Hurricane Harvey had just devastated Texas, the worst natural disaster up until two weeks later when the entire state of Florida was about to be destroyed by Hurricane Irma, as whole Caribbean island nations as well as the US territory of Puerto Rico had their infrastructure utterly decimated. And Hurricane Jose was on Irma’s tail. Meanwhile, Los Angeles and Oregon were being consumed by record wildfires. Congress had authorized $15 billion toward Hurricane Harvey relief and to replenish the nearly depleted funds of FEMA.
Indeed, in North Dakota on September 6, as Hurricane Irma was barreling toward Florida, Trump, the Tax-Cheat-in-Chief, gave an incoherent speech touting his tax plan that began with his incredulity in discovering that North Dakota was undergoing a massive drought.
“I just said to the governor, I didn’t know you had droughts this far north. Guess what? You have them. But we’re working hard on it and it’ll disappear. It will all go away,” Trump said.
Accuweather is projecting the cost of Harvey and Irma alone at $290 billion, or 1.5% of total GDP, which would erase the growth of the economy through year-end, according to Dr. Joel N. Myers, president and chairman.
That’s also more than one-fourth of the $1 trillion that Trump proposed for a 10-year infrastructure plan. Where will the money come from? And if all infrastructure spending has to be directed to Texas and Florida, where does that leave the rest of the country? Not to mention the $1 billion Trump is demanding as down payment on a $70 billion border wall.
Does this get you thinking that Trump and his administration, especially EPA Administrator and shill for the oil industry Scott Pruitt, should rethink their self-serving notion of climate change denial (self-serving because it is used to fuel their argument that they can overturn environmental regulations on the massively profitable fossil fuel industry)? Of course not.
But it should also cause them to rethink their totally corrupt plan for tax reform which is intended to starve the federal government of funds, balloon the budget deficit and national debt, all to shift more of wealth to the already fabulously wealthy. Especially when so many people have lost their businesses and jobs, which will certainly impact tax revenues.
Let’s just consider for a moment what taxes are supposed to be for. And yes, a considerable amount goes to pay for interest on bonds, but bonds are what are used to pay for infrastructure – they represent an investment in the future. And as we are considering how to replace the destroyed and decimated infrastructure, why not build back with sustainability in mind.
Just as in his speech declaring his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement (forged with US leadership and signed by 195 countries), Trump, who took a $900 million tax deduction on his failed Atlantic City casino and probably has never paid 40% tax in his life,lies to rationalize his tax plan, beginning with the lie that the US is the highest taxed nation in the world (not true) and that workers wages will increase if only shareholders and CEOs and the wealthiest 1% could keep an even greater percentage of their money (history shows the opposite). (See New York Times, The False Promises in President Trump’s Tax Plan)
Remember: the wealthiest people used to be taxed at 90% – that was after World War II when the nation had to rebuild its treasury. We were able to afford the GI Bill which probably did more to create a middle class than anything since the New Deal. Now the wealthiest pay something between 35 to 40% – except that they don’t.
Trump (and Ryan) want to give a $170,000 annual windfall to the wealthiest Americans, while crumbs ($700) to the middle class who will lose the only tax deductions they can use. $170,000 times four years worth mean in terms of free money (from tax-paying schnooks) is a lot of dough to invest in politicians and policy with a spectacular return: policies like enabling Big Pharma Sharks to hike up life-saving drugs by 5000%; Oil Barons to make sure incentives for wind and solar energy don’t help these industries develop into competitors; real estate developers who can delight in the tax advantages that let them take a $900 million deduction and build without interfering regulations on lands that are needed to soak up flood waters and health insurance companies to raise premiums to pad profits.
Now this nation is looking at more than $290 billion just to recover from the climate disasters which are becoming more and more frequent, hitting the high density developed urban centers.
If taxes for those who have the means to pay don’t cover the cost, who does? Ryan and the Republicans love to talk about “sacrifice” but the only ones they demand sacrifices from are not the wealthiest or the corporations, but Social Security and Medicare recipients, struggling middle class kids who need to take out loans to pay for college. Their concept is to take money out of the consumer economy, which starts a downward unvirtuous cycle of economic contraction. How do we know?” Because we have seen this movie before: the Bush tax cuts. Meanwhile, median income has risen to its highest levels in 1999 (under Bill Clinton) and 2016 (under Barack Obama) and their tax-and-spending plans.
The Trump/Ryan tax “plan” requires a federal budget that slashes spending for infrastructure, for research and development, for education, for environmental protection (and of course, eradicating any mention of climate change), even slashing spending for diplomacy and foreign aid. It depends on slashing Medicaid and subsidies to keep health insurance affordable (that’s why they are so desperate to repeal Obamacare).
It slashes the tax rate for corporations which already do not pay the nominal 35% rate. Many highly profitable corporations – including General Electric, Pepco Holdings, PG&E Corp., Priceline and Duke Energy – paid nothing into federal coffers from 2008-2015 yet benefit from all the services the government provides including roads, public safety, an educated workforce, mass transit, a military to defend their shipping.
To get to a tax cut without obscenely increasing the national debt, the Republicans say they will get rid of “loopholes” like the mortgage credit and property taxes – that would only complete the decimation of the Middle Class and destroy any semblance of an American Dream. What would make more sense, if they really cared to “reform” the tax code and stop the income distribution from middle class to the already fabulous rich, is to take away the mortgage tax credits on 2nd, 3rd homes and such, and take away the many special deductions that real estate developers like Trump has benefited from, as well as the loopholes that let hedge fund managers shield all but a fraction of their income from taxes that wage-earners pay.
Indeed, the policies that Trump are proposing – specifically, eliminating the tax deduction for state and local property taxes – would hurt blue-states that tend to have higher state and local taxes because they tend to have higher property taxes but provide more services and get less in federal payments than they send to the government, while red-states that have low state and local taxes (and crappy schools and health care) get more from the federal government (paid for by blue states) than they send.
And what about Puerto Rico. which already was in economic disaster – having defaulted on $70 billion in debt – and basically written off by the US government. It’s infrastructure is now totally destroyed. How will it be rebuilt? Here’s what I imagine: Trump is so transactional, I can see a foreign country (China?) with big bucks and an interest in having a foothold in the Western Hemisphere buying Puerto Rico from the US. After all, what is $100 billion or $200 billion to put the island right?
Of course Trump’s tax “reform” plan – sketched out as if on the back of an envelope without any analysis – is really all about tax cuts to the wealthiest and to corporations. As Hillary Clinton said during a debate (which she won): “trickle down economics on steroids” from the guy who took a $900 million deduction for a failed real estate deal, which taxpayers – normal working stiffs – wind up paying for.
Those who have actually analyzed the plan have said that the wealthiest people – who have done astronomically well for decades, while middle class Americans have scarcely had a salary increase in 40 years, so that the gap between rich and poor has reached Grand Canyon proportions – would get a tax windfall of $170,000 a year, while middle class families would get something like $700. Where do the 1 percenters put that extra money which they scarcely need? Well, they invest in buying politicians and influencing policy, of course.
Tax “reform” figures into the Trump obsession with repealing Obamacare and leaving 32 million people without health insurance. It figures into the administration’s dismissal of the Gateway Tunnel project so important to the New York region’s infrastructure and economy.
But now, Trump’s Republican states are being whacked with climate catastrophes, and the money has to come from somewhere.
And let’s also be reminded that the growth in the economy – first, saving the nation from plunging into another Great Depression, and now rebounding to the highest median income, lowest unemployment rate ever and highest rate of health insurance coverage while reducing the poverty rate – happened because of Obama Administration policies and would have been even more effective in terms of raising wages and living standards if the Trump Administration did not steamroll back policies, like overtime pay, parental leave, and federal minimum wage and obstruct infrastructure development and the transition to clean, renewable energy.
People remark that the devastation in their neighborhoods from these massive climate disasters is like a bomb went off. Well, in wartime, taxes are raised – that’s how the rate on the wealthiest hit 90%, to pay off the World War II debt. This is wartime. This nation has to rebuild, and sustainably, responsibly. We need to invest in 21st and 22nd century technologies, to keep the United States a global leader. Otherwise, we will cede our leverage to China which has basically embraced the American model of spreading its political ideology (nominally, “Democracy”) through capitalism (nominally “free market” as opposed to centralized control) and is literally buying up influence over Africa and Asia.
Of course, Trump’s tax plan is Paul Ryan’s tax plan (Trump never actually had a plan), and the Republicans are content to let Trump destroy the nation and end the social safety net including Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, and possibly embroil us in World War III, until they can get jam through the tax plan they have coveted since Reagan.
With great zeal, Donald Trump is dismantling environmental protections, regulations designed to mitigate climate change, and consumer financial protections intended to prevent another Great Recession that caused millions to lose their jobs, homes, retirement and college savings. With all the hullabaloo over Russian hacking of the election and Trump aides colluding with Russian operatives during the campaign, the firing of top National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who not only lied to VP Pence but also to federal authorities about his contact with Russia prior to the inauguration, the Trump Muslim/Travel Ban, and Trump’s attack on a free press, arguing that contrary to what is being reported, his new administration is a “fine tuned machine,” you likely have not heard about how Trump intends to make sure the machine is powered by dirty fuel and financed by deregulated banksters.
This from the White House pool press report by Adrian Carrasquillo, White House correspondent for BuzzFeed, at the signing of H.J. Res. 38:
The bill overturns the Department of Interior’s Stream Protection Rule, which was signed during the final month of the Obama administration, “addresses the impacts of surface coal mining operations on surface water, groundwater, and the productivity of mining operation sites,” according to the Congress.gov summary of the resolution.
“By eliminating this rule I am continuing to keep my promise to get rid of wasteful regulations that do nothing, absolutely nothing, but slow down the economy, hamstring companies, push jobs to other countries, which is happening all over, although I must say we’ve stopped it,” Trump said. “You’ve seen all the factories, all the plants, they’re moving back, they’re going back to a lot of places. So you know that right, fellas? They’re moving back fast — Ford, General Motors, Fiat, so many, very happy. Compliance costs for this rule would be over $50 million a year for the coal industry alone, it’s unnecessary.”
in the Roosevelt room and flanked by House Republicans on his left and miners from West Virginia in hard hats on his right, POTUS signed the resolution that he said would “eliminate another terrible job-killing rule saving many thousands of American jobs especially in the mines, which I’ve been promising you. The miners are a big deal, I’ve had support from some of these folks right from the very beginning and I won’t forget it. We went to West Virginia and we had 17, 18,000 people and they couldn’t get into that big arena.”
Trump thanked House Republican leadership including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop and Rep. Bill Johnson.
McConnell, McCarthy, and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin were behind the president as he spoke. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus stood off to the side watching the president’s remarks. Pool has asked for a full list of who was in attendance.
Trump told the miners the rule was a major threat to their jobs and said there was “a spirit of optimism rising across the country.”
“How about one of the miners saying a few words. I hear Rand all the time,” Trump joked of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul who was in the room.
Coal miner Michael Nelson, General Superintendent, of the Marion County Coal Company stepped to the microphone: “President Trump we thank you for everything you’ve done for us. Everything you’re doing for our industry is very much needed. I’ve been in this industry for 40 years and this is a very exciting time in our industry.”
Nelson said he worked for Marion County Coal Company in West Virginia and POTUS asked “How did I do in the area?” referencing the election. “Oh, you did great,” Nelson said to laughs in the room.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said “this is a lifeline to us, these miners they mine in West Virginia, it’s a source of pride for us as a state that we’ve been able to power this country, that we’ve had the opportunity to provide the energy to this country.”
Sen. Rand Paul said this is a big day for Kentucky and thanked Trump for getting rid of job-killing regulations. “I can promise you Eastern Kentucky voted 75% for Donald J. Trump,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the last eight years brought a “depression” to Eastern Kentucky. “Our folks are so excited to have a pro-coal president and we thank you so much for being on our side.”
A funny moment happened before the event concluded, Carrasquillo reported. POTUS got excited and invited the miners to the Oval Office and began to leave before having to be reminded that he had to actually sign the resolution first.
FULL LIST OF ATTENDEES:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito
Sen. Rand Paul
Sen. Joe Manchin
Rep. Bill Johnson,
Rep. David McKinley
Rep. Evan Jenkins
Rep. Jim Jordan
Rep. Morgan Griffith
Rep. Rob Bishop
Rep. Alex Mooney
Rep. Jim Renacci
Rep. Doug Lamborn
Hal Quinn, President and CEO, National Mining Association
Matt Evans, Vice President, Boich Companies
Robert Murray, Chairman, President and CEO, Murray Energy Corporation
Ryan Murray, Vice President, Murray Energy Corporation
Casey Crooks, Superintendent, American Energy Corporation
Kevin Hughes, General Manager, Murray Energy Corporation
Scott Martin, General Superintendent, The Harrison County Coal Company
Robert Moore, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer, Murray Energy Corporation
John Hardison, General Manager, Anchor Longwall & Rebuld, Inc.
Eric Grimm, General Manager, The Marshall County Coal Company
Michael Carey, Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Murray Energy Corporation
Gary Broadbent, Senior Corporate Counsel and Director of Investor and Media Relations, Murray Energy Corporation
Michael Nelson, General Superintendent, The Marion County Coal Company
Here is the notice from the White House.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: PUTTING COAL COUNTRY BACK TO WORK
LETTING COAL COUNTRY WORK AGAIN: Today, President Donald J. Trump signed legislation (House Joint Resolution 38) to stop the costly “Stream Protection Rule” from further harming coal workers and the communities that depend on them.
H.J. Res. 38 blocks an overly burdensome regulation from harming the coal industry.
o The regulation was expected to reduce coal production, leading to fewer coal jobs across the country.
o The blocked regulation threatened the coal industry with millions of dollars in compliance costs.
o Complying with the regulation would have put an unsustainable financial burden on small mines, most of which are in the Appalachian Basin.
The blocked regulation would have duplicated existing regulations already in place to protect Americans.
GIVING COAL COUNTRY RELIEF: Since 2009, the coal industry has declined, leaving workers and communities without a lifeline.
Since January 2009, the coal mining industry has lost over 36,000 jobs without any relief in sight.
From 2009 to 2015, coal production declined by over 177,000,000 tons across the country.
From 2009 to 2015, over 600 coal mines closed.
A PROMISE TO COAL WORKERS: Before President Trump’s inauguration, he promised coal workers he would support them and reverse the harmful actions of the past administration.
November 21, 2016, the Trump-Pence Transition Team pledged to “end the war on coal” and review harmful regulations created under the Obama Administration.
September 22, 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump called out harmful coal regulations: “I will rescind the coal mining lease moratorium, the excessive Interior Department stream rule, and conduct a top-down review of all anti-coal regulations issued by the Obama Administration.”
August 8, 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump pledged to the American people: “We will put our coal miners and steel workers back to work.”
GETTING GOVERNMENT OUT OF THE WAY: President Trump has been steadfast in his commitment to reducing the regulatory burden on all Americans, their pocketbooks, and their businesses.
President Trump has required that for every new Federal regulation, two existing regulations be eliminated.
President Trump has placed a moratorium on all new regulations by executive departments and agencies that are not compelled by Congress or public safety.
President Trump directed the Commerce Department to streamline Federal permitting processes for domestic manufacturing and to reduce regulatory burdens on domestic manufacturers.
President Trump signed an Executive Order expediting the environmental review and approval processes for domestic infrastructure projects.
President Trump signed legislation to eliminate a costly regulation that threatened to put domestic extraction companies and their employees at an unfair disadvantage.
President Trump directed the Secretary of the Treasury to conduct a full review of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to ensure associated, burdensome regulations receive proper scrutiny.
President Trump ordered re-examination of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, to make certain that it does not harm Americans as they save for retirement.
George Condon, National Journal, reports on Donald Trump’s meeting with auto executives earlier today:
The president, accompanied by the vice president, entered the Roosevelt Room at 9:11, shook hands and greeted the auto executives who had been standing around on one side of the table waiting for him and chatting with top administration officials. The executives took their seats at the table and the president gave brief welcoming remarks before the pool exited at 9:16.
Transcript of remarks to come. But the tenor was set even before everybody sat down when he playfully said to two of the executives “start building in the U.S.”
As everyone sat down, he was the gentleman and held the chair for Mary T. Barra of General Motors, saying, “Let me help you with that.” After thanking them for coming, he assured them “you’re not being singled out.” Of job creation, he said, “It’s happening; it’s happening big league.” He added, “We’re bringing jobs back to the U.S. big league.” He talked of regulations and the need to control them. He brought up environmental regs, saying, “I am an environmentalist…. But it’s out of control.” He promised that they would get answers on their permits much faster than they are now.
The president sat in the center chair. To his right was Barra, Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of General Motors, then Craig Glidden of GM, then Steve Bannon. Across the table from Bannon was Stephen Miller, then Jared Kushner, the Gov. Matt Blunt, then Mark Fields of Ford, Ziad Ojakli of Ford, Hope Hicks, then Priebus. Back on the president’s side of the table, it was Sergio Marchionne of Fiat to the president’s left, then Shane Karr of the alliance of automobile manufacturers, and Josh Pitcock of the vice president’s office. The vice president sat directly across the table from the president. In other small talk, the president kidded Marchionne about having spent the night flying to get to the meeting. And he wished one of the executives, Mark Fields, a happy birthday.
Here are his notes of what Trump told the executives:
“I want to just thank you all for being here. We have a very big push on to have auto plants and other plants, many other plants. You’re not being singled out, believe me, Mary, I promise. But you have a lot of plants from a lot of different items built in the United States. And it’s happening, it’s happening big league.
“We had Whirlpool up yesterday, we’re talking about big construction facilities. And it’s not the construction I want although that brings jobs. It’s the long term jobs that we’re looking for.
“We’re bringing manufacturing back to the United States big league, we’re reducing taxes very substantially and we’re reducing unnecessary regulations. And we want regulations but we want real regulation that mean something.
“Mark and I were together yesterday and I think we understand that. We’re going to make the process much more simple for the auto companies and for everybody else who wants to do business in the United States.
“You’re going to find this to be from being very inhospitable to extremely hospitable. I think we’ll go down as one of the most friendly countries and right now it’s not.”
“I have friends that want to build in the United States, they go many, many years and then they can’t get their environmental permit over something that nobody ever heard of before. And it’s absolutely crazy.
“I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist, I believe in it. But it’s out of control and we’re going to make it a very short process. And we’re going to either give you your permits or we’re not going to give you your permits. But you’re going to know very quickly. And generally speaking we’re going to be giving you your permits.
It’s already begun. The unraveling of eight years of progress under Obama. Contrast their first actions: Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Act so women can have a legal remedy for pay equity. Trump signed an executive orders to dismantle Obamacare and to withhold funding from any NGO anywhere that funds abortions.
Donald Trump doesn’t care that more than twice as many people came out to protest his illegitimately gained presidency, his morals and his agenda than came out to support his inauguration (I was at both. I saw despite the lies that Trump is spewing.) His warped ego will probably take it as a matter of pride that more than 500,000 people descended on Washington from all over the country while millions more filled out gargantuan protests in NYC (400,000), Los Angeles (750,000), Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis – indeed, all across the US – plus cities in 50 countries including Paris, London, Sydney.
They came out to declare: Women’s Rights are Human Rights, women are not chattel, a mere vessel (vassal) to harbor an embryo. And so women and their men and children were standing up for reproductive rights, access to health care, gun safety, climate action, immigration reform, criminal justice, pay equity, public education, voting rights, campaign finance – all those things that together constitute “women’s issues”. Economic justice, climate justice, criminal justice, social justice, political justice, national security and peace in the world are all “women’s issues.”
“From the shores of Sydney, Australia to the tundra of Kodiak, Alaska we marched. Signs held high, our voices carried across Little Rock, Arkansas and Nashville, Tennessee, Phoenix, Arizona and Lansing, Michigan. Pink knit hats stretched as far as the eye could see in London, England, New York City, Los Angeles, California and Washington DC,” writes Heidi L. Sieck, Co-Founder/CEO, #VOTEPROCHOICE.
In fact, this was the single largest political demonstration day of protest in US history and most certainly the largest outpouring of opposition at the opening of a new administration. Trump, who lost the popular vote by 2.6 million and carried only 42% of The Women’s Vote, comes into the White House with the lowest favorability rating probably since Lincoln, and 20 points lower than the outgoing president, Barack Obama.
And if Trump would actually have listened to his own nonsensical, dystopian, bizarre inaugural speech, he would realize that the women, men and children who protested rightfully have the political power that Trump said no longer resided in Washington.
“January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again,” Trump intoned. “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now…. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.”
And yet, Trump managed to turn a deaf ear to the roars from the Women’s March that literally shook buildings with its force (yet he had to see them because his motorcade drove through twice on his way to the CIA).
In his first 100 days, what Trump vows to do would undo the progress of 100 years, violating the will of the vast majority of Americans.
But here it is: Trump managed to resurrect a militant feminism that, frankly, was dormant during the election campaign when Hillary Clinton could have, should have (in fact did, were it not for the Electoral College), break that ultimate glass ceiling to run the White House. Women of all ages, all races and creeds, and men and children, marching together in solidarity. A man carried a sign saying “I can’t believe we’re still fighting for this”.
Now what will those who marched do? What will happen? Will that energy and activism be sustained against the forces of disillusionment, frustration, paralyzing despair and self-preserving apathy? Or will they return home feeling vindicated and affirmed that their fears and concerns are real and they are not to be silenced? I think they will return empowered, invigorated with a mission, with a voice, a language to articulate grievances and a clarity of purpose. Indeed, the Women’s March organizers are posting 10 action items for the first 100 Days at womensmarch.com.
Also, there are ways and avenues and organizations to channel that rage and turn it into strategic, well articulated constructive action, in order to fight against the despair that will come when we aren’t able to immediately stop the steamroll of anti-democratic, regressive initiatives that come from the Trump/Republican camarilla.
Donald Trump may not care about the protests, feeling somehow above and immune in his bubble of sycophants. In a creepy way, he probably drew orgasmic delight that 4 million people around the world focused their attention on him, no matter that he was the target of their contempt, disdain and hatred.
But Congressmen know. Senators know. State legislators know. And they should be quaking in the reverberation of the marchers. And that’s where the focus has to be. This is Day 1 of the 2017 campaign to take back state offices. This is Day One to take back the House and/or the Senate in 2018. Because taking just one house would cut Trump’s Presidency to 2 years instead of an excruciating 4.
That is, if he isn’t impeached first for his corrupt business practices and likely collusion with Russia (not likely with a Republican Congress that clearly doesn’t care about actual illegalities like blatant violations of emoluments clause of Constitution and conflicts of interest that go against the national interest). He is more likely to be removed by a military coup when he orders bombing civilians, repopulating Guantanamo with prisoners snatched up with bounties, reopening black sites in order to torture, or, as he told the CIA, getting a second chance at taking Iraq’s oil because, you know, he learned as a boy “to the victor belong the spoils.”
Individually, we feel powerless, but collectively we have power. And it starts with pressing our village and city mayors, town and county supervisors, state representatives, governors and Congressmen need to be bold – like the San Francisco and New York mayors vowing to repulse Trump’s attack on sanctuary cities, governors like Cuomo in New York State standing up for a climate action agenda and protecting women’s reproductive rights; generals vowing to reject an order to bomb civilians or torture terror suspects. It’s newspapers being willing to lose privileged “access” and risking lawsuits to publish investigations. It’s government workers with the courage to be whistleblowers.
By these measures, the simple act of voting would seem an easy way to counter Trumpism, yet a disgraceful number don’t even do this; people need to start early to get registered to vote and vote in every election, especially local and state elections and not just the presidential.
But all of this requires us to stay active. We have to resist being immobilized by despair (that’s their strategy) and take action. If it seems too overwhelming with everything being thrown at us, just pick one or two issues to stay on top.
How to counter Trump?
Conflicts of Interest: Support Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s legislation that would require Trump to disclose his business holdings and require him to disclose his tax forms. Investigate – after all, what is Government Oversight Committee for, beyond investigating Benghazi and Clinton’s emails? Sue for violations of the emoluments clause, for Trump Hotel in Washington violating the law that prevents an elected official from leasing property from the federal government. Impeach Trump and any of his lackeys for their self-serving, self-dealing conflicts of interest. Boycott Trump’s business holdings and the corporations that enable him, including Trump Hotels and golf courses, “Celebrity Apprentice,” and Fox News.
Cabinet appointments: Democrats will be unable to stop Trump’s appointments, thanks to the hypocritical Republican lapdogs. But Senate Democrats have a duty to expose their self-interest conflicts, their ineptitude, their extraordinary lack of qualifications so that they will be put on notice that their actions will be scrutinized.
“Through cutting-edge reports, social media, newspapers, radio and TV, and much more, we’re going to highlight this rogues’ gallery’s history of law-breaking, how their corporate ties will corrupt policymaking, and how their reactionary views will harm everyday Americans.” says Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen (citizen.org).
What should Senate, House Democrats do? Oppose with every tool and tactic they can the anti-Democratic principles, including using the Republican tactics against them like the filibuster, holds on nominations, lawsuits, articles of impeachment (though McConnell and Ryan will likely take away the very tools they used to unprecedented degree). That isn’t the same thing as opposing for opposing sake, to make the president fail, as Republicans did even as Obama was trying to keep the country from economic collapse. But Democrats are obligated to fight back where the agenda destroys progress. What Democrats should not do? Try to appeal to the pseudo-populism and the mythical “poor” “underserved” “voiceless” white working class, as if they are the only “real Americans” who matter. And yes, they should sue the Trump Administration just as the Republicans sued Obama over DACA and Obamacare. If Republicans don’t offer any means to compromise or impact policy, Democrats should go nuclear.
Support the Fourth Estate – the journalists who fulfill their function of investigating and being a watchdog on government and powerful interests. Be vigilant in calling out falsehoods, fake news and propaganda. That means that when the economy goes down, unemployment goes up, tens of thousands die without access to health care and Trump and the Republicans blame Obama and the Democrats, that The Media hold them to account. Write letters to the editor, comments online. Alert news media to issues. Defend journalists who are doing their job. Cultivate social media networks to counter the right-wing propaganda machine. The success of the Women’s March to rally support solely through social media shows these networks have taken root.
Fight the rabidly regressive agenda that Trump/Republicans will steamroll through in the first 100 days. The more that Republicans refuse to accept compromise or allow Democrats to participate in forming policy, the more militant the opposition has to become. Boycott, strike, protest, rally. Use your body, your voice, your pen.
Sue. Sue. Sue. “Presidents do not rule by fiat,” declared Mitch Bernard, Chief Operating Officer, for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Donald Trump may not simply undo international agreements, overrule enacted laws, or violate environmental regulations on his own say so. If — when — he ignores environmental laws, NRDC will meet him in court. And we’re gearing up to give him the fight of his life.”
The Trump/Republican strategy (copied from Karl Rove and the Bush/Cheney debacle) is to have so many outrages coming so fast, deflecting attention and paralyzing any action, and more significantly to normalize the destructive actions simply by being equivalent or (imagine) not as bad as the previous outrage.
“In the face of Trump’s parade of horribles,” says Robert Reich of MoveOn.org, “it would be easy (and understandable) for people to get numb, hunker down, and pray that they’ll make it through the next four years. But human history teaches us of the perils of complacency and fear in response to political extremism and violence.”
If it is too paralyzing because of all the issues that are infuriating to your core, pick one, two or a few to focus on – keep active and aware of what Trump and his collaborators in the Congress and the Cabinet are doing. Write, call, visit, rally at representatives’ offices. Speak up to family, friends and neighbors. Go to town halls and civic meetings. You cannot be a Silent Majority.
Support key organizations – give what you can – because they will need money to lobby, sue, organize protests and petition campaigns, can offer language for legislation and expose facts about the impacts of overturning regulations allowing corporations to pollute the air and water; repealing the Affordable Care Act, (losing 3 million jobs, adding billions to the budget deficit, depriving 18 million newly insured people of access to health care, instead of saving 87,000 lives, seeing 36,000 die needlessly for lack of health care); of the public health, environmental, economic, international repercussions of rolling back climate action. (Caveat: Organizations can’t just seize on the latest outrage to fundraise without actually doing something.)
“Together, we must resist the Trump Dynasty with everything we’ve got — starting with marches all over the country today,” declared Robert Weissman of Public Citizen. “It won’t be easy. We can be honest about that. The fights that matter most rarely are. But with all of our vigilance, all of our acumen, all of our strength, we can — we will — prevail over greed and hatred and corruption.”
Donald Trump made hyperbolic statements during the campaign promising to Make America Great Again and bring back lost factory jobs. But the Obama Administration has actually done it. In these waning days of Obama’s presidency, the administration is trying to get as much done as possible. Trump won’t succeed in restoring manufacturing by threatening companies with a 35% tax, or promising coal miners that their jobs (and black lung disease) will be restored. But the good news is that Obama has created a template for creating jobs – and particularly, manufacturing jobs – in a new economy shaped by emerging technology and yes, globalization. Need a job, want a job? This is where the jobs are. – Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features
Here is a Fact Sheet announcing on December 21 the third Manufacturing USA Institute awarded in three weeks:
The Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), Inc., headquartered in Manchester, NH, brings nearly $300 million in public-private investment from leading manufacturers and universities to develop the cells, tissues, and organs that may one day restore form and function to wounded warriors and civilians.
Today, the Department of Defense is awarding the new Advanced Tissue Biofabrication Manufacturing USA institute, which brings together a consortium of 87 partners from across industry, academia, and government to develop the manufacturing technologies for life-saving cells, tissues, and organs. The winning coalition, led by ARMI, Inc. and headquartered in Manchester, NH will develop next-generation manufacturing techniques for repairing and replacing cells and tissues, which may one day lead to the ability to manufacture new skin for soldiers scarred from combat or develop organ-preserving technologies to benefit Americans waiting for an organ transplant.
Today at the White House, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall will announce the winning consortium before an audience of stakeholders from industry, academia, and government, including senior leaders from the White House, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, and representatives from many of the existing Manufacturing USA institutes.
In the four years since its establishment, Manufacturing USA has grown from one institute with 65 members to a network of now 12 institutes with nearly 1,000 members. The institutes are already attracting new business investment to their regions, developing the cutting-edge technologies to drive American leadership, and training the workforce that will apply new skills to our manufacturing sector. Across the Manufacturing USA institutes, the Federal government has committed over $850 million, which has been matched by more than $1.8 billion in non-Federal investment. Today’s progress builds on important bipartisan action from Congress, which in 2015 passed the bipartisan Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation to formally authorize the program, proving that strengthening American manufacturing is a goal on which we can all agree.
After a decade of decline from 2000 to 2009, the U.S. manufacturing sector has added over 800,000 jobs since early 2010. Despite recent headwinds, the foundation for U.S. manufacturing is stronger than it has been in decades. Just this year, a new report on global manufacturing competitiveness found that manufacturing executives view the United States as the best location in the world for manufacturing in the years ahead.
The New Manufacturing USA Institute Awards
Manufacturing USA connects people, ideas, and technology to solve industry-relevant advanced manufacturing challenges, enhancing industrial competitiveness and economic growth and strengthening our national security. Each manufacturing institute is designed to build U.S. leadership and regional excellence in critical emerging manufacturing technologies by bridging the gap between early research and product development; bringing together companies, universities, and other academic and training institutions, and Federal agencies to co-invest in key technology areas that can encourage investment and production in the United States while serving as a ‘teaching factory’ for workers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs looking to develop new skills or prototype new products and processes.
Repairing and replacing cells, tissues, and organs. Announced today, the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute is poised to develop next-generation manufacturing techniques for repairing and replacing cells and tissues, which may one day lead to the ability to manufacture new skin for soldiers scarred from combat or develop organ-preserving technologies to benefit Americans stuck on organ transplant waiting lists. Headquartered in Manchester, NH, ARMI will focus on solving the cross-cutting manufacturing challenges that stand in the way of producing new synthetic tissues and organs—such as improving the availability, reproducibility, accessibility, and standardization of manufacturing materials, technologies, and processes to create tissue and organ products. ARMI will convene leaders from a multitude of disciplines, from cell biology and bioengineering to materials science and computer modeling. The partners will work to develop high-throughput culture and 3D biofabication techniques to non-invasive, real-time testing and sensing to measure the viability of engineered tissue constructs.
Industry Partners: Abbott, Autodesk, Becton Dickinson, Celularity, DEKA Research & Development, GenCure, Humacyte, Lonza, Medtronic, Rockwell Automation, and United Therapeutics
Government and non-profit organizations: FIRST, the State of New Hampshire, and Manufacturing Extension Partnerships in multiple states
Universities and Other Schools: Arizona State University, Boston University, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rutgers, Stanford University, the University of Florida, the University of Minnesota, the University of New Hampshire, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Yale University
Life-saving bio-therapies. On December 16, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker announced the winner of the Department of Commerce’s first institute and the first open-topic institute competition: the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL). NIIBML will be led by USA Bio Consortium, a team of more than 150 partners representing all of the elements required to make biopharmaceutical drugs—from the equipment makers and suppliers of raw materials, to the companies developing new treatments and readying them for clinical trials and regulatory approval, to the clinics treating patients. NIIMBL will work to accelerate the transition of disease-treating biopharmaceuticals from the lab to the market, with the aim to make these live-saving therapies more accessible to patients. NIIMBL will also help rapidly scale up manufacture of these advanced treatments to respond to pandemics and other biological threats, address drug shortages resulting from issues in manufacturing, and support precision medicine by exploring new processes and equipment to allow the cost-effective manufacture of single-batch biopharmaceutical exactly matched to an individual’s genetics or disease. Read more here, and how NIIMBL’s efforts will complement ARMI’s efforts here.
Companies and Non-Profit Organizations: Agilent Technologies, AIChE, Air Liquide, Altimmune, Amgen, Amgen Foundation, Artemis Biosystems, Association of University Research Parks, ASTM, BioFactura, Biogen, BioHealth Innovation, Biologics Modular, BioPhorum Operations Group, bioVolutions, BMC Corp, Boehringer Ingelheim Fremont, California Manufacturing Technology Consulting, Celgene Corp, Charles River Laboratories, ChromaTan, Cimetrics, Colorado BioScience Association, Commissioning Agents, Inc, Connecting Connecticut’s Science Community, Continuus Pharma, Corning Life Sciences, DelawareBio, DEMEP, DVIRC, Eli Lilly Research Labs, EMD Serono, FiberCell Systems, FloDesign Sonics, Fraunhofer CMB, Fraunhofer CESE, GBSI, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, Georgia Bio, Georgia Tech MEP, Grifols S.A., IBM, ILC Dover, ImmunoGen, Indiana Health Industry Forum, Institute for BioScience & Biotechnology Research, Intellia Therapeutics, IOWABio, Janssen Pharma, Juno Therapeutics, Kentucky Life Sciences Council, LakePharma, Lewa Process Technologies, Lonza Biologics Inc., Manex, MANTEC, MassBio, MassMep, MD MEP, MedImmune, MEPOL, MilliporeSigma, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology and Education, NC Bio, NC MEP, NEPIRC, NewYorkBIO, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, NYDSTI, Orochem, Pall Corp, Parental Drug Association, PBS Biotech, Pennsylvania Bio, Pfizer, Pharma Matrix, Pharyx Inc., Protein Sciences Corp, Purdue MEP, Regeneron Pharma, RepliGen, Rooster Bio, Sanofi Pasteur, SC MEP, Shire, Southwest Research Institute, SoyMeds, Stratosphere, Sudhin Biopharma, Tech Council of MD, Terumo BCT, THBI, Thrive Bioscience, University City Science Center, Unum Therapeutics, USP, Vericel Corp, Voyager Therapeutics, VWR, Waters
Universities, Colleges and Other Schools: Bio-Link (City College of San Francisco), Carnegie Mellon University, Clemson University, Delaware State University, Delaware Technical Community College, East Carolina University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, IVY Tech Community College, Johns Hopkins University, MARBIONC: Marine Biotechnology in NC (UNC Wilmington), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Memorial Sloan Kettering, MiraCosta College District, Montgomery College, Northeast Biomanufacturing Center and Collaborative, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina Community College’s BioNetwork System, North Carolina State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, Quincy College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Solano Community College, The University of Texas at Austin, Tulane University, University of California Berkeley, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Connecticut, University of Delaware, University of Georgia, University of Iowa, University of Kansas, University of Kentucky, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts, University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Charlotte, University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin
State Government and Regional Organizations: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, State of Delaware, State of Maryland, State of Minnesota, State of North Carolina
States: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, Washington D.C., Wisconsin
Ultra-efficient chemical manufacturing. On December 9, the Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in the Department of Energy David Friedman announced that the American Institute of Chemical Engineers will lead the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Institute. With over 130 partners from universities, companies, local and state organizations, and other Manufacturing USA institutes, the RAPID institute will work to develop new modular technologies to enable customized factories, local manufacturing in remote locations, and greater utilization of U.S. raw materials for manufacturing, while training future U.S. workers in these advanced fields. The RAPID institute will work to advance manufacturing processes used for making chemicals, refining fuels, and producing other everyday products used across the U.S. economy. By optimizing manufacturing at the molecular level, technologies developed by this institute will aim to save energy with every chemical reaction. In addition to improving energy efficiency, these technologies can lead to big savings on the manufacturing floor, such as cutting operating costs, waste, and equipment footprint. In the chemical industry alone, these technologies have the potential to save more than $9 billion in process costs annually. For example, by simplifying and shrinking the physical space needed for manufacturing, this approach may enable natural gas refining directly at the wellhead, saving up to half of the energy lost in the ethylene cracking process today. Read more here. Initial partners include:
Industry partners: Alloy Surfaces, Arkema, AspenTech, ATI Specialty Alloys, Automation Solutions, Avatar Sustainables, Ayers Group, BASF, BgtL, Biodico, Cantrell Capital, CB&I, Cermatec, CF Technologies, Compact Membrane Systems, Convergent Catalysis, Corning, Cummins, Domtar, Dow, Dow Water Solutions, DuPont, Earth Energy Renewables, Eastman Chemical, Easy Energy Systems, EcoCatalytic Technologies, Emerson Process Management, Enginuity Worldwide, Environmental & Fuel Research LLC, Environmental Engineering Solutions, ExxonMobil, Fluor, Franklin International, Full Cycle Bioplastics, FutureCeuticals, GE Water and Process Technologies, Greenway Energy, H Quest Vanguard, i3D MFG, Intellectual Assets, IntraMicron Inc., Italmatch Chemicals, Kore Infrastructure, Lubrizol, Managed Technology Solutions Group, Matric, NatureWorks, NuScale Power, Onboard Dynamics, Pall Corp., Paul Weaver Construction Equipment, Petron Scientech, Pioneer Tank & Vessel, Portland General Electric, Praxair, Process Systems Enterprise, Reliance Industries, RnD Consulting, Roeslein Alternative Energy, Saint Gobain NorPro, Secat Inc., Shell, Sigma Innova, Solar Fuels & Chemicals, Solvay, Southern Company, Strategic Analysis, United Technologies Research Center, Vacuum Process Engineering, vanZoen, Waste Resource Recovery, Xcel Energy, Zaiput Flow, Zeachem, Zeton
Local and State Organizations: Alabama Department of Commerce, Iowa Economic Development, Iowa Energy Center, State of Oregon, Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership, South Carolina Department of Commerce, South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Academic Partners and Research Institutions: Auburn University, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western University, Clemson University, Drexel University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Iowa State University, Manhattan College, Michigan State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, Oregon State University, Rutgers University, State University of New York, Texas A&M, Texas Tech University, University of Alabama, University of Arizona, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Delaware, University of Idaho, University of Illinois, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of North Dakota, University of Pittsburgh, University of South Carolina, University of Southern California, University of Texas, University of Wyoming, Worchester Polytechnic Institute, West Virginia University.
Not for Profit and Independent Associations: American Chemistry Council, American Chemical Society, Agenda 2020, Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Institute, Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, Gas Technology Institute, Glass Manufacturers Industry Council, Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, National Society of Black Engineers, Research Triangle Institute, Society of Chemical Manufacturing and Affiliates, Southern Research Institute.
Laboratories: The Ames Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Savannah River National Laboratory, The Forest Products Laboratory (U.S. Forest Service), The National Risk Management Laboratory (EPA).
Ongoing Institute Competitions
In addition to the three institutes announced since December 9, other Manufacturing USA institute topics are now under competition in the areas of:
Sustainable materials manufacturing. In collaboration with the Department of Energy, the winner of the competition for the Reducing Embodied Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) in Materials Manufacturing Institute will focus on reducing the total lifetime use of energy in manufactured materials by developing new cradle-to-cradle technologies for the reuse, recycling, and remanufacturing of manmade materials. U.S. manufacturing consumes nearly a third of the nation’s total energy use annually, with much of that energy embodied in the physical products made in manufacturing. New technologies to better repurpose these materials could save U.S. manufacturers and the nation up to 1.6 quadrillion BTU of energy annually, equivalent to 280 million barrels of oil, or a month’s worth of domestic oil imports. Read more here.
Collaborative robotics. Together with the Department of Defense, the winner of the competition for the Robots in Manufacturing Environments Manufacturing USA Institute will focus on building U.S. leadership in smart collaborative robotics, where advanced robots work alongside humans seamlessly, safely, and intuitively to do the heavy lifting on an assembly line or handleintricate or dangerous tasks with precision. People collaborating with robots has the potential to change a broad swath of manufacturing sectors, from defense and space to automotive and health, enabling the reliable and efficient production of high-quality, customized products. Read more here.
Industry-proposed topic. Leveraging authorities from the Revitalizing American Manufacturing and Innovation Act with broad bipartisan support in Congress, the Department of Commerce has launched the first “open topic” institute competition. This competition is open to any topic proposed by industry not already addressed by a manufacturing innovation institute. In addition to NIIMBL, which is awarded using FY2016 funds, additional institutes may be awarded from this competition, subject to the availability of additional funds. The open topic competition design allows industry to propose technology areas seen as critical by leading manufacturers to the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. Read more here.
Early Successes from Manufacturing USA
Together, the Manufacturing USA institutes are already enhancing U.S. competitiveness in advanced manufacturing—from helping Youngstown, OH attract over $90 million in new manufacturing investments to its region and train 14,000 workers in the fundamentals of 3D printing for businesses, to supporting companies like X-FAB in Lubbock, TX upgrade to next-generation power semiconductors and sustain hundreds of jobs. These public-private partnerships are bringing value to their members and regions by providing:
Technological Innovation: By accelerating the transition from design to Made in USA, the institutes are developing emerging manufacturing technologies—for example, America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown, OH enabled one of its founding members, Oxford Performance Materials, Inc., to become the first company to receive clearance from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to manufacture 3D-printed polymer implants for use in surgical procedures in the United States.
Collaborative Constituencies: The institutes align pre-competitive industry priorities by combining the efforts of manufacturers across geographies and supply chains—for example, the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics), the Integrated Photonics Institute in Rochester, NY, has members on both coasts that, collectively, comprise the entire supply chain for integrated photonics, from microfabrication processing training and circuit design centers in Massachusetts; to wafer foundry, packaging, and assembly centers in New York; to integrated photonic device manufacturers in California.
Leveraged Investments: For companies, institute membership provides access to unique equipment and capabilities that are too costly for any one company to undertake—for example, Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), the Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles institute in Cambridge, MA, is standing up a distributed, on-demand foundry to rapidly identify domestic manufacturing pathways within its membership to accelerate the design-to-product process.
Networked Expertise: Manufacturing USA is at its best when the institutes are working together— for example, to create a talent pipeline of multi-skilled manufacturing technicians. This cross-institute effort is designed to match talent demands from industry members with the best content from academia members, define promising career pathways, and align workforce investment resources across municipalities, states, and regions.
Customized Training: Institutes act as “teaching factories,” providing hands-on factory workforce training for the relevant technology– for example, NC State, the lead for Power America, has created a Master’s of Science concentration focused on wide band gap semiconductor power electronics. More than 200 graduate students at NC State and member universities of Power America are now studying power electronics each year. As a result, over 225 freshman engineering students have been introduced to wide band gap semiconductors, building a talent pipeline of future graduates.
Business Opportunities: By developing national expertise across their supply chains, the institutes are creating new reasons for companies to locate jobs and investment in their regions and the United States—for example, Leisure Pools, a polymer composite pool manufacturer originally from Australia, has relocated its facilities to be near the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) in Knoxville, TN, as Leisure Pool moves into new areas to become an advanced manufacturer of carbon fiber composite material products and adds up to 1,000 jobs in Knoxville over the next decade.
Innovation Ecosystems: The institutes are creating trusted environments, knitting together technical expertise across supply chains to craft new business opportunities—for example, the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) in Chicago, IL is providing space within its facilities for start-ups developing their business, facilitating relationships between young companies and large industrial members through collaborative projects.
Rejuvenated Neighborhoods: By anchoring regional manufacturing competitiveness, the institutes are breathing new life into the manufacturing regions where they are located—for example, Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT), the lightweight and modern metals manufacturing institute in Detroit, MI, has transformed a former factory that was abandoned during the wave of offshoring in the early 2000s, rejuvenating one of Detroit’s oldest neighborhoods.
To learn more about the open competitions for these next manufacturing innovation institutes, please visit Manufacturing.gov. In addition to today’s announcement, the established manufacturing innovation institutes are:
America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (Youngstown, OH)
Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (Chicago, IL)
Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (Detroit, MI)
Power America (Raleigh, NC)
Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (Knoxville, TN)
American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (Rochester, NY)
Next Flex, the Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute (San Jose, CA)
Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (Cambridge, MA)
Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (Los Angeles, CA)
Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (New York, NY)
National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (Newark, DE)
“[I]t has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things—some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor—who have carried us up the long rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.” – President Obama, Inaugural Address, January 21, 2009
In these waning days of Obama’s historic presidency, before the incoming Trump Administration can undo and erase his legacy, it is important to be reminded of his accomplishments:
America’s entrepreneurial economy is the envy of the world. Young companies account for almost 30 percent of new jobs, and as we have fought back from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, startups have helped the U.S. private sector create 15.5 million jobs since early 2010—the longest streak of private-sector job creation on record.
Today, in celebration of National Entrepreneurship Month, the Administration is releasing a Top 10 list of President Obama’s most significant specific actions to promote American entrepreneurship, as well as announcing new efforts to build on these successes. The President’s unprecedented focus on the role of startups in the United States’ innovation economy is exemplified by his launch of Startup America in 2011, a White House initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the Nation.
Thanks to the grit, determination, and creativity of entrepreneurs all across the country, American startup activity is rebounding and growing more inclusive of historically underrepresented groups and regions. Studies indicate that:
Reversing a downward cycle that began during the Great Recession, U.S. startup activity ascended last year, representing the largest year-over-year increase in the last two decades, while measures of startup revenue and employment growth have rebounded across industries as well.
New companies created 889,000 jobs in the final quarter of 2015—the highest job creation number since 2008.
Rates of entrepreneurship have increased for Latinos, African Americans, and immigrants between 1996 and 2015.
Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms is estimated to have grown at a rate five times the national average, including a more than doubling of the number of firms owned by African American women and Latinas.
American startups are not only rebounding, they are taking root in more communities all across the country—for example, the share of U.S. metro areas that attracted early stage venture capital has increased by around 50 percent since 2009.
The number of U.S. startup accelerator programs increased from fewer than 30 in 2009 to over 170 in 2015, providing mentorship and early funding to thousands of startups across 35 states plus D.C. and 54 metro areas.
Access to capital for high-growth entrepreneurs has improved significantly since 2009, with venture capital investment up an estimated 200 percent, far exceeding its pre-recession peak, and angel investment up 40 percent, approaching its pre-recession peak.
Compared with 137 countries, the United States continues to top the rankings in the Global Entrepreneurship Index, with the world’s most favorable conditions for entrepreneurs to start and scale new companies.
Breaking down barriers for all entrepreneurs is not the task of just one Administration. For example, studies suggest that the share of venture-funded startups with women founders has nearly doubled in 5 years—but it is still only 18 percent. Continuing to reverse America’s 40-year decline in startup activity will require building on the President’s record of addressing income inequality, promoting competitive markets, reducing unduly restrictive occupational licensing, and scaling up rapid training for 21st century technology skills.
In addition to releasing today’s Top 10 list of President Obama’s specific actions to promote entrepreneurship, the Administration is also announcing new private-sector actions to promote inclusive entrepreneurship.
New Actions by Organizations Answering the President’s Call to Action
Engineering deans from over 200 universities are committing to building a more-representative student talent pipeline. At the first-ever White House Demo Day in 2015, 102 engineering deans pledged to develop concrete diversity plans for their programs to tap into diverse talent. Since then, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) has worked with its members to share best practices and to promote the inclusivity in engineering schools of all students regardless of visible or invisible differences. ASEE is creating a platform to disseminate best practices among participating engineering schools that will help them implement the diversity initiative. Today, at 206, the number of engineering deans that have signed the pledge has more than doubled since 2015. ASEE will continue promoting and enhancing diversity and inclusion through all its participating members. Read letter HERE.
79 companies have now joined the Tech Inclusion Pledge. At the Global Entrepreneurship Summit this past summer, President Obama announced a commitment by senior leadership from 33 companies of all sizes to fuel American innovation and economic growth by increasing the diversity of their technology workforce. Today, 46 additional companies, including Xerox, TaskRabbit, and Techstars, are joining this Tech Inclusion Pledge, committing to take concrete action to make the technology workforce at each of their companies representative of the American people as soon as possible. To facilitate additional pledge commitments and help companies meet those commitments, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and CODE2040 commit to maintain a website with free research-based implementation resources. Read letter HERE.
Early-stage investors are making a new commitment to promote inclusive entrepreneurship. Today, more than 30 investment firms, angel investor groups, and startup accelerators with over $800 million under management have committed to achieving greater transparency in their funding criteria and to actively mentoring entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds, in an effort to increase the diversity of startup founders in their portfolios. For example, MassMutual Foundation and Valley Venture Mentors are partnering to create a scalable model for rural startup accelerators, while Pipeline Angels is bringing its training programs for underrepresented investors to 20 additional cities. Read letter HERE.
The President’s Top 10 Actions to Accelerate American Entrepreneurship
Signed permanent tax incentives for startup investment. The President signed into law 18 tax breaks for small businesses in his first term, including tax credits for those who hire unemployed workers and veterans. In addition, in December 2015, Congress responded to the President’s call to make two critical tax incentivespermanent for the first time:
Made the Research and Experimentation (R&E) tax credit available to startups. In addition to making the R&E tax credit permanent for the first time since its enactment in the early 1980s, Congress also expanded the credit to allow pre-revenue startups and small businesses to take advantage of the credit by counting it against up to $250,000 in payroll expenses for up to 5 years.
Permanently eliminated capital gains tax on certain small business stock. First enacted on a temporary basis in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and now permanent, this measure eliminates capital gains realized on the sale of certain small business stock held for more than 5 years, providing a major incentive for private-sector investment in high-growth entrepreneurial firms that fuel economic growth.
Accelerated the transition of research discoveries from lab to market.The Federal government invests over $140 billion each year on Federally-funded research and development (R&D) conducted at universities, Federal laboratories, and companies. The President issued a memorandum to agencies to accelerate the commercialization of Federal R&D, and made these Lab-to-Market efforts a core part of his management agenda.
Scaled up I-Corps, a rigorous entrepreneurship training program for scientists and engineers. The Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, first launched in 2011 by the National Science Foundation (NSF), provides entrepreneurship training for Federally funded scientists and engineers, pairing them with business mentors for an intensive curriculum focused on discovering a truly demand-driven path from their lab work to a marketable product. Over the past 5 years, more than 800 researcher teams have completed this I-Corps training, from 192 universities in 44 states, resulting in the creation of over 320 companies that have collectively raised more than $93 million in follow-on funding. The I-Corps model has been adopted in 11 additional Federal agency partnerships, including an expansion to 17Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is implemented through a National Innovation Network across more than 70 universities. Additionally, the Department of Defense’s MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator is helping provide students with the training to apply a similar lean startup methodology to real-world national-security problems, soon expanding to eight institutions of higher education this spring, and including new challenges in diplomacy, urban resilience, and energy.
Facilitated personnel exchanges between Federal labs, academia, and industry. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a final rule on “Technology Innovation-Personnel Exchanges,” allowing Federal agencies to more easily exchange personnel with universities, non-profits, and the private sector to advance R&D commercialization.
Increased access to Federally-funded research facilities and intellectual property for entrepreneurs and innovators. Funded by NIST, the Federal Laboratory Consortium launched online tools for finding specific information and open data on more than 300 Federal laboratories with 2,500 user facilities and specialized equipment, as well as over 20,000 technologies available for licensing.
Strengthened Federal R&D funding for startups and small businesses. For the first time in a decade, in 2011 the President signed a long-term reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which annually provide over $2.5 billion in Federal R&D funding to technology startups and small businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and 11 participating Federal agencies have expanded access to SBIR/STTR opportunities, including by building theSBIR.gov platform and initiating a road tour that has engaged historically underrepresented communities across the country.
Cut red tape for entrepreneurs.The Administration’s Startup in a Day initiative is cutting red tape to make it easier for more entrepreneurs to get started and grow their businesses. Over 100 cities, home to nearly 38 million Americans, have taken a public pledge to streamline their business startup processes, allowing entrepreneurs to navigate requirements in as little as 24 hours. To support these streamlining efforts, the SBA sponsored a prize competition won by 28 cities and communities; examples include the City of Los Angeles and the City of Long Beach, which both created online business portals that are open-source and can be shared with cities and communities across the country. Additionally, over 52,000 small business borrowers have connected to lenders under a new SBA online matchmaking tool called LINC, while SBA One is taking SBA’s lending process entirely online, which will save hours of time and thousands of dollars per loan for entrepreneurs.
Expanded regional entrepreneurship opportunities. High-growth entrepreneurship is taking root in more and more communities across the country, in part thanks to targeted investments by this Administration.
Seeded startup accelerators in diverse communities. The SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition serves entrepreneurs in a broad set of industries and sectors—from manufacturing and tech start-ups, to farming and biotech—with many focused on creating a diverse and inclusive small business community. From 2014 to now, SBA has funded over 200 startup accelerator programs in every corner of the country, serving well over 5,000 startups that have collectively employed over 20,000 people and raised over 1.5 billion in capital.
Pioneered a regional innovation strategy. SBA’s investments in 62 Regional Innovation Clusters have helped participating small businesses achieve an average employment growth rate of more than five times faster than regional benchmarks, and more than $650 million in Federal contract opportunities.
Incentivized regional partners to work together on tech entrepreneurship. Through its Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program and the i6 Challenge, the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded $59 million in capacity-building grants that help entrepreneurs in diverse regions of the country move ideas to market, supporting the creation and expansion of research-commercialization centers and early-stage seed-capital funds. Earlier this month, EDA announced nearly $15 million in Federal funding plus $18 million in matching funds, reaching urban and rural areas in 19 states, including the first RIS investments that support historically black colleges and universities: a direct investment in Clark Atlanta University’s agriculture and food technology commercialization program; and an investment in a program to increase access to early-stage capital in southeast Louisiana, in which Southern University is a partner. Among the 35 organizations receiving EDA support are a female-focused early-stage capital fund in Texas, a Native American-focused proof-of-concept program in Oklahoma, and urban innovation hubs focused on fashion technology in Brooklyn and on social innovation in New Orleans.
Directly boosted entrepreneurs’ access to capital. With only three states attracting the majority of venture capital, the Administration has focused on incentivizing investment in startup communities across the country.
Catalyzed investments of $8.4 billion through theState Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). The SSBCI was created through the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which provided $1.5 billion to strengthen state programs that support lending to small businesses and small manufacturers. Administered by the Treasury Department, SSBCI has catalyzed over $8.4 billion in more than 16,900 new loans and investments all across the country. To date, business owners report more than 190,000 jobs will be created or retained due to the new loans and investments stimulated by SSBCI funds. More than half of all SSBCI loans or investments went to young businesses less than 5 years old, and over 40 percent of the loans or investments were in low- or moderate-income communities. Over 30 states have allocated nearly half-a-billion SSBCI dollars to venture-capital programs—a dramatic increase in funding for the programs that are critical to expanding high-growth entrepreneurship into diverse regions around the country.
Strengthened investment fund program for small businesses. The Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, run by the SBA, is a multi-billion dollar investment program to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs’ need for capital and traditional sources of financing. This Administration has created new pathways for impact investment funds that devote growth capital to companies in underserved communities and emerging sectors, as well as for early-stage innovation funds. The recently announced Open Network for Board Diversity (ONBOARD) is a public-private initiative working to expand the presence of underrepresented groups on high-growth company advisory boards, boards of directors, and senior leadership, particularly for those supported by SBICs.
Prioritized inclusive entrepreneurship.As part of the first-ever White House Demo Day in August 2015, 40 leading venture-capital firms with more than $100 billion under management committed to advance opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities, and more than a dozen major technology companies committed to new actions to ensure diverse recruitment and hiring. These actions are complemented by today’s announcements, as well as continued progress by Federal agencies, including:
Reduced barriers faced by women entrepreneurs. SBA created the InnovateHER Business Challenge, where organizations throughout the country hold local competitions for new and innovative products and services to empower women and their families; in 2015, over 1,000 entrepreneurs participated in over 100 competitions, and these numbers doubled in 2016. Women-owned small businesses reached an important milestone in 2015, meeting the Federal contracting goal for such businesses for the first time in history; overall last year, the Federal government awarded an all-time high of 25.75 percent of government contracts to all small businesses, supporting 537,000 American jobs.
Unlocked the potential of Federal inventions with entrepreneurs from all backgrounds. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Minority Business Development Agency, and the Federal Laboratory Consortium partnered together to launch the Inclusive Innovation Initiative (I-3), designed to increase minority business participation in Federal technology transfer.
Trained veteran entrepreneurs for 21st century opportunities. The Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation is helping to expand the 3D Veterans Bootcamp, a program that provides Veterans with technical training in 3D printing and design skills to accelerate designs to market. The training will annually prepare over 400 Veterans and transitioning service members for careers in advanced manufacturing and will provide guidance and resources for those wishing to launch their own business. Additionally, SBA launched Boots to Business, an entrepreneurship education program that provides transitioning service members with introductory business training and technical assistance. Since 2013, over 20,000 transitioning service members, including many spouses, participated in the Boots to Business introductory class on over 165 military installations worldwide.
Launched TechHire to train people for entrepreneurial opportunities and well-paying jobs. In 2015 the President launched TechHire, a multisector effort to empower more people from all backgrounds with the skills they need, through universities and community colleges but also innovative nontraditional approaches like “coding bootcamps,” that can rapidly train workers for technology jobs. Since then, 50 communities in partnership with over 1,000 employers have initiated local efforts that have placed over 2,000 people into tech jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Expanded entrepreneurial opportunities for the unemployed and underserved. The Department of Labor (DOL) has funded the expansion of voluntary state-run Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) programs, designed to encourage and enable unemployed workers to create their own jobs by starting their own businesses while receiving unemployment insurance benefits; helped make entrepreneurial training available to more than 200,000 low-income and out-of-school youth with barriers to employment; and helped make it easier for formerly incarcerated persons to participate in the SBA’s microloan program.
Created opportunities for promising entrepreneurs and innovators from abroad. While there is no substitute for Congress passing commonsense immigration reform, the Administration is taking the steps it can to fix as much of the broken U.S. immigration system as possible. Many of these commonsense steps are designed to attract and retain the most talented workers, graduates, and entrepreneurs from around the world.
Released a rule tailored for international entrepreneurs. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed International Entrepreneur Rule, which describes new ways in which DHS will make it possible for certain promising startup founders to grow their companies within the United States. Once this rule is finalized, it will provide much-needed clarity for entrepreneurs who have been validated by experienced American funders, and who demonstrate substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation—benefiting American workers and the U.S. economy.
Acted to retain more of the scientists and engineers educated in the United States. American universities train some of the world’s most talented students in science, technology engineering, and mathematics (STEM), but the broken U.S. immigration system compels many of them to take their skills back to their home countries. DHS published a final rule on STEM Optional Practical Training allowing international students with qualifying STEM degrees from U.S. universities to extend the time they participate in practical training, while at the same time strengthening oversight and adding new features to the program.
Unlocked the talents of high-skilled Americans-in-waiting. The Administration is making it possible for high-skilled workers on temporary visas to accept promotions, change positions or employers, or start new companies while they and their families wait to receive their green cards, and ultimately become Americans, by the publication of a policy memo on job portability and a final rule improving employment-based visa programs. In addition, DHS published a new rule that has allowed the spouses of certain high-skilled immigrants to put their own education and talents to work and contribute to the American economy.
Updated securities laws for high-growth companies.Thanks to the bipartisanJumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act signed by the President in 2012, entrepreneurs have greater access to capital from the seed stage all the way to an initial public offering (IPO). These new capital-formation pathways include:
The “IPO on-ramp” makes it easier for qualifying smaller firms to responsibly access public markets. Thanks in part to the JOBS Act, which phases in regulatory requirements for smaller companies making an initial public offering (IPO), in the year ending in March 2014 smaller IPOs were at their highest level since 2000; one study estimated that the JOBS Act was responsible for a 25 percent increase in IPO activity, including among biotech startups.
Entrepreneurs can raise up to $50 million through regulated “mini public offerings.” Through the “Regulation A+” provision of the JOBS Act, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has qualified around 50 companies to make streamlined public offerings of over $840 million in aggregate—whereas the previous version of this rule was rarely used.
Entrepreneurs can raise up to $1 million from regular investors through a new class of regulated crowdfunding platforms. A new, national, SEC-regulated marketplace for securities-based crowdfunding first opened for business 6 months ago; by one measure, these new crowdfunding platforms have allowed startups and small businesses to raise $12 million from over 15,000 regular investors.
Made the U.S. patent system more efficient and responsive to innovators.The President signed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act in September 2011, giving the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) new resources to significantly reduce patent application wait times. Total processing times for both patents and trademarks have been reduced by approximately 25 percent and 14 percent, respectively, since 2009. This reduction has come with both a 50-75 percent reduced cost for startups and small businesses, as well as the creation of a fast track program where applicants can get a final disposition in about 12 months. In addition, with a series of executive actions, the Administration has taken steps to increase transparency to the patent system and level the playing field for innovators, and leveraged the knowledge of the American people by crowdsourcing information about prior art. USPTO has also launched an International IP Toolkit to empowerinnovators with tools to facilitate exports and empower global expansions, a Patent Pro Bono Program across all 50 states to provide free legal assistance for inventors who file patent applications without the assistance of a patent attorney, and a fast-track review for patents related to cancer treatment as part of Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot.
Unleashed entrepreneurship in the industries of the future. The President has long recognized that it is entrepreneurs in clean energy, medicine, advanced manufacturing, information technology, and other innovative fields who will build the new industries of the 21st century, and solve some of our toughest global challenges.
Boosted innovation and entrepreneurship in the bioeconomy. In 2012, theAdministration released the first-ever National Bioeconomy Blueprint, to outline a series of steps to grow and manage a sector that is generating annual revenues greater than $300 billion and that is contributing the equivalent of at least 5 percent of annual U.S. GDP growth. In 2015, recognizing that navigating the regulatory process for biotechnology products can be unduly challenging, especially for small companies, the Administration initiated an effort to improve transparency and predictability in the regulatory system for biotechnology products.
Spurred innovation and entrepreneurship in the commercial space industry. Working with NASA, American companies have developed new spacecraft that are cost-effectively delivering cargo to the International Space Station and are working towards ferrying astronauts there by the end of 2017. U.S. companies that got their start supporting government missions have increased their share of the global commercial launch market from zero in 2011 to 36 percent in 2015. Federal agencies are also leveraging innovative procurement methods and creating a supportive regulatory environment to allow space entrepreneurs to pursue ventures in areas such as remote sensing, satellite servicing, asteroid mining, and small satellites. More venture capital was invested in America’s space industry in 2015 than in all the previous 15 years combined.
Enabled a new generation of aviation technology for commercial use. Powering a revolution in unmanned flight, this summer the Administration announcedground rules to govern commercial, scientific, public safety and other non-recreational uses of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—commonly known as “drones.” These rules are enabling the safe expansion of a new generation of aviation technologies and startups that will create jobs, enhance public safety, and advance scientific inquiry. Industry estimates suggest that, over the next 10 years, commercial unmanned aircraft systems could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and by 2025, the industry could be supporting as many as 100,000 new jobs.
Supported the growth of advanced robotics. In 2011, President Obama announced the National Robotics Initiative (NRI) — a multi-agency collaboration to accelerate the development of next-generation robots that can solve problems in areas of national priority, including manufacturing, sustainable agriculture, space and undersea exploration, health, transportation, personal and homeland security, and disaster resiliency and sustainable infrastructure. The NRI has invested over $135 million in 230 projects in 33 states, fueling the development of new technologies and business opportunities, including robots that can inspect bridges, monitor water quality, and even aid in future space missions.
Supported manufacturing entrepreneurship through a national network of R&D hubs.Manufacturing USA brings together industry, academia, and government to co-invest in the development of world-leading manufacturing technologies and capabilities. In the 4 years since its establishment, Manufacturing USA has grown to a network of nine institutes and over 1,300 members—of which more than one-third are small- and medium-sized enterprises. These public-private partnerships are catalyzing entrepreneurial activity by, for example, working with regional Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers to help small manufacturers across the nation adopt advanced manufacturing techniques; and blending manufacturing technology and entrepreneurship in project-based learning programs for high schoolers.
Stimulated entrepreneurial solutions through increased use of incentive prizes. Since 2010, more than 100 Federal agencies have engaged 250,000 Americans through more than 700 incentive prizes on Challenge.gov to address tough problems ranging from fighting Ebola, to improving speech recognition, to blocking illegal robocalls. Competitions such as the NIH Breast Cancer Startup Challenge and many more have made over $220 million available to entrepreneurs and innovators and have led to the formation of over 300 startup companies with over $70 million in follow-on funding.
Fostered grassroots innovation through the maker movement. Beginning with the White House Maker Faire in June 2014 and continuing with a National Week of Making in both 2015 and 2016, the Administration has supported a growing grassroots community of makers—Americans using new tools, technologies, and spaces to design, build, and manufacture. Federal agencies, companies, non-profits, cities, and schools collectively committed to creating over 2,500 maker-oriented spaces in the United States to expand access for both students and entrepreneurs. Earlier this month, more than 300 organizations from all 50 states, with industry support including Chevron, Cognizant, and Google, came together to launch an independent nonprofit called Nation of Makers, to provide an ongoing community of practice and leadership to the maker movement.
President Obama has also elevated innovation and entrepreneurship as a foreign policy priority beyond America’s borders. Following his historic 2009 Cairo speech, the President hosted the first Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) at the White House in 2010; since then, annual GES events worldwide have provided over 7,000 emerging entrepreneurs with networking and investment opportunities and catalyzed over $1 billion in private-sector commitments. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) initiative catalyzes private-sector investment and identifies innovative models that help global entrepreneurs bridge the “pioneer gap.” Working in partnership with more than 40 incubators, accelerators, and seed-stage impact investors worldwide, USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab creates public-private partnerships dedicated to testing ways to foster entrepreneurship, which are expected to leverage $100 million in combined public and private investments. The Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative is a collaboration among American entrepreneurs, the White House, the Department of Commerce, and other Federal agencies to harness the creativity of U.S. business leaders to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs both at home and abroad. The Department of State’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) program has engaged with science and technology innovators and entrepreneurs in 135 emerging economies around the world, providing training and resources to help them build successful startups.
For additional information and progress updates on organizations answering the President’s Call to Action to Advance Entrepreneurship, click HERE.
FACT SHEET: Administration Announces Additional Economic and Workforce Development Resources for Coal Communities through POWER Initiative
As part of President Obama’s continuing efforts to assist communities negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector, today the Administration is announcing the second round of grants awarded this year as part of the POWER Initiative’s “POWER 2016” funding opportunity that invests in economic revitalization and workforce training in coal communities across the country. The awards announced today, totaling nearly $28 million, will support 42 economic and workforce development projects in thirteen states that are building a strong economic future in communities, and targeting various industry sectors, including manufacturing, information technology, agriculture, housing, and tourism and recreation. The awards are administered by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).
The POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative is a community-based Administration effort involving ten federal agencies working together to align, leverage and target a range of federal economic and workforce development programs and resources to assist communities and workers that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy sector. The POWER initiative exemplifies a collaborative approach to federal partnership with communities that President Obama and his Administration have steadily advanced, which focuses on improving coordination across federal agencies, tailoring federal support based on local needs and priorities, encouraging local long-term strategic planning, and relying on data and evidence to inform solutions that work.
The POWER Initiative is the primary economic and workforce component of President Obama’s broader POWER+ Plan, part of his FY 2017 budget request to Congress. There is bipartisan legislation in Congress consistent with two of the President’s POWER+ proposals that could have a significant positive impact on workers, communities and retirees in coal country, and complement the POWER Initiative’s investments.
The Miners Protection Act (S. 1714) and its House companion, the Coal Healthcare and Pensions Protection Act (H.R. 2403), mirror the President’s proposal to transfer federal funds to strengthen the solvency of the largest multi-employer pension plan serving retired coal miners and their families, and to extend health care coverage to additional retirees, more than twenty thousand of whom will start to lose their existing coverage at the end of this year.
The RECLAIM Act (H.R. 4456), which is consistent with the President’s proposal to invest $1 billion in projects that link abandoned coal mine reclamation to economic development strategies, while stimulating economic activity and job creation in hard hit coalfield communities.
Congress has the ability to pass this legislation before the end of the year and send it to the President’s desk for his signature.
The awards announced today are from a competitive POWER federal funding opportunity that the ARC and EDA released in March of this year by to provide implementation, planning and technical assistance grants.
POWER Implementation Award Summaries:
$3,000,000 ARC grant to Friends of Southwest Virginia in Abingdon, VA for the Building Appalachian Spring: Growing the Economy of Southwest Virginia project. This comprehensive project will significantly enhance the outdoor recreation industry as an economic driver in a four-county region in southwestern Virginia. ARC funds will be used to develop four access points to the New River that strategically link the river to nearby communities’ hospitality and tourism services; construct a 4,000 square foot Gateway Center to the High Knob Recreation Area – providing visitors with more centralized access to numerous nearby recreation assets; build an Appalachian Trail Center in downtown Damascus; and create a 30-mile, multi-use trail connecting Breaks Interstate Park directly to downtown Haysi’s business district. The project will increase travel expenditures in project locations by $30 million over the next five years, create 60 new businesses and 200 new jobs, and is supported by funding from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.
$2,220,000 ARC grant to the Industrial Development Authority in Wise, VA for the Virginia Emerging Drone Industry Cluster Project. ARC funds will be used to position five counties in southwestern Virginia as a national destination for the development of a drone-operator workforce to support the emerging drone industry in the United States. The award will enable Mountain Empire Community College to offer courses that train students, including former coal industry workers, to operate drones and drone sensors to provide commercial and government services – including geospatial surveys, close-up inspections of fixed structures, and mapping. The award will train 64 new workers, leverage $15,000,000 in additional investment, and enable a private aerospace company in the region to perform work on a major contract – thereby creating 210 new direct and indirect jobs.
$2,040,000 EDA grant to the City of Bluefield, WV to support development of the Bluefield Commercialization Station project. Under this project the city, in partnership with the Shott Foundation, will rehabilitate and transform an existing 50,000 square foot freight station into an incubator to serve new and existing businesses. This project will provide high-tech business services including prototype development, product design and development, retooling, and supply chain assistance. This project will support the creation and retention of 72 jobs, expand at least 12 local businesses, and leverage $510,000 in private investment.
$1,800,000 ARC grant to the Appalachian Wildlife Foundation Inc. in Corbin, KY for the Appalachian Wildlife Center Infrastructure project. ARC funds will be used to install water infrastructure at the future site of the Appalachian Wildlife Center, a conservation education and research facility. The Wildlife Center facility — located on 19 miles of reclaimed mine land — will feature the largest elk restoration and viewing effort in the United States. The facility will be modeled on the successful Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, Pennsylvania. The project will position a 10-county region in the tri-state area of southeastern Kentucky, northeastern Tennessee, and southwestern Virginia as a national tourist attraction, and will create 86 new jobs.
$1,747,806 ARC grant to the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship in Chapel Hill, NC for the Building Entrepreneurial Communities: The Foundation of an Economic Transition for Appalachia project. The project will build and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in an 18-county region covering southeastern Ohio, southern West Virginia, and southeastern Kentucky. Project activities include establishing a support system that can identify and develop new entrepreneurs; assisting new and expanding businesses with skill development; and connecting entrepreneurs with existing capacity-building resources in the region. The project will create 72 new businesses and 250 new jobs.
$1,558,850 EDA grant to the City of Belpre, OH, which, in partnership with the Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District, will implement an infrastructure improvement project and extend sewer service two miles north of the city along Ohio Route 7 to accommodate large employers and businesses in the area. The completed project is projected to contribute to the retention of existing jobs and the creation of up to 255 new jobs, and to leverage over $3 million of new private investments.
$1,502,938 ARC grant to Marshall University Research Corporation in Huntington, WV for the Sprouting Farms project. The project will facilitate the development of a vibrant agricultural industry in a nine-county area in southern West Virginia by educating new farmers, launching farm businesses, and jump-starting wholesale market channels, all while encouraging business and farm sustainability. ARC funds will be used to implement workforce and farm business accelerator training programs; secure and upgrade the project site and facilities; and provide direct business support and employment to new agricultural businesses and program graduates. The project will create 20 new businesses and 33 new jobs, and leverage $961,475 in additional investment. Additional funding is being provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.
$1,501,499 ARC grant to Marion County, TN for the Marion County Regional Center for Higher Education Phase II & III project. ARC funds will be utilized to construct a 30,000 square foot educational facility that will house new technology and industrial training programs. The project will also conduct outreach to displaced workers from the Widows Creek Power Plant – a coal-fired facility in the area that was recently retired. The project will train 109 people for careers in advanced manufacturing and information technology, and will improve 20 existing businesses in the region.
$1,422,965 ARC grant to Hocking College in Nelsonville, OH for theAppalachia RISES (Revitalizing an Industry-ready Skilling Ecosystem for Sustainability) Initiative. The project will leverage the expertise of regional education, business, and government entities to deliver comprehensive workforce training services in employment fields that meet current and anticipated industry needs in North Central Appalachia – including advanced energy, automotive technology, petroleum technology, welding, and commercial driver’s license (CDL). The project will train 306 workers over the life of the award, and primarily serve a 17-county region covering southeastern Ohio and central West Virginia.
$1,420,219 ARC grant to Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) in Cedar Bluff, VA for the Southwest Virginia Regional Cybersecurity Initiative. The initiative brings together three colleges in southwestern Virginia – SWCC, Mountain Empire Community College (MECC), and University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVa-Wise) – and aims to position this seven county southwestern Virginia area as a regional hub for the cybersecurity industry. Specific activities will include creating a certification/credential program aligned with industry needs and National Security Agency guidelines; providing support services to cybersecurity start-up companies that locate to the region; and expanding UVa-Wise’s existing bachelor’s degree program in cybersecurity through an accelerator space in which cybersecurity companies can co-locate research and development activities. Additional funding for the project is being provided by the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. The project will train 161 new workers, and retain 110 jobs.
$1,000,000 ARC grant to the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises, Inc. (FAHE) in Berea, KY for the Appalachian HEAT Squadproject. ARC’s investment will be utilized to improve the energy efficiency of low-income homes in coal-impacted communities across a nine-county region in eastern Kentucky — while also creating entrepreneurial and skills-based training opportunities in the area. The project will partner with Hazard Community and Technical College and the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) to deliver the entrepreneurial education and construction training component, and with two other training organizations to increase the skill-base for private housing contractors operating in the region. The project will create or retain 119 jobs, increase the quality, affordability, and performance of over 270 homes, and leverage $525,000 in private investment.
$790,118 EDA grant to the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, UT, in support of the Coal Pitch Technical Plan. Working in partnership with the University of Kentucky, the University of Utah is addressing the regional and national contractions in the coal economy by examining new commercially-viable uses for coal byproducts. The project will evaluate the feasibility of converting coal pitch to carbon fiber to produce lightweight, high-strength composites that are increasingly in demand by manufacturers in automotive and other sectors. This grant will be used to produce, test and classify coal pitch carbon fiber, design a regional supply chain map, and pair workforce needs with the economic impact of the conversion process/market.
$662,567 ARC grant to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA for the Southwest Pennsylvania Economic GardeningInitiative. ARC funds will diversify the business operations of supply chain industries in a 10-county region in southwestern Pennsylvania. Working with Catalyst Connection (the regional Manufacturing Extension Partnership), the project will focus on small manufacturing establishments (SMEs) in the coal supply chain by providing mini-grants to targeted firms that enable the most impactful business development strategies to move forward quickly and efficiently – with a specific emphasis on increasing access to advanced manufacturing technologies. In addition, the project will target freight and logistics firms operating along the waterways of southwest Pennsylvania to increase their competitiveness by identifying and prioritizing new markets and opportunities. The project will create or retain 330 jobs, serve 55 supply chain businesses, and leverage $25,000,000 in private funds.
$649,958 EDA grant to Western State Colorado University, in Gunnison, CO, in support of the Innovation, Creativity, & Entrepreneurship (ICE) House and ICE Accelerator Innovation Center project. The ICE House will feature a collaborative co-working center and innovation lab for community and campus entrepreneurs to work together and support each other’s creations. Grant funds will be leveraged to attract investment from angel networks and venture capital firms to create new job opportunities for the City of Gunnison’s workforce, and provide stable and high-wage economic diversification beyond the coal and hospitality industries that the local economy is currently reliant on.
$500,000 ARC grant to Innovation Works, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA for theRevitalization of Southwestern Pennsylvania Coal-Impacted Communities through Innovation and Entrepreneurship project. ARC funds will be used to implement five different but complimentary programs designed to deliver a variety of benefits to entrepreneurs and small businesses in a nine-county region in southwestern Pennsylvania – including the provision of human resource services to early-stage, high-growth companies, and training services for existing small businesses. Programs will target entrepreneurs who were formerly employed in the coal industry, coal-fired power plants, and suppliers to those industries. The project will create 65 new jobs and 7 new businesses, leverage $1,100,000 in additional investment, and retain 30 existing jobs.
$499,480 ARC grant to RAIN Source Capital, Inc. for the Appalachia Angel Investor Network project. ARC funds will enable the awardee to work with existing and new angel investment funds to enhance the capability of coal-impacted communities across 9 Appalachian states to make investments in start-up, early stage, and growth companies. Specifically, the project will create at least four new angel funds in target communities, and will provide tools, training, and support services to existing angel funds and networks already operating in Appalachia. The project will result in the creation of 20 new businesses and 100 new jobs, and will leverage $4,000,000 in private investment from 100 investors.
$400,000 ARC grant to Erwin Utilities in Erwin, TN for the Temple Hill & Bumpus Cove Broadband project. ARC funds will be used to install 35 miles of fiber optic cable on existing pole lines – allowing business and residential subscribers in Temple Hill and Bumpus Cove access to broadband services. The area does not currently have cable broadband available and DSL service is not offered ubiquitously. Tourism expansion is a major economic driver in the area and increased bandwidth will help expand the tourism industry and revenue base. The project will serve 680 households and 30 businesses, and will act as an economic driver in a three county area in northeast Tennessee, which has been adversely affected by the closure of a major rail yard as a result of the decline in coal shipments.
$362,989 ARC grant to the Center for Rural Health Development, Inc. in Hurricane, WV for the WV Rural Health Infrastructure Loan Fund project. ARC funds will assist in capitalizing a revolving loan fund designed to strengthen the health care industry in a 25-county region in central West Virginia. In addition, the award will provide technical and business development assistance to existing health care providers with business-related needs. The project will create or retain 65 jobs, yield $1,000,000 of financing for health care businesses, and provide 216 organizations with technical assistance.
$353,086 ARC grant to the Town of Unicoi, TN for the Mountain Harvest Kitchen Incubator & Entrepreneurial Training Program. ARC funds will purchase equipment for a shared-use, commercial kitchen where value-added processing of locally-harvested products will take place. Entrepreneurial training will be offered by partner organizations including AccelNow, the Appalachian Resource Conservation and Development Council, and the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension for start-ups and established businesses in the agricultural sector. The program will serve a nine-county region in northeast Tennessee and northwest North Carolina, create 30 new businesses and 60 new jobs, serve 91 trainees, and leverage $1,200,000 in private investment.
$301,916 EDA grant to the Centralia College Robotics Workforce Trainingproject in Centralia, WA. This award will help fund a workforce development project in alignment with a strategic plan designed by the Lewis Economic Development Council with support from an EDA POWER 2015 planning grant in response to the retirement of a local coal power plant. The project will support the acquisition of equipment for use in a workforce training program at Centralia College, which will train the region’s workforce to use the most current robotics technology. Prospective employers and supporters of the program include The Boeing Company and the Fluke Corporation.
POWER Planning Grant and Technical Assistance Award Summaries:
$960,000 EDA grant to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) in Harrisburg, PA, in support of theRepositioning Pennsylvania’s Strategic Assets project. In partnership with FirstEnergy, Exelon, regional and economic development organizations, and potential buyers, DCED will coordinate efforts to evaluate the potential of commercially repurposing retired coal-fired power plant sites throughout the state. These sites are often located on strategically valuable real estate located along rivers and often near downtown areas. They have critical infrastructure already in place and feature rail and road access, and water, sewer, and transmission lines, and therefore hold the potential for commercial redevelopment and subsequent economic diversification and job creation.
$400,000 EDA grant to the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) in Washington, DC in support of theTechnical Assistance for Coal Communities project targeting Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah. The project will provide technical assistance to communities whose economies have been severely impacted by the declining use of coal, and will build on the success of the Innovation Challenge for Coal-Reliant Communities, a program that the co-awardees jointly implemented from 2014 to 2016 with the support of the EDA. Community leaders will participate in intensive training workshops, and receive peer networking opportunities and mentoring resources related to economic diversification, job creation and long-term, place-based economic development strategies.
$375,000 EDA grant to Citizens Energy Group, in Indianapolis, IN, in partnership with the City of Indianapolis, the Central Indiana Community Foundation and local community development corporations. The award will fund the development of a site assessment and reuse and implementation strategy for a former coke coal manufacturing facility located in the Indianapolis Promise Zone. The project will identify potential reuse strategies for the site, including redevelopment for manufacturing companies that support economic diversification and workforce development strategies to foster local and regional economic resiliency.
$300,000 EDA grant to the Coconino County Career Center in Flagstaff, AZ, in support of the Northern Arizona Regional Resilience Initiative. The project will develop a strategic plan designed to strengthen regional economic resilience through reduced dependence on the coal industry and increased economic diversification. Project activities will include the identification of in-demand workforce development programs and training curriculum, examination of re-employment opportunities for workers in coal-related industries, identification of broadband opportunities, and development and promotion of industry sector strategies. Coconino County will leverage an additional $100,000 in U.S. Department of Labor WIOA funds.
$150,000 ARC grant to Reconnecting McDowell, Inc. in Charleston, WV to develop an economic development and diversification strategy for the City of Welch and McDowell County centered on the Renaissance Village Apartments, a housing project that will develop rental housing in downtown Welch for teachers and young professionals employed in the area. Renaissance Village will serve as an anchor for redevelopment efforts in the downtown area and provide affordable housing. The planning project will assist with an entrepreneurship and small business initiative, along with financial and operations modeling for Renaissance Village.
$140,000 ARC grant to the West Virginia Connecting Communities Inc. in Charleston, WV in partnership with the New River Gorge Trail Association for the development of an economic feasibility study for a regionally-connected bike trail system in Fayette and Nicholas Counties. The focus of the study will be the viability of linking over 500 miles of bike trails and the impact to small communities throughout the region.
$123,488 ARC grant to the Region 4 Planning and Development Council in Summersville, WV to develop a strategic plan for the Upper Kanawha Valley. In partnership with the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, the plan will include prioritizing economic strategies, building regional collaboration across counties, and assisting communities to create greater economic diversification that fosters sustainability.
$119,460 ARC grant to Rural Action in The Plains, OH to develop a strategic plan and feasibility study for the Appalachian Ohio Solar Supply-Chain Initiative. This regional planning effort will focus on building a stakeholder partnership that will develop a regional solar manufacturing supply-chain in response to a major utility’s plan to deploy new solar resources in Ohio.
$105,000 ARC grant to Williamson Health and Wellness Center in Williamson, WV to provide grant writing assistance, and develop a feasibility study, a strategic plan, and preliminary architectural design work for a vacant building in Williamson’s downtown, a former “pill mill.” If deemed viable, the building will be rebuilt as a one-stop facility that would provide workforce training, opioid addiction and substance abuse treatment services to assist individuals in recovery to become employment ready. The service area will include counties in both Kentucky and West Virginia.
$93,495 ARC grant to the West Virginia Community Development Hub in Fairmont, WV, which, in partnership with the International Economic Development Council, will provide technical assistance to five coal-impacted counties (Boone, Greenbrier, Lincoln, McDowell and Wyoming) through economic development mentoring for local community teams. As a result of this investment, community teams will develop local economic diversification strategies.
$90,000 ARC grant to Randolph County Development Authority in Elkins, WV to develop a strategic plan focused on the promotion and expansion of the hardwood industry cluster. In partnership with the Hardwood Alliance Zone, the strategic plan will assist in strengthening the economy of the nine-county region. The project will build on the recent EDA and ARC POWER grants that are enabling a local wood products manufacturer to expand its operations.
$80,142 EDA grant to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, in support of a Plan to Sustain Small Businesses in the Coal Economy. Working with the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center will spearhead the development of a plan to propose strategic responses that enable small businesses to successfully adapt to the rapid transitions occurring in the power sector and in coal reliant communities and supply chains. The plan will examine how technology commercialization and entrepreneurial opportunities for displaced workers can reinvigorate and diversify regional economies; it will also analyze opportunities to create linkages with accelerator programs and rapid prototyping centers, and to bolster industry sectors in manufacturing, electronics, energy innovation and cyber security.
$69,831 EDA grant to Ohio University in Athens, OH, to conduct a Skillshed analysis that will identify and analyze the current skill sets of former coal industry employees, the skills requirements across various emerging and existing high-growth industries, and the gaps between these current skill sets and existing industry demand within a 32-county area and in partnership with four EDA Economic Development Districts. The findings of the final report will be used to inform the workforce development and economic resiliency strategies and projects of economic development organizations across the region.
$60,000 ARC grant to Webster County Economic Development Authority in Webster Springs, WV to conduct a feasibility study for the development of a multi-county All-Terrain Vehicle trail system in five counties. This grant will assist in developing a major tourism asset for the region and create opportunities for local small businesses. The project will work in partnership with the Hatfield McCoy Trail Authority.
$50,000 EDA grant to the Huron County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in Bad Axe, MI, in partnership with the City of Harbor Beach, MI, in response the closure of the DTE Energy-owned coal power plant, which resulted in the loss of jobs and an important source of revenue for the local tax base. The project will support a feasibility study focusing on the viability of creating a local multipurpose space that could serve as an entrepreneurship and business start-up hub. The hub would share resources with local, regional and state organizations and entrepreneurs, while also serving the local needs of the business community. DTE is providing a $50,000 cash match to support this project.
$50,000 EDA grant to the County of St. Clair in Port Huron, MI, which, in partnership with the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, will conduct a comprehensive economic impact study of the planned retirement in 2023 of the DTE Energy-owned St. Clair Power Plant. The study will identify economic activity related to the plant and the impacts of its future retirement, provide scenario-based strategies for mitigating negative impacts of the plant’s closure, and recommend strategies for economic diversification and reinvestment. DTE is providing a $50,000 cash match to support this project.
$50,000 EDA grant to the Southeastern Montana Development Corporation in Colstrip, MT. Colstrip Power Plant Units 1 and 2 will be retired by 2022. Between this anticipated closure and the resulting layoffs at the nearby Rosebud Mine, the total cumulative job losses are projected to have a significant impact on the regional workforce. This EDA investment will support the development of an economic development strategy that the City of Colstrip will use as its guide to diversifying and stabilizing the economy of Colstrip and the surrounding area that has historically depended on both coal mining and coal-fired power generation.
$14,214 ARC grant to the United Mine Workers Association Career Centers, Inc. in Prosperity, PA to provide grant writing assistance to raise funds for the development of a training program at their Greene County, PA training facility. The program will emphasize high demand occupations such as commercial driver’s license, and heavy equipment and diesel mechanics.
$11,108 ARC grant to Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network in Abingdon, VA to provide grant writing assistance to raise funds for the creation of a regional craft beverage cluster that will strengthen Virginia’s agriculture industry and tourism in the region. The project will build off the extensive network cultivated by the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation.
POWER Special Research Award Summaries:
$497,000 ARC grant to the Region 1 – Planning and Development Council in Princeton, WV for the Coalfields Cluster Mapping Initiativeresearch project. ARC funds will be used to map the extent of the coal industry supply chain across the tri-state region of Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. The resulting detailed information on the supply chain will complement ongoing work undertaken by other ARC-funded projects, examining the extent of the decline in the coal economy and providing business technical assistance to aid the impacted supply chain firms in their return to growth and profitability.
$349,999 ARC grant to West Virginia University Research Corporation in Morgantown, WV for the Economic Analysis of Coal Industry Ecosystem in Appalachia project. This study will examine the full ecosystem of the coal industry in Appalachia through in-depth quantitative analysis. Specifically, this research will identify, quantify, and map data on all relevant coal industry activity throughout the Appalachian Region. The three tasks of this research project are to: 1) identify all components of the coal ecosystem and estimate the supply chain impacts in Appalachia; 2) examine the implications of the coal industry downturn on freight rail, barge, and truck transportation in Appalachia; and 3) develop a typology of regional economies that surround the coal-fired plants in the Region using both econometric and input-output techniques.
$149,998 ARC grant to Downstream Strategies in Morgantown, WV for the Strengthening Economic Resilience in Appalachian Communities project. This research will explore and document strategies and policies local leaders can use to enhance the future economic prospects of coal-impacted communities throughout the Appalachian Region. There are four key components to this research project: 1) develop a comprehensive, quantitative framework to explore economic resilience; 2) identify a series of best-practice strategies for strengthening local economic resilience; 3) conduct up to 10 in-depth case studies; and 4) produce a concise guidebook that interprets and integrates findings of the research, written specifically for local economic development practitioners.
The White House issued this Fact Sheet about the third revision in second quarter economic growth estimates:
WASHINGTON, DC – Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the third estimate of GDP for the second quarter of 2016. You can view the statement HERE.
Summary: Real GDP growth in the second quarter was revised up to 1.4 percent at an annual rate according to BEA’s third estimate.
Second-quarter economic growth was revised to 1.4 percent at an annual rate in the third estimate, up 0.3 percentage point from the second estimate. Consumer spending grew strongly at 4.3 percent in the second quarter—its second-fastest quarterly growth since 2006—and, in contrast to recent quarters, net exports and business fixed investment also added to GDP growth. Some of this growth was offset by a large decline in inventory investment (one of the most volatile components of GDP), along with declines in residential investment and government spending. Overall, growth in the most stable and persistent components of output—consumption and fixed investment—was revised up to 3.2 percent. Today’s report underscores that there is more work to do, and the President will continue to take steps to strengthen economic growth and boost living standards by promoting greater competition across the economy; supporting innovation; and calling on Congress to increase investments in infrastructure and to pass the high-standards Trans-Pacific Partnership.
FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS (BEA)
Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 1.4 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter of 2016, according to BEA’s third estimate. Consumer spending grew 4.3 percent, well above its pace over the prior four quarters, with faster growth in both durable and nondurable goods spending. In addition, export growth was positive in the second quarter, and net exports contributed positively to GDP growth. Nonresidential fixed investment increased modestly in the second quarter, with strong growth in intellectual property products investment (see point 4 below) offset by continued weakness in both structures and equipment investment. Inventory investment—one of the most volatile components of GDP—subtracted 1.2 percentage points from GDP growth. Residential investment contracted following eight straight quarters of increases.
Real Gross Domestic Income (GDI)—an alternative measure of output—decreased 0.2 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter. (In theory, GDP and GDI should be equal, but in practice they usually differ because they use different data sources and methods.) The average of real GDP and real GDI, which CEA refers to as real Gross Domestic Output (GDO), increased 0.6 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter. CEA research suggests that GDO is a better measure of economic activity than GDP (though not typically stronger or weaker).
Second-quarter real GDP growth was revised up 0.3 percentage point, though the overall pattern of growth remained largely unchanged following revisions. Revisions in the third estimate included an upward revision to nonresidential fixed investment (which now is estimated to have made a positive contribution to GDP growth), reflecting a smaller contraction in structures investment than originally estimated. Smaller upward revisions to exports and inventory investment were partly offset by a small downward revision to the services component of consumer spending.
In today’s release, BEA revised down its estimate of real GDI growth in the second quarter from an increase of 0.2 percent to a decrease of 0.2 percent due to a downward revision to State-level data on indirect business taxes.
Real personal consumption expenditures, which account for over two-thirds of GDP, grew 4.3 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter, supported by rising real incomes. The second quarter of 2016 ranked as the second-strongest quarter for consumer spending growth since 2006. Consumer spending contributed 2.9 percentage points to GDP growth in the second quarter, reflecting improved economic conditions for many households. This month, the Census Bureau reported that real median household income increased 5.2 percent from 2014 to 2015, the fastest annual growth on record. Data from 2016—including a continued solid pace of job growth and a noticeable pickup in real hourly earnings—point to further strong gains in household incomes. The chart below shows four-quarter percent changes in real consumer spending and in aggregate real wages and salaries paid by domestic employers. The two series tend to move closely together, though the correlation between the two fell during the 2000s business cycle, as growth in consumer spending far outpaced growth in real aggregate wages and salaries. This was likely due to the rapid accumulation of household debt during this period, which sustained the faster growth in consumption. Deleveraging by households over the recession and the recovery has sharply increased the correlation of growth in wages and consumer spending in the current business cycle, such that recent gains in real incomes are likely to support continued strength in consumer spending growth in future quarters.
Real private investment in research and development (R&D) made a larger contribution to GDP growth in the second quarter than in any previous quarter on record. Private R&D investment contributed 0.28 percentage point to overall GDP growth, accounting for most of the 9.0-percent growth in intellectual property products (IPP) investment and offsetting weakness in other components of business fixed investment. Private R&D investment grew at a 17.0-percent annual rate in the second quarter, the second-fastest quarterly growth since 1960. Private R&D investment has reached an all-time high as a share of overall output. Although this share (1.8 percent) is still relatively small, increased investment in R&D can help boost productivity growth in the future, which will be needed to help reverse the slowdown across advanced economies in the last decade.
Real private domestic final purchases (PDFP)—the sum of consumption and fixed investment—rose 3.2 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter, noticeably faster than overall GDP growth. PDFP—which excludes more volatile components of GDP like net exports and inventory investment, as well as government spending—is generally a more reliable indicator of next-quarter GDP growth than current GDP. In the second quarter, the divergence between the strong contribution of PDFP to growth and the relatively slower growth of overall real GDP was largely accounted for by the large negative contribution of inventory investment. Overall, PDFP rose 2.3 percent over the past four quarters, above the pace of GDP growth over the same period.
As the Administration stresses every quarter, GDP figures can be volatile and are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any single report, and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data as they become available.
WASHINGTON, DC – Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers; Sandra Black, Member of the Council of Economic Advisers; and Matt Fielder, Chief Economist of the Council of Economic Advisers; issued the following statement today on the Census Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Data. You can view the statement HERE.
Summary: In 2015, household income grew at the fastest rate on record, the poverty rate fell faster than at any point since 1968, and the uninsured rate continued to fall.
Today’s report from the Census Bureau shows the remarkable progress that American families have made as the recovery continues to strengthen. Real median household income grew 5.2 percent from 2014 to 2015, the fastest annual growth on record. Income grew for households across the income distribution, with the fastest growth among lower- and middle-income households. The number of people in poverty fell by 3.5 million, leading the poverty rate to fall from 14.8 percent to 13.5 percent, the largest one-year drop since 1968, with even larger improvements for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and children. Meanwhile, the ratio of earnings for women working full-time, full-year to earnings for men working full-time, full-year increased to 80 percent in 2015, the highest on record. Every State has seen declines in its uninsured rate since 2013 as the major coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act have taken effect. Solid employment growth and robust real wage growth so far this year suggest that incomes are continuing to rise in 2016, and, building on the progress shown in today’s Census report, the President will continue to call on Congress to take steps to invest in job creation, wage growth, and equal pay for equal work.
SIX KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE CENSUS BUREAU
1. Real median household income rose by 5.2 percent in 2015, the fastest growth on record. Median household income grew $2,798 to $56,516 in 2015, the first time that annual real income growth exceeded 5 percent since the Census Bureau began reporting data on household income in 1967. Data from 2016 so far point to further strong gains in real household incomes, which depend on employment, nominal wages, and inflation. As of August, total nonfarm job growth has averaged a solid 182,000 jobs a month so far in 2016, and hourly earnings for private-sector workers have increased at an annual rate of 2.8 percent, much faster than the pace of inflation (1.3 percent as of July, the latest data available).
2. The total number of Americans below the poverty line fell by 3.5 million from 2014 to 2015, and the official poverty rate fell to 13.5 percent due to the largest one-year drop since 1968. The poverty rate for children under age 18 fell by 1.4 percentage point (p.p.) from 2014 to 2015, equivalent to more than 1 million children lifted out of poverty. Meanwhile, the poverty rate for those ages 18 to 64 saw its largest one-year decline on record (-1.1 p.p.), and poverty fell 1.1 p.p. for those ages 65 and older. As noted below (see point 5), the official poverty rate does not reflect the full effect of antipoverty policies because it includes only pre-tax income and excludes the direct effect of key policies like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The Supplemental Poverty Measure, which is designed to include the effects of these programs but also takes into the cost of basic needs when setting the poverty threshold, decreased 1.0 percentage point in 2015, from 15.3 percent to 14.3 percent.
3. Households at all income percentiles reported by the Census Bureau saw gains in income, with the largest gains among households at the bottom of the income distribution. While real median household income increased 5.2 percent, gains were even larger in the lower half of the income distribution, ranging from an increase of 5.5 percent for households at the 40th percentile to an increase of nearly 8 percent for households at the 10th percentile. While households at the top half of the income distribution also saw increases, their gains were smaller, with an increase of 2.9 percent in the 90th percentile of household income. 2015 marked the first time real household income grew at all percentiles reported by the Census Bureau since 2006, and real income growth in 2015 was the fastest since 1969 for the 10th, 20th, 40th, 50th, and 60thpercentiles. Although the level of income inequality remains high, multiple measures of inequality—including the Gini coefficient, the ratio of the 90th percentile of income to the 10th percentile, and the share of income going to households at the top of the income distribution—fell modestly in 2015 as a result of this pattern of income growth.
4. All racial and ethnic groups saw increases in household incomes and decreases in poverty in 2015. As shown in the chart below, all racial and ethnic groups saw gains in real median household income and reductions in their respective poverty rates. Hispanic Americans saw both the largest gains in median income (6.1 percent), while Black Americans and Hispanic Americans saw the largest reductions in poverty (-2.1 p.p. and -2.2 p.p., respectively). The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which includes the effects of a number of important antipoverty programs (see point 5 below), shows a similar pattern, with all racial and ethnic groups seeing reductions in poverty.
5. In 2015, refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) lifted 4.8 million children out of poverty. The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which includes the effects of a large number of antipoverty programs, is widely acknowledged to measure poverty more accurately than the official measure. Unlike the official poverty measure, the SPM measures post-tax and post-transfer resources, combining earnings with assistance from government programs—including in-kind transfers like food assistance—minus net tax liabilities and necessary expenditures on work, child care, and health care. The measure also bases the poverty line on the cost of meeting basic expenses. Together, in 2015, 9.2 million Americans, including 4.8 million children, were lifted above the poverty line by refundable tax credits, including the EITC and the CTC, illustrating their critical importance to the social safety net. Additionally, research has shown that helping low-income working families through the EITC and CTC not only reduces poverty, but also has positive longer-term effects on children, including improved health, educational outcomes, and labor force participation and earnings in adulthood. Expansions to the EITC and CTC signed into law by President Obama as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 lifted 1.0 million children out of poverty in 2013 according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; these provisions were made permanent under the bipartisan agreement at the end of 2015. The President’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget includes a number of provisions to further strengthen tax credits for working families, including an expansion of the EITC to workers without qualifying children. (Note that some of these estimates rely on survey data, which research has shown tend to underreport household use of certain programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, leading to underestimates of the poverty-reducing effects of these programs.)
6. In 2015, the share of people without health insurance declined in almost every State, and all States have seen gains since 2013, reflecting continued progress under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Today’s new data from the American Community Survey (ACS) show that 49 States and the District of Columbia saw their uninsured rates decline in 2015. The uninsured rate has fallen in every State (as well as in the District of Columbia) since 2013. While the ACS is not the firstsurvey to report estimates of State-level insurance coverage in 2015, the survey’s extremely large sample size allows it to provide particularly reliable estimates.
While all States have seen increases in insurance coverage since the ACA’s major coverage provisions took effect in the beginning of 2014, the extent of those gains have varied widely by State. Notably, States that have expanded Medicaid under the ACA have seen larger coverage gains on average, particularly if they started with a larger uninsured population. If Medicaid non-expansion States had seen coverage gains comparable to those seen by Medicaid expansion states with similar uninsured rates, the uninsured rate in these states would have been nearly 3 percentage points lower in 2015, increasing the magnitude of these states’ coverage gains since 2013 by almost two-thirds.
Today’s Census release also included an estimate of the national change in the uninsured rate based on the Current Population Survey (CPS). According to the CPS, the national uninsured rate dropped by 1.3 percentage points from 10.4 percent in 2014 to 9.1 percent in 2015, bringing the cumulative gain since 2013 to 4.3 percentage points. The new data from the CPS are broadly consistent with evidence from other Federal and private surveys showing that coverage gains continued during 2015; those surveys show that gains have continued into early2016. The cumulative coverage gains since 2013 have put the uninsured rate at its lowest level ever.
Jason Furman is Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Sandra Black is a Member of the Council of Economic Advisers. Matt Fiedler is Chief Economist of the Council of Economic Advisers.
WASHINGTON, DC – Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in August. You can view the statement HERE.
The economy added 151,000 jobs in August following robust job growth in both June and July as the unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent. U.S. businesses have now added 15.1 million jobs since early 2010, and the longest streak of total job growth on record continued in August. So far in 2016, job growth has averaged a solid 182,000 jobs a month, well above the pace of about 80,000 jobs a month needed to maintain a low and stable unemployment rate, and hourly earnings for private-sector workers have increased at an annual rate of 2.8 percent, much faster than the pace of inflation. Nevertheless, more work remains to sustain faster wage growth and to ensure that the benefits of the recovery are broadly shared, including investing in infrastructure, implementing the high-standards Trans-Pacific Partnership, and raising the minimum wage.
FIVE KEY POINTS ON THE LABOR MARKET IN AUGUST 2016
U.S. businesses have now added 15.1 million jobs since private-sector job growth turned positive in early 2010.Today, we learned that private employment rose by 126,000 jobs in August, following a robust average gain of 232,000 jobs in June and July. Total nonfarm employment rose by 151,000 jobs in August, below the monthly average for 2016 so far but substantially higher than the pace of about 80,000 jobs per month that CEA estimates is necessary to maintain a low and stable unemployment rate given the impact of demographic trends on labor force participation.The unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent in August. The labor force participation rate remained at 62.8 percent, the same rate as in October 2013 despite downward pressure from demographic trends. So far in 2016, nominal earnings for private-sector workers have increased at an annual rate of 2.8 percent, well above the pace of inflation (1.3 percent as of July, the latest data available).
As the labor market has strengthened, the share of employees quitting their jobs has recovered to roughly its pre-recession average.The quits rate tends to fall in recessions and rise in recoveries, since workers are generally more likely to choose to leave a job if there are job opportunities available elsewhere. As such, a higher quits rate is a sign of a stronger labor market. The chart below plots data from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) on both quits (voluntary separations) and layoffs and discharges (involuntary separations). The quits rate plummeted in the Great Recession as the layoffs and discharges rate rose sharply. Since then, as the labor market has recovered, the layoffs and discharges rate has fallen well below its pre-recession average, and the quits rate was near its pre-recession average as of June 2016 (the most recent data available). Nevertheless, the quits rate is still below its level in the early 2000s, part of a broader, decades-long trend ofdeclining labor market fluiditywhose causes and consequences continue to be debated by economists.
Workers in nearly all private industries have seen their unemployment rates recover and fall below their pre-recession averages.The headline unemployment rate recovered to its pre-recession average of 5.3 percent in June 2015 and has since fallen even further, holding steady at 4.9 percent in August 2016. As shown in the chart below, the impact of the Great Recession varied across industries, with mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction workers, manufacturing workers, and construction workers in particular seeing large increases in their unemployment rates. As of August, however, unemployment rates for workers in 9 of the 11 major private industries have fallen below their respective pre-recession averages. The two exceptions are education and health services workers, whose unemployment rate has essentially recovered to its pre-recession average of 3.3 percent, and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction workers, whose unemployment rate nearly recovered before increasing since mid-2014 amid falling oil prices and production (see point 4 below).
Employment in the mining and logging industry, which includes oil and gas extraction, has fallen sharply in recent months amid low oil prices.While the decline in oil priceshas benefitted consumers and the economy overall, it has weighed heavily on mining and logging employment, which has fallen by 25 percent since September 2014. Oil and gas workers make up more than half of the mining and logging industry; however, this sector represents just 0.5 percent of total U.S. nonfarm employment. The level of mining and logging employment is closely correlated with the price of oil, with shifts in employment usually following price changes, as the chart below shows. Since 2000, mining and logging employment has been most closely correlated with the price of oil eight months before, suggesting that the recent slight moderation in oil prices since the beginning of 2016 may translate into a slowdown in the pace of employment losses in the months ahead.
The distribution of job growth across industries in August was broadly consistent with the pattern over the past year, though some industries saw below-trend growth.Above-average gains relative to the past year were seen in transportation and warehousing (+15,000) and State and local government (+24,000), while mining and logging (which includes oil extraction) posted a smaller loss (-4,000) than in recent months. On the other hand, several industries, including professional and business services (+25,000, excluding temporary help services), health care and social assistance (+36,000), private educational services (+2,000), and utilities (-1,000) saw weaker-than-average growth. Slow global growth has weighed on the manufacturing sector, which is more export-oriented than other industries and which posted a loss of 14,000 jobs in August.Across the 17 industries shown below, the correlation between the most recent one-month percent change and the average percent change over the last twelve months was 0.82, in line with the average correlation over the last year.
As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and payroll employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data as they become available.