The Senate is set to consider legislation to offer tax breaks to companies that bring jobs into the United States.
The measure scheduled for a Senate vote this week also would end tax breaks for firms that move jobs overseas. The bill likely will have to overcome a potential GOP filibuster in order to reach a final vote for passage, however.
Under the legislation, payroll taxes paid by employers would be waived for two years at companies that can certify that an employee hired to work in the United States replaced a worker performing similar duties overseas. The bill also would prohibit U.S. firms from deferring payments on overseas income, and companies no longer could take a tax deduction for the cost of closing factories in the United States.
“We have got to stop providing tax breaks to large companies that are throwing American workers out on the street and moving to China and other low-wage countries,” says Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a lead sponsor of the tax measure. “If corporate America wants the American people to purchase their products they have got to begin reinvesting in America and start putting our people to work building those products.”
The American economy is struggling with high joblessness, with the national unemployment rate dangerously close to double digits. Deep economic anxiety on the part of American voters is fueling a highly anti-incumbent mood that threatens to erase Democratic majorities in the coming 2010 midterm elections.
During a news conference call last week with Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sanders noted that nearly 30 percent of American manufacturing jobs disappeared during the eight years of the Bush administration. There are now fewer than 12 million manufacturing jobs in the United States –- fewer factory jobs than at any time since the beginning of World War II.
Sanders says that he heard from constituents at town meetings throughout Vermont this summer that they cannot find American-made products to buy. In fact, goods made by low-wage workers in China dominate the consumer products sold in the United States. Some 80 percent of toys sold in this country are made in China, as are 85 percent of bicycles sold in the United States. In fact, since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, more than 100 million American flags sold in this country were made in China.
“This country and the middle class are not going to survive unless we produce the products we consume,” Sanders says.
The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.