Kerry Calls for ‘Economic Patriotism’ for Better Standing in World

Fred Lucas | January 24, 2013 | 12:40pm EST
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FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2012 file photo, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., leads a hearing on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( – Secretary of State-nominee John Kerry said “economic patriotism” should be a priority in making the United States economically strong in the world.

“My plea is that we can summon across party lines, without partisan diversions, an economic patriotism which recognizes that American strength and prospects abroad, depend on American strength and results at home,” Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, said during his confirmation hearing Thursday.

“It’s hard to tell the leadership of a number of countries that they have to deal with the IMF, balance their budget, and create economic order where there is none, if we don’t provide it for ourselves,” Kerry added.

During his opening comments, Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee for president, stated that America cannot lecture other countries on their economies until the economy is in shape at home.

“We are known as the indispensable nation for good reason,” Kerry said. “No nation has more opportunity to advance the cause of democracy.

“No nation is as committed to the cause of human rights as we are, but to protect our nation and make good on all our promises, as well as to live up to our ideals and meet the crisis of this moment, it is urgent that we show people in the rest of the world that we can get our business done in an effective and timely way,” Kerry added.

“It is difficult enough to solve some of the problems that we face, but I will tell you, it becomes impossible or near impossible if we ourselves replace our credibility and leverage with gridlock and dysfunction,” he said.

“More than ever, foreign policy is economic policy,” Kerry continued. “The world is competing for resources and global markets. Every day that goes by where America is uncertain about engaging in that arena or unwilling to put our best foot forward and win, unwilling to demonstrate our resolve to lead, is a day in which we weaken our nation itself.

Kerry did not explain “economic patriotism,” but it was frequently a term used in the 2012 campaign by both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as a means for raising taxes.

The campaign issued a plan called, “The New Economic Patriotism: A Plan for Jobs and Middle-Class Security.”

“We must return to the principles that made America great, rewarding hard work and responsibility,” the plan said. “By eliminating special loopholes and tax breaks that benefit big business and the wealthiest – as part of a balanced deficit reduction plan that also cuts spending we can’t afford – we can grow our economy without burdening our children and grandchildren with debt.”

The plan goes on to call for, “Ending tax deductions for companies shipping jobs overseas, and using the savings to create a new tax credit for companies that bring jobs home.” It further calls for “Standing up for American workers and businesses in the global marketplace, taking on China’s unfair trade practices through a new trade enforcement unit to level the playing field.”

The plan further says, “President Obama is calling for extending tax credits that support clean energy manufacturing.”

Obama talked about “economic patriotism” several times during the campaign.

At an Oct. 5 rally in Fairfax, Va., Obama said, “What I talked about last night was a new economic patriotism – a patriotism that's rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong, thriving middle class. That means we export more jobs and we outsource – export more products and we outsource fewer jobs.

“Over the last three years, we came together to reinvent a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world. We’ve created more than half a million new manufacturing jobs. And so now you’ve got a choice. We can keeping giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that are opening new plants and training new workers, and creating new jobs right here in the United States of America,” the president said.

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