Archer: Certainty and repatriation key to job creation


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John Archer, the Republican candidate for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, believes his business experience and policies could help unemployed Iowans get back on track, as job creation is one of the key issues in his race against Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa.

“We need to make sure America and the world understands that Iowa is not a flyover community or state,” Archer told The Daily Iowan during an exclusive interview Sept. 27. “We have the ability here in Iowa through our small businesses and farmers to feed, fuel, and clothe the world.”

Archer, who has spent the last 11 years at John Deere as chief legal counsel, said one of the main policies for job creation is repatriation. Archer said companies are stifling job creation by “parking their dollars overseas.” His push for repatriation  — or allowing foreign corporations to take money made overseas and bring it to the United States at a lower tax rate — is something he is convinced will help create jobs.

But one University of Iowa economist disputed the impact of this policy.

“Repatriation is one off-thing that could be helpful, but I’m not sure if it’s quantitatively large enough,” said Nicolas Ziebarth, a University of Iowa assistant professor of economics.

Repatriation was also previously tried during former President George W. Bush’s administration.

According to a 2009 Congressional Research Service report about the results of the Bush policy, this action resulted in “significant increase in repatriated earnings,” but “empirical evidence is unable to show a corresponding increase in domestic investment or employment.”

The expiration of the wind-energy tax credit is another major issue surrounding job creation in Iowa. Archer believes “we can’t pull the rug out from those industries right now.” But Archer’s belief draws a contrast between himself and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has said he will not renew the credit.

“I don’t necessarily know if [Romney] truly understands the economic impact of wind energy to Iowa,” he said, pointing out that Fort Madison recently just lost more than 400 jobs in a Siemens wind-turbine plant because of the uncertainty over the tax credit.

Archer also spoke about the role of government, saying he believes it should provide better infrastructure for Iowans and characterized the current state for farmers as “decaying.” He also stated he “didn’t know if it was worth it” to go into further debt to invest in fixing the infrastructure.

Instead he felt cuts to government programs could occur — naming some in the Department of Defense, including the elimination of a proposed amphibious assault vehicle for the Marine Corps.

“We have to look at it holistically, if we have to eliminate forward bases around the world, eliminating [the bases] without jeopardizing men and women in the theater,” he said. “We need to scale back former bases to save tax payers’ dollars.”

Archer was adamant in his belief that a  “role of uncertainty” affects unemployment, which he felt should have been better addressed by the current Congress.

“There is just so much uncertainty right now with the tax rates with the potential ‘taxmaggedon’ coming up at the end of this year,” he said. “Rules are changing so rapidly, we just need to provide certainty and stability to everybody.”

Archer said one of the “stark-contrasts” between him and Loebsack is Archer’s support of free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.

“We’ve got to build things in America again, and rebuild our manufacturing base,” Loebsack told the DI Sept. 28 when asked about voting against the trade agreements. “I've heard from a lot of people who would be hurt by this.”

Ultimately, though, the responsibility for job creation lies with the market, Archer said.

“The government does not create jobs, I as an elected official would not necessarily create jobs,” he said. “What we have to do is create the environment for private businesses to go out, and invest and create desperately needed jobs here in southeast Iowa and across America.”

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