Jennifer Granholm: We Gave Businesses Every Incentive, It Wasn't Enough To Bring Back Jobs

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Jennifer Granholm spoke with Fareed Zakaria about where American jobs have gone and offers up a perfect case study to show that despite their skill at repeating it ad nauseam, the GOP's answer for jobs just won't work:

Among the lessons that hit home the hardest occurred back in 2003, when she tried to keep an Electrolux plant in Greenville, Mich. (the "Refrigerator Capital of the World"). Then-Gov. Granholm offered the company all sorts of incentives, including tax breaks and worker concessions, only to be told by Electrolux that "there is nothing you can do to compensate for the fact we can pay $1.17 an hour for labor in Mexico."

On the factory's last day, as Electrolux was completing the move to Ciudad Juárez and the last of the 3,000 employees were laid off, she remembers one of them coming up to her and saying, "I'm 48. I went from high school to factory. All I know is how to make refrigerators. Governor, who is going to hire me?"

Granholm rightfully points out that whither Michigan has gone, so too will the whole country until we start having a conversation about keeping American jobs that doesn't not solely include tax cuts and concessions from labor.

One of the most immediate and obvious ways that we can stop this trend of outsourcing American manufacturing jobs is to stop these stupid free trade agreements that benefit corporations to the disservice of American workers and start working on fair trade agreements, which include tariffs for goods produced outside the country, as Thom Hartmann describes it here:

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For years, we were the largest creditor nation in the world. Then we started knocking out tariffs and promoting free trade agreements in the 80's and lo and behold! corporations became wealthier and wealthier and the nation became a debtor nation.

If tax incentives were all we needed to get the "job creators" bringing back jobs, we wouldn't have the economy we have now. Plain and simple. We must change the narrative from that relentless talking point.

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