US-Israel Telecommunications Agreement Eases Way for U.S. Exports

Jerusalem – Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro and Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour Shalom Simhon today signed an agreement that will ease burdens on U.S. companies, especially smaller manufacturers, seeking to export telecommunications products to Israel, while maintaining the United States’ high technical standards and facilitating cross-border trade.  Under the Mutual Recognition Agreement between the Government of the United States and the Government of Israel for Conformity Assessment of Telecommunications Equipment, Israeli regulatory authorities will now accept tests that recognized U.S. laboratories perform to determine the conformity of telecommunications equipment with Israeli technical requirements, rather than requiring additional testing by Israeli laboratories, before American products can be sold in Israel.  The Agreement also allows for the United States and Israel to agree in the future to accept equipment certifications from recognized conformity assessment bodies in the United States and Israel on a mutual basis.  The full text of the Agreement is available here.

“This Agreement will save American manufacturers money and time.  It will facilitate trade by allowing for product testing and certification only once, in the United States, prior to exporting the product to Israel,”

said Ambassador Sapiro.

Background after the jump.
Background

Israel is an important U.S. trading partner.  In 2011, two-way trade between the United States and Israel totaled over $31 billion.  This Agreement further strengthens the mutually beneficial U.S.-Israel trade relationship and supports American and Israeli businesses and workers with new opportunities for greater growth.

The Agreement streamlines the conformity assessment process by permitting recognized U.S. laboratories to test telecommunications products for conformity with Israeli technical requirements, and vice versa.  The Agreement also provides that, in the future, the United States and Israel can agree to the mutual acceptance of equipment certifications by recognized conformity assessment bodies in the United States and Israel.  The Agreement will save manufacturers the time and expense of additional product testing and certification, which is expected to lower prices for consumers and boost exports.

The Agreement covers equipment subject to telecommunications regulation, including wire and wireless equipment, and terrestrial and satellite equipment.  The Agreement fully preserves the authority of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to determine the technical requirements it considers appropriate, and in no way lowers current U.S. safety requirements.

The Agreement will enter into force after both the United States and Israel have completed all internal legal requirements.

 

America Is Working Again: Unemployment dives to 7.8%

  • 32 consecutive months of job growth in the private sector
  • 967,000 private sector jobs created since Obama took office
  • Meanwhile, governments at all levels have shed 642,000 jobs.



Statement by Alan B. Krueger after the jump.
The Employment Situation in September
Posted by Alan B. Krueger on October 5, 2012 at 9:30AM

While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.  

Most pressing, Congress should pass an extension of middle class tax cuts that President Obama proposed, and the Senate passed.  This extension would prevent the typical middle class family from facing a $2,200 tax increase at the beginning of next year. In addition, the President has proposed a plan that will enable responsible homeowners to refinance their mortgage and take advantage of today’s historically low interest rates. To create more jobs in particularly hard-hit sectors, President Obama continues to urge Congress to pass elements of the American Jobs Act, including further investment in infrastructure to rebuild our Nation’s ports, roads and highways, and assistance to State and local governments to prevent layoffs and to enable them to rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders.

Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector establishments added 104,000 jobs last month, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 114,000. Revisions to the previous two months added another 86,000 jobs.  The economy has now added private sector jobs for 31 straight months. Taking account of the preliminary benchmark revision (+453,000) released last week, the economy has added a total of 5.2 million private sector jobs during that period.

The household survey showed that the unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest rate since January 2009.  Labor force participation rose by 418,000 people in September, and the labor force participation rate rose by 0.1 percentage point. Over the last 12 months, the unemployment rate has decreased by 1.2 percentage points, the largest drop since February 1995.

Employment rose notably in health care and social assistance (+44,500), transportation and warehousing (+17,100), restaurants and bars (+15,700) financial activities (+13,000), and professional and business services (+13,000). Manufacturing lost 16,000 jobs, primarily in durable goods (-13,000).

As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.

30 Consecutive Months of Job Growth

The next time someone asks if we are better off now than we were four years ago show him this graph.

Report from the Council of Economic Advisors follows the jump.
Alan B. Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in August.

While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.  It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.  To create more jobs in particularly hard-hit sectors, President Obama continues to support the elements of the American Jobs Act that have not yet passed, including further investment in infrastructure to rebuild our Nation’s ports, roads and highways, and assistance to State and local governments to prevent layoffs and to enable them to rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders. To build on the progress of the last few years, President Obama has also proposed an extension of middle class tax cuts that would prevent the typical middle class family from facing a $2,200 tax increase next year.

Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector establishments added 103,000 jobs last month, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 96,000. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 30 straight months, for a total of 4.6 million jobs during that period.

The household survey showed that the unemployment rate declined from 8.3% to 8.1% in August.

Employment rose notably in leisure and hospitality (+34,000), professional and business services (+28,000), health care and social assistance (+21,700), and wholesale trade (+7,900). Manufacturing lost 15,000 jobs, including a 7,500 drop in motor vehicles and parts, which is partly payback for there having been relatively few seasonal auto plant shutdowns in July.  Over the past 30 months, manufacturers have added more than 500,000 jobs.  Government lost 7,000 jobs, as state government payrolls fell by 6,000 and local governments shed 4,000 jobs. Since February 2010, State and local governments have lost 504,000 jobs.

As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.
 

Who Said That?

Quote of the day courtesy of Taeggan Goodard:

“You guys are bright enough to look at the numbers. I came in and the jobs had been just falling right off a cliff, I came in and they kept falling for 11 months. And if you are going to suggest to me that somehow the day I got elected, somehow jobs should have immediately turned around, well that would be silly. It takes awhile to get things turned around. We were in a recession, we were losing jobs every month.”

Who said this?

Answer after the jump.
Mitt Romney, at a press conference in June 2006 saying reporters were unfair to hold him accountable for disappointing jobs data.

The Road We’ve Traveled

The Obama campaign has released this 17-minute documentary by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim’s documentary about President Obama’s first three years in office and the tough calls he made to get our country back on track. If you recognize the narrator’s voice — that’s Tom Hanks.

There are a couple of minutes about the auto bailout, since they are probably assuming that they’ll be running against Mitt Romney who famously wrote Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.

Obama Scores Sunday Touchdown with Iran Central Bank Sanctions

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

(NJDC) Yesterday, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that effectively cut off Iran’s central bank from the global economy-an executive order made public one hour ago. In a letter to Congress, Obama explained that the sanctions are necessary “particularly in light of the deceptive practices of the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks.” According to the AP, Obama “said the problems included the hiding transactions of sanctioned parties, the deficiencies of Iran’s anti-money laundering regime and the unacceptably high risk posed to the entire international financial system posed by Iran’s activities.” NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said:

Sunday’s actions by President Barack Obama that were made public today, combined with the Administration’s record of gathering global partners to help block a nuclear Iran, should end any doubt about the President’s singular commitment to ensuring Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon. Obama’s record is crystal clear; he has done more than any president in history to isolate Iran and encourage Iran’s leaders to change course. By dramatically severing Iran’s economy completely from the United States, the President has taken another powerful step to safeguard America’s and Israel’s security alike-even as previous steps are yielding results. We thank President Obama for his leadership on this issue and for his actions yesterday; indeed all supporters of a secure Israel and a strong U.S.-Israel relationship owe him a debt of gratitude.

(The Department of the Treasury issued a fact sheet about the new sanctions.)

Prior to the Super Bowl, Obama discussed U.S. cooperation with Israel on thwarting Iran’s nuclear program in a pre-Super Bowl interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer. Obama told Lauer:

[Israel] like us believe[s] that Iran has to stand down on its nuclear weapons program. And we have mobilized the international community in a way that is unprecedented. And they are feeling the pinch. They are feeling the pressure. But they have not taken the step that they need to diplomatically which is to say we will pursue nuclear power, we will not pursue a nuclear weapon. Until they do, I think Israel rightly is going to be very concerned. And we will as well….

We have closer military intelligence consultation than we ever have. My number one priority continues to be the security of the United States but also the security of Israel and we are gonna make sure that we work in lockstep as we work to try to solve this, hopefully diplomatically.

… Our goal is to resolve this issue diplomatically… We’re not going to take any options off the table though. … Our preferred solution here is diplomatic; we’re going to keep pushing on that front, but we’re not going to take any options off the table. And I’ve been very clear that we’re going to do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and creating an arms race-a nuclear arms race-in a volatile region.

(See video to watch the full interview from yesterday.)

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Obama said during a segment that aired this morning on NBC’s Today Show:

I think we have a very good estimate of when they could potentially achieve breakout capacity … Do we know all of the dynamics inside of Iran? Absolutely not. … Iran itself is a lot more divided now than it was. Knowing who is making decisions at any given time inside of Iran is tough. We do have a pretty good read on what is happening with the nuclear program.

Obama also reiterated that all options remain on the table for stopping Iran:

We have done extensive planning over the last several years over our various options in the Gulf. We are prepared to exercise these options should the need arise. But my goal is to resolve this diplomatically mainly because the only way over the long term we can ensure doesn’t get a nuclear weapon is by getting them to understand it’s not in their interest.

Click here or on the video box below to watch the full interview from this morning.

 

The End of the American Dream

The January 2012 issue of Esquire has an interesting article about the end of the American dream We Are Not All Created Equal:

There are some truths so hard to face, so ugly and so at odds with how we imagine the world should be, that nobody can accept them. Here’s one: It is obvious that a class system has arrived in America — a recent study of the thirty-four countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that only Italy and Great Britain have less social mobility. But nobody wants to admit: If your daddy was rich, you’re gonna stay rich, and if your daddy was poor, you’re gonna stay poor. Every instinct in the American gut, every institution, every national symbol, runs on the idea that anybody can make it; the only limits are your own limits. Which is an amazing idea, a gift to the world — just no longer true. Culturally, and in their daily lives, Americans continue to glide through a ghostly land of opportunity they can’t bear to tell themselves isn’t real. It’s the most dangerous lie the country tells itself,

Rep. Lorettta Sanchez’s Republican Friends Admit to Holding Economy Hostage to Defeat Obama

Transcript after the jump.
Interviewer: Harry Reid said yesterday, and frankly we’ve heard this from a lot of Democrats, the Republicans oppose the jobs bill for political reasons, that it helps them if the economy stays in bad shape. But, is that fair?

Sanchez: Well, it certainly is fair. I mean, I’ve heard my own colleagues on the Republican side say, “We just want to make Obama look so bad. We don’t care how bad the economy gets. We can win this election, we want our president –“

Interviewer: You’ve heard them say that?

Sanchez: Yes. They have said that. They’ve said that! They’ve said that behind closed doors to me! They said, “Nothing is moving.” They said, “We want to make him look bad. We want to get rid of him. We want to get rid of the health care reform bill.” They only way they believe they can get rid of health care reform is to get rid of President Obama.

Interviewer: Who is saying that, Congresswoman?

Sanchez: Well, I’m not gonna … these are actual friends on the other side who have said, “This is what is happening in our conference”, in their groupings when they’re meeting.

Message to GOP: Stop Rooting for the Economy’s Failure

— by Ariela Fleisig
Democratic National Committee Chair Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) wrote in Politico this week that while President Barack Obama continues to present bipartisan suggestions to improve the nation’s economy, the “dysfunctional and hyperpartisan” Republican Party offers only obstructionist rhetoric and failed policies.

Wasserman Schultz praised the administration’s “bold steps” to combat the ailing economy, including plans to make mortgage refinancing easier for homeowners and new measures to help students pay their tuition, and wrote:

The President has been clear: These actions are not a replacement for the American Jobs Act. Congress must take action to alleviate the constant pressure middle-class families are feeling and work together to create jobs and grow the economy. The stakes are too high and the consequences too dire if Congress continues to do nothing.

If we break down the numbers and look at the four early states, we can see the impact the American Jobs Act will have on small-business owners and the middle class. The American Jobs Act is a mix of tax breaks for middle-class families and small businesses and targeted aid to help keep teachers in the classroom and police and firefighters on the beat and to get construction workers on the job rebuilding our bridges and roads.

She specifically criticized Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his complete disregard for the average American’s financial stability:

Indeed, while the president is focused on saving homeowners thousands of dollars each year by helping them refinance their mortgages, Mitt Romney went to Nevada and told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that we should not ‘try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom.’ He went on to say that it would be better to have families lose their homes so investors could swoop in, buy foreclosed homes and turn a profit, literally leaving the average American homeowner out in the cold….

What is Romney’s prescription for curing this ailment? He wants to kick those same people who have been suffering out of their homes, allow bankers and investors to make a quick buck and then rewrite the laws to allow bankers to write their own rules. Romney doesn’t just want to return to the same policies that brought our economy to its knees; he wants to double down on them.

But he doesn’t just stack the deck against hard-working American homeowners; he also undermines America’s middle class through tax policy. His tax plan slashes taxes for the wealthiest and corporations but does nothing to help middle-class families. In a telling moment at a Republican debate just a couple of weeks ago, he called payroll tax cuts in the American Jobs Act ‘little Band-Aids.’

She concluded:

While the Republicans may be getting more attention in the early states right now, there’s no denying that voters will face a very stark choice next year. Obama continues working to find sensible solutions to get more Americans back to work and to rebuild the economy through a strong middle class. Meanwhile, Republicans continue advocating tax breaks for the wealthiest and corporations while shifting more burdens onto seniors and the middle class.

Americans can’t wait. They need action now to get the economy moving again. The president continues to work hard to turn the economy around. Republicans need to get off the sidelines and join him and stop rooting for the economy’s failure in order to win an election.

Click here to read Wasserman Schultz’s full piece.