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THE LATEST FROM PPI

NEW REPORT: 1 IN 3 JOB LOSSES ARE DUE TO IMPORTS. Conventional wisdom holds that increased productivity is the main driver behind America's manufacturing job losses. Better technology, so the logic goes, means fewer workers needed on the job.

PPI economists Michael Mandel and Diana Carew challenge this assumption with new data showing that imports are a bigger factor in job losses than most people think. According to Michael and Diana, rising imports accounted for as many as 1.3 million jobs lost between 2007 and 2011. They say a phenomenon called "import price bias" causes the official data to undercount import-driven job losses. The good news: Because these jobs are not lost from increased productivity, they aren't gone for good. America can recapture these jobs by making ourselves more competitive and renewing our productive capacity. Read HERE.

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OBAMA AND HOUSING: BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. In recent weeks, the Obama Administration has unveiled a flurry of proposals aimed at propping up the nation's ailing housing market. With a continuing double-digit drop in home values in key battleground states [ADD LINK], housing remains a potentially major issue heading into the fall. While the Administration's new efforts won't rescue the market, many homeowners could see some relief. Senior fellow Jason Gold walks through the President's proposals HERE.

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SMART, SIMPLE, DOABLE. REAL-TIME E-FILING OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS. Modern politics is a 24/7 stream of Twitter feeds, attack ads and the latest poll numbers. But while we might get real-time reporting of the latest gaffe, our glimpses into a candidate's finances are much more episodic. Campaigns and PACs are still only required to report contributions on a monthly or quarterly basis--and Senate campaigns still file by paper. The result is less and less transparency, even as more and more money floods politics. Two ideas can help:

  • E-filing of Senate campaign reports, as Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and a bipartisan group of 22 other Senators have proposed. This would not only improve transparency but would save the immense amounts of time and money now spent on manually inputting paper filings into the Federal Election Commission's database.
  • Real-time reporting of political contributions, as the Sunlight Foundation and other campaign finance reform groups have endorsed.
With 2012 likely to the most expensive election year in history, these measures can at least better educate Americans about who is funding whom and the impact of these dollars on our democracy.

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