Tell Congress: Stop the TAFTA!
The Obama administration recently commenced (unconstitutionally, and thus illegally) negotiations with the European Union on the subject of a Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).
Although it is being presented by Obama propaganda media as a win-win for the US and the EU, the fact is that it will be yet another act of unilateral disarmament by the United States to yet another trade partner, as all free trade agreements historically have been.
In parallel, Obama has also proposed a similar free trade agreement for the Pacific, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Both of these “free trade agreements” must be stopped dead in their tracks NOW. Here’s why.
CDN readers know that for a long time, I have been warning against unilateral disarmament by the US, because, quite simply, it dismantles America’s defenses and thus leaves America open to aggression.
So-called “free trade” and the unilateral abolition of tariffs, subsidies, and other protective barriers to foreign imports is also unilateral disarmament – in the trade arena. And just as unilateral disarmament in the military arena is a supremely stupid, suicidal policy, so is unilateral disarmament (i.e. “free trade”) in the trade arena.
Since the 1960s, the US has dramatically cut its tariffs, subsidies for domestic producers, and other barriers to foreign imports, has turned a blind eye to currency manipulation by foreign countries, and has signed numerous free trade agreements. The result has been an economic disaster for the US.
Let the facts speak for themselves:
A country that was once the world’s industrial powerhouse, the economic and industrial envy of the world, the world’s largest producer of goods, a fully self-sufficient country producing everything it (and its foreign customers) needed, is now heavily dependent on foreign countries for virtually everything it buys and uses – the clothes and shoes Americans wear, the cars they drive, the computers and TVs they use, etc.
Real median wages of US workers have not risen at all since the mid-1970s and have been stagnant for over 40 years now.
Since 2000 alone, over 6 million well-paying manufacturing jobs and over 55,000 factories have been lost, shipped to China, India, and other “developing countries” by US companies allowed to outsource jobs because of “free trade agreements” that allow them to produce all kinds of stuff abroad and then ship it back, free of any tariff or duty, back to the US. This drives those companies that chose to stay in the US out of business.
Since signing “free trade agreements”, the US has begun to run massive trade deficits with its trade partners. Last year, the US had the following annual trade deficits with the following countries:
- $20 bn with crisis-stricken Italy, $25 bn with crisis-stricken Ireland, and $60 bn with that exporting economic powerhouse, Germany; $125 bn with the entire European Union as a whole;
- $32 bn with Canada;
- $61 bn with Mexico;
- $76 bn with Japan;
- $16.6 bn with South Korea;
- $315 bn with China.
Before NAFTA was signed, the US had trade surpluses with Mexico and Canada; now it has huge annual trade deficits with them – to the tune of $32 bn with Canada and $61 bn with Mexico.
In 2012 alone, the first year under the Korea-US free trade agreement, America’s trade deficit with South Korea skyrocketed by 25%. In April 2012, the first full month under that agreement, the trade gap with Seoul increased by 33%!
With Japan, it’s even worse: America’s trade deficit with that country last year was $76 bn, the largest ever between the two countries. (But that’s not good enough for Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, who has successfully pressured the Bank of Japan into devaluing the yen to boost Japanese exports further.)
Last year, America’s annual trade deficit with China was the largest ever between ANY two countries in recorded human history: $315 bn. That’s the largest trade gap not just between the US and China, but between ANY two countries in human history!
Such are the disastrous results that the geniuses advocating free trade – politicians from both parties, pro-free-trade think tanks, and their corporate bundlers – have achieved.
But free trade is actually good for their corporate sugar daddies. Which is why it was implemented in the first place.
You see, while “free trade agreements” have resulted in over 55,000 US factories being closed and over 6 mn Americans losing their manufacturing jobs – forced into unemployment or tedious jobs – it has allowed multinational corporations to ship jobs and factories overseas (e.g. to China), produce stuff there, and then ship it back to the US – free from any US tariffs, duties, or laws – sell them in the US, and pocket all the resulting profit increases.
And who exactly pockets these higher profits? Their CEOs, who get seven- and eight-digit annual salaries after throwing off US workers into unemployment and hiring Chinese workers for $2/hour.
And who enabled these multinational corporations to do that? Politicians of both parties… but mostly Republicans.
Some of them have simply been fooled by the dogmatic theology of free trade being spread by these corporations themselves and think-tanks sponsored by them (e.g. the Heritage Foundation, the CATO Institute, the Mercatus Center – all of them funded generously by corporate sugar daddies).
But many Republicans, and the party as a whole, did that for a more sinister reason: to get lavish campaign contributions from these multinational, outsourcing corporations.
You see, there’s a good reason why the GOP is called “the party of the rich”, “the party of big corporations”, and “the party that cares only about rich people and big corporations”: it’s true.
The GOP cares ONLY about them. If you’re not rich or a multinational corporation, the GOP doesn’t give a rat’s turd about you, if you pardon my language.
This explains why tens of millions of Americans, including the Reagan Democrats, have deserted the GOP, and why the Party has lost the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections.
Everytime it came down to choosing between Corporate America and ordinary Americans, Republicans sided with Corporate America. They have always chosen K Street over Main Street. They allowed Corporate America to outsource millions of jobs overseas.
So the working class – Reagan Democrats – left the GOP, which betrayed them. And without them, the GOP will never win any election ever again.
But today’s Democrats are not much better. Few of them care about the US industry or US workers. Most of them, including Barack Obama, are in the pockets of big corporations and rich people, too. (How do you think Obama amassed so much money for both presidential campaigns, and why do you think is he so cozy with wealthy CEOs like Jeffrey Immelt?)
Hence why both parties support the idiocy of “free trade”, despite Gallup telling us that 64% of Americans would prefer to buy American-made goods, EVEN if it meant paying more than for foreign-made goods.
The only way politicians will start listening to the people is if they’re told, in no uncertain terms, that they WILL be voted out of office if they continue to disarm America unilaterally – in the trade or military arena – no matter how much money they get from their corporate sugar daddies.
Folks, please call your Congressman and both of your Senators and tell them you will NEVER vote for them EVER AGAIN if they vote for any new free trade agreements.