Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"NAFTA Redux"


Sadly, the news this morning reported that the Senate plans to approve the Trans Pacific Partnership this week. That's the new trade pact with Asian nations that will result in surrendering more American jobs and bring us more Chinese dog food $3 dollar shirts. 
Since the North American Free Trade Agreement was passed over 20 years ago during the Clinton Presidency the U.S. has lost over 5 million jobs. Our rapidly dwindling manufacturing base will suffer even more. The problems with these trade agreements is that it's like a little league team playing the New York Yankees...we never start..or end with a level playing field. Oh sure, these trade agreements all sound so pretty; "promotes commerce". "opens up new markets for American goods", "assures fair play". 

Alas, none of those things are true. I challenge any of you to find one instance where the United States was successful in enforcing our previous trade pacts. Even when a small American manufacturing firm makes a better product, even when they manage to keep costs down and their product price competitive, those Asian nations will take steps to make sure it fails to sell in their country. They'll install import controls, hike import fees, and, in China's case, choose to manipulate their currency..keeping the value artificially low, in order to kill foreign competitors. And that's before they ever employ prison labor and ignore international environmental laws and pollute the skies and send millions of gallons of toxins out to sea.

And do we really need to give American corporations another break? They already have $2 trillion non taxable dollars stashed overseas! They already export our jobs to countries where labor costs are lower. The TPP will merely accelerate that process.

We can do far better without the TPP deal. We can lower the corporate tax rate and bring that $2 trillion be invested here and create jobs. We can quit subsidizing "gender studies" college degrees and promote education that qualifies our graduates to fill jobs actually needed. And we can put a leash on OSHA and the EPA and stop them from being job killers.
And we can begin enforcing NAFTA and the WTO and tell our trade partners that we won't tolerate cheating. 
And we can stop mortgaging our future by getting our debt under control. Japan and China hold a big hunk of our bond debt and it is getting harder and harder to tell "our bankers" they are not playing fair.

Liberal icon Elizabeth Warren and I have exactly one thing in common: we both agree that the TPP is a bad deal. We don't enforce the trade agreements we already have. What makes anyone think we'll do any better with this one?

No comments: