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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

A Working America Message From The Field: On Jobs and Taxes, It’s About Fairness

The following is cross-posted from an e-blast from workingamerica.org:
It Just Makes Sense: Bring Jobs Home
We can connect jobs and tax fairness thanks to introduction of the Bring Jobs Home Act–and the Republican filibuster that blocked it.
Our members understand the basic unfairness of tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas. For them, outsourcing is a critical and emotional issue.

· People appreciate a realistic, nuanced conversation. In Pennsylvania, we’re finding that 4 to 5 people each night ask if we think outsourcing can really be addressed. For people who are skeptical, it’s really helpful to describe the Bring Jobs Home Act as “a step in the right direction” rather than a simple, perfect solution.
· Many people are surprised and angry that their Senators wouldn’t vote for the Bring Jobs Home Act. One Wisconsin member described it as “a no-brainer.”
· When we note that there are tax incentives to ship jobs overseas today, and that the bill would use our tax dollars to keep jobs here instead, that gets a positive response, and the personal connection of the issue to their lives help distinguish our conversation from the usual platitudes of a political campaign.
· Retirees are identifying good jobs as a top issue because they’re worried about their children and grandchildren, because the kind of stable, secure jobs that supported them are harder than ever to find. They respond strongly to the issue of outsourcing–often with stories of people in their family having trouble finding work.

People connect to this issue on a gut level

· Stephanie, a member in High Point, N.C., explained that she worked for a credit card company call center, where employees started getting sent to other locations–even as far away as New Delhi–to run trainings. “The company executives marketed this training opportunity as a vacation,” Stephanie told us. “But they were really training their replacements. Soon after, the Greensboro call center was closed down…companies outsource jobs for cheaper labor.” Stephanie felt betrayed–angry, frustrated and demoralized over the loss of her job and the disrespect from her employer.
· Another new member in Sheboygan, Wisconsin said that, while he has worked at the same factory for 15 years, he’s seen three co-workers’ jobs get outsourced in the last year. “He worries every day that he’ll be next,” our organizer Michelle said.
· Two separate members in Beaver County, Pennsylvania brought up the example of a local steel mill bought and dismantled by an out-of-state company. Interestingly, both independently compared that mill closure to Bain Capital.

Ending the Bush Tax Cuts for the Richest

The idea that the richest 2 percent should pay their fair share is resonating, as well. We find very wide agreement with ending the Bush tax cuts for the richest.
· We’ve had success pulling together the Bush tax cuts and the Bring Jobs Home Act as part of a single message about tax fairness. People agree that corporations and the richest 2 percent aren’t paying their fair share, and working people are suffering the consequences.
· A small handful of people–a few people each night–disagree with the idea of ending the Bush tax cuts on the richest 2 percent, usually using some variation of the “job creator” \talking point.
· The most effective response to this is to point out the CEOs of big corporations like Verizon and GE aren’t paying their fair share in taxes and aren’t creating jobs.

“If it wasn’t for the middle class, the economy wouldn’t work,” is very effective language when making the case for ending the top-level Bush tax cuts.
Karen Nussbaum, Executive Director
Working America

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