Elizabeth Warren’s Plan for Economic Patriotism
By Robert Kuttner, Published on Tuesday, June 04, 2019
https://prospect.org/article/warrens-astonishing-plan-economic-patriotism (this article is also “Elizabeth Warren Presents Unparalleled Plan to Bolster American Workers and Manufacturing” at https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/04/elizabeth-warren-presents-unparalleled-plan-bolster-american-workers-)
The Massachusetts senator presents by far the most serious proposal to bolster American industry.
I have been a fan of Elizabeth Warren for a long time. Her combination of deep knowledge of how American capitalism works, her capacity to narrate the lived experience of American working families and tie it to radical reforms, and her sheer integrity are unsurpassed.
Her rollout of one brilliant policy proposal after another and her ability to connect those to a political understanding of the American situation has been just stunning. But Warren’s latest plan is in a class by itself, even for Warren. She calls it an Agenda for Economic Patriotism.
“With this plan, Warren has begun an overdue debate that she deserves to win, both intellectually and politically. And she has demonstrated once again her potential as a powerful force against Donald Trump.”
Warren’s proposal does nothing less than turn inside out the globalist assumptions pursued by the past several administrations, Democrat and Republican alike. Where they have pursued more globalization of commerce as an end in itself (and as a profit center for U.S.-based multinational corporations and banks), Warren’s goal is to bring production and good jobs home.
Even better, she knits it all together with a coherent plan, beginning with a new Department of Economic Development “with the sole responsibility to create and defend quality, sustainable American jobs.”
The new Department will replace the Commerce Department, subsume other agencies like the Small Business Administration and the Patent and Trademark Office, and include research and development programs, worker training programs, and export and trade authorities like the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The new Department will have a single goal: creating and defending good American jobs.
Globalization didn’t just happen, Warren points out.
America chose to pursue a trade policy that prioritized the interests of capital over the interests of American workers. Germany, for example, chose a different path and participated in international trade while at the same time robustly—and successfully—supporting its domestic industries and its workers.
Warren proposes that every tool of American national policy be directed towards the goals of reclaiming domestic industry and producing good jobs for American workers.
This, in her phrase, is the essence of economic patriotism and is the opposite of what most American-based banks and corporations do.
These “American” companies show only one real loyalty: to the short-term interests of their shareholders, a third of whom are foreign investors. If they can close up an American factory and ship jobs overseas to save a nickel, that’s exactly what they will do—abandoning loyal American workers and hollowing out American cities along the way.
Specifically, she calls for leveraging government-subsidized R & D to promote domestic good jobs. If the research and development that goes into new products is funded by American taxpayers, those products will be built by American workers. Warren also wants management of the value of the dollar to take into account the impact on domestic production.
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