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John Kerry on Jobs

Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President


Bush could make an impact on the loss of jobs

Q: Is it fair to blame the Bush administration entirely for the loss of jobs?

A: I don't blame them entirely for it. I blame Bush for the things he could do that has an impact on it. Outsourcing is going to happen. I've had shop stewards say, will you promise me you're going to stop all this outsourcing? I can't do that. What I can promise you is that I will make the playing field as fair as possible, and make certain that the tax system is not subsidizing the loss of your job.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona Oct 13, 2004

Bush cut job training money and ignored the unemployed

Notice how Bush switched away from jobs and started talking about education. Being lectured by Bush on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order in this country. Bush has taken a $5.6 trillion surplus and turned it into deficits as far as the eye can see. Health care costs for the average American have gone up 64%. Tuitions have gone up 35%. Gasoline prices up 30%. Medicare premiums went up 17% a few days ago. Prescription drugs are up 12% a year. But guess what, America? The wages of Americans have gone down. The jobs that are being created in Arizona now are paying about $13,700 less than the jobs that we're losing. And Bush just walks on by this problem. The fact is that he's cut job training money - $1 billion was cut, they only added a little bit back this year because it's an election year. They've wound up not even extending unemployment benefits and not even extending health care to those people who are unemployed.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona Oct 13, 2004

Many things can be done to control jobs loss and outsourcing

If you're an American business, you actually get a benefit for going overseas. You get to defer your taxes. I don't want American workers subsidizing the loss of their own job. When I'm president, we're going to shut that loophole and use that money to lower corporate tax rates in America for all corporations, 5%. We're going to have a manufacturing jobs credit and a job hiring credit so we actually help people be able to hire here. The second thing we can do is provide a fair trade playing field. Bush had an opportunity to stand up and take on China for currency manipulation. There are companies that wanted to petition the Bush administration. They were told: Don't even bother; we're not going to listen to it. There have been markets shut to us that we haven't stood up and fought for. I'm going to fight for a fair trade playing field for the American worker. I will fight for the American worker just as hard as I fight for my own job. That's what the American worker wants. We can have an impact.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

FactCheck: 0.6M jobs lost under Bush, not 1.6M

KERRY: Now, the president has presided over an economy where we've lost 1.6 million jobs. The first president in 72 years to lose jobs.

FACT CHECK: It is true that figures released earlier in the day show the economy is still down by 1.6 million private sector jobs since Bush took office, but the drop in total payroll employment-including teachers, firemen, policemen and other federal, state and local government employees-is down by much less than that-821,000. Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced a revision would add an estimated 236,000 payroll jobs to the total reducing the total to 585,000 jobs lost under Bush, about one-third of the number Kerry stated. But Kerry may turn out to be correct when he said Bush would be "the first president in 72 years to lose jobs." Payroll employment has been growing at roughly 100,000 jobs per month for the past four months, and there are only four months to go until the end of Bush's term in January, 2005.

Source: Analysis of second Bush-Kerry debate by FactCheck.org Oct 10, 2004

End tax incentives for companies to move jobs abroad

Q: How can the US be competitive in manufacturing and still pay the wages Americans have come to expect?

KERRY: There are a lot of ways to be competitive. And unfortunately again I regret this administration has not seized them and embraced them. Let me give you an example. There is a tax loophole right now. You get more money, you keep more of your taxes by going abroad. I'm going to shut that loophole, and I'm going to give the tax benefit to the companies that stay here in America to help make the more competitive. Secondly, we're going to create a manufacturing jobs credit and a new jobs credit for people to be able to help hire and be more competitive here in America. Third, what's really hurting American business more than anything else is the cost of health care. Now, you didn't hear any plan from the president, because he doesn't have a plan to lower the cost of health care.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO Oct 8, 2004

Can't stop all outsourcing, but can level the playing field

Q: You talk about tax cuts to stop outsourcing. But when you have IBM documents that I saw recently where you can hire a programmer for $12 in China, $56 an hour here, tax credits won't cut it.

KERRY: You can't stop all outsourcing. I've never promised that. I'm not going to, because that would be pandering. You can't. But what you can do is create a fair playing field, and that's what I'm talking about.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO Oct 8, 2004

2.7M manufacturing jobs lost under Bush

AD VIDEO: 2.7 million manufacturing jobs lost: Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2001-2004.

AD NARRATOR: Millions of good jobs lost to plant closures and outsourcing. Yet President Bush protects tax breaks favoring corporations that move their headquarters overseas. America can do better. John Kerry's plan: End job-killing tax loopholes, and provide incentives to companies who create good jobs here. Because John Kerry believes we should export American products, not American jobs.

ANALYSIS: The Democratic National Committee says 2.7 million manufacturing jobs had been lost under Bush. That's true, but ignores the fact that manufacturing jobs started their decline three years before Bush took office. It actually declined by 0.5 million jobs between the peak reached in March, 1998 and when Clinton left office.

Source: Ad-Watch analysis by Fact Check.org Aug 11, 2004

Raise minimum wage to $6.65 by next year, then higher

Q: What increases, if any, do you favor in the $5.15 an hour federal minimum wage?

A: If I am elected president, I will continue to support increasing the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation. To begin with, I support increasing the minimum wage by $1.50 over the next year.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Minimum Wage" Jan 25, 2004

Provide employment opportunities to minorities

Q: What would you do to close that gap between unemployment rates for whites and minorities?

A: The reason that exists is because we have an indifference, a casual indifference in the leadership of our country that ignores the fact that we have a separate and unequal school system in the US. We need a president who is going to fight against those special interests. We've got to change our attitude about how you raise kids in America, how you provide opportunity.

Source: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum Jan 11, 2004

Weekly economic policy summit to create jobs

Our first has to be to put jobs back at the top of national agenda. As president, I will commit this country to turning the tide on manufacturing jobs. I'll start with a tax incentive to encourage companies to keep jobs in America. I will also propose a job-creation tax credit that would give businesses a one time break from the payroll tax for every new worker they hire. and my health-care plan, which I will explain in a alter chapter, will stop spiraling health-care costs, one of the biggest problems facing businesses struggling to maintain employment levels.

Beyond any specific proposals, getting this economy moving gin, stopping job losses and creating new jobs depends on national leadership that believes it can make a difference and can muster the courage and imagination to do so. If elected president, I will hold economic policy once week for the first six months of my administration, aimed at developing targeted strategies to create jobs in key regions and key industries.

Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p. 74-5 Oct 1, 2003

Trade grows jobs

Q [to Dean]: You have said that Kerry lacks an understanding of the job loss in this country.

DEAN: I think that's true. I want a successful trade policy, but I'm no longer willing to sacrifice the jobs of middle-class Americans in order to pad the bottom lines of multinational corporations. Trade has to be fair to workers, not just multinational corporations. And I think Senator Kerry is insensitive to the plight of American workers who have lost their manufacturing jobs.

KERRY: I'm not insensitive to the jobs. I'm desperately concerned about those jobs. But you don't fix them by pandering to people and telling them you're going to shut the door. You have to grow jobs. We need to increase our commitment to science in America, to venture capital, to the kinds of incentives that draw capital to the creation of jobs. Democrats can't love jobs and hate the people who create them. We need to encourage job creation and trade, but fair trade, and I've shown how that can happen.

Source: [X-ref Dean] Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Jump start jobs at home via energy independence

We need to jump-start jobs here at home. We have an extraordinary ability, an entrepreneurial capacity second to no people on the planet. Education could be more invigorated, science could be more invigorated, the most anti-science administration in modern history. We need to push energy. Energy independence for the US will create thousands of jobs in our country. We need to push the environmental standards.
Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

We need job opportunities, not photo opportunities

I am here today with a message for the President of the United States. Mr. President, when I was in the Navy I learned something about aircraft carriers, for real. And landing on an aircraft carrier at the hands of a good, well-trained Navy pilot does not make up for a failed economic policy in this country. It doesn't make up for union busting, it doesn't make up for degrading our environment, it doesn't make up for standing in the way of civil rights, and it won't convince America to allow you to privatize Social Security. Americans, Mr. President, don't want a photo opportunity, they want job opportunities, and it's long since time that we created them in this country. I am running for President of the United States to put America back on track, to put Americans back to work, and to make it clear that the one person in the United States who ought to be laid off is George W. Bush.
Source: Speech at the Take Back America Conference, Washington, DC Jun 5, 2003

Voted NO on repealing Clinton's ergonomic rules on repetitive stress.

Vote to pass a resolution to give no enforcement authority to ergonomics rules submitted by the Labor Department during the Clinton Administration. These rules would force businesses to take steps to prevent work-related repetitive stress disorders
Bill S J Res 6 ; vote number 2001-15 on Mar 6, 2001

Voted NO on killing an increase in the minimum wage.

The Kennedy (D-MA) Amdt would have increased the minimum wage by $1 an hour over two years, to $5.65 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2001. The Kennedy Amdt would have also provided $9.5 billion in tax cuts over five years.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)50; N)48; NV)2
Reference: Motion to table Kennedy Amdt #2751; Bill S. 625 ; vote number 1999-356 on Nov 9, 1999

Voted NO on allowing workers to choose between overtime & comp-time.

This bill would have allowed workers to choose between overtime and compensatory time.
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)53; N)47
Reference: Motion to invoke cloture on a Committee amdt to S. 4; Bill S. 4 ; vote number 1997-68 on May 15, 1997

Voted NO on replacing farm price supports.

Replaces farm price supports with seven years of annual fixed payments.
Status: Bill Passed Y)64; N)32; NV)4
Reference: Agriculture Market Transition Act of 1996; Bill S. 1541 ; vote number 1996-19 on Feb 7, 1996

Protect overtime pay protections.

Kerry signed a letter from 43 Senators to the Secretary of Labor

To: Labor Secretary Elaine Chao

Dear Secretary Chao:

We write to express our serious concerns about the Department's proposed regulation on white collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act. These sweeping changes could eliminate overtime pay protections for millions of American workers.

We urge you not to implement this new regulation that will end overtime protections for those currently eligible. Under current law, the FLSA discourages employers from scheduling overtime by making overtime more expensive. According to a GAO study, employees exempt from overtime pay are twice as likely to work overtime as those covered by the protections. Our citizens are working longer hours than ever before – longer than in any other industrial nation. At least one in five employees now has a work week that exceeds 50 hours. Protecting the 40-hour work week is vital to balancing work responsibilities and family needs. It is certainly not family friendly to require employees to work more hours for less pay.

Overtime protections clearly make an immense difference in preserving the 40-hour work week. Millions of employees depend on overtime pay to make ends meet and pay their bills for housing, food, and health care. Overtime pay often constitutes 20-25% of their wages. These workers will face an unfair reduction in their take-home pay if they can no longer receive their overtime pay.

We urge you not to go forward with any regulation that denies overtime pay protections to any of America's currently eligible hard-working men and women.

Source: Letter from 43 Senators to the Secretary of Labor 03-SEN4 on Jun 30, 2003

Rated 100% by the AFL-CIO, indicating a pro-labor voting record.

Kerry scores 100% by the AFL-CIO on labor issues

As the federation of America’s unions, the AFL-CIO includes more than 13 million of America’s workers in 60 member unions working in virtually every part of the economy. The mission of the AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our nation. To accomplish this mission we will build and change the American labor movement.

The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: AFL-CIO website 03n-AFLCIO on Dec 31, 2003

Other candidates on Jobs: John Kerry on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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Energy/Oil
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Foreign Policy
Free Trade
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Health Care
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts