Good-paying jobs key to American Dream

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Since coming to the United States Senate, I have worked to grow jobs, protect consumers in the state of Ohio and reform our tax code.

One way in which job growth is harmed in our country is by illegal trade practices.

One manifestation of an illegal trade practice that I have been working to address for years is the theft and counterfeiting of our manufacturing products and ideas. I have always believed in free and fair trade.

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And I have always fought to protect the intellectual property rights of Americans so people don’t steal our ideas and jeopardize our opportunities.

IP theft is a substantial and growing economic threat, with American companies losing an around $250 billion dollars a year to IP theft, and American workers losing about 750,000 jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has estimated that the U.S. auto industry could hire 200,000 more workers if the sale of counterfeit auto parts were eliminated.

Imagine that: 200,000 more good-paying jobs.

Countries such as China, Brazil and Russia often lack the basic legal respect for IP rights. China is one country whose practices with regard to the protection of IP rights are of particular concern. Recent Department of Homeland Security statistics indicate that more than 80 percent of the 2006 IP-related seizures at our borders originated from China — up from roughly 46 percent in 2001.

The trend is clear and, unfortunately, it shows that China is blatantly ignoring our loud and clear message about protecting IP rights.

IP theft is no longer limited to knock-off handbags and pirated DVDs. Counterfeit medicine, baby formula, airplane parts and brake pads infiltrate store shelves and put Americans at risk every day. It seems that almost weekly there is another news story about fake products being sold to unwitting consumers.

America’s competitive edge is derived from innovation and rising productivity, and the protection of our intellectual property remains one of the best means for ensuring that American manufacturers enjoy the benefits of their investments. For the past four years I have worked tirelessly to ensure that the products made from American innovation are not illegally copied.

That is why I wrote the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Act — legislation to address IP rights enforcement and protect American innovation. And I am pleased to say that my colleagues in the Senate recently voted unanimously to pass this legislation and President Bush signed it into law earlier this month.

Passage of my IP rights is important to protecting U.S. jobs and consumers because it will provide increased resources to combat intellectual property theft and provide coordination and strategic planning of federal efforts against counterfeiting and piracy. This is a major victory for America’s innovators and a wake-up call for foreign counterfeiters who believe they can steal our ideas with impunity.

Additionally, I recently introduced the Manufacturing, Assembling, Development and Export in the USA Tax Act – or MADE in the USA Tax Act — which would eliminate tax breaks that encourage companies to move jobs overseas. The additional revenues would be used to cut tax rates on large and small businesses that invest and create jobs in the United States.

In today’s global economy, workers bear the brunt of higher corporate tax rates, through lower wages and fewer jobs. It is imperative that we have a tax code that makes the United States an attractive place to locate production, research and other activity. Reducing the tax rates on corporate and small business income will lead to job creation and wage increases for American workers.

These tax reforms, which will help create high-paying jobs in the United States and Ohio, will be paid for in a fiscally responsible manner by repealing a number of existing tax breaks that favor foreign competition and that encourage companies to move jobs and profits overseas.

Another piece of legislation focused on strengthening our economy was the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 — a bipartisan legislative plan to help ease the housing crisis which was signed into law by the president in July. This bill included a provision I authored allowing companies who aren’t making money to use accumulated Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and R&D credits early to make new investments that will create jobs.

We are facing many daunting challenges as a nation — but none is bigger than turning around our economy, growing jobs and helping people survive day to day.

And I am doing everything in my power to put Ohio first in line for the jobs of the future.