Our form of government depends on an informed public. But currently the gap between what the public wants and what the public knows is huge. Democrats in Congress have an opportunity this week to draw sharp contrasts between the parties, so voters can be made aware of the choice this November. They owe it to the public to help them make decisions. Choosing to avoid votes is a choice to hide this information from the public, and allow the misinformers to prevail.
What the public wants:
1) American Manufacturing: This summer the to learn what the public understands about American manufacturing. According to the poll,
A majority believe the U.S. no longer has the world’s strongest economy—a title they want to regain Voters are anxious about the economy—specifically China debt, spending and loss of manufacturing 86% of voters want Washington to focus on manufacturing, and 63% feel working people who make things are being forgotten while Wall Street and banks get bailouts Two-thirds of voters believe manufacturing is central to our economic strength, and 57% believe manufacturing is more central to our economic strength than high-tech, knowledge or financial service sectors Across all demographics, voters’ economic solutions center on trade enforcement, clean energy, tax credits for U.S. manufacturing and replacing aging infrastructure using American materials, a surprising overlap between Tea Party supporters, independents, non-union households and union households.
2) Good jobs with benefits: Just ahead of Saturday’s One Nation Working Together march and local events (please click through and see how you can add your voice) the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) has released the results of a poll conducted by Lake Research. This poll shows that the American public is overwhelmingly in favor of government action that addresses income inequity and that seeks to level the playing field for all American workers. UFCW writes about this poll here. The results can be seen in Powerpoint slides here.
A chance to show the public:
Chinese Currency: This week the Congress can vote on a bill to push China to stop manipulating its currency. If China’s currency were at market rates goods made here would be more competitive in world markets, and this rebalancing would help Chinese businesses and people decide to purchase goods made in America.
Offshoring: Congress is voting on a bill to change tax policies and discourage companies from sending jobs out of the country. The bill gives U.S. employers a two-year break from payroll taxes on wages paid to new U.S. workers performing services in the United States. The bill also bill discourages companies from shipping jobs abroad by eliminating certain favorable tax rates.
Tax cuts for the rich: Democrats are deciding whether to vote on giving the middle class a tax break, while ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich. The public deserves to know where candidates stand on this.
Democrats are leading in the right direction on currency, on manufacturing and on jobs. But it is important to TAKE THE VOTES, so the public can see for sure who is for things and who is against things. The voting matters as much for what the public understands, not whether it will pass, tells the public that there are politicians who get it. Theater matters because the public, in a democracy, must know where their representatives stand. And voting for smart policies, pas or fail, is not just theater, it is doing the right thing.
Taking these votes combines smart politics and smart substance and it is smart before an election. The public deserves to know.