just returned from Las Vegas where I gave one of the keynote addresses to 3,000
delegates from the United Steelworkers of America. Earlier in the week Nancy
Pelosi addressed the convention. President Obama also spoke to the delegates
via a video message. Tomorrow, I will be doing an online chat with members of
Blue America. On Sunday I will be speaking to Democrats in New Hampshire at
the Merrimack County annual picnic. In September I will be speaking with
Progressives in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa.
Here's the message I'm delivering. It's simple, straight-forward and appears to be resonating.
Yes, deficit reduction is important, but it is not the most important issue we face. We are in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and if the middle-class is to be saved we need to create millions of good paying jobs in the very near future. And we can do it. Here are three approaches that I will be working on to create the jobs we desperately need when Congress reconvenes after Labor Day.
First, we must rebuild our crumbling
infrastructure. That means repairing our roads, bridges, highways,
dams, culverts, sewers, clean water systems, subways, schools, public
transportation and affordable housing. When we do that we not only create
millions of good paying jobs, but we also make the entire country more
productive and competitive in the global economy.
Second, we have got to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. When we do that, we break our dependence on Middle East oil, we cut greenhouse gas emissions, we decrease air pollution and we put millions of Americans to work building American made solar panels, building American made wind turbines, building American made heat pumps and weatherizing millions of American homes with energy efficient products and technologies -- all made in America. This is a win, win, win, win approach.
Third, we have got to fundamentally rewrite our trade policy laws so that American products, not jobs are our number one export. Simply stated, our current trade policy of unfettered free trade has been a disaster for American workers and must be reformed. Over the past 30 years, we have been told by the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Barack Obama that unfettered free trade will increase jobs in America. They have been proven wrong. NAFTA has led to the loss of over one million American jobs. Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China has led to the loss of over 2 million American jobs.
Let me conclude by thanking all of you for what you do in fighting to make sure that government represents all the people, not just the wealthy and powerful. These are very tough times for our country. There's no question about that. But despair is not an option. This fight is not just about what happens to our lives. More importantly, it's what happens to our kids and grandchildren. For their sakes, we cannot give up the struggle.
Thanks for your support.