jobs. What should be the long-term objectives? Can past levels of growth and prosperity be restored or will Americans have to tighten their belts permanently?
Federal Bailouts and Double Standards Two hundred workers are staging a sit-in at a Chicago factory after the Bank of America cut off the company's credit. The bank got $25 billion in taxpayer funds, but the workers only got three days notice of termination. Now they're symbolic of the double standard for federal bailouts of Wall Street compared to other sectors of the economy. The factory is in the former state senate district of President-elect Barack Obama .
Bailouts, Perferences and Industrial Policy The White House says if Democrats can get their act together it's "very likely" the Big Three automakers will get massive federal assistance. But auto workers are on a caravan from the Midwest to Washington, complaining they have to make more concessions than Wall Street financiers. The Bank of America, which got $25 billion in taxpayer bailout funds, cut off credit to their employer; the auto workers got three days notice of termination, when federal law requires 60 days. They've become a symbol of the complaint that the bailout process favors the white-collar financial sector at the expense of blue-collar workers. Is Wall Street more important than other sectors of the economy? Does the US need a policy for manufacturing, too, like Barack Obama's jobs-creating stimulus plan ?
Does 'hire American' mean fire a foreigner? US companies are allowed to hire employees from other countries with highly developed skills that can't be found here. President Trump says it's being abused as a way to find cheap foreign labor. We hear about the benefits—and the risks—of changing the H-1B program.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.