Who We Are
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The American Jobs Alliance is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization. We are not affiliated with any candidate, political party, union, trade association or corporation.
We are a movement of Americans from every region, every walk of life and every political persuasion who believe jobs must be America's top priority. Our economy works when we make more of what we buy and buy more of what we make. We must export our values, not our jobs. That will produce more jobs for more Americans in the U.S.A.
Our success will come from our numbers, our resolve and our commitment to our values and our country.
The American Jobs Alliance website is a communication and action center to advance our cause. It’s your place to sign up, learn the nature of the challenge we face as a nation and what we can do to create American jobs.
What’s the Problem?
Americans need jobs. Twenty six million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. America's economic strength has always come from making, building, growing and creating. But we no longer grow or make what we need to sustain ourselves. Looking at short-term profit and ignoring the long-term cost to our nation, Wall Street has encouraged companies to move jobs out of the USA to low-wage foreign countries.
A flood of foreign-made goods has wiped out the livelihoods of millions of Americans, and endangered our people with tainted food, deadly toys and shoddy products.
Unfair foreign trade practices and outsourcing to low wage countries drives up unemployment, drives down wages and has destroyed American families, farms and industries.
America has lost over 6 million manufacturing jobs since 1998.
As many as 42 million more jobs in engineering, high-tech and service industries are at risk of being outsourced.
Rigged banking, trade and tax policies encourage companies to invest in China and other countries rather than in the USA. Working together, we can change that.
The destruction of American jobs, farms and industries is the result of policies that reward companies to move to low-wage countries and import products back to the United States. Heedless of the long term cost to our people and our nation, officials have shirked their responsibility and approved policies that boost short-term profits for giant, global corporations that have no loyalty to America. America will continue to lose good paying jobs until we change misguided economic policies.
What We Can Do
Corporate and government officials need to know we expect them to supprt policies that will create jobs in the United States, and oppose policies that will continue sending our jobs and prosperity to foreign countries. They need to hear from us, loud and clear.
Begin by signing the pledge and asking five friends to do the same. United, We Stand - and United, We Win. There’s strength in numbers. Sign the pledge. Ask your friends, family and neighbors to sign. Enlist your local, state and federal representatives in the fight for American jobs.
Question? Comments? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why are there not enough jobs in America? Global banks and corporations move jobs to low-wage countries rather than hire Americans. These special interests, many of them American in name only, are aided and abetted by politicians in both parties who put short-term profits for their campaign contributors ahead of jobs for us and what’s good for the United States of America.
Why are there hardly any manufacturing jobs left in America? One part of the problem is so-called “free trade” treaties, which make it possible for multinational corporations, which are American in-name-only, to close American plants and relocate them to Mexico, China and other countries with cheap labor, no clean air or clean water laws, and ship the output of those plants back to our country tax-free.
Another problem is that many of our trading partners break the rules of international trade. China in particular deliberately keeps its currency artificially low compared to the dollar, making its goods cheaper, and American made goods more expensive on the world market. It also offers free land, tax breaks, low interest loans and subsidies to essentially bribe companies to set up shop in country. And it erects various barriers to keep American imports out even as we open our markets to imports from China.
Finally, Washington has continually turned the other cheek and failed to penalize countries for breaking the rules they are supposed to follow.
What is the American System of Economics? With roots dating back to George Washington and his Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, the American System, also called the American School of economics, is the economic philosophy that guided U.S. national economic policy from the earliest days of the Republic, through the Civil War to the early 1970s, and built the United States from an agrarian frontier society to the world's largest economy and greatest industrial power.
The American System economic philosophy consists of three basic tenets for government to follow:
1. Promote domestic industry through high import duties, or tariffs, on selected imports and/or subsidies for domestic producers;
2. Invest in a public infrastructure (roads, ports, dams, irrigation and water projects, public schools and scientific research) to facilitate commerce and fuel private enterprise; and,
3. Create a national bank to oversee national monetary policy and regulate credit to spur economic development and deter speculation.
Alexander Hamilton first proposed the American System. Hamilton's Report on Manufactures, requested by President Washington, laid out a plan for the federal government to nurture the growth of domestic manufacturing industries in the United States instead of having the new nation depend on manufactured goods imported from abroad.
In this report in 1791 Hamilton wrote: "The wealth...independence and security of a Country, appear to be materially connected with the prosperity of manufactures. Every nation ought to endeavor to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply."
What is free trade? Free trade is a one-world economic theory developed in 18th Century England. This theory imagines a world where nations do not exist and merchants can buy and sell anything, anytime in a world without borders. While the elite of the British Empire promoted free trade in the 19th Century, Britain did not practice free trade when it built its Empire and industrial might. Like other utopian economic theories, free trade has never worked in the real world the way it was imagined.
Did the Founding Fathers believe in free trade? No. The Founders were not free traders. The first bill passed by Congress and signed by President George Washington set tariffs on imported goods. Alexander Hamilton, George Washington’s Treasury Secretary, was a proponent of what came to known as the American System economic plan and was a fierce defender of “duties,” or tariffs, on imports. The nation’s primary source of revenue for 150 years after its founding was tariffs. The Founders believed cheap imports should not be allowed to drive American businesses out of our own market. In fact, the British East India Company tea thrown into Boston Harbor by the Tea Party was actually cheaper in price than tea the American colonial merchants were selling – the British had deliberately underpriced their imports to drive the American merchants out of business.
The Founders understood that America could not be independent and strong if we relied on other nations for our manufactured goods. They believed the United States had the natural resources, the technology, the labor force and enough customers here at home to support domestic industry and be largely self-sufficient. That’s as true today as it was then.
What are tariffs? A tariff is a tax, or duty, placed on goods at the border when they are imported into the country. For the first 150 years of our Republic, tariffs were the main source of revenue for the federal government. Think about that: for most of our nation’s history, the government raised revenue not by taxing working Americans and businesses, but by taxing foreigners who wanted to sell their goods in this country. This encouraged American companies to put Americans to work and make things in America. Now, Americans who have jobs pay more in taxes while companies using foreign labor bring their goods into America tax-free under so-called “free trade” deals.
Did the USA ever have a Buy American policy? Yes. George Washington championed a “Make it in America” policy and purposely wore a suit of American-made cloth at his inauguration in 1789 to demonstrate his commitment to “Buy America.”
Washington instructed his Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, to pursue programs to develop American industries. Washington and Hamilton believed that the United States needed to develop its domestic manufacturing in order to secure American independence. To achieve this, they advocated regulation of trade with tariffs to raise revenue, and supporting American manufacturing through subsidies, and other government encouragement. They believed promoting the growth of manufacturing would provide more job opportunities for Americans of all different skills and talents. Hamilton and Washington's economic plan to promote a Made in America economy came to be known as the American System.
Abraham Lincoln required the transcontinental railroad to be built with steel Made in America – that way, he said, we’d have a railroad, a steel industry, and keep our money, too.
Does China practice free trade? No. China does not practice free trade. It imposes stiff tariffs to keep American-made goods out. It provides subsidies, free land and low-interest loans from state-owned banks to help favored companies export goods cheaper than the real cost of production, and it requires government agencies and contractors to only buy from Chinese-owned companies. It also keeps its currency artificially undervalued in relation to the dollar to make its goods cheaper on the world market, effectively underselling anything made in America. All these practices are the opposite of free trade theory.
How do we bring back these manufacturing jobs? Washington must enforce fair regulations so foreign countries play by the same rules we do. That means penalizing foreign governments that use illegal subsidies, free land and low interest loans to bribe companies to set up shop overseas and flood America with cheap imports to drive American companies out of business.
How do we keep American companies from moving overseas? We must change the misguided trade, banking and tax policies in Washington that encourage companies to replace American workers with cheap foreign labor. We must also enforce the law so companies operating in countries that violate agreed upon trade rules do not benefit from an artificially undervalued currency, illegal subsidies and other practices that would be illegal in this country. If other countries continue to violate the rules, we should impose a tariff at the border that would make the price of their goods equal to the real cost of producing them here.
Doesn’t cheaper labor mean cheaper goods? That’s an argument we often hear - cheap imports helps consumers - but it’s not true. Have you checked the price of a pair of Nike sneakers lately? They’re not cheap, even though they’re made by some of the lowest paid workers on earth. In fact, the cost of labor is a small part (less than10%) of the final cost of a given product. Higher costs for shipping, longer lead time and supervising everything in an operation that straddles the globe makes up for the 50-cents-an-hour labor on the other side of the world.
But suppose for a minute that if a $500 flat screen TV made in the United States cost a little more. How many flat screen TVs do you buy a year,? How big a dent would an extra $50 put in your budget, compared with how much you spend on mortgage (or rent), car payments, fuel (gas, electricity and heat), food and insurance? The “consumer savings from low priced imports” are small.
We have to ask ourselves how much do we really save when we throw our fellow Americans out of work, and throw away the wherewithal to pay for good schools, safe streets and clean drinking water? It’s true that cheap does not always mean good. It’s also true that cheap comes with a price.
Why are American corporations selling our best technology to China? The Chinese government tells corporations that want to sell products in China they have to set up factories in China - and share their latest technology with Chinese “partners.” The corporations, which are American in-name-only, see short term profits in the promise of selling to 1.5 billion Chinese. But they overlook the long-term risk of giving away their trade secrets. Many companies have found out the hard way that the Chinese “partners” copy their technology, set up their own companies and become competitors. The Chinese people are proud of their country and would rather buy from a Chinese company.
Why aren’t our elected officials doing anything about this? A fundamental duty of our government set forth in the U.S. Constitution is to promote the general welfare. Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign countries. Congress has abdicated its basic responsibilities. Academic elites from Ivy League universities and lobbyists for transnational corporations, which are American in name only, have been telling elected officials to support so-called “free trade” policies, regardless of the impact on our people, our jobs and our nation.
Do we need manufacturing? Haven’t we moved beyond a manufacturing based economy to a service economy, the same way we moved beyond an agricultural economy a century ago? Every successful, advanced, prosperous country in the world has a healthy manufacturing sector. Manufacturing provides good-paying jobs for people with all levels of skills and a wide variety of talents. It’s no coincidence that Germany and Japan have high wages, a strong middle class, and large manufacturing sectors. China’s stupendous economic growth results from deliberately pursuing manufacturing.
The idea of a “post-industrial economy” or service economy has proven to be a mirage and a mistake. This theory has been used to justify moving jobs to low-wage foreign countries and throwing millions of Americans out of work with the promise that “new, better jobs” would come along. Those jobs never materialized.
The service sector jobs we do see are mainly in either low-skill, low-pay professions such as bartending and retail, or else were outsourced themselves to low wage countries, as we saw with customer service call centers and computer software writing.
The one area of the service economy that did see huge growth was financial services. The elites of Washington, Wall Street and the Ivy League believed the financial services industry would sustain the American economy. But we now see that Wall Street financial speculation produced very little of value and did huge damage to the productive parts of our economy.
America has always come up with new inventions, from airplanes to personal computers. Won’t we always be able to come up with the next big idea? Can’t we let someone else make the stuff? The people who actually make things are the people who will be the first to figure out how to make things better. If we want to keep inventing, we have to keep making things.
America has a proud heritage of invention, and when you look into what made us good inventors, you see a lot of hard work, persistence and tinkering. Thomas Edison said “Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration.” Americans were never afraid of hard work, and that’s how we came up with better ways to do things, whether it was build a car, a jet, or put a man on the moon.
Also, the majority of jobs come from making the products that result from research breakthroughs. One person’s good idea means tens of thousands good paying jobs for people who make the products based on that idea.
Isn’t it too late to bring manufacturing back to the United States? Aren’t those jobs and industries gone forever? No. We can still make it in America. America has abundant natural resources, talented, hardworking people, and world-class transportation and communication networks.
Our jobs and industries did not mysteriously vanish from America – they were deliberately moved out, as if an occupying army had dismantled our factories and put them on ships to another country. Now the wrecking crew is not an army, but Washington’s broken banking, trade and tax policies that make it profitable to move our nation’s productive assets – our mills, factories, research labs, offices and agriculture –to other countries.
We can – and we will - change those misguided policies, and once we do, we will again be able to say Made in America with pride.
Besides starting a business and hiring someone, can I do something to create more jobs in the United States? Our elected representatives need to know we expect them to vote for bills that will create jobs in the United States, and vote against bills that will continue sending jobs and prosperity to foreign countries.
They need to hear from you, loud and clear, by email or by phone. You can also encourage your friends, family and neighbors to join the American Jobs Alliance and take action. And you can enlist your elected representatives at the local and state level to join the fight for American jobs.
What is the trade deficit, and how does the trade deficit and outsourcing affect jobs in the United States? The trade deficit is the difference between what we import versus what we export. As a nation, we import more from foreign countries than we sell to them. This results in a trade deficit – it’s huge and it’s been growing. The trade deficit represents a huge transfer of wealth from America to the rest of the world. A big part of our trade deficit is imported oil. But most of our trade deficit with other countries, China in particular, is in manufactured goods, including computers, electronics and high-tech.
Last year, the trade deficit was over $650 billion. Our trade deficit with China alone was $273 billion last year, the highest ever. We finance the trade deficit by selling our assets.
Many of the goods we now import – such as toys, appliances , hardware, and even food - used to be produced here at home by American workers who have seen their jobs and their livelihoods disappear. Imports have displaced some 7 million U.S. jobs, many in the manufacturing sector. Princeton economist Alan Blinder estimates up to 56 million jobs in information technology, engineering, high-tech and service-sector industries are at risk of being off-shored.
We hear a lot about the exploding budget deficit. Is outsourcing responsible for the budget deficit? Yes. Bigger deficits and higher taxes are a direct result of outsourcing. Here’s how it works:
Simply put, when we outsource jobs and industries to foreign countries, we outsource our tax base, too.
Companies pay taxes to the cities and states where they’re located, as well as to the federal government. These tax dollars helped pay for the roads, water systems, schools, public safety and other facilities and services that make up the American standard of living.
When companies move overseas, cities - and the states and Washington - take a triple hit: they lose the tax revenues the companies used to pay, they lose what the laid off workers used to pay, and they lose sales tax revenues, because folks who don’t have jobs don’t spend money in stores, restaurants or theaters. But the cost of roads, schools, sewers and everything else remains and must be paid. The result: growing deficits for our cities and states, as well as for the federal government. With nowhere else to look to close the gap, cities and states raise property taxes on homeowners because we’re the only one’s left to foot the bill after companies move overseas. The jobs crisis, deficit crisis and property tax crisis all stem from the same root: the offshoring of America’s most productive jobs and industries.
Does contacting my representatives in Congress make a difference? Will they listen to me - I can’t give them money like the Wall Street lobbyists do? Yes. If you and other like-minded Americans contact them, they will listen. There’s strength in numbers. When the politicians see how many of us there are, they will listen to what we say.
They need to hear from you, loud and clear. Go to our Take Action page and learn how.
Does it help to see my representative in person? Can I bring others with me? The best way to get your message across to your representative is in person. If you go with a group you will really get their attention. You can make an appointment to meet at their district office (that’s best), or else talk to them when they hold a town hall meeting. It’s their job and responsibility to meet with you. Be polite and businesslike. Let them know American jobs are the top priority. Ask them how they plan to vote on specific legislation, and tell them how you would like them to vote. Bring a reporter with you and your Congress member will really pay attention – especially when they see the meeting is being covered in the news.
What can I do at the local level? There are many important and effective things you can do in your hometown. You can get together with neighbors and encourage them to sign the pledge and join the fight for American jobs.
Buy American made products whenever possible, buy locally grown food and patronize locally owned businesses. Keping dollars circulating in our community and in the US is an effective economic stimulus program that doesn't require an act of Congress.
Sending letters to the editor of your local paper is an effective way to get the word out. People – and reporters – read these letters, and the message is more effective when it comes from a neighbor. You can also meet with the newspaper’s editors to talk about what you stand for. The editors will get to know you and this will make a big difference in how the newspaper writes about the fight for American jobs, farms and industry.
Your town council and/or county legislature can join the fight. You can have them adopt resolutions supporting American jobs and calling on members of Congress and the Senate to support legislation that will lead to more jobs in the United States. Your efforts to get the resolution passed will be an ongoing story in the local news media, and members of Congress pay attention to a group of organized committed voters who are engaged with their elected representatives. The more towns that take up and adopt resolutions supporting jobs in the United States, the better.
You can have your representatives in the state legislature introduce a resolution, too. While it may be up to Congress and the President to fix the trade and tax policies at the root of the problem, enlisting your local and state officials builds support and awareness that we can and must do something. And your work will not go unnoticed by members of Congress.
To learn more about how Free Trade is killing jobs in America, check out our Recommended Reading List. 1) Free Trade Doesn't Work – Ian Fletcher—2009 2) 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country – Thom Hartmann 2010 3) The Great Betrayal – Pat Buchanan--1998 4) Dangerous Business – Pat Choate--2008 5) Three Billion New Capitalists – Clyde Prestowitz—2005 6) The Selling of Free Trade—John R. MacAruthur—2000 7) Death By China—Peter Navarro and Greg Autry—2011 8) In Praise of Hard Industries—Eamonn Fingleton—1999 9) The Case Against the Global Economy—Jerry Mander & Edward Goldsmith—1996 10) Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests—Gomory and Baumol 11) The Betrayal of American Prosperity-Clyde Prestowitz For a history of Free Trade, please click here.