Economy & Budget

Providing certainty and creating jobs

Since being elected to Congress, I have remained focused on passing legislation that will create jobs and providing bi-partisan solutions to reduce our debt and restore economic growth.  That is why I was proud that the House was able, with the support of many Democrats, to pass the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act this week. 

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The Flaws with WTO

As the World Trade Organization meets in Geneva this week to discuss ways to boost multilateral trade, the headline item is the accession of Russia to the WTO’s disciplines. While the addition of Russia to the ranks of the WTO is a step forward, the finalization of the Russian bid for membership underscores yet again the fundamental flaws in the globalized, multilateral approach to free trade currently institutionalized in the WTO.

To be sure, Russia represents a positive addition to the WTO, adding legitimacy to the organization intended to serve as the trade-promoting counterpart to such global bodies as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Adding Russia to its ranks means that non-membership in the WTO is largely reserved for historically gross abusers of human rights like Liberia, war-torn economies like Iraq, and tiny nations like Tuvalu.

But to tout Russia as a success is to shove the flaws of the system under the rug. In particular, in-fighting among member states and its resulting gridlock – exactly the things the WTO is supposed to reduce – are at an all-time high. Instead of fast-tracking trade negotiations to provide speedier market access, the WTO is now a bastion of bureaucratic headaches.

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Why we need to restore the American dream for the 99%

On Tuesday, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus released a grand proposal to help rebuild America and its embattled middle class—and it couldn’t come at a better time. 

As Republicans continue to recycle their failed economic policies of the last decade—tax cuts for the wealthy and lax rules for rogue industries—The RESTORE the American Dream Act provides a serious alternative to getting our future back on track. The legislation outlines both short- and longer-term strategies for rebooting our nation’s progress, and it achieves robust deficit reduction over the next 10 years. It’s a walk-and-chew-gum-at-the-same-time approach to putting our nation back to work and getting our fiscal house in order.

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Congress cutting, not swapping

Swapping America’s national security in the name of job creation in other sectors will lead to both national security and economic crises.  If $1 trillion is cut from the defense budget, there will be two results.  America’s national security will be dangerously weakened.  And one million American workers could find themselves unemployed.

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American profits for the American people

One in ten San Diegans and more than 14 million Americans are without a job this holiday season. Before Congress adjourns for the year, Washington must send a strong message to the American people that job creation and economic growth is a top priority.

Instead of waiting for comprehensive tax reform, Washington should focus on what it can do now to put Americans back to work and spur economic growth. Repatriation, or the return of capital earned by U.S. companies overseas, is one of the few ideas boasting bipartisan support that provides a realistic way to inject money into the U.S. economy without the risk of wasteful government spending.

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Biopharma exports benefit the U.S. economy and global health

Efforts to foster robust economic growth in the U.S. quite simply cannot be solely focused inward; instead, they require a competitive export economy.

According to the Administration, if we increased exports by just five percent, we would create hundreds of thousands of new U.S. jobs. In fact, the Administration set itself a much higher goal in its National Export Initiative (NEI), proposing to double U.S. exports and create 2 million new jobs by 2015. To accomplish this goal, policymakers must take into consideration the myriad ways in which U.S. trade policy can help to promote the ability of export-generating industries, such as the innovative biopharmaceutical sector, to meet the Administration’s challenge. 

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Europe’s prevailing uncertainty, and new realities

As European leaders conclude a new historic treaty aimed at greater integration and averting collapse, Germany formalizes its undisputed leadership of Europe.  Timing and symbolism cannot be underestimated.  The new accord’s endorsement at the Brussels summit occurs twenty years to the day of the Maastricht Treaty’s signing, which created the European Union and its single currency, the euro.

However, euphoric headlines claiming “German vision prevails” may soon be replaced by “Euro fails”.  The Brussels summit may amount to too little, too late. It provides no form of closure for the eurozone crisis. Nor does it include any credible measures to address immediate needs.  Europe still remains in the danger zone.  In fact, the eurozone’s intrinsically inherent contradictions were on full display at the summit. The bottom line: how to reconcile a single currency with 17 different fiscal policies and banking systems, particularly when northern European fiscal responsibility is hampered by southern profligacy.   

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The good, the bad and the bogus BBA’s

As part of the deal that gave President Barack Obama the increase in the federal debt ceiling he so desperately wanted, both houses of Congress are required to hold a vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The House of Representatives has already acted but failed to achieve the two-thirds support necessary for it to pass. Now it’s the Senate’s turn.

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What happened to the “up-tick” rule?

I have been a “Public Member” of the Securities Industry Conference on Arbitration (SICA) for 35 years and its Chair for the last seven years.  SICA’s main goal has been to reinforce the public’s trust in the integrity of our securities markets by insuring that a level playing field exists for the resolution of disputes that arise between the investigating public and the securities industry. 

Accordingly, about 2 ½ years ago I wrote the SEC expressing my grave concern regarding indiscriminate and abusive short selling which caused havoc with so many securities during the 2008 market collapse.  I suggested the “up-tick” rule be reinstated for short sales – a rule which acted as a natural brake to abusive short selling for decades after the Great Depression. 

Unfortunately my suggestion went unheeded, and short sellers have continued to add to the extreme volatility prevalent today in our securities markets.

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