Monday, March 07, 2011

John McCain, Again Ready To Trade American Workers

Sunday, Christiane Amanpour interviewed Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on This Week (transcript here) and raised the issue of the U.S. manufacturing base. Amanpour noted that ABC, as part of its series, Made In America, removed from a home all products not made in this nation. McCain commented

But I would also point out that, if you'd emptied that house, if you'd left a computer there or an iPad or an iPhone, those are built in the United States of America. And as the president said, continuously, and I agree with him, innovation is the key to restoring our economy.

Give the Arizona senator a pass on this one. It's easy to mistake mainland China for the U.S.A. But he ought not to get a pass for remarking

Well, I think it's obviously a recognition of the reality and the trends, that cheaper, lower-cost labor products will usually prevail over the products made in higher wage and income countries....

And that's got to be exports. We've got to have free trade agreements. I'm glad the president is supporting the South Korea free trade agreement. We basically abandoned Colombia and Panama. All these other countries are concluding free trade agreements amongst themselves while we are being left behind. And that's very harmful.

Small statistic: two years ago, 40 percent of the imports of agricultural goods in Colombia were from the United States of America. They concluded free trade agreements. Now 20 percent is there. So we have the ability to outcompete any other country in the world and outinnovate.

Small statistic, Senator McCain, courtesy of Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson:

Defenders of corporate offshoring assert that we can't compete with low-cost labor in China and other developing countries. Clearly, though, Germany has shown that you can retain a manufacturing sector by producing products of high added value even when labor costs are correspondingly high. Hourly manufacturing compensation (wages plus benefits) was $48 in Germany in 2008 - the most recent year surveyed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics - while it was $32 in the United States. Yet Germany is an export giant, while we are the colossus of imports.

And another small statistic: in 2010, Germany had the most favorable trade balance in the European union, at 126.4%. Sometimes, products made in higher wage and income nations, such as Germany, will prevail over products made elsewhere, such as in the U.S.A.

The gibberish from McCain, consistently anti-American worker, was in character. Who can forget his performance before a union audience in April, 2006 (obviously not me, given that I've included this video a few times before)?

It's comforting to think that the euphemistically- phrased "free trade" enhances the competitiveness of American industry and doesn't rip apart the middle class. But it does, and it's something the two fellows running for President a few autumns ago should remember.

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