Pelosi, Trumka at Netroots Nation: Their Manufacturing Agenda

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi used her address to the “progressive” activists and bloggers at Netroots Nation in Las Vegas on Friday to promote House Democrats’ manufacturing agenda, “Make it in America.” Judging from the absence of coverage, neither the audience nor reporters seemed all that interested in that segment of her remarks.

The Washington Post story, “Pelosi calls for liberal activists to help keep Democrats in majority,” managed a paragraph:

Pelosi spoke about “Making It in America,” the Democrats’ manufacturing agenda that she said would roll out in coming weeks to help restore and create industrial jobs. “Jobs, jobs, jobs is very important, but we have to get it done,” Pelosi said. “People have to see the difference between what the Republicans want to do about this — nothing — and what we are advocating.”

The McClatchy story did not mention the manufacturing angle.

This isn’t a complaint about sparse coverage. Netroots Nation is populated by political activists and left-wing bloggers. To the convention attendees, as a whole, the more interesting topics are elections, campaigns and the perfidy of Fox News. The convention in Las Vegas was more about seeing the candidates and grousing about the Obama Administration’s passivity than economic policy.

Likewise, even though organized labor was a major funder of the event, there just didn’t seem to be all that much interest paid to the union agenda. The only extensive coverage of the remarks of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka came from the AFL-CIO blog, a post, “Trumka at Netroots Nation: New Industrial Policy for a Globalized World“:

Speaking as part of a panel on Building a Progressive Economic Vision, Trumka outlined the need for the the nation to invest in infrastructure, implement fair trade policies, change our tax policies, enact comprehensive immigration reform and reform our broken labor laws. The full panel included consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, progressive Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson, Center for Community Change Executive Director Deepak Bhargava, Green for All’s Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins and National People’s Action Executive Director George Goehl. (Watch it here.)

By “change our tax policies,” he means:

For those who say we can’t afford to make these investments, Trumka explained how we can do it with a financial speculation tax that encourages capital to invest in concrete things and discourages unproductive speculation or paper pushing for a quick buck, all the while raising more than $100 billion. Trumka made it clear that lawmakers must not reduce the federal deficit at the expense of creating jobs.

From what we know of the other speakers, Trumka probably represented the most economically conservative point of view on that panel, amazingly enough. Only $100 billion in new taxes to support manufacturing? Open borders for more immigration? Protectionism to wall off America from global competition? Think bigger, Trumka! Be more progressive!

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