Washington’s Fake Jobs Agenda


Editors Note: This is a guest post by Curtis Ellis of the American Jobs Alliance

We need to put Americans back to work. While Washington fought over ‘raising the debt ceiling,’ it ignored the†simple fact that jobs are the best way to eliminate the deficit. More people working means more people paying taxes (and fewer people collecting unemployment), more people shopping and more profits for businesses. In fact, raising the percentage of Americans that are working, from the current 56% to 64%, eliminates the deficit entirely, according to Dan Fuss, respected manager of the $58 billion Loomis Sayles bond fund.

So now that the Washington politicians say they’re going to focus on jobs, what exactly do they want to do? Unfortunately, President Obama has called on Congress to pass three new trade deals, with Korea, Colombia and Panama. He, along with Congressional leaders, claim this will produce jobs for everyone. Well, as Ronald Reagan used to say when negotiating with Gorbachev (who enjoyed a higher approval rating than Congress does now), “Trust, but verify.

Eleven previous free trade deals, including NAFTA and CAFTA, provide a record we can look at. Donít get fooled again. None of the agreements has come close to meeting the promised increase in U.S. net exports and the creation of American jobs.

From 2003, the year before CAFTA was signed, to five years later, U.S. net exports to the five CAFTA member countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) went from a $2.24 billion deficit to a $2.79 billion dollar deficit — our trade deficit grew by $556 million.

The Korea trade pact’s supporters are using the same old arguments used to justify the failed deals of the past.

They say it will increase exports and create jobs. They don’t mention that it will increase imports even more. (After all, Korea’s consumer spending is only equal to that of Los Angeles.) The US International Trade Commission, a nonpartisan government agency, says the Korea trade deal will increase the trade deficit by $14 billion. Imports take the place of goods once produced here at home, which puts more Americans out of work.

Supporters concede that even if we do lose jobs, the jobs that go overseas will be replaced by better jobs. But this has proven false. After jeans and t-shirts started pouring in from South China, the folks who used to make them in North Carolina did not start splicing genes or making computers. Many ended up as Wal-Mart greeters or among the long-term unemployed, while we import computers and high-tech gadgetry manufactured in Asia.

We were told we don’t need the “sunset industries“†of yesterday — manufacturing. The elites from Wall Street, Washington and the Ivy League dreamed of a post-industrial service economy based primarily on financial services –investment banking, insurance and real estate. Their dream became a nightmare for millions of working Americans.

America must have a diversified economy that includes manufacturing and produces real goods, not just questionable financial deals. We need a real jobs agenda that puts Americans back to work making more of what we buy and use everyday. Congress must reject the failed policies of the past and the fake jobs agenda that actually makes it easier for multinational companies to replace American jobs with more imports from abroad. It should start by saying ‘No’ to the Korea, Colombia and Panama trade deals.


Curtis Ellis is Executive Director of the American Jobs Alliance,an independent, nonpartisan not-for-profit dedicated to promoting jobs in the USA and businesses that hire in the USA.

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Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra3 years ago

Thank you Ellen, for Sharing this!

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Ellen, for Sharing this!

jessica w.
jessica w5 years ago


wizzy wizard
wiz w5 years ago


Iona Kentwell
Iona Kentwell5 years ago

One of Australia's successful actions in avoiding the devastation from the global financial mess was to employ Australians. The government used this time to build roads, improve school buildings and other basic infrastructure actions. It worked. So far so good, we haven't been hit nearly as hard as other western nations.

Carole K.
Carole K5 years ago

WPA/CCC now ASAP!!!!

David N.
David N5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Grace Adams
Grace Adams5 years ago

It would actually be in the enlightened self-interest of our corporate leaders to pay taxes to support a program of subsidized minimum wage labor (two weeks free followed by the federal government making up the difference between the workers measured productivity and the minimum wage for as long as that worker remains with that firm) for all the minimum wage labor they can use and community service employment program for a reserve of even lower skill workers to be tapped if and when the economy booms again. All the money injected as wages into the bottom of the economy as taxpayer subsidized or totally paid wages will trickle up to our corporate leaders. They have already forced lower class Americans to buy on credit until they maxed out their credit cards and could no longer keep up with the payments. So they have outsmarted themselves to the point of destroying the United States as a market for their products.

Kye J.
michelle t5 years ago


Stephanie W.
Stephanie W5 years ago

Great article...thank you!