Congress passed three more NAFTA-like trade agreements for President Obama and his advisers, the CEOs. They are Panama, Columbia and South Korea (KORUS-FTA). Once more American workers will lose jobs and our deficits will climb higher. But for the CEOs of multinational (not American anymore) corporations, it’s all about how much wealth they can amass. Nothing else matters. Someone else will take care of any problems they cause.
If the trade agreements are so great for producing new jobs, why did the House also pass a “measure to expand a benefits program for workers who lose jobs to foreign competition by a vote of 307 to 122?” (NYTIMES) I know. To get the Democrats to vote for the agreements.
But as before, these benefits will be used. So nothing has changed as America continues the slide into a failed nation, overcrowded, including massive illegal immigration, with record-breaking unemployment and no safety net. Guess what finally happens. You have lots of choices, none good.
According to The New American, the American middle class is again the target for more lost jobs and lowering wages:
“Like other free trade agreements, KORUS is another example of government-managed trade, which results in nether prosperity nor economic freedom. KORUS will create an influx of in-sourcing, in which South Korean elites will exploit American legal protections unavailable to American industry in Korea. KORUS has terms that grant extreme rights for foreign investors within the U.S. that would allow them to play by very different rules. The scope of what can be challenged in the U.S. is extremely broad. (And they can take their complaint to an appointed trade tribunal.) This means that while South Korean companies will be able to come to America and do practically whatever they like, U.S. companies will not be able to do the same under Korea’s state-run system.”
Estimates are that the trade agreements with Columbia and South Korea will cost America 214,000 good-paying jobs.
From Robert Oak, the economicpopulist.org:
“The US Business and Industry Council, an association of small and mid-size firms…strongly oppose the deal.” ‘We can’t imagine that KORUS would serve current US economic interests.'” Alan Tonelson.
A petition against the deal with Korea by the Coalition for a Prosperous America was signed by business, labor and agricultural interests. Senior economist Ian Fletcher said that those who voted for it “willfully ignore how similar agreements have gutted American manufacturing.”
While running for president, Obama supported the Peru trade agreement because it had been “changed” and now had labor and environmental protections. That was false and Obama knew it. There were no enforceable protections.
But in 2008, Obama also opposed the KORUS-FTA because it didn’t have those protections. According to Oak, Obama said:
“I strongly support the inclusion of meaningful, enforceable labor and environmental standards in all trade agreements. As president, I will work to ensure that the U.S. again leads the world in ensuring that consumer products produced across the world are done in a manner that supports workers, not undermines them.” Read more.
Once again, Obama lied. There are no enforceable, key word “enforceable”, standards for labor or the environment in any of the four free trade agreements, including the Peru-FTA.
From 2007, Bush and Democrats Slam Workers, Environment with Peru Trade Agreement:
“Trade agreements… signed by Bill Clinton (NAFTA) insure that labor and the environment side accord language will not hurt the transnational corporations’ quest for profits since there are no enforcement mechanisms in these areas. That includes the Peru-FTA as well as pending trade agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea. The Peru agreement, negotiated behind closed doors between the Democrats (Charlie Rangel and Max Baucus) and the Bush administration, contains no enforcement mechanisms. Otherwise, big business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wouldn’t support it.
“That’s why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers support it. Tom Donohue, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, “…that the labor provisions(Peru agreement) cannot be read to require compliance with ILO (International Labor Organization) Conventions.”
That “agreement, like NAFTA and CAFTA, makes no provisions to protect workers or the environment. Rangel and the Democrats, in making a deal with Bush, discarded their base like Bill Clinton did with NAFTA.” Read more.
Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch:
“With nine percent unemployment and Americans desperate for job creation, it is unconscionable that President Obama and House Republicans would push through a trio of NAFTA-style job-killing trade agreements that even the government’s own studies show will increase the U.S. trade deficit.”
“Given the strong Democratic opposition, ultimately it was the Tea Party GOP freshmen who passed these job-killing deals despite their campaign commitments at home to stand up for Main Street businesses, against more job offshoring and for Buy American requirements. The three pacts explicitly ban Buy America procurement policies. The Korea FTA is projected to increase the trade deficit, with seven industrial sectors hardest hit and job losses of 159,000 in its first seven years.”
A government institution, “the U.S. International Trade Commission also admits that KORUS will cause significant job losses. Those job losses will extend from low-end industries to electronic equipment manufacturing, where the victims will be Americans who are making an average wage of $30 an hour in 2008.”
This latest attack on American workers will destroy any future for those unemployed. Obama pushed through these latest free trade agreements in the usual way, with lies, the generosity of corporate donors and, of course, just plain stupid members of Congress. And we still have the massive, unrelenting invasion of Mexicans, the new “Americans”, who will take every job in America they can and lower wages for Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric and his corporate partners in crime. They won’t have to ship as many jobs overseas now since Mexican workers can build anything you want for $3.50 or so per hour.
As I’ve said before, Americans need to coalesce by the tens of millions and take action. For example, recall every member of Congress who voted for these trade agreements and push for a limit of two terms in office. Then tell President Obama where you stand. No more NAFTA type trade agreements and demand revisiting those already in effect. And get out of the WTO.
Without a massive show of force and determination, your efforts will be fruitless. Then, when this corporate-run global economy collapses, the workers are the ones who will suffer even more. The CEOs already have their safe havens.
Obama will sign all three trade agreements today (Oct. 21, 2011)- Columbia, Korea and Panama.
Filed under: Commentary