A report released yesterday by the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness "makes many solid suggestions for how to address our nation's jobs crisis," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, but "the fundamental focus is so flawed," he added, that he felt compelled, as a member of the council, to issue a dissent.
"I believe the report downplays the need for a proactive role for the U.S. government in many areas; fails to address the significant additional revenues needed to address the challenges identified on an appropriate scale; and in many cases erroneously identifies the root causes of the underlying structural problems."
Trumka said that while he agrees with the report's call for a vibrant and growing manufacturing sector, the report fails to address the fact that "our government's own policies with respect to trade, taxes and currency have created enormous competitive disadvantages for American-based producers."
Trumka said he opposes reforms proposed by the report, because they result in tax subsidies for companies offshoring jobs while "starving the government of the revenue it needs to create good jobs and upgrade infrastructure."
Trumka said the make-up of the council was a major contributing factor to its failure to come up with satisfactory proposals. "The 27 member council," he said. "is simply too narrowly representative of our country to provide a balanced set of recommendations to the president in these critical areas."
Corporate CEOs dominate the council and voted to cite "reforming the U.S. regulatory system and reducing the statutory corporate tax" as the key factors crucial to "competitiveness." Trumka said he disagreed and that "evidence does not support the claim that significant new job creation would result from such (so-called) reforms."
The leader of the nation's largest federation of union workers declared that "our country has become dominated by the interests of the wealthiest 1 percent at the expense of the remaining 99 percent. It turns out that a country run in the interests of the wealthiest 1 percent systematically underinvests in public goods; systematically silences, disempowers, underinvests in its workers; and in the end is less competitive and creates fewer jobs than a country that focuses on the interests of the 99 percent."
Trumka said the report omits the "informed voices of environmental, consumer, women's, civil rights and community organizations."
Republican House Speaker John Boehner has already praised the report, calling it an endorsement of the Republican jobs agenda and a repudiation of President Obama's approach.