Saturday, February 13, 2016

Disregarding Fair Trade

Co-moderators Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff of PBS did not mention trade during the Democratic debate Thursday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Neither did Mrs. Clinton. Fortunately, American workers were not forgotten by Clinton's opponent, who remarked

And here's what the economic issue is.

The wages that high school graduates receive today are significantly less, whether you are white or black, than they used to be. Why is that? Because of a series of disastrous trade policies which have allowed corporate America through NAFTA and Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, Secretary Clinton and I disagree on those issues.

But (sic) view is those trade policies have enabled corporate America to shut down in this country, throw millions of people out on the street. Now no one thinks that working in the factory is the greatest job in the world. But you know what, you can make a middle class wage, you have decent health care, decent benefits.

Later, Sanders would slam Henry Kissinger, in part because he "pushed various type (sic) of trade agreements, resulting in American workers losing their jobs as corporations moved to China."

In this instance, like husband, like wife, for HRC is married to the guy who as President signed the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act while claiming "NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't support this agreement."

That statement would make Bill Clinton either ignorant, naive, or a liar. In December, 2013 the Economic Policy Institute explained the NAFTA "caused the loss of some 700,000 jobs as production moved to Mexico." Further, once it became law, some corporate managers threatened to move their companies to Mexico while others used that threat to fight union organizing efforts.  And besides harming Mexican agriculture and business, NAFTA "was a major cause in the dramatic increase in undocumented workers flowing into the U.S. labor market," leading to lower wages.

Mrs. Clinton wants to ignore the impact of "free trade" upon American workers, to the point of avoiding the issue altogether. Unfortunately, 1400 workers at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis have been swept up in the destructive impact of the trade policies the USA adopted decades ago, as indicated by this video::

Hillary Clinton evidently supports Barack Obama unquestioningly not only for strategic, but also for ideological, reasons. In late 2007 Senator Obama commented (at 1:10 of video below)

There is no dubt that NAFTA needs to be amended and I've actuallly said that I would contact the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Canada to make sure that the labor and the environmental agreements are actually enforceable.... And it is absolutely ture that NAFTA was a mistake.

As President Obama continues to back the extraordinarily dangerous Trans-Pacific Partnership, it is clear that believing Senator Obama was the mistake. Given the unpopularity of  "free trade," Mrs. Clinton's willlingness to acknowledge such errors as supporting the Iraq War and the 1994 crime act signed by her hustand, and the threat posed to her by the populist Sanders, it is telling that she refuses to recognize the harm that trade policies pursued by Republican and Democratic presidents alike have done to American workers.

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