I wrote to my senator, Chuck Schumer (D-New York), about a critical issue and actually received a response. In my letter I had registered particular concern about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and plans to "fast track" its implementation, two of several issues on which I wanted his input.
The ongoing trade deficit has transferred trillions of dollars out of our economy. It has cost us millions of jobs, tens of thousands of factories and entire industries. As it continues, it is costing us our ability to make a living as a country -- except for our financial sector. This has made a very few people unimaginably wealthy, but it has made the rest of us, and the country, poorer.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus has released "Principles for Trade," showing that there could be an alternative to the TPP, a global strategy designed to benefit workers, not investors, and serve the nation's interests, not the special interests of global companies and banks. The CPC seeks more trade, but on terms that will strengthen, not sabotage, working families.
What does the sudden appreciation of the Swiss franc mean for the Eurozone? Will Russia's financial distress spill over to its neighbors? How those questions are answered will affect some of the world's richest countries -- the likes of France, Germany, and Italy. Usually ignored, it will also affect some of the poorest.
Obama's proposals towards "middle-class economics" and the recently released Economic Report of the President for 2015 highlight just how close the two countries are in their thinking about these issues and on how to make economic policies work more equitably for everyone. And yet, rather than coming together, the distance between the two countries has widened.
The IMF Guidelines demonstrate that the United States is not manipulating its currency and would not be at risk of losing a dispute. The far greater risk is that more middle class jobs will be lost in the United States as a result of foreign governments' currency manipulation. We need strong and enforceable disciplines in TPP to help prevent that from happening.
On a trip to Cuba recently, it was clear to me that change is in the air. It wasn't just that President Obama and Raúl Castro had agreed to see if relations could be normalized, nor was it an admission that communism had failed. Rather, it seems to be an understanding that some form of capitalism is sorely needed to breathe life into the Cuban economy.