Protecting American Consumers

10/17/2014

Chip and Pin Credit Cards - Buy Secure

October 17, 2014

Remarks by the President on Protecting American Consumers

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Washington, D.C.

12:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Hello. Good job, everybody. Everybody, please have a seat. Well, it is good to be back at CFPB.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Woo!

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, this is an enthusiastic and rowdy crowd, this group. (Laughter.) That’s what happens when you do good things — you feel good. And this group is doing great work.

I want to thank your director, Rich Cordray, for hosting me here today, and I want to thank all of you for doing a great job in looking out for the financial security of all Americans.

Now, obviously, right now the news is dominated by Ebola, and we’ve got an all-hands-on-deck approach across government to make sure that we are keeping the American people safe. But even as we meet that particular challenge, it’s also important that we don’t lose sight of the other challenges that we face as a nation, especially the challenge of making sure that our economy works for every single American. And that includes the challenge that brings me here today: protecting Americans from financial fraud and identity theft.

As President, I believe that America is stronger when our middle class can count on things like affordable health insurance, and Medicare and Social Security, where there are rules to protect our kids from dirty air or dirty water; rules to protect consumers from being taken advantage of. And I know you agree, those of you at CFPB, because that’s your mission.

And that’s why part of the financial reform that we passed in the wake of the worse financial crisis since the Great Depression was the creation of this agency, to make sure that we are looking at every aspect of the financial system and ensuring that the American people have the basic protections that they should be able to count on. You have one mission: You’re a watchdog for consumers to make sure that the American people have somebody who’s got their backs.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/17/remarks-president-protecting-american-consumers

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October 17, 2014

FACT SHEET: Safeguarding Consumers’ Financial Security

Today, the President is signing a new Executive Order directing the government to lead by example in securing transactions and sensitive data. The new BuySecure Initiative will provide consumers with more tools to secure their financial future by assisting victims of identity theft, improving the Government’s payment security as a customer and a provider, and accelerating the transition to stronger security technologies and the development of next-generation payment security tools.

During remarks at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the President will highlight steps by his Administration and the private sector to improve security. With over 100 million Americans falling victim to data breaches over the last year, and millions suffering from credit card fraud and identity crimes, there is a need to act — and to move our economy toward stronger, more secure technologies that better secure transactions and safeguard sensitive data.

While there is no silver bullet to guarantee data security, the President is signing an Executive Order to implement enhanced security measures, including securing credit, debit, and other payment cards with microchips in lieu of basic magnetic strips, and PINs, such as those standard on consumer ATM cards. He is calling on all stakeholders to join the Administration and a number of major corporations in driving the economy toward more secure standards to safeguard consumer finances and reduce their chances of becoming victims of identity theft — America’s fastest-growing crime.

Finally today, the President will announce the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection later this year to promote partnership and innovation. The Summit will bring together major stakeholders on consumer financial protection issues to discuss how all members of our financial system can work together to further protect American consumers and their financial data, now and in the future.

The President will also renew his call to Congress to enact overdue cybersecurity legislation that will help protect Americans — particularly by clarifying companies’ obligations when sensitive data is breached.

Leading by Example: Securing Payments Across the Economy

Federal Efforts to Transition to More Secure Payment Systems: Today, the Federal Government is making an enterprise-wide transition to more secure credit, debit, and other payment cards, as well as the retail payment terminals at government locations like the passport office, VA canteens, and national parks. These new systems will, at a minimum, meet the global security standard of more secure microchips to store card numbers instead of unencrypted magnetic strips, and secure PIN functionality, like the kind featured on most ATM cards. The goal is not just to ensure the security of doing retail business with the government, but also, through this increased demand, to help drive the market towards swifter adoption of stronger security standards. Institutions like the United States Postal Service have already made this transition across tens of thousands of retail facilities across the country.

* Making Chip and PIN Cards the Standard for the Federal Government: These “chip and PIN” cards, which have cut down on payment fraud considerably in other countries, will become the standard for Federal Government programs like SmartPay® and Direct Express®. We are working with these programs to ensure that we begin a replacement program on January 1, 2015, and will, within the calendar year, issue over one million new, more secure government payment cards.

* Updating to Chip and PIN Card Terminals in Federal Agencies Processing Consumer Sales: Every Federal agency processing consumer sales will actively replace any prior-generation card retail payment card terminals to those with new chip and PIN security features under a plan issued by Department of the Treasury, which establishes requirements that federal agencies must follow when receiving credit and debit card payments when using Treasury’s collection system.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/17/fact-sheet-safeguarding-consumers-financial-security

The World Fact Book

The World Fact Book

Traveling Abroad? Consider a Chip-and-PIN Credit Card

Foreign countries have different cultures, different customs, different languages – and, to top it all off, some countries have different styles of credit cards.

Rather than using the familiar cards, which feature a magnetic strip at the top of the card, several countries have transitioned to “chip-and-PIN” credit cards, better for consumer safety. While some foreign vendors will continue to accept your traditional magnetic strip cards, some may not.

So, what’s the difference?

Chip-and-PIN cards are embedded with a computer chip that contains the information that would normally be contained in the strip along the top of the card. In addition to this chip system, users are required to enter in a PIN code, much like as would be required for a debit card.

The cards offer greater consumer protection, as it is harder to clone the payment information when a chip is being used, thus reducing identity theft. In France, chip-and-PIN cards have been responsible for a 50 percent reduction in payment fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The cards are increasingly being made available for U.S. residents, and before traveling, officials suggest you check with your credit card company to see whether chip-and-PIN cards are available. If not, they suggest that you carry a little extra cash, in case foreign vendors refuse to accept your current credit card.

Learn more about using chip-and-PIN cards on European travel.

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* International Travel Tips

Traveler’s Checklist – Bureau of Consular Affairs

Country Information – Bureau of Consular Affairs

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Helping Long-Term Unemployed Americans To Get Back to Work

10/15/2014

What You Need to Know: Our Push To Get Long-Term Unemployed Americans Back to Work

Tanya Somanader October 15, 2014 09:37 AM EDT

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Thanks to the grit and resilience of American workers and business owners, our economy is getting stronger every day. Over the last 55 months, we’ve added 10.3 million jobs — the longest streak of private-sector job growth on record — and the number of job openings rose to its highest level in more than 13 years. We’ve put more people back to work than Japan, Europe, and every other advanced economy combined and the unemployment rate is falling at a faster pace than predicted.

Unemployment 2008- Sept 2014

But one of the greatest challenges from the recession was the rise in long-term unemployment. The Great Recession left too many Americans out of a job through no fault of their own and many continue to search for work. Our strong economic growth is beginning to help.

Since December 2013, the number of long-term unemployed has fallen by 900,000, accounting for about 90 percent of the total drop in unemployment in the past 10 months.

Unemployment Aug 2014

But there is much more work to do, because — despite this progress — the long-term unemployment rate is at twice its typical level. So who exactly are the long-term unemployed, what are the challenges they face in finding work, and what is President Obama doing to help put people back to work? Here are a few answers to important questions about long-term unemployment in America:

1. How long do you actually have to be unemployed to be considered “long-term unemployed”?

2. Who are the people who are facing long-term unemployment?

3. Why is it so hard for long-term unemployed Americans to find work compared to those who are only unemployed for the short-term?

Click here to see a full list of participating businesses and to learn more about how we’re working with them to put people back to work. 

For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/10/15/what-you-need-know-our-push-get-long-term-unemployed-americans-back-work

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October 15, 2014

FACT SHEET: Getting Long-Term Unemployed Americans Back to Work

In January, President Obama issued a three-part call to action – to employers, to communities across the country, and to federal agencies – to help Americans who are ready to work find jobs, and to help more of the long-term unemployed get back to work. That included unveiling a set of “best practices” being taken by leading employers – including over 80 of the nation’s largest companies – around recruiting and hiring the long-term unemployed, to remove some of the barriers that make it harder for them to navigate the hiring process.

Today, building on the President’s call to action, the White House is providing an update on progress since January and additional steps—taken in conjunction with businesses, non-profit leaders, governors and mayors and federal agencies—to help ensure that Americans still looking for work have a fair shot, and American businesses benefit as a result.

Since December, the long-term unemployment rate has fallen from 2.5 percent to 1.9 percent. The number of long-term unemployed – those unemployed more than 6 months – has fallen by 900,000. This decline accounts for around 90 percent of the total drop in unemployment in the past 10 months. But there is still work left to do. As more jobs are created, it is critical that Americans with skills, experience, and a desire to work have every opportunity to get back to work to maximize the full potential of our talent pool.

Today, the White House is announcing:

* $170 Million in DOL Grants to Support Partnerships that Connect the Long-Term Unemployed to Work. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez is announcing 23 grants from the Department of Labor’s H-1B funds – totaling $170 million – for programs in 20 states and Puerto Rico to help the long-term unemployed return to the workforce. Grants were awarded to partnerships between non-profits, local government, and employers to train and match long-term unemployed job seekers for in-demand jobs.

* Progress on Business Efforts to Improve Recruiting and Hiring of Long-Term Unemployed. In January, the Administration announced a call to action for businesses to adopt best practices for hiring the long term unemployed and over 300 businesses – including 80 of the nation’s largest companies – announced they were adopting these best practices for hiring and recruiting the long-term unemployed to ensure that these candidates receive a fair shot during the hiring process. Today, the Vice President, the Director of the National Economic Council, and the Secretary of Labor are meeting with the Chief Human Resource Officers of many of these leading companies who have found innovative ways to better integrate applications from the long-term unemployed into their hiring process. Deloitte Consulting and Rockefeller Foundation are also releasing handbooks, created in consultation with HR departments in many companies, which can be used by employers and long-term unemployed job seekers to return a greater number of people to the workforce.

* Ensuring Federal Hiring Process Gives Long-Term Unemployed Job Applicants a Fair Shot. Following up on a Presidential Memorandum issued in January, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing guidance to Federal agencies to ensure that individuals who are unemployed or have faced financial difficulties because of circumstances like job loss receive fair treatment and consideration for employment by Federal agencies.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/15/fact-sheet-getting-long-term-unemployed-americans-back-work

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White House, companies look for ways to hire long-term unemployed

10/15/14 Roberta Rampton – Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vice President Joe Biden will meet with human resource officers from major U.S. companies at the White House on Wednesday to discuss changes to hiring practices aimed at improving employment prospects for people who have been out of work for a while.

Officials from companies such as Citigroup, CVS Caremark, Boeing and Dow Chemical will talk about steps they have taken when they meet with Biden, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and Jeff Zients, head of President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, the White House said.

Perez also will announce $170 million in 23 grants to help train people from the ranks of the long-term unemployed and match them with jobs.

Zients told reporters that qualified people who have a gap on their resume can face “significant artificial barriers” with certain screening practices used to sort through resumes.

“It’s a vicious cycle, as the long-term unemployed are less likely to be offered a job even when they have the exact same resume and qualifications as other applicants,” Zients said on a conference call.

Earlier this year, about 300 companies agreed to tweak their screening, advertising, interviewing and training practices so that candidates who had been out of work for months were not automatically excluded from opportunities.

For example, the White House said Frontier Communications hired more than 250 people from the ranks of the long-term unemployed since January – representing about 20 percent of the company’s hires – because it stopped using resume screens.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-companies-look-ways-hire-long-term-041305989–finance.html;_ylt=AwrSyCTkdz5UdyYA4EDQtDMD

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$150M available to states to implement or expand
job-driven training programs for laid-off workers

4/28/14 dol.gov

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of up to $150 million in funding through a new Job-Driven National Emergency Grant program to train workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own for jobs in high-demand industries.

These investments will help create or expand employer partnerships that provide opportunities for on-the-job training, Registered Apprenticeships or other occupational training that results in an industry-recognized credential. Funding will also be used to provide services, such as coaching, counseling and direct job placement, that help connect laid-off workers, including the long-term unemployed, with available jobs. Focusing funding on proven, job-driven training strategies is a key component of the Obama administration’s agenda to connect ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.

“Helping workers acquire the skills that employers say they need is a key way the Labor Department fulfills the president’s vision of opportunity for all,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “These grants will provide states with critical funding to implement and expand proven strategies so that workers can secure a foothold in the middle class and businesses can grow.”

In addition to expanding work-based learning strategies — which recent studies show increase employment and earnings outcomes — grantees will also develop strong partnerships between workforce and industry organizations and align services with other federal, state or local programs, such as Unemployment Insurance, Workforce Investment Act, and Trade Adjustment Assistance programs. Funds may also be used to implement innovative approaches, such as:

* ob coaching, navigation and job-matching models that help dislocated workers, particularly the long-term unemployed, receive the specialized services they need to rapidly re-enter the workforce;

* using technology and social media to recruit participants, improve job search tools, provide distance learning opportunities, and effectively collect and disseminate labor market information;

* specialized services for laid-off workers, such as financial counseling and one-on-one coaching; and

* developing employer outcome measures to track employer satisfaction and success.

Up to $150 million in grants ranging from $500,000 to $6 million are being made available to states, territories and federally-recognized tribes through the Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Worker National Reserve fund. Applications must be received by May 27 to be considered.

For more: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ETA20140714.htm

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Helping the Long-Term Unemployed Get Back to Work

Gene Sperling and Valerie Jarrett February 10, 2014 11:29 AM EDT

In this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama called attention to a stubborn legacy of the Great Recession that remains despite the progress we have made in creating new jobs: a historically high number of Americans who are ready and eager to work, but have found themselves among the ranks of the long-term unemployed.

Although many of these Americans could help employers fill their hiring needs if given the chance, they often face particular barriers in getting back to work. Research shows that the long-term unemployed are frequently overlooked and sometimes excluded from job opportunities – one study found that candidates who had been out of work eight months were called back for interviews only about half as often as candidates who had been out of work one month, even with an otherwise identical résumé.

“I’ve heard from too many of these folks,” President Obama told a group of CEOs and business leaders the week of his State of the Union address. “They fill out 100 applications, 200 applications. They’re sending out résumés, still finding time to volunteer in their community, or helping out at church. Sometimes they have more experience and education and skill than newly unemployed Americans.”

“They just need that chance,” he said.

President Obama has made clear that there are actions that we need to take together with Congress – from extending emergency unemployment insurance to investing in areas like infrastructure and manufacturing that would strengthen demand now – to help the long-term unemployed get back to work. But the President is also committed to taking steps in partnership with businesses, non-profits, mayors, and governors and anyone else ready to address this challenge. That’s why he came together with CEOs of leading companies who announced they were signing onto new best practices for hiring and recruiting the long-term unemployed, designed to ensure the long-term unemployed receive a fair shot in the hiring and recruiting process. These best practices include:

* Ensuring advertising does not discourage or discriminate against the unemployed
* Reviewing screening and other recruiting procedures so that they do not intentionally or inadvertently disadvantage individuals based solely on their unemployment status
* Using recruitment practices that cast a broad net and encourage all qualified candidates to apply
* Sharing best practices for success in hiring the long-term unemployed within their companies and across their supply chains and the greater business community

More than 300 companies have signed onto these best practices – including 80 of the nation’s largest businesses, 20 of whom are members of the Fortune 50. To ensure that the federal government leads by example, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum that will ensure federal hiring does not put the unemployed at a disadvantage in the hiring process. And he announced that the Department of Labor would use $150 million in existing resources to support “Ready to Work” Partnerships between employers, non-profit organizations, and America’s public workforce system that will provide more of the long-term unemployed individuals with services and training that can help connect them to middle and high-skill jobs.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/02/10/helping-long-term-unemployed-get-back-work

2014 SOTU calls for action on increasing jobs

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Manufacturing Day 2014

10/02/2014

ADVANCED MANUFACTURING is a matter of fundamental importance to the economic strength and national security of the United States. Advanced manufacturing capabilities are essential for turning research discoveries, inventions, and new ideas into better or novel products—our nation’s ability to innovate. Innovation, in turn, drives U.S. economic growth and growth of U.S. productivity. There are many interrelated elements of an innovation ecosystem—entrepreneurs, workers, tax policies, to name a few—but without manufacturing, the economic power and dynamism of innovation fade.

Learn more: http://manufacturing.gov/advanced_manufacturing.html .

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MAKE IT IN AMERICA America’s manufacturing sector plays a major role in the U.S. economy. When manufacturers are developing and producing innovative products that are sold around the world, the U.S. economy grows. Increased manufacturing also encourages the growth of secure, well-paying jobs. To make a measurable impact on rebuilding U.S. manufacturing and creating jobs, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership is focused on a “Make It In America” agenda. .

MEP supports job creation now and in the future by encouraging manufacturers to collaborate in developing products in America. Through various public-private partnerships, MEP provides a valuable infrastructure that fosters resilient processes for manufacturers to “Make it in America”. Learn more:  http://manufacturing.gov/miia.html .

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US manufacturing continues to decouple from rest of world

10/1/14 Chris Williamson | Chief Economist, Markit

An initial glance at the global manufacturing PMI suggest that business activity in the world’s factories continued to grow at a steady rate in September, albeit with the pace dipping slightly on August. However, a deeper dive into the numbers presents more worrying picture. The global upturn has become increasingly dependent on the fast-expanding US manufacturing economy, with the pace of expansion in the rest of the world slipping to near stagnation.

Manufacturing expansion driven by US

The JPMorgan Global Manufacturing PMI™, compiled by Markit, edged down from 52.5 in August to 52.2 in September, its lowest since May. The survey data are broadly consistent with global manufacturing output growing at an annual rate of 4% in recent months, broadly similar to the pace seen over the past year.

For more: http://www.markit.com/Commentary/Get/01102014-Economics-US-manufacturing-continues-to-decouple-from-rest-of-world

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Factory Job Gains Under Obama Best Since Clinton: BGOV Barometer

Sep 25, 2012 9:00 PM PT By Shobhana Chandra – bloomberg

In an election focused on jobs, President Barack Obama can boast of crossing one milestone: the longest stretch of employment gains in manufacturing in almost two decades.

The BGOV Barometer shows U.S. factory positions have grown since early 2010, arresting a slide that began toward the end of the 1990s. It’s the best showing since the era of Bill Clinton, the only president in the last 30 years to leave office with more factory jobs than when he began.

“The gain in manufacturing jobs is certainly helpful, it is one way to show we’re moving forward,” said Terry Madonna, a political science professor and director of the Franklin & Marshall College poll in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “President Obama has to create a psychology all over the country that things are getting better. This is a piece explaining that idea.”

For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-26/factory-job-gains-under-obama-best-since-clinton-bgov-barometer.html .

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US Manufacturing Activity Strays Strong

10/1/14  By Myles Udland – Business Insider

Markit’s September US manufacturing PMI came in at 57.5.

Expectations were for the report to come in at 57.9, unchanged from last month.

In a release, Markit said, “September data pointed to another positive month for the US manufacturing sector, with strong rates of output and new orders growth underpinning the fastest expansion of payroll numbers for two-and-a-half years. There were again signs of rising price pressures in the manufacturing sector, with input costs and factory gate changes rising at the sharpest rates since December 2013.”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/markit-us-manufacturing-pmi-september-2014-10

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Corporate U.S. Healthiest in Decades Under Obama With Lower Debt

Oct 1, 2014 6:56 PM PT By Thomas Black and Matt Robinson – bloomberg

Steve Wynn, founder of the Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) casino empire, once called President Barack Obama’s administration “the greatest wet blanket to business and progress and job creation in my lifetime.” Barry Sternlicht, chief executive officer of Starwood Property Trust Inc. (STWD), said Obamacare was driving down wage growth and “affecting spending and the desire to buy houses and everything else.”

They are among a chorus of corporate executives and lobbying groups that regularly assail Obama for policies that they say are stifling investment and hurting companies.

Corporate and economic statistics almost six years into his administration paint a different picture. Companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 (SPX) Index are the healthiest in decades, with the lowest net debt to earnings ratio in at least 24 years, $3.59 trillion in cash and marketable securities, and record earnings per share. They are headed this year toward the fastest average monthly job creation since 1999, manufacturing is recovering and the U.S. has returned as an engine for global growth. The recovery, which stands in contrast to weak growth in Europe and Asia, has underpinned an almost threefold gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since March 2009.

Wynn has been part of that recovery. Since Obama first took the oath on Jan. 21, 2009, the shares of his luxury hotel company have surged fivefold while the S&P 500 Index more than doubled. Starwood Property Trust, Sternlicht’s Greenwich, Connecticut-based real estate company, has risen 36 percent since its August 2009 initial public offering, while an index of real estate investment trusts declined.

Accelerating Growth

“The U.S. is leading the way — we’re the only major economy with accelerating growth,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist in West Chester, Pennsylvania, for Moody’s Analytics Inc. and a registered Democrat who has advised both the Obama administration and Senator John McCain, a Republican. “Obama deserves some credit for that, but he probably won’t get it.”

For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-02/corporate-u-s-healthiest-in-decades-under-obama-with-lower-debt.html

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Portals and Partners

Commerce.gov
Entrepreneurship.gov
 USA.gov
Export.gov
Regulations.gov
Grants.gov
Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America
Forms.gov
Fedbizopps.gov
gpoaccess.gov

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What is Manufacturing Day?
Manufacturing Day addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t. By working together during and after MFG DAY, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.

Supported by a group of industry sponsors and co-producers, MFG DAY is designed to amplify the voice of individual manufacturers and coordinate a collective chorus of manufacturers with common concerns and challenges. The rallying point for a growing mass movement, MFG DAY empowers manufacturers to come together to address their collective challenges so they can help their communities and future generations thrive.

For more: http://www.nist.gov/mep/mfgday-infographic.cfm/

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Friday, October 3, 2014
President Obama holds a town hall meeting on American Manufacturing
Millennium Steel, Princeton, Indiana


Corporate Tax Inversions

09/28/2014

inversionCorporate inversions 2

Tax Inversion

Tax inversion, or corporate inversion, is the relocation of a corporation’s headquarters to a lower-tax nation or corporate haven, usually whilst retaining its material operations in its higher-tax country of origin. The term is most frequently used in relation to U.S. corporations. Corporate inversions are a relatively recent phenomenon; although it is difficult to be definitive, the practice first became prevalent in the 1990s with U.S. corporations seeking to relocate to tax havens such as Bermuda; but more recently because of changes in the U.S. law publicity has focused upon corporate inversions conducted by way of merger with companies in lower tax European or Asian countries.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_inversion

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The Cost of Doing This Kind of Business: What Corporate Inversions Mean for America’s Future

Tanya Somanader September 26, 2014 1:00 PM EDT

A good way to build a stronger economy is to create a fairer and more efficient tax code — one that promotes business investment and job creation in the United States. That is why the President has proposed business tax reform that will simplify the tax code by lowering the corporate tax rate and closing wasteful loopholes.

Congress has yet to act on the President’s proposal, and in the meantime, some companies continue to exploit unfair tax loopholes. One such loophole allows U.S. corporations to undertake an “inversion,” whereby a company relocates their tax residence overseas, while changing very little else about its operations or business, in order to avoid paying taxes. With a simple change of paperwork, these companies can dramatically reduce their taxes, leaving other businesses and middle-class taxpayers to pick up the tab.

Dozens of U.S. corporations have taken advantage of the inversions loophole in recent years, and more are looking to follow suit. By renouncing their U.S. citizenship, these companies will cost our country nearly $20 billion over the next decade — critical dollars that could be used to grow and expand the middle class.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/09/26/cost-doing-kind-business-what-corporate-inversions-mean-america-s-future

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What Are “Inversions,” and Why Should You Care?

President Obama is calling for a kind of “economic patriotism” that’s based on investing in the things that we know grow the economy for everyone (like education and job training) — not protecting wasteful loopholes for a few at the top.

And he’s calling attention to one kind of corporate merger deal in particular — called an “inversion” — a word you might be seeing in a lot of news headlines lately.

It’s not the most intuitive name for a corporate tax loophole, so we’re going to break it down for you.

Q: So what exactly is an “inversion”?

A corporate “inversion” is what happens when a U.S.-based multinational with operations in other countries restructures itself so that the U.S. “parent” is replaced by a foreign corporation — and usually one that’s in a country with a lower tax rate than the United States. As a result, on the whole, this means that corporate income tax that would otherwise be paid to the United States ends up going overseas.

In other words, right now, our tax code allows any American company to merge with a foreign company (so long as that company’s shareholders own 20% of the combined firm) — and then “relocate” or “invert” to another country for tax purposes. This maneuver — which changes nothing about the actual operations that continue in the U.S. — allows companies to dramatically reduce the taxes they owe in the U.S. by taking advantage of loopholes in our tax system.

Meanwhile, they would continue enjoying the benefits and protections of the American economy — provided by our tax dollars. It’s a big loophole — and right now, it’s completely legal.

Q: That’s got to be costing us a lot of money, right?

Yes, and it could cost us even more. This is a growing trend among American corporations, and they’re getting increasingly creative and brazen in the ways they’re doing it. What’s more, for decades, countries have been holding “tax competitions” to lure American companies, offering special tax breaks to help them avoid paying their fair share at home.

All told, estimates suggest that it could cost nearly $20 billion over the next 10 years.

Q: OK, but I’m not a corporation. So how does this relate to me?

Simply put: You’re paying for it.

That’s because when corporations pay less, other working Americans have to pay more to help fund the services we all rely on: rebuilding our roads and bridges, equipping our schools with the resources they need, and defending our country at home.

Most Americans don’t have fancy accounting tricks at their disposal — and these businesses shouldn’t, either.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/07/24/what-are-inversions-and-why-should-you-care

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Lew Says Business-Tax Revamp Best for Limiting Inversions

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said the best way to deal with corporate inversions is through a comprehensive revamp of business taxation, according to a statement from the department.

Lew’s comments came in a meeting with policy specialists today in Washington, including Alice Rivlin of the Brookings Institution, Maya MacGuineas of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Treasury said.

Lew’s comments today echo his previous statements on the issue, which emphasized reducing tax rates and making it harder for U.S. companies to shift profits overseas. The Treasury Department is also working on options for regulatory steps to curb inversions or make them less attractive.

During the meeting, Lew “expressed the same view he’s expressed publicly about the problem of inversions,” Bernstein said in an interview after the meeting.

Treasury is developing a plan on inversions and hasn’t made any decisions yet, said another person participating in the meeting. If Congress doesn’t revamp business-tax law, the department wants to find another approach, said the person, who asked not to be named since the meeting was closed.

In a recognition that such initiatives probably won’t become law soon, the administration is advocating retroactive legislation to prevent U.S. companies from changing their tax address by purchasing a smaller foreign company.

For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-21/lew-says-business-tax-reform-best-for-addressing-inversions.html

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Outsourcing Message from AllAmericanClothing.com

Outsourcing Message from AllAmericanClothing.com

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Executive Order 11246 – Affirmative Action, 49th Anniversary

09/23/2014
President Lyndon B. Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr in a meeting at the White House

President Lyndon B. Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr in a meeting at the White House

Executive Order 11246, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson (D) on September 24, 1965, established requirements for non-discriminatory practices in hiring and employment on the part of U.S. government contractors. It “prohibits federal contractors and federally assisted construction contractors and subcontractors, who do over $10,000 in Government business in one year from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” It also requires contractors to “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” The phrase affirmative action had appeared previously in Executive Order 10925 in 1961.

The order was a follow-up to Executive Order 10479 signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on August 13, 1953 establishing the anti-discrimination Committee on Government Contracts, which itself was based on a similar Executive Order 8802 issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941. Eisenhower’s Executive Order has been amended and updated by at least six subsequent Executive Orders. It differed significantly from the requirements of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which only required organizations to document their practices once there was a preliminary finding of wrongdoing. This Executive Order required the businesses it covered to maintain and furnish documentation of hiring and employment practices upon request.

The Executive Order also required contractors with 51 or more employees and contracts of $50,000 or more to implement affirmative action plans to increase the participation of minorities and women in the workplace if a workforce analysis demonstrates their under-representation, meaning that there are fewer minorities and women than would be expected given the numbers of minorities and women qualified to hold the positions available. Federal regulations require affirmative action plans to include an equal opportunity policy statement, an analysis of the current work force, identification of under-represented areas, the establishment of reasonable, flexible goals and timetables for increasing employment opportunities, specific action-oriented programs to address problem areas, support for community action programs, and the establishment of an internal audit and reporting system.

The Order assigned the responsibility for enforcing parts of the non-discrimination in contracts with private industry to the Department of Labor. Detailed regulations for compliance with the Order were not issued until 1969, when the Nixon administration made affirmative action part of its civil rights strategy.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_11246

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History of Executive Order 11246 – U.S. Department of Labor

Executive Order 11246 – United States Department of Justice

 

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US Export Import Bank – 80th Anniversary

09/09/2014

US Export Import Bank - Executive Order 6581US Export Import Bank - 80 yrs US Export Import Bank - Solutions

US Export-Import Bank

President Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) established the Export-Import Bank of Washington by Executive Order on February 2, 1934. Executive Order 6581 created the first Export-Import Bank of Washington to “aid in financing and to facilitate exports and imports and the exchange” of goods between the U.S. and the world during a period of economic distress. The Bank celebrates its anniversary on February 12: As stated in the first Annual Report, “the Bank was completely organized on February 12, 1934″ and the first Board of Trustees meeting was held that day. The Bank continues to operate under the goals outlined by President Roosevelt supporting U.S. manufacturers and exporters in times of economic crisis when limitations on commercial credit arise. While created to support exports and imports, the Bank has focused on it’s role as an export credit agency.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency of the United States. Ex-Im Bank’s mission is to assist in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets.

Ex-Im Bank enables U.S. companies — large and small — to turn export opportunities into real sales that help to maintain and create U.S. jobs and contribute to a stronger national economy.

Ex-Im Bank does not compete with private sector lenders but provides export financing products that fill gaps in trade financing. We assume credit and country risks that the private sector is unable or unwilling to accept. We also help to level the playing field for U.S. exporters by matching the financing that other governments provide to their exporters.

Ex-Im Bank provides working capital guarantees (pre-export financing); export credit insurance; and loan guarantees and direct loans (buyer financing). No transaction is too large or too small. On average, more than 85% of our transactions directly benefit U.S. small businesses.

With 80 years of experience, Ex-Im Bank has supported more than $567 billion of U.S. exports, primarily to developing markets worldwide.

For more: http://www.exim.gov/

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.Weekly Address: The Export-Import Bank

Remarks of President Barack Obama The White House
Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hi, everybody. Nearly six years after the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes, our businesses have added nearly 10 million new jobs over the past 53 months. That’s the longest streak of private-sector job creation in our history. And we’re in a six-month streak with our economy creating at least 200,000 new jobs each month — the first time that’s happened since 1997.

Thanks to the decisions we made to rescue and rebuild our economy, and your hard work and resilience, America is leading again. Areas like manufacturing, energy, technology, and autos are all booming. And here’s the thing: we’re selling more goods Made in America to the rest of the world than ever before. American exports are at an all-time high.

Over the past five years, we’ve worked hard to open new markets for our businesses, and to help them compete on a level playing field in those markets. And we’ve broken records for exports four years running. Last year, our exports supported more than 11 million American jobs – about 1.6 million more than when I took office. They’re good jobs that typically pay about 15% more than the national average. And more small businesses are selling their goods abroad than ever before — nearly 300,000 last year alone.

We should be doing everything we can to accelerate this progress, not stall it.

One place to start is by supporting something called the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Its sole mission is to create American jobs. That’s it. It helps many American entrepreneurs take that next step and take their small business global. But next month, its charter will expire — unless Members of Congress do their job and reauthorize it.

Now, past Congresses have done this 16 times, always with support from both parties. Republican and Democratic Presidents have supported the bank, too. This time around shouldn’t be any different. Because the bank works. It’s independent. It pays for itself. But if Congress fails to act, thousands of businesses, large and small, that sell their products abroad will take a completely unnecessary hit.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/23/weekly-address-export-import-bank
http://youtu.be/41iHdxy7Kmg

US Exports 2013 = American Jobs

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Sen. Harry Reid’s Constitutional Amendment Bill to Limit Money in Politics

09/07/2014

Citizens United

Reid schedules vote in September on amending the Constitution

August 01, 2014, 03:12 pm By Ramsey Cox – TheHIll

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has set up a procedural vote for September on a constitutional amendment to limit money in politics.

Before adjourning for a five-week recess on Friday, Reid filed cloture on the motion to proceed to S.J. Res. 19, which is designed to overturn two recent Supreme Court decisions that allowed corporations, labor unions and wealthy individuals to spend more money on federal elections.

The procedural vote on the constitutional amendment is set for 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 8.

The amendment is certain to fail in the Senate because Republicans generally support the high court’s decisions in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. FEC, arguing they removed limits on free speech.

“This partisan effort to weaken the First Amendment is the clearest proof yet of how out of touch the Democrat Majority has become from the needs and concerns of ordinary Americans and how ill-equipped they are to lead in these challenging times,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday. “Washington Democrats have forgotten that the First Amendment is meant to empower the people, not the government.”

The 2010 Citizens United ruling struck down restrictions that had barred corporations and unions from spending money from their general treasury funds to support or oppose candidates. In McCutcheon, the court struck aggregate limits on individual contributions to candidates.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/214089-reid-sets-up-vote-to-reverse-citizens-united-decision
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Senate moves forward with amendment to the Constitution on elections

9/8/14 By Ramsey Cox – theHill

The Senate on Monday advanced a constitutional amendment meant to reverse two recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign spending.

Republicans are likely to vote against the amendment when it comes up for a final vote, but by allowing it to proceed, ensured that it will tie up the Senate for most of the week.

More than 20 Republicans joined Democrats in the 79-18 vote advancing the amendment, well over the 60 votes that were needed.

The amendment is almost certain to fail, as it would need to win two-thirds support to pass the Senate, and then would still need to move through the House and be ratified by two-thirds of the states.

“We should have debate on this important amendment,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said before voting for cloture. “The majority should be made to answer why they want to silence critics.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he would gladly debate the issue for as long as Republicans require because the amendment is necessary to keep “dark money” out of politics.

For more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/217025-senate-advances-constitutional-amendment-on-campaign-spending
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Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission558 U.S. 50 (2010)

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. The nonprofit corporation Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA”). In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that portions of BCRA §203 violated the First Amendment.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission

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July 16, 2012

Statement by President Obama on the DISCLOSE Act

Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that big corporations are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence American elections. They can buy millions of dollars’ worth of TV ads with no obligation to reveal who’s actually paying for them.

The consequences of this decision are predictable. If we allow this practice to continue, special interests will have unprecedented influence over politicians. It’s wrong. It’s corrosive to our democracy, and it’s a threat to our future.

Today, Republicans in the Senate had the chance to change it. They had the opportunity to support a bill that would prevent the worst effects of the Citizens United decision and require groups or special interests who are trying to influence elections to reveal their donors so the public will know who’s funding their political ads. This bill should have received broad, bipartisan support.

Unfortunately, Republicans chose to block it. Instead of standing up for the American people, Republicans stood with big banks and oil companies – special interests that certainly don’t need more clout in Washington.

I will continue to do everything I can to repair the deficit of trust between Washington and the American people. I’m disappointed Republicans in Congress failed to take action and hold corporations and special interests accountable to the American people.

BILL MOYERS: Here’s a significant revelation of which you may not be aware. The plutocrats know it and love it, and the rest of us should be forewarned. When the Supreme Court made its infamous Citizens United decision, liberating plutocrats to buy our elections fair and square, the justices may have effectively overturned rules that kept bosses from ordering employees to do political work on company time. Election law expert Trevor Potter told us that now “corporations argue that it is a constitutionally protected use of corporate ‘resources’ to order employees to do political work or attend campaign events—even if the employee opposes the candidate, or is threatened with being fired for failure to do what the corporation asks.”

Reporter Mike Elk at In These Times magazine came across a recording of Governor Mitt Romney on a conference call in June with some business executives. The Governor told them there is quote, “nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well.”

And here’s Governor Romney two months later, campaigning at an Ohio coal mine:

MITT ROMNEY: This is a time for truth. I listened to an ad on the way here. I’ll tell you, you got a great boss. He runs a great operation here. And he—Bob? Where are you Bob? There he is.

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Bill Moyers on Citizen’s United Decision

“Look at all those miners around him, steadfastly standing in support, right? They work for a company called Murray Energy and attendance at the rally, without pay, was mandatory. Murray Energy is notorious for violating safety regulations, sometimes resulting in injuries and deaths. And the company has paid millions in fines. The CEO, Bob Murray, a well-known climate change denier and cutthroat businessman, insists that his employees contribute to his favorite anti-regulatory candidates, or else. In one letter uncovered by “The New Republic” magazine, Murray wrote quote, “We have been insulted by every salaried employee who does not support our efforts.” So much for voting rights and the secret ballot at Murray Energy.

Mike Elk discovered that the Koch Brothers, David and Charles – who have pledged to spend $60 million defeating President Obama – have sent a “voter information packet” to the employees of Georgia Pacific, one of their subsidiaries. It includes a list of recommended candidates, pro-Romney and anti-Obama editorials written by the Koch’s and a cover letter from the company president. If we elect the wrong people, Dave Robertson writes, “Many of our more than 50,000 US employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.” Other ills? Like losing your job?

This is snowballing. Timeshare king David Siegel of Westgate Resorts reportedly has threatened to fire employees if Barack Obama is re-elected and Arthur Allen, who runs ASG Software Solutions, e-mailed his employees, “If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th, and we lose our independence as a company, I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come.”

Back in the first Gilded Age, in the 19th century, bosses and company towns lined up their workers and marched them to vote as a block. As we said at the beginning of this broadcast, the Gilded Age is back with a vengeance. Welcome to the plutocracy. The remains of the ol’ USA.”

Source: http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-plutocracy-rising/

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HEADLINES OF GOP Blocking the DISCLOSE ACT

* Senate GOP block campaign spending disclosure bill [AP,7/16/12]

Senate Republicans blocked Democratic-backed legislation requiring organizations pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaign ads to disclose their top donors and the amounts they spend. GOP opposition prevented Democrats from getting the 60 votes needed to bring what is known as the Disclose Act to the Senate floor. The vote was 51-44. Democrats revived the act during a presidential election campaign in which political action committees and nonprofit organizations, funded by deep-pocketed and largely anonymous contributors, are dominating the airwaves with largely negative political ads.

* Senate Republicans block campaign disclosure bill [Reuters,7/16/12]

* Senate Republicans Block Campaign Donor Disclosure Bill [Bloomberg, 7/17/12]

* The Power of Anonymity [NY Times, 7/17/12]

* Senate Democrats Plan ‘Midnight Vigil’ on Campaign Finance Bill [WSJ, 7/16/12]

* Expose the fat cats [Washington Post,7/16/12]

* GOP Kills DISCLOSE Act and Leaves Voters in the Dark [Daily Beast,7/17/12]

* DISCLOSE Campaign Spending Act Blocked By Senate Republicans [Huffington Post, 7/17/12]

* Dems hold ‘midnight vigil’ to protest defeat of DISCLOSE bill – [The Hill, 7/16/12]

*  GOP Unanimously Votes to Block DISCLOSE Act [National Journal, 7/16/12]

* Republicans block bill on transparency [Washington Times, 7/17/12]

* Senate Dems Plan ‘Midnight Vigil’ For Campaign Finance Bill [BuzzFeed, 7/16/12]

* GOP blocks political-ad disclosure bill [Boston Globe,7/16/12]

* GOP Senators block Disclose Act political donation transparency [The Examiner, 7/17/12]

* GOP Senators block Disclose Act political donation transparency [Reid.senate.gov, 9/11/14]

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