Friday, November 25, 2011

Hoffa on the Economy !

By Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa

Published The Detroit News on November 9, 2011

The two fastest-growing states in the United States today are Michigan and North Dakota. And they are defying conventional wisdom about how to create jobs.
North Dakota deposits its tax revenue in its own bank, which invests the money in the state's economy. Unlike the biggest Wall Street banks, it is run at a profit using conservative banking practices. Top executives are paid modestly. The bank works with communities to help borrowers retain jobs, create technology and support retail, small business and essential community services. It's a key reason why North Dakota is the fastest-growing state in the country. Here in Michigan, federal government loans propped up leading manufacturers. Those loans enabled the industry to retool. The government also targeted loans to clean energy manufacturing — an industry deemed important to the country's economic future. We are now the second fastest-growing state in the country, according to a recent Bloomberg News study.The study gathered data on six things: job creation, personal income, tax revenue, housing prices, mortgage delinquencies and the performance of Bloomberg stock indexes that track share prices of local companies. Bloomberg attributes Michigan's success to the revival of the auto industry. Chrysler and GM have emerged from bankruptcy and benefited from an $82 billion loan. Chrysler just raised its earnings estimate for its first yearly profit to $600 million. GM's Chevy Cruze was the best-selling car in the country in June. And Ford recently reported its ninth-straight quarterly profit. Sure, things aren't great in Michigan, but they're looking up. The UAW just signed contracts with the Big Three automakers that raises starting pay and offers signing bonuses. The automakers are bringing jobs back from overseas. Some people will claim North Dakota benefits from an oil boom. Well, Alaska and Montana have oil, and their unemployment rate is 7.7 percent. North Dakota's is 3.3 percent.
Michigan and North Dakota show that government can and should pick winners and losers.They show that globalization isn't inevitable and that unions help create American jobs. And they demonstrate that economic growth doesn't rely on overcompensated executives at big, bailed-out Wall Street banks churning out complicated financial instruments. Michigan especially shows how manufacturing is essential to our economic health. When the auto industry moved overseas, Michigan's economy collapsed. Now it's coming back, and so is Michigan's economy. Contrast Michigan's experience with that of Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker says the answer to his state's economic problems is to offer tax breaks to corporations and to attack unions. Those ideas are well within the mainstream of right-wing economic thought.Walker's approach isn't working. When he took office, Wisconsin's unemployment rate was 7.4 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate was about 9.1 percent. Last month, Wisconsin lost 3,000 manufacturing jobs. The state's unemployment rate has risen to 7.9 percent while the national rate stays at around 9 percent. I predict that Walker will leave office without even coming close to creating the 250,000 jobs he promised to create. And I'm confident that Michigan will lead the way for the United States to become a manufacturing powerhouse again.
To read archived articles from General President Hoffa,
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Editorial : Remember, Jimmy Hoffa has degrees, from Michigan and Michigan State ! In economics and law !

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