With the political convention rhetoric soaring and political ads about to carpet bomb the airwaves, we thought it might be useful to comparison/contrast the Democratic and Republican platforms and show for U.S. workers both have policy agendas which will damage the middle class. The Democratic platform is here and the Republican one, seemingly not even indexed by Google, is here, in large pdf form. Let's take economic and labor issues and compare them side by side.
|Comparison of Democrat and Republican Platforms|
U.S. Worker Choice
|University Green Card ATM||Yes||Yes||Both Bad|
|More Guest Worker Visas||Yes||Yes||Both Bad|
|China Currency Manipulator||No||Yes||GOP|
|Bad Trade Deals||Yes||Yes||Both Bad|
|Taxes on the Rich||Yes||No||Dem|
1. Turn our University System into a Green Card ATM
Both Republicans and Democrats want to turn our university system into a green card machine for foreigners. Both parties are saying to foreigners if you graduate from a U.S. university, you get a green card. Not only will this destroy what's left of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics career fields for U.S. citizens, it will also further squeeze out opportunities for Americans to even get into college in the first place. This agenda will clearly corrupt our Academic system from it's primary purpose, to educate those paying for the University, the state and federal taxpayer citizenry. This green card ATM agenda has been demanded by corporate lobbyists and foreign countries, in particular India. From the Democratic Platform:
And to make this country a destination for global talent and ingenuity, we won't deport deserving young people who are Americans in every way but on paper, and we will work to make it possible for foreign students earning advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to stay and help create jobs here at home.
From the Republican Platform:
Foreign students who graduate from an American university with an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering or math should be encouraged to remain here
Displacing Americans, denying opportunity to Americans, including funding for starting new businesses does not create more jobs. It is exactly how it appears, we lose jobs for once again our government refuses to invest and support her citizenry. On top of that, the geniuses of the world already can immigrate to the United States. For the truly brilliant, there is no limitation or quota.
2. U.S. Worker Displacement by Increasing Foreign Guest Worker Visas
Both Republicans and Democrats want more foreign guest worker Visas in spite of the overwhelming evidence, in every single occupational category, there is no worker shortgage and people cannot get jobs in their field of study. From the Democratic Platform:
We need an immigration reform that creates a system for allocating visas that meets our economic needs.
From the Republican Platform:
a policy of strategic immigration, granting more work visas to holders of advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math from other nations.
3. Label China a Currency Manipulation
The Republicans have the upper hand on this one. From the Republican Platform:
A Republican President will insist on full parity in trade with China and stand ready to im-pose countervailing duties if China fails to amend its currency policies. Commercial discrimination will be met in kind. Counterfeit goods will be aggressively kept out of the country. Victimized private firms will be encouraged to raise claims in both U.S. courts and at the World Trade Organization. Punitive measures will be imposed on foreign firms that misappropriate American technology and intellectual property. Until China abides by the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement, the United States government will end procurement of Chinese goods and services.
To date the Obama administration has refused to label China a currency manipulator, or to enact corresponding tariffs. While the Democratic platform tries to imply they are doing something, the reality is this administration has not.
Both publicly and privately, the President has made clear to the Chinese government that it needs to take steps to appreciate its currency so that America is competing on a level playing field. This administration has doubled the rate of trade cases brought against China by the last administration, and created a new government-wide Interagency Trade Enforcement Center. The President is committed to continuing to fight unfair trade practices that disadvantage American producers and workers, including illegal subsidies, non-tariff barriers, and abuse of worker rights or environmental standards.
4. More Bad Trade Deals
Both parties want to pass the TPP and are all in for more bad trade deals. This is in spite of the overwhelming evidence these treaties have cost America millions of jobs and stunted economic growth. Both platforms are so riddled with lies it's hard to pull out the position. From the Democratic platform:
We remain committed to finding more markets for American-made goods—including using the Trans-Pacific Partnership between the United States and eight countries in the Asia-Pacific.
From the Republican Platform:
A Republican President will complete negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership to open rapidly developing Asian markets to U.S. products.
5. Financial Reform
We all know the Banksters are alive and doing well and real financial reform never happened. The Republicans want to roll back what little we got. From the Republican Platform:
No peril justifies the regula-tory impact of Obamacare on the practice of medicine,the Dodd-Frank Act on financial services, or the EPA’s and OSHA’s overreaching regulation agenda. A Re-publican Congress and President will repeal the first and second, and rein in the third.
The Democratic Platform is more a blast at the GOP. Clearly there will be no effort to break up TBTF fails or restore Glass-Steagall. That said, they did enact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, even though they gutted it. From the Democratic Platform:
We've created a single consumer watchdog agency whose sole job is looking out for working families by protecting them from deceptive and unfair lending practices of mortgage brokers, payday lenders, debt collectors, and other financial institutions.
6. Student Loans
What is missing from the Democratic platform is debt forgiveness and allowing student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy. The GOP simply want to privatize student loans. From the GOP platform:
The federal government should not be in the business of originating student loans; however, it should serve as an insurance guarantor for the private sector as they offer loans to students.
The Democrats want to set up a scalability payback program and expand the time to repay the loans.
We're creating avenues for students to manage their federal student loans so that their payments can be only 10 percent of what they make each month.
7. Offshore Outsourcing
The GOP don't even mention offshore outsourcing, but that said, they amplify the relationship with India, the top offshore outsourcing destination for American services jobs. The India BPO industry is over 6.4% of their GDP at this point. From the Republican platform:
We welcome a stronger relationship with the world’s largest democracy, India, both economic and cultural, as well as in terms of national security. We hereby affirm and declare that India is our geopolitical and a strategic trading partner.
The GOP don't even wish to acknowledge our national borders so corporations don't have to pay taxes:
To switch to a territorial system of corporate taxation, so that profits earned and taxed abroad may be repatriated for job-creating investment here at home without additional penalty.
The Democratic platform isn't much better and clearly implies we're on our own in terms of giving away our jobs to other countries, the same as the GOP.
We must out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build the world.
We Democrats support lowering the corporate tax rate while closing unnecessary loopholes, and lowering rates even further for manufacturers who create good jobs at home.
8. Unlimited Migration/Immigration
Both the GOP and the Democrats seem to be all for increasing the U.S. labor supply through unlimited migration and immigration. That said, the GOP has been the party which has blocked most of this agenda due to their refusal to endorse Amnesty or a pathway to citizenship for those illegally here. That said, be very aware multinational corporations as well as special interests and foreign nations demand more foreign guest workers, more offshore outsourcing and more illegal workers every day. Being able to relocate labor supply around the globe upon the whims of corporations has been an agenda for the last 30 years.
From the Democratic platform:
The country urgently needs comprehensive immigration reform that brings undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and requires them to get right with the law, learn English, and pay taxes in order to get on a path to earn citizenship. We need an immigration reform that creates a system for allocating visas that meets our economic needs, keeps families together, and enforces the law.
From the Republican platform, the GOP is against a pathway to citizenship and for even more foreign guest worker Visas.
We oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by intentionally violating the law, disadvantage those who have obeyed it.
[We need] the utility of a legal and reliable source of foreign labor
where needed through a new guest worker program.
No doubt about it the GOP wants to destroy unions. From the GOP platform:
We will restore the rule of law to labor law by blocking “card check,” enacting the Secret Ballot Pro-tection Act, enforcing the Hobbs Act against labor violence, and passing the Raise Act to allow all workers to receive well-earned raises without the approval of their union representative. We demand an end to the Project Labor Agreements; and we call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which costs the taxpayers billions of dollars annually in artificially high wages on government projects. We support the right of States to enact Right-to-Work laws and encourage
them to do so to promote greater economic liberty.
From the Democratic platform:
We will fight for collective bargaining rights for police officers, nurses, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, teachers, and other public sector workers—jobs that are a proven path to the middle class for millions of Americans. We will continue to vigorously oppose "Right to Work" and "paycheck protection" efforts, and so-called "Save our Secret Ballot" measures whenever they are proposed.
There isn't much to say beyond, the GOP continues their obviously wrong, supply side, trickle upon, trickle down tax agenda.
Extend the 2001 and 2003 tax relief packages—commonly known as the Bush tax cuts—pending reform of the tax code, to keep tax rates from rising on income, interest, divdends, and capital gains; Reform the tax code by reducing marginaltax rates by 20 percent across-the-board in a revenue-neutral manner;
Eliminate the taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains altogether for lower and middle-income taxpayers; End the Death Tax; and Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax.
From the Democratic Platform:
We support allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest to expire and closing loopholes and deductions for the largest corporations and the highest-earning taxpayers. We are committed to reforming our tax code so that it is fairer and simpler, creating a tax code that lives up to the Buffett Rule so no millionaire pays a smaller share of his or her income in taxes than middle class families do. We are also committed to reforming the corporate tax code to lower tax rates for companies in the United States, with additional relief for those locating manufacturing and research and development on our shores, while closing loopholes and reducing incentives for corporations to shift jobs overseas.
There is much more to be offended by in these policy platforms. Both parties seem hell bent on labor arbitrage and race to sacrifice the U.S. worker on the globalization altar. Both platforms put the U.S. citizen worker last for jobs in the United States. We get platitudes and blow off patronizing policy, such as we must retrain, even though we already have the skills. What's missing in these platforms that could actually help the U.S. worker is as wide as the grand canyon. Bottom line neither party is really going to put the U.S. citizenry first or make jobs for Americans their top priority.
Matt Stoller wrote up the broken Democratic platform promises of 2008:
These aren’t just broken promises, these are all broken promises that have to do with the economic and political rights of the relatively powerless. Privacy, union rights, debtor’s rights, activist rights, etc – they were promised tangible stuff, and didn’t get it. It looks like the Obama campaign will get a bounce from the convention, because the convention is well-organized and a good show. Just recognize that this show in 2008 had nothing to do with the ultimate policy that was enacted, and it’s likely that the 2012 convention will see a similar outcome.
That's the bottom line. It's clear corporations and foreign interests are demanding more foreign guest workers and it's also clear our university system is demanding green cards to continue their supply of foreigners who pay more in tuition. The more a policy is really about the U.S. worker and middle class, the less of a prayer's chance it has to get enacted. Bottom line, both parties will kowtow to their lobbyist masters and large donors. The middle class be damned, no matter how soaring the rhetoric is.