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News Release: Leaders in Cleveland to Push Tax and Trade Reform


September 24, 2012

News Release

Contact:  Sara Haimowitz, 202.688.5145, [email protected]

Leaders in Cleveland to Push Tax and Trade Reform

Tax reform and trade reform were the top policy changes agreed to by nearly 100 local leaders who gathered in Cleveland today for six hours to deliberate upon how best to create jobs and economic growth in the region.  The manufacturing, civic, agriculture and labor leaders attended the Northeast Ohio Economic Summit on the Revitalization of Manufacturing at the Cuyahoga Community College Unifed Technology Center.

Ohio House Rep. Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) spoke about his sponsorship of an Ohio House Resolution, which was unanimously passed in a bipartisan vote, telling the President and Congress that China should be cited as a currency manipulator.  His focus was to level the playing field to enable Ohio manufacturers to better compete in the domestic and global markets.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-09) emphasized the importance of manufacturing as essential in building a strong economy.   She stressed the need to reevaluate trade agreements and to promote a tax code and trade policies that balance trade and make our economy stronger.

“Summit attendees realized that they will have to lead since Washington is not focused on the core solutions to our economic problems,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of the Coalition for a Prosperous America.  “The best and brightest local leaders and concerned citizens spent the day learning about ways to help American regain its economic strength.  All agreed that we need a strategy to substantially increase our domestic manufacturing production and to balance trade.  The trade deficit cannot be allowed to continue undermining our economy.”

Marcia Pledger, Business Columnist for The Plain Dealer moderated the proceedings.  Panelists included:

*  Charlie Blum (President, IAS Group) who spoke about tax reform and the Value Added Tax which replaces tariffs and subsidies.
*  Bob Baugh (Executive Director of the AFL - CIO Industrial Union Council) who spoke about options for a national manufacturing strategy.
*  Jack Schron (President, Jergens, Inc.) who spoke about workforce development and ways to equip manufacturers and workers with the skills and innovative processes to compete in the future.
*  Pat Choate (Economist; Author, “Saving Capitalism: Keeping America Strong”) who spoke about our trade policy and how it has led to the great recession.

Brian O’Shaughnessy, Chairman of Revere Copper Products, delivered the luncheon keynote address.  Mr. O’Shaughnessy described successful trade strategies used by other countries and used by America in its past growth years, outlined the persistent problem of currency manipulation in trade, and proposed a way to conduct trade in America’s national interest for the future.

Local leaders spent the afternoon in breakout groups debating the best strategies to rebuild manufacturing, jobs and the economy.  While all agreed that each topic was important, the need to recapture the U.S. market and to achieve net exports in the face of tactics by foreign trade rivals were deemed most important.

By virtually unanimous consensus, tax reform was the number one topic in that the U.S. should explore adding a border adjustable consumption tax while decreasing reliance on income taxes in order to incentivize domestic production and neutralize the unfair trade impacts of foreign consumption taxes.   The second place topic was trade reform, specifically that the U.S. needs to make balanced trade a national priority while neutralizing unfair trade practices engaged in by other nations to the detriment of our companies and workers.

Stumo continued, saying “Attendees agreed that the most fundamental changes must be addressed at the level of tax and trade reform. These leaders formed a Task Force to deliver the message to elected officials that these solutions provide massive benefits to increasing jobs and wealth creation far above the issues they are currently debating in Washington. We need to stop focusing upon merely increasing two way trade, but instead to achieve net exports.”

“The Task Force will meet and consider how to convey the will of the Summit to the Ohio federal delegation,” continued Stumo.  “Leadership must start locally.  Task Force members are ready to provide that leadership.”

The Coalition for a Prosperous America is a nonprofit organization representing the interests of 2.7 million households through our agricultural, manufacturing and labor members.



4 Responses to “News Release: Leaders in Cleveland to Push Tax and Trade Reform”

  1. Mo says:

    What has government done to our money? Monetary reform should also be on the agenda because an unsound monetary system causes the distortions to trade and living standards. Printing money out of thin air has distorted the economy by funding un-needed wars that push up commodity prices and squeeze profit margins for various businesses, funds offshoring and financial speculation where wall street encourages companies to offshore abroad to increase profits or stay afloat.

    The Bank of England came out with a recent paper in December 2011 that showed if the trends of Bretton Woods continued, real income would be 50% higher, inflation 50% lower, trade deficit 1/3 lower and in the last 4 decades the world economy would have suffered 4 banking crises not 104.

    This is significant considering that inflation always leads to trade deficits which is a very important issue and that it cost trillions to bail out the financial sector. The decline in real wages, increase in trade deficits and offshoring, increasing budget deficits due to future costs being higher than forecasted and the increasing cost of bailouts all point to a monetary system that is unsound and in need of reform.

  2. China Watcher says:

    Two things are needed to ensure the long-term strength of the dollar. First, counteract mercantilist currency policies wherever and whenever they are practiced. Second, modernize the incentives to save, invest and produce in America. The latter is mostly a matter of sound tax policy, rigorous trade law enforcement, support of R&D and a sustained investment in our transportation, energy and communications infrastructure. A sound dollar cannot last without a sound economy.

    • Tom T says:

      China Watcher, I agree. The underlying rules determine the value of the game. We have morphed the savings incentives to benefit the very wealthy. Mitt Romney pays less in total federal taxes than just the SS part of most small businesses have to pay for themselves. Essentially this means that people in his income group get great loopholes to continue to amass and invest money while those making under 105K have less incentive to amass wealth. Most of their money is used on existence, not wealth building.

      I don’t think having a banking system that is controlled by a wealthy elite or an x industry controlled by plutocrats is good for the economy as a whole. People need to be able to make enough money in an economy to carry their own weight when it comes to retirement or other. Quite simply, this race to the bottom is eating their lunch. Super low interest rates allow the plutocrats to leverage their investment and make huge returns on their investment while the average guy makes little with his money sitting in the bank that he has saved. All this while our nation’s income statement bleeds red.

      The underlying rules and policies have encouraged the wrong things in the economy. It is why we have what we have. The arbitrage of standard of living has been pushed by the “free trade” group as they and their clients, the retailers, have reduced the value of labor in the United States and increasingly are able to influence the political elections. This is undeniable and one of the reasons it isn’t changed. The revenue streams are captured and it is hard for politicians to actually govern and change the underlying rules that affect these revenue streams (or lack thereof) when the revenue streams influence politicians directly.

      Tom T.

    • Mo says:

      Unsound money causes the economy to be unsound as it allows for an increasing amout of wasteful gov’t spending and overconsumption that gets paid for by capital consumption which means the emergence of rustbelts.

      Under a sound monetary system, if people defer consumption and save, there should be an increase in capital formation. As capital per worker increases, real wages increase. With an increase in real wages due to more capital per the population, labor intensive industries may find it harder to compete for workers that can earn higher pay in other sectors. So these labor intensive industries may close or offshore but it doesn’t mean manufacturing overall would decline. So savings could offset the hallowing out process even if it’s due to an overvalued currency.


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