Tag: Charles Schumer

TPP: Absence of Currency Control Makes It Unacceptable

Wall Street biggest friend in the Senate Charles Schumer doesn’t like the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, not so much for what’s in it but what isn’t, currency controls. Because the secret agreement being negotiated by the Obama administration doesn’t contain a clause that would protect currencies from being manipulated, Sen. Schumer is free to discuss it and why it’s important. In an interview and article at Huffington Post, he goes into the details about his concern and how currency manipulation hurts international trade and manufacturing.

A decade ago, or perhaps a little longer, New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer had an epiphany during a visit to a Crucible Industries steel plant in Syracuse.

His realization has proved enduring, and a decade later, it threatens to derail the grand trade agenda of his fellow Democrat, President Barack Obama.

The lightning bolt that lit up Schumer’s imagination that day was delivered by managers at the specialty steel factory, who complained of a surprisingly simple and profound fact that few people ever consider if they don’t deal in international commodities. Steel fabricators in Schumer’s state were losing sales not because of any failing on their part, but because the government of China was using a trick of the international currency market to keep Chinese manufacturers’ goods as much as one-third cheaper.

The label for the practice is currency manipulation, and Schumer has harped on it ever since — in meetings with business leaders, on the Senate floor, in hearings, and with legislative offerings.

But what exactly is it, and why does does it matter? And why is it so important to many Democrats that if it’s not addressed in the ongoing push for massive new trade pacts, they’re willing to torpedo their own president’s agenda? [..]

The numbers of jobs lost from manipulation, and the flip-side potential gains from ending it, are what make it so important for many lawmakers, on both sides of the aisle. Republicans, such as Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Jeff Sessions (Ala.), have been strong proponents for legislation that would crack down on currency manipulation.

But for Democrats, many of whom support the goals Obama is striving for in his pursuit of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement with 11 Pacific Rim nations, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with Europe, currency manipulation is especially important because many suspect Obama will be unable to enforce the stronger labor and environmental standards called for in those trade deals. [..]

But in a sign of just how important currency manipulation is to several countries that would be included Trans-Pacific Partnership, Obama administration officials who testified on Capitol Hill last month almost universally warned that passing currency measures would be a trade-deal killer.

Napolitano Stepping Down From Homeland Security

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano is steeping downin September to take up the position of president of the University of California system:

Janet Napolitano, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security and former governor of Arizona, is being named as the next president of the University of California system, in an unusual choice that brings a national-level politician to a position usually held by an academic, The Times has learned. Her appointment also means the 10-campus system will be headed by a woman for the first time in its 145-year history.

Napolitano’s nomination by a committee of UC regents came after a secretive process that insiders said focused on her early as a high-profile, although untraditional, candidate who has led large public agencies and shown a strong interest in improving education.

UC officials believe that her Cabinet experiences — which include helping to lead responses to hurricanes and tornadoes and overseeing some anti-terrorism measures — will help UC administer its federal energy and nuclear weapons labs and aid its federally funded research in medicine and other areas.

Her position in the Obama administration may be difficult to fill according to some insiders but this hasn’t stopped Sen. Charles Schumer who jumped at the opportunity to throw out New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s name:

“The Department of Homeland Security is one of the most important agencies in the federal government,” Schumer said in a statement Friday. “It’s leader needs to be someone who knows law enforcement, understands anti-terrorism efforts, and is a top-notch administrator, and at the NYPD, Ray Kelly has proven that he excels in all three.” [..]

Schumer noted that Kelly’s experience as former head of Customs and Border Patrol gives him “top-level federal management experience.”

“There is no doubt Ray Kelly would be a great DHS Secretary, and I have urged the White House to very seriously consider his candidacy, “Schumer’s statment continues. “While it would be New York’s loss, Commissioner Kelly’s appointment as the head of DHS would be a great boon for the entire country. Janet Napolitano has done an outstanding job, and if I had to give her a grade on her tenure, it would be ‘A+’. We need someone just as good who can fill her shoes.”

Former House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-L.I.) also touted Kelly for the job Friday.

Just the fact that Peter King put his stamp of approval on Kelly should be reason enough to reject him but there are some very serious problem’s with Kelly that have arisen during his tenure as NYPD Commissioner. Marcy Wheeler thinks that maybe Schumer must want all American Brown youth stopped and frisked

Not only is this a batshit crazy idea because of all the authoritarian things Ray Kelly has done in NYC, from harassing hundreds of thousands of African American and Latino youths to spying on Muslims.

But note how Schumer doesn’t mention the other, equally important part of Homeland Security: keeping the country safe from things like Chinese hackers and natural disasters.

How’d Kelly do at organizing a response to Hurricane Sandy? Maybe we should ask Occupy Sandy about that?

Charles Pierce at Esquire Politics Blog noted that he doesn’t see “how anyone gets confirmed without being barbecued on the White House lawn.” But if Kelly gets the nod, he’ll bring the charcoal. I’m with you, Charlie, I’ll bring the lighter fluid and matches.

The last person we need in charge of DHS is a racist, authoritarian who agrees with the FBI that peaceful protest is a “terrorist threat.” The best thing that could happen, DHS gets abolished and we end the “War on the Constitution”.

Sen. Schumer Rejects Tax Reform Compromise

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In a speech to the National Press Club, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) rejected the current compromise for a bipartisan deficit reduction plan that would prevent the trigger of tax increases and automatic spending cuts that go into effect on January 1. He stated that the compromise could not bring in more revenue by lowering the top tax rate and still protect the middle class from tax increases:

Specifically, he’s publicly urging Democrats to abandon a tax reform model that calls for ending tax expenditures, many of which benefit middle income earners, in order to finance a large tax rate cut for wealthier people. It’s a framework that’s popular among economists, particularly conservative ones, but that a group of Democrats negotiating with Republicans to avert large tax increases and sharp spending cuts next year have also embraced.

Instead, he proposes targeting tax loopholes and deductions that benefit top earners and raising their top income tax rate, while simultaneously narrowing the tax code’s preference for capital gains by ratcheting up the capital gains rate from its current, historically low rate of 15 percent. Taken altogether it’s a call for significantly more revenue from high-income earners than Dems have sought by proposing to allow the Bush tax cuts for top earners to expire; and an attempt to strengthen Dems’ negotiating posture, lest they get lured into conceding another large income tax cut for the wealthy.

Sen. Schumer proposes to freeze the top two tax bracket, cut the loopholes and deductions that benefit the top earners and raise the capital gains tax.

David Dayen at FDL News Desk notes that this would be a “major blow” to the Simpson-Bowles plan that would see the tax rates reduced to 23% for the top earners.

So how would Schumer get the Republicans to sit down at the table? As David point out, simple by dangling “entitlement” reform:

But there’s a giant caveat to all of this, based on the excerpts (haven’t yet found the full speech):

  But he says that Republicans should be drawn to such a deal by the prospect of a bipartisan bargain that also includes changes to improve the sustainability of entitlement programs. Those programs – such as Social Security and Medicare – are expected to run substantial shortfalls in the future, adding dramatically to budget deficits.

   “The lure for Republicans to come to the table around a grand bargain should be the potential for serious entitlement reform, not the promise of a lower top rate in tax reform,” Mr. Schumer is expected to say, according to excerpts of his speech.

So Schumer wants to trade unworkable “tax reform” for deeply unpopular “entitlement reform.” That’s not really a great trade. It’s good to acknowledge that tax reform will never work the way its most passionate advocates suggest. But if that doesn’t exist as a “get” for Republicans in a grand bargain, and entitlement cuts are the substitute, we have a whole different problem.

While Schumer claims that the concession on “entitlement” reform would not include privatization or a voucher program,  Atrios noted the Republicans have no interest in “reform” of entitlements unless it includes privatization and tax cuts for the wealthy. In other words, the chances of getting anything done have greatly increased.

Schumer Pushes For A Corporate Tax Holiday

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

A corporate tax holiday? Does Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) seriously think that by cutting the tax rate on overseas profits for US Multinationals from 35% to 5,25% it will encourage these companies to create jobs here? That is what Schumer, our elected Wall St. lobbyist, is pushing despite the fact that the last time this was done in 2005, most of the money went to shareholders and executives (pdf) in the form of dividends and stock buy backs. We all know how many jobs were created, zero. Indeed, the companies that profited the most actually laid off more workers and cut back production in the US. We all know how many jobs were created, zero. Indeed, the companies that profited the most actually laid off more workers and cut back production in the US. As to increased revenue, short term it might bring $50 billion into the Treasury but over a ten year period there would be an $80 billion loss.

In his Rolling Stone blog, Matt Taibbi explains how this is just another “con” by corporation lobbyists:

Here’s how it works: the tax laws say that companies can avoid paying taxes as long as they keep their profits overseas. Whenever that money comes back to the U.S., the companies have to pay taxes on it.

Think of it as a gigantic global IRA. Companies that put their profits in the offshore IRA can leave them there indefinitely with no tax consequence. Then, when they cash out, they pay the tax.

Only there’s a catch. In 2004, the corporate lobby got together and major employers like Cisco and Apple and GE begged congress to give them a “one-time” tax holiday, arguing that they would use the savings to create jobs. Congress, shamefully, relented, and a tax holiday was declared. Now companies paid about 5 percent in taxes, instead of 35-40 percent.

Money streamed back into America. But the companies did not use the savings to create jobs. Instead, they mostly just turned it into executive bonuses and ate the extra cash. Some of those companies promising waves of new hires have already committed to massive layoffs..

According to Forbes, Chuck Schumer has garnered the blessings of some “left” Democrats by pairing it with a job creating infrastructure program. Former SEIU president Andy Stern and Sen. Kay Hagen (D-NC), who voiced her support at a Third Way breakfast, have endorsed the idea and the multi-nationals have already sent out their dogs to push it:

While the repatriation holiday alone is a non-starter for most Democrats, pairing it with an infrastructure program could marshal labor support. It’s an approach backed by former Service Employees International Union president Andy Stern, who’s emerged as the most vocal proponent of the tax holiday on the left.

snip

The team of corporate heavyweights behind the lobbying push for the holiday — including Apple (AAPL), Cisco (CSCO), Duke Energy (DUK), Google (GOOG), Kodak (EK), Microsoft (MSFT), Pfizer (PFE), and Oracle (ORCL) – has shown some success softening up Democratic opposition recently. Last week, the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way hosted a breakfast on the topic that featured Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.). “A repatriation holiday can encourage economic activity at a fraction of the cost of recent fiscal policy,” Hagan said in her prepared remarks.

My head hurts.

Who will the Senate Finance Committee Listen to?

Have you met your Senate Finance Committee?

Give em a call because your Future Health Care, or lack thereof, is in their hands.

Senate Committee on Finance

Members

REPUBLICANS

CHUCK GRASSLEY, IA

ORRIN G. HATCH, UT

OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, ME

JON KYL, AZ

JIM BUNNING, KY

MIKE CRAPO, ID

PAT ROBERTS, KS

JOHN ENSIGN, NV

MIKE ENZI, WY

JOHN CORNYN, TX

DEMOCRATS

MAX BAUCUS, MT

JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, WV

KENT CONRAD, ND

JEFF BINGAMAN, NM

JOHN F. KERRY, MA

BLANCHE L. LINCOLN, AR

RON WYDEN, OR

CHARLES E. SCHUMER, NY

DEBBIE STABENOW, MI

MARIA CANTWELL, WA

BILL NELSON, FL

ROBERT MENENDEZ, NJ

THOMAS CARPER, DE

http://finance.senate.gov/site…

Chances are, these good Senators, while they hear us, have some other Constituents, always on their minds.

Sen. Schumer’s Not So Hidden Agenda

 

Sen. Chuck Schumer wants a more activist federal government.

“You look at just about every policy difference between Obama and McCain,” he said. “Underlying it was a more active government.”

The senior senator from New York is profiled in the January/February 2009 issue of The Atlantic. In “The Man in the Middle“, Joshua Green writes of the November 2008 interviews he had with Sen. Schumer, focusing upon how the senator defines the American middle class and the challenges they face. He believes helping the middle class will be the vital to fixing our country, carrying out President Obama’s policies, and building the Democratic Party.

First, who are middle class Americans?

Sen. Schumer believes that federal programs that target families making the U.S. median household income of $48,000 or below means these programs do not reach middle class. The median-household-income static does not factor, for example, age or geography. Most Democrats, according to the article, see the middle class families as resting in an income range between $60,000 and $100,000.

Has Everyone Drunk the Kool-Aid? New AG Nominee Is Right-Wing Nut

Crossposted at Invictus

So Federal Judge Michael B. Mukasey said he was against torture in his confirmation hearing, and the liberals are ready to fall all over him. His confirmation as Bush’s new attorney general is presumably a given. Never mind that he refused to comment on the secret 2005 Bush Administration memorandums authorizing harsh, “enhanced” interrogation techniques by the CIA. Listen to Mukasey get all huffy at his nomination hearing today:

When Senator Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat, suggested in his questioning that the 2005 opinions might authorize torture, Mr. Mukasey stopped him. “You characterize it as torture,” he said. “I do not know of such a policy and I hope not to find them.”

Nor would he comment in detail on the legality of the so-called warrantless wiretap program that was authorized by President Bush shortly after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been harshly criticized by civil liberties groups and lawmakers from both parties as possibly unconstitutional.

“I am not familiar with that program,” said Mr. Mukasey, who knew enough about the program to refer to it as the Terrorist Surveillance Program, the name preferred by the White House.