Michael Peck Statement, White House Jobs Council

Michael A. Peck statement on Thursday, June 2nd, 2011: White House Meeting with The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (Jobs Council), President’s Council of Economic Advisors, National Economic Council, Department of Labor, Department of Treasury, Office of Public Engagement, and Office of Science and Technology Policy and The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC):

  • Mrs. Merkle’s paraphrased statement – “Germany escaped the Great Recession because we’re still a country that makes things” – is relevant.  In America, we won’t be able to innovate if we don’t make anything or manufacture into the endless product improvement loop.  Innovation follows manufacturing, not the reverse, and flees when manufacturing goes elsewhere.
  • The pushback against governments ‘picking winners and losers’ is essentially a status quo argument.  Only those who are currently winning articulate it to their own advantage, similar to the “peer review”  argument that tries to shut out newcomers who bring destabilizing ideas which often end up improving society and take us all to the next productive level.
  • There is no way out of our current economic mess without rededicating ourselves to making things at home so that we don’t lose our commercial sovereignty to off-shored capacity  practices in the name of global labor arbitraging (GLA).  GLA is nothing more than a formula for profits by the few at severe societal, economic, and political cost to the many.
  • There is a strong national security context to all of this: in a democracy, competitive militaries are supported by strong economies forged by citizens committed to a common cause. Oligarchies fund mercenaries.
  • In this context, the emerging green economy represents a national re-boot opportunity where we find that raising the minimum wage, de-rusting the rust belt, empowering our workers and giving them equity, and creating a nationwide stakeholder vice shareholder framework turns those better angels of our commercial American nature into local job machines.
  • In this national re-boot moment, we know that the only way we tip the balance between structural unemployment and a rising tide is to create jobs that make things with metrics that prove our points. But, there is no way we can grow local manufacturing without domestic content attached to new energy efficient and renewable energy policies which include mass transit expansion such as high speed rail.
  • Companies with broad-based ownership are more stable than companies without broad-based ownership – the former produces less job losses than the latter, outperforming those with greater differences between executive compensation and rest of employees.  Tax benefits should support and incentivize companies who highly distribute stock options.
  • The key new point in the green economy equation is worker equity & ownership whether through employee-owned companies and mechanisms like ESOPS, cooperatives, or union-cooperatives like the United Steelworkers Union-Mondragon model.  Without this ownership additive, even with enhanced productivity and innovation, there is no other way to off-set global labor arbitraging without participating in a self-destructive race to the bottom.
  • Empirically, there is nothing more “American” than democratically extended and practiced ownership for American workers, and nothing more meritocratic and productive than ownership based on performance – constituting a measureable virtuous cycle race to the top.