Interests of global corporations and those of the nation are in conflict. NAFTA and WTO policies benefit a few elite investors at the expense of working Americans.
Fair Trade for Americans
"The object of government is the welfare of the people." Theodore Roosevelt
Earlier in this century the United States was technologically and productively unrivaled. The basic goal of our trade policy was to advance the interests of our nation and people. National prosperity and corporate prosperity went hand in hand.
In the modern era, the interests of global corporations and those of the nation are in conflict. Today, our trade policy benefits a few elite investors at the expense of everyone else.
During the period known as the Cold War, when the Soviet Union posed a real threat, U.S. economic superiority was uncontested. This was reflected in economic policies that spread the wealth in a way that kept the U.S. and allies strategically ahead.
With the end of the Cold War, over one billion new workers entered the global market place. Additionally, we no longer need to maintain economic alliances for security purposes.
These outdated mechanisms of trade are severely dysfunctional and now require a fundamental overhaul if our prosperity is to be maintained.
A trade deficit occurs when a nation buys and spends more than it sells and earns in trading with other nations.
If a nation exports more than it imports, it has a trade surplus. Most of the worlds' industrialized nations maintain large trade surpluses-many through protectionist tariffs and other import restrictions.
The U.S. had surpluses for much of the 20th century, but has run a trade deficit 37 out of the last 39 years, and our deficits are getting bigger. In 1991 the U.S. trade deficit was $74 Billion. In 1996 it was $187 Billion.
Our current economic strength is in high corporate profits, high stock values and available credit. However, consumer debt is high, sales are weak, wage growth is flat, savings are low, economic growth is marginal, and our manufacturing base has been decimated. This does not bode well for our future generations.
While other countries actively protect their key industries from excessive importation, the U.S. maintains an "open door" policy that leads to high corporate profits and job losses in our U.S. industries.
CASE 1: China / Asia
China has the largest, poorest workforce in the world. China utilizes child labor, prison slave labor, subverts human rights and ignores environmental damage to attract foreign companies to produce there.
The U.S. continually grants Most Favored Nation trading status to China, charging only 3% tariffs on imports.
U.S. imports to China, which are strongly regulated by the Chinese communist government, must add 40% in tariffs and value added taxes. The case is much the same throughout Asia.
These policies make Asia an attractive place to manufacture because costs are so low, which brings much higher profits to U.S. companies that move or set up shop there.
This is irresponsible public policy that continues to cause job losses nationwide.
CASE 2: NAFTA / Mexico
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a poorly devised policy that benefits multinational corporations at the expense of U.S. and Mexican workers. NAFTA was approved after the largest, most expensive lobbying effort in history, paid for by less than 100 of the wealthiest multi-national corporations.
The "stated purpose" of NAFTA is to grow the Mexican economy in tandem with ours, creating a market for U.S. made goods and services and new jobs in the U.S.
In reality, NAFTA allows U.S. companies to move their operations to Mexico where they can exploit Mexican workers, take advantage of low wages, lax environmental laws, and government cooperation in settling labor disputes, so that they can sell in the U.S. at a higher profit.
NAFTA requires the U.S. to open our borders to allow imports immediately, while allowing transitional periods for Canada and Mexico.
Additionally, NAFTA allows multinational companies to avoid U.S. tariffs and standards by establishing operations Mexico, then exporting to the U.S. free of charge.
Several of our key industries are suffering job losses and continue to shrink. Namely, the auto industry, manufacturing, apparel and textiles, agriculture, the beef industry, and high tech fields of aerospace as well as communications.
What's happended to Michigan workers because of NAFTA? Michigan worker have lost jobs by the hundreds and thousands. But, only those officially certified under NAFTA-TAA (Transitional Adjustment Assistance) programs are counted. These workers must produce a product that was directly affected by NAFTA. Auto workers whose jobs moved to Mexico would be counted, but suppliers, stores and restaurants in the community would not be counted. The entire service sector is "exempt" and not counted. See the details of Michigan's official TAA losses by Clicking Here.
CASE 3: NAFTA / GATT - High Tech Jobs
NAFTA and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) have caused high wage and high tech jobs to flee U.S. borders in search of low production costs. Our most advanced industries for the future have begun to move to foreign countries, seeking to bolster their bottom line profits at the expense of U.S. workers.
Our 12th Congressional District has already lost Sandvik, makers of balls for ball-point pens in Warren and Stanley Door Systems, makers of door slabs and prehung doors. Both companies moved their operations to Mexico.
Michigan already has lost over 24,000 jobs in total to NAFTA.
Whether it's ball-point pens, irons, doors, underwear, or shirts--the prices have not come down!
Yet someone is reaping the benefits. Studies show that the average CEO who used to earn 42 times the average worker's wage now earns 419 times the average workers wage!
Executives are earning exorbitant salaries and bonuses at the expense of the American worker. Some of the money pouring into executive pockets is finding its way into the campaign coffers of elected officials who support the globalization of our economy. NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO allow higher profits and bigger bonuses for executives, as well as fat re-election contributions to pro-NAFTA legislators.
It's time the workers of the United States stood up to the Republicans and Democrats, pro-NAFTA, career politicians and demand
Fair Trade for Americans.
The Reform Party advocates intelligent fair trade, not free corporate profiteering. The bottom line is job losses in the U.S. at the middle class level.
Each job loss damages our economy three times:
The biggest job losses occur in urban areas, and half are to women and minorities. New jobs in service industries pay less than half of the lost manufacturing jobs, further weakening our economy.
Economic prosperity for our future generations requires trade reform!
You may want to visit some of these sites:
People for Fair Trade
NAFTA and OPIC topic at my Ethics Website
World Trade Organization