Final Presidential Debate: President Obama Will Invest in America’s Workers

Reposted from the AFL-CIO NOW Blog

In the final debate, President Obama detailed a clear vision to invest in America’s workers and to stop tax breaks for companies that ship U.S. jobs overseas. Mitt Romney, whose company Bain Capital was a pioneer in investing in companies that offshored American jobs, did not provide a plan to bring jobs back to the United States.

President Obama said:

Well, Gov. Romney’s right, you are familiar with jobs being shipped overseas because you invested in companies that were shipping jobs overseas….But I’ve made a different bet on American workers.

Romney’s record shows he cannot be trusted to invest in U.S. manufacturing or making fair trade deals for America’s workers. At Bain Capital, Romney built his fortune outsourcing companies and getting tax breaks for sending jobs offshore. He even attacked the president for filing a tariff on Chinese tires, which helped prevent the loss of factory jobs in states like Ohio.

The president has enforced trade laws and is the most pro-manufacturing president in decades.

President Obama pointed to proactive steps he’s taken during his administration to make sure China is playing by the trade rules they agreed to:

I know Americans had seen jobs being shipped overseas; businesses and workers not getting a level playing field when it came to trade. And that’s the reason why I set up a trade task force to go after cheaters when it came to international trade. That’s the reason why we have brought more cases against China for violating trade rules than the other—the previous administration had done in two terms. And we’ve won just about every case that we’ve filed, that has been decided.

Although Romney claims he would be “tough” on China, there is no evidence he or his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), would do so. Sensata Technologies, owned by outsourcer extraordinaire Bain Capital, is shipping middle-class U.S. jobs to China. Never mind Ryan has supported every trade deal over the past decade.

Being competitive in the world means investing in infrastructure and U.S. companies to grow the economy and nation build at home. The president reminded us last night Romney would “let Detroit go bankrupt” instead of intervening and saving 2 million American auto industry jobs. Romney, however, wants to continue to invest in foreign ventures and trade deals that have yet to produce jobs in the United States.

AFL-CIO Director of the International Department Cathy Feingold says we have seen very few jobs from current trade agreements in Latin America. In many of these countries, such as Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala, there is deteriorating security and egregious work rights violations.

Working Americans are rightly skeptical of generic promises that “more trade” will create jobs in the United States. We need more than empty rhetoric at this point, and Romney didn’t have it.

On veterans issues, Romney avoiding spelling out a concrete plan to help the growing numbers of veterans in the United States.

Jimmy Gilbert, director of the AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council, says:

The Veterans Healthcare Administration treats approximately 6 million veterans a year at 152 VA Medical Centers or nearly 800 community-based outpatient clinics. The Romney-Ryan budget slashes $11 billion in year one from veterans services like health care, education and job training. Does Gov. Romney feel that our nation’s veterans from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan should have their care, well-being and futures be compromised for political purposes.

Last night’s debate showed the president is ready to invest in American jobs and workers by improving education and infrastructure. He will stop rewarding companies that ship U.S. jobs overseas. President Obama is dedicated to leveling the trade playing field for U.S. workers.

Romney’s plan? We’re still waiting.

United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo W. Gerard says:

The president correctly argued his leadership brought back the auto sector, keeping other basic industrial sectors with good jobs in steel, glass and rubber strong. The president addressed trade law enforcement as a jobs issue and supported defense industry jobs in a strong military of aircraft carriers and atomic submarines that our steelworkers’ members build.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the choice couldn’t be clearer for America’s workers this election:

If Mitt Romney had been president in 2009, he would have let Detroit and the U.S. auto industry go bankrupt, jeopardizing 2 million jobs. And when President Obama took decisive action in 2009 to enforce our trade laws, imposing tariffs on Chinese tires to protect American jobs, Mitt Romney leaped in to criticize him. Expecting Mitt Romney to get tough on China is like asking his left hand to slap his right hand. We need a president who makes job creation his number one priority – and we need those jobs in the United States of America, not in other countries.