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 ?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.