Tag: pat toomey

Trade Boosts New England Economy, Heartland Candidates

From The Associated Press, reporting its monthly analysis of conditions around the country.

Even as the national unemployment rate remained at 9.6 percent in September, New England states benefited from more hiring. Except for Rhode Island (Stress score: 12.08), New England has been recovering from the recession better than much of the nation.

The region has an educated work force in professional and high-tech jobs, it avoided the real estate boom and bust and it’s home to a high-end manufacturing sector. Manufacturers in New England export electronic parts and biomedical products to developing nations like China, India and Brazil, said Ross Gittell, an economist at the University of New Hampshire.

“New England is outperforming the rest of the country in many respects,” Gittell said.

Investor’s Business Daily editorial, “Free Trade Sweeps The Heartland“:

Elections: Among the biggest but least-noticed winners in last week’s election were free-trade supporters in, of all places, the industrial Midwest. And here we thought free trade was an electoral loser.

One of the sweetest victories for free-trade proponents was Ohio’s election of Republican Rob Portman to the U.S. Senate. Portman served as U.S. Trade Representative under President Bush from 2005 to 2006. During his short tenure, six of America’s 17 free-trade pacts were passed. Portman also valiantly tried to get the U.S. onboard for a global free-trade pact at Doha.

Organized labor hammered candidates all across the nation for supporting trade, IBD notes, and yet pro-trade Senate candidates Ron Kirk in Illinois and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania won. The editorial concludes: “After four years of Democrat-led protectionism, unemployment in states like Ohio nears 10%. The incoming free-traders signal that it’s time Washington gave free trade a chance.”

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President Supports Trade Agreements, Slams Those Who Agree

A brief moment of odd policy disconnect showed up last week when President Obama spoke in Philadelphia at a finance reception for U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), who is running for the U.S. Senate seat against former Congressman Pat Toomey, a Republican.

In his rhetorical drubbing of candidate Toomey, the President said this:

This is somebody who, when he had a chance, voted to cut help for small businesses; who wants to make trade deals that send jobs out of Pennsylvania; who seems more concerned about the folks he used to trade with on Wall Street than the Pennsylvanians here on Main Street.

What? President Obama says he supports trade expansion, wants enactment of U.S. free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea, and touts negotiations toward a Trans-Pacific Partnership.

This is a President who has made doubling U.S. exports within five years – now four-and-a-half years — a top economic priority. And now he’s beating up candidates who support trade agreements, an necessary tool for achieving that goal?

Yes, a disconnect.

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Tough Night for the Card Check Crowd

Sen. Arlen Specter, as (R-PA) was an original cosponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act when Sen. Kennedy introduced the bill (S. 842) in 2005. He subsequently moved away from the bill, but then in this election cycle as Democrat re-associated himself with organized labor’s No. 1 priority. Who can forget the Senator’s comments at the AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh last September, when he proclaimed:

We have pounded out an Employees Choice bill which will meet labor’s objectives. I believe before the year is out, and I will join my colleague Senator Casey in predicting, that there will be passage of an Employees Free Choice Act which will be totally satisfactory to labor.

Speaking at the AFL-CIO gathering, President Obama opened his comments with a salute to Specter for being willing to “fight for the working men and women,” which, given the context, we took to mean union members.

Despite the support of organized labor, Democratic voters said no thanks on Tuesday, nominating Rep. Joe Sestak over Specter for the Senate seat. Big Labor’s two priorities in Pennsylvania in 2010: Arlen Specter’s re-election and the Employee Free Choice Act. Hasn’t worked out, has it?

In Arkansas, the left-wing challenger and labor’s annointed candidate against Sen. Blanche Lincoln failed to unseat her in the Democratic primary. The unions were incensed at Lincoln for her criticisms of the Employee Free Choice Act, and they promised money and support to Lt. Gov. Bill Halter to mount a primary challenge. As The Washington Post reports, “In Arkansas, dissatisfied labor unions worked hard against Lincoln.” Excerpt:

SEIU, which has only 1,000 members in the state, spent more than $1.5 million, including a $1 million television buy, Youngdahl said. The national AFL-CIO spent $3 million or more on Halter’s behalf, spokesman Eddie Vale said.

All that money, all those organizers working the precincts, all that fervor for the Employee Free Choice Act, and the best labor could do was force a run-off election in June. And that’s thanks to D.C. Morrison, a third candidate who, running as a conservative businessman who opposed the Employee Free Choice Act, gained 13 percent of the vote. With Lincoln’s 44 percent of the vote, that’s a 57-percent anti-EFCA vote in the Democratic primary.

The Employee Free Choice Act and labor’s political efforts figured prominently in both races (more in Arkansas), so voters were informed about the issue. The result: The Employee Free Choice Act, rejected by the voters.

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