Another Sad Day for American Labor. Rhetoric, campaigns, protests and op-eds, all promising to listen to the American people and most of all create jobs. In the streets there are millions of voices demanding an economy for Americans, U.S. workers and what does Congress do? Why pass more glorified offshore outsourcing and corporate tax haven deals under the guise of NAFTA like trade agreements. I kid you not. Congress passed trade treaties with South Korea, Panama and Columbia. The roll call votes for the House are here and the Senate are here. We suggest you check your representatives and if they voted yea, give them an earful. Listen to Maine Representative Michael Michaud, a Democrat, calling cash on how the American people do not want these FTAs and Obama, Congress, could care less.
Public Citizen is clearly disgusted.
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.
Below is Dylan Ratigan interviewing Senator Bernie Sanders, also clearly disgusted, on these FTAs as well as China currency bill, which is being blocked by Majority leader John Boehner in the House.
As predicted, already the South Korean press is saying this bad trade deal will allow them to flood the U.S. market with cheap autos and parts.
More amazing is it seems the Panama trade deal is all about making corporate tax havens completely out of reach legally for the United States. These votes, more than any others, tell if your representatives are bought and paid fors or have a conscience.
This is a prime example of multinational corporations controlling and dismantling America, one law at a time. Polls consistently show most Americans do not want these trade deals and EPI has yet a new study proving NAFTA, the start of all of this disaster, has cost the United States 682,900 jobs.
Despite public opposition, these three trade agreements may very well gain Congressional approval. Why? Multinational corporations, so powerful now in Washington, urgently want to further deregulate trade and investment rules. If the promises of job creation and economic growth sound familiar, they should. We heard the same rhetoric before the U.S. signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the launching of the World Trade Organization.
There were many Democrats who tried to speak out, but they were not enough. Representative Slaughter, in a soft voice, points out the insanity, along with details on how these agreements actually hurt U.S. manufacturers.
There are literally clauses in these agreements which disallow Buy American provisions as well as allow more foreign guest worker Visas while Americans go begging for a job.
Just when you think you can not be more disgusted, Congress and this administration are sure to surprise and ramp up the disgust reaction farther than one believed possible.
This piece was linked by the Teamsters.
We're an independent site, but we do math here. It's unbelievable how the main stream press doesn't report the actual details of these trade agreements, or the projected job losses.
If you go into Google News, Yahoo, you'll see over 6000 articles and in the U.S. all of them are superficial "yeah rah". Not a single trade treaty fact, from even one agreement, or a quote from just one politician who might have actually read them, or even a look at the U.S. own analysis that these will lose jobs, increase the trade deficit, in the lot.
This is common when it comes to multinational corporation's wish list agendas to see "article plants".
We're independent, call 'em as we calculate them.
Names we will remember -- Senate
DISCLAIMER: Economic Populist (EP) is dedicated to objective reporting on the economy from a macro-economics point of view, and generally avoids the usual political discussions. My intent here is to summarize recent pro-FTA activity in the Senate as objectively as possible; however, my own political views will probably show through. My opinions can be fairly described as anti-WTO and anti-FTA, and may or may not represent the views of EP or of bloggers at EP.
The first name on the list is President Obama. He has never seen a FTA he doesn't like. This is very nearly true of the entire Republican Party also -- which leaves us pro-America voters splitting the ticket, and/or voting for alternative party candidates, in 2012.
Maybe there's no real vote count at least in some states, but if there is anything like that, we're taking names and we will remember.
Here's the Honor Roll for the Senate, 12 senators who support the American people (against the FTA agenda), demonstrating that by voting against all three of the FTAs:
Blumenthal (CT), Brown (OH), Casey (PA), Hagan (NC), Harkin (IA), Manchin (WV, Merkley (OR), Reed (RI), Reid (NV), Rockefeller (WV), Tester (MT), Whitehouse (RI).
All are Democrats; not one Republican voted against all three FTAs. There's a message in there somewhere, saying something about the party that was once known as the tariff party (for over 100 years)!
THE UNIQUE CASE OF SENATOR TOM COBURN (R-OK)
Senator Coburn (R-OK) is recorded as not voting (NV) on any of the three FTAs as well as NV on S. 1619 (currency bill). However, when in the House, Coburn voted YES on withdrawing from the WTO and NO on fast-track authority!
From Senator Coburn's official senate.gov webpage --
Here's the list of runners-up, 11 senators who support the American people (against the FTA agenda) two times out of three:
Akaka (HI), Begich (AK), Boxer (CA), Cardin (MC), Franken (MN), Gillibrand (NY), Mikulski (MD), Sanders (VT), Snowe (ME), Stabemow (MI), Udall (NM).
It's unclear to me why Sanders did not vote on the Korea FTA (recorded as not voting or 'NV').
The Usual Suspects
Here's the list of 12 senators who at least could manage to vote against the FTAs one out of three times, but also voted for the FTAs two times out of three:
Collins (ME), Coons (DE), Durbin (IL), Leahy (VT), Inouye (HI), Klobuchar (MN), Kohl (WI), Lautenberg (NJ), Levin (MI), McCaskill (MO), Menendez (NJ), Schumer (NY),
In the Senate, the greatest opposition was to the Columbia FTA, for many good reasons -- violent repression of labor organizers, money-laundering and implications for illegal drug trade.
The greatest support was shown for the Korea FTA. Of the 15 Nay votes against the Korea FTA, there is only one Republican, Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine. Senators Coburn (R-OK) and Sanders (I-VT) were recorded as not voting, although both are known for their anti-fast track and anti-WTO positions.
We can summarize briefly, as follows:
FORGET THE GOP EXCEPT FOR THE MAVERICKS. The only Republican senators who are not allied with Obama in never seeing a FTA that they didn't like are Coburn, Collins and Snowe. Coburn takes a clear anti-WTO position in general. Collins and Snowe are known as the last of the "liberal Republicans" in the Senate. None of the three can be much appreciated by the Republican National Committee -- nor do any of them owe anything to the RNC.
THE 18 DEMPUBLICANS. 33 out of the 51 senators who caucus with the Democratic majority opposed at least one of the three FTAs. But there are 18 who never saw a FTA they didn't like. These Dempublicans are the senators that the Republicans can count on to join with them on such issues as trade. Here's a list of the 18 Dempublican senators --
Baucus (MT), Bingaman (NM), Cantwell (WA), Carper (DE), Conrad (ND), Feinstein (CA), Johnson (SD), Kerry (MA), Landrieu (LA), Lieberman (CT), Murray (WA), Nelson (NE), Nelson (FL), Pryor (AR), Shaheen (NH), Warner (VA), Webb (VA), Wyden (OR).
Some of these senators have earlier taken positions against fast-track authority and critical of the WTO system. Tim Johnson (SD), in particular, voted against NAFTA and CAFTA. Senator Conrad (ND) has expressed similar criticism of FTAs from the point of view of agriculture.
A few of the Dempublican senators who never saw a FTA they didn't like are going to be up for re-election in 2012, unless they decide not to run. These include Bingaman, Cantwell, Conrad, Feinstein, Lieberman, and Nelson (FL) -- all known for their positions in favor of 'free' trade (fast track) FTAs.
Webb's Senate seat (VA) is coming up for election in 2012, but he has announced that he won't be running.
Senators identified on the Honor Roll or as Honorable Mention who are scheduled for 2012 elections include Brown, Cardin, Casey, Sanders, Stabenow, Tester, and, Whitehouse.
Senators Coburn and Sanders -- although coming from very different philosophical positions -- are the best in terms of telling it like it is regarding trade issues. Coburn, re-elected in 2010, has announced that he will not be running for a third term in the Senate in 2016. (Sanders' seat is up for election in 2012.)
In the next few days, I will probably be posting a comment summarizing activity in the House.
EP does politics, yes we do!
We do politics, absolutely and strong "Populist rants" (if you notice I have been pounding on trade, China currency manipulation the past two weeks because of the bills in Congress) are more than allowed.
Of course real live statistics have to be behind those "Populist rants", that's key. If you're using a think tank's research, make sure it's not spin and statistical valid, else, be prepared to be censored. ;) Believe me, I read every EPI reference, Public citizen reference and so on to make sure I'm not using someone's personal spin machine and number puke instead of statistically valid research data.
You really have to be careful using economics research, good god, the spin is so thick it's made it to the hard sciences. Very depressing for anyone familiar with scientific methods.
My disgust and disdain this week boiled over and one would think my disgust sensors would be completely burnt out, there has been so much beyond belief outrageous bills via Congress and administrations, clearly out to screw over the U.S. middle class, U.S. workers, American citizens to no end....
The good news if there is one, is the number of Democrats who broke with "party" to vote against these trade agreements. We should watch their campaign coffers drop accordingly along with any jobs and book deals for themselves and their family members, friends, alliances too.
Why that all is isn't called corrupt and illegal is another question. s
Senator Coburn recuperating from surgery
The reason that Senator Coburn did not vote on the FTAs or on the China currency bill is that he is in Oklahoma, recuperating from prostate cancer surgery.
Intentional fraud that is pushed by multinational corporations
From Market Ticker's post on how free trade is destroying Americans ...
Click here to read it (http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=195906)
We are constantly told how "free trade" is good for America, and how it boosts our exports (and thus helps GDP - and employment.)
The truth is something else entirely. Indeed, at this point one can no longer claim this is a "mistake"; it's an intentional fraud that is pushed by multinational corporations and the politicians in their pockets. "
the ever widening trade deficit should be all the evidence one needs that free trade does not contribute to GDP
the trade defict is the measure of jobs, technology and wealth leaving the country
trade deficits matter
I don't know why the MSM can't grasp imports subtract from economic growth. I think they are corrupted.
Who owns America?
Cannot trade deficits also result in transfer of ownership of productive capacity and real estate from U.S. citizens/residents to foreign interests?
Live link to market-ticker post 'Intentional fraud'
Here's the live link -- market-ticker post 'Intentional fraud that is pushed by multinational corporations'
Names we will remember -- House
RECENT VOTES ON FTAs in the U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Representatives who "never saw a FTA they didn't like" -- In this category, there are 26 Democrats and 213 Republicans (including Micelle Bachman)! Yes, that's correct more than 88% of Republican representatives are flat out anti-American on trade! (As are about 13.5% of Democrats.)
If that isn't disturbing enough, the count of Republicans who voted against all three FTAs is exactly ... 2! Those two are David McKinley (WV - 1) and Chris Smith (NJ - 4). McKinley is the only Tea Party freshman (first elected in 2010) who voted against all three FTAs. Smith has been in Congress since 1981 and is dean of the New Jersey Congressional delegation.
(Maybe I have missed in my count ... please ... someone correct me! I hope there are more than just the two Republicans opposed to the FTAs!)
Well, Ron Paul did not vote on any of the FTAs -- and he is a declared opponent of the WTO system, although in the next breath, he tells us that he wants the U.S. to unilaterally drop all tariffs! (So who needs a WTO to unilaterally surrender to China? This is like Paul's opposition to the Fed, and then we just go over immediately to gold! Here again, someone correct me ... PLEASE!)
As noted above, there appear to be just two Republicans who voted against all three of the FTAs. As for the Democrats, there appear to be 118 who deserve to be on the Honor Roll, 118 Democrats who support the American people (against the FTA agenda), demonstrating that by voting against all three of the FTAs. That's 61% of all Democrats. Democratic leaders Pelosi and Hoyer, of course, cannot be found among that 61%!
Support from Democrats for any of the FTAs was greatest for the Panama FTA and least for the Columbia FTA. About 10 Democrats voted for only one of the FTAs (voting against two of them), and of those 10, about 7 broke with the majority of Democrats to vote for the Korea deal.
Three Democrats did not vote in any of the three roll calls (apparently not present), as also was the case for Republican Ron Paul.
Here are the totals for the three roll calls, per clerk.house.gov (roll call #s 781, 782, 783) --
Here's the Honor Roll (those who voted against all three FTAs), with the two Republicans in bold --
Jackson Lee (TX)
Sánchez, Linda T.
There may be an inaccuracy here and there in the information from the House -- for example, the clerk.house.gov shows a "Watt (MN)" voting on one Roll Call, even though the only Watt in the House is Mel Watt of North Carolina and there is no Rep. Watt from Minnesota.
this is what the links are for
I link to the roll call votes so we don't have to clutter up the site with that database tallies. That said, look at the Democrats on the list who claim to be "for the middle class". Their constituents are: WA: Microsoft, Boeing, AK: Wal-mart, OR: Intel, CA: Cisco, G.E.,IL: Caterpillar (Iowa as well);
You can see who the bought and paid fors are by campaign contributions, "favors" for their family relatives, magically they get hired at some company and so on, revolving door, where they get their money after they "retire" or before they got into politics....
Showing those who voted against all three FTAs
"I link to the roll call votes so we don't have to clutter up the site with that database tallies." -- Robert Oak
Showing those who voted against all three FTAs requires some work. I didn't just copy and paste!
Although my list is derived from the roll calls, there's no way to go online to Thomas (Library of Congress) or any .gov site for a list of those who voted against all three FTAs. (You can't get it without examining the record, one member at a time, on each of the three votes.)
I posted the three tables, which don't take up much space, because it's the best way to show what's happening by party -- the power of the RNC to exact pro-FTA votes as the price of corporate support.
Also, I wanted to make a point with the term 'Honor Roll', to say that taking the 100% anti-FTA position won't go unappreciated. I doubt that any of MSM noted the statistic for opposition to all three FTAs or rewarded the individual representatives by publicizing their anti-FTA stands.
Even though there's been some mention that "rank-and-file" Democrats voted in opposition to Obama, the full meaning is better seen in the statistic 61% and, best yet, in the list of the representatives involved. As a rule, I would just post the link, as suggested. But I believe the recent votes are of tremendous significance.
Specific influences according to state
"look at the Democrats on the list who claim to be "for the middle class". Their constituents are: WA: Microsoft, Boeing, AK: Wal-mart, OR: Intel, CA: Cisco, G.E.,IL: Caterpillar (Iowa as well)" -- Robert Oak
(Minor typo here: I think Wal-Mart is Arkansas -- not 'AK' (Alaska) but 'AR'.)
To make state-by-state as well as party comparisons for the House would really not be a brief post. Looking at the Senate, however, it's pretty easy to see what's happening. Yes, both senators from the state of Washington (both D) are pro-FTA as are both senators from the state of Arkansas (one D and one R). As for Iowa, Harkin (D) voted against all three FTAs whereas Grassley (R) voted for all three! In the case of Oregon, Wyden (D) never saw a FTA he didn't like, whereas Merkley (also D) voted against all three.
As for Illinois, Durbin (D) was disappointing in voting for two out of three of the FTAs, but Kirk (R) voted for all three. In the case of California, Feinstein (D) "never saw a FTA she didn't like," whereas Boxer (also D) voted only for the Korea agreement and against the other two.
I think that with Washington and California (and to a lesser extent, Oregon), we have to include the ILWU as an important pro-FTA influence along with the MNCs. (The ILWU was probably a key influence on Boxer's vote for the Korea agreement.) The ILWU is also of tremendous importance in Hawaii.
Both in the Senate and the House, Republicans were nearly unanimous in support of the FTAs. However, it's interesting that the most outspoken opposition to the corporate FTA agenda is from Coburn (R) as well as from Sanders (I). As for the Independents, there again we see a split with Sanders anti-FTA while Lieberman is pro-FTA.
Overall, it's impossible to avoid the conclusion that, as a pretty good rule, Republicans are out to destroy American working people at least as much as is Obama -- whereas many, but not all, Democrats and Independents are opposing the WTO agenda. You cannot say, however, that a protectionist voter can look at party affiliation to decide how to vote: Kerry (D), for example, is all-out for the FTAs and Coburn (R) is outstanding against FTAs.
In summary, I don't think that we can see either specific corporate economic power within a state or party affiliation as determining in all cases. We see some bipartisan "rank and file" movement toward opposition to FTAs and for the currency bill. However, with the single exception of Harry Reid, leadership in the Congress remains as pro-FTA as ever -- on both sides of the aisle.
Following the money
"You can see who the bought and paid fors are by campaign contributions, "favors" for their family relatives, magically they get hired at some company and so on, revolving door, where they get their money after they "retire" or before they got into politics...." -- Robert Oak
Unfortunately, we can no longer follow the money on campaign contributions, and that is entirely due to Supreme Court decisions and to party-line knee-jerk GOP opposition to any legislation for transparency such as the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. votes to enable North Korea Slave Labor
God Bless Senator Bernie Sanders. He's from Vermont and I guess they are small enough to not have large corporations buying all elected officials and he is an independent, not beholden to either the GOP or the Dems. (actually a democratic socialist, similar to political parties in Norway, Sweden and Finland).
Regardless, he gets some real facts from real economists, the actual trade agreements and research groups and puts them in speeches on the Senate floor that are damning.
Even more damning, the Senate itself has no excuse. They know these facts and Sanders makes sure they know, but they do not care....they vote for these things anyway.
Speaking to an empty chamber
Do we see anyone in the video other than Senator Sanders? No, we don't ... and the chamber is probably empty. He is allowed time and the cameras roll, but it's pretty much symbolic. Nobody is listening, meaning, yes, "they do not care."
Anyway, the North Korea aspect is all about the idea that economic "integration" always leads to increased democratization and improved civil liberty. That's one of the pathetic excuses of the WTO apologists for deliberate and dangerous destabilizing of the U.S.A. -- it's all for good causes like world peace, democratization, improved civil rights, and, the elimination of WMDs.
NAFTA, China PNTR, CAFTA, South Korea FTA, Panama FTA, ...
Facts and statistics showing how "free trade" has destroyed American jobs:
Another Example Of Stupid: Trade
raw link: http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=196063
It's not very hard to figure out why these agreements always screw the American people either -- there's no need for some complex negotiation with a nation like Germany. It's only when we want to employ slave labor in places like Panama or South Korea, allowing our corporations to offshore yet more jobs to a place where people are paid $5/day while they pollute the air and water with impunity that we need these "agreements."
EP Admin: For some reason links aren't working. Message Preview is not showing links that I've added.
links are disabled for anonymous drive-bys
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We obviously love statistical based articles and trade is a hot topic here.
Drive By Makes a Decent Point about the Trading Partner Choice.
I want to see a proposal to do a Bilareral Trade deal
with Germany or Japan. The reason why we do not see such proposals with economic equals is that Bilateral agreements are neo-colonial.
WTO, Russia and Trans-Pacific Partnership scheme
"I want to see a proposal to do a Bilareral Trade deal with Germany or Japan. The reason why we do not see such proposals with economic equals is that Bilateral agreements are neo-colonial." -- Burton Leed
Yes, that critique is correct -- we don't do trade agreements without a major labor arbitrage aspect. Rather than progress toward a Japan-USA trade agreement, our government is working on something called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And all of that is putting the cart before the horse, because we first need to establish a protectionist system for all our trade relations.
My view on trade is like the OWS -- I don't have a simplistic political demand for fixing it, but I do know that there are systemic problems that require systemic reform. And as Buddy Roemer points out about USA politics, it's the money running things that messes up the system.
First, we need to establish our own pro-America trade regulation system -- including such legislation as the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act. We need a system that is established under US law that essentially treats all trading partners alike -- that is, a system that establishes standards for the protection of US workers and industry, making distinctions according to objective standards applied equally to all of our trading partners.
We need to put a complete halt to the idea that domestic policy can be changed for the better by legislating through the backdoor of 'fast track' FTAs. If a trade agreement requires some change in domestic policy -- for product standards, national defense, patents, environmental law, food and drug safety, employment-labor law and the preservation of USA work force -- then, those areas need to be legislated separately before any trade agreement can be implemented.
The preference system that has been enshrined as a Holy Cow in the WTO bureaucratic mess has been proven dysfunctional and in need of thorough-going reform. We should know by now that we cannot reform the entire world through fast-track 'free' trade agreements, and we should also know by now that the basis of successful trade for USA must be a rational protectionist system.
We need to go all the way back to the philosophical or idealistic foundations of the Uruguay Round and consider how those foundations have been shown to be faulty. To continue building on a poorly laid foundation, when we see structural problems developing everywhere around the world, is insanity.
All that said, I would suggest that USA could profit most from a trade agreement or treaty with Russia or even with the Commonwealth of Independent States ... or such CIS members as want to participate.
RUSSIA spells opportunity
You won't see a trade agreement with Russia -- if necessary outside the WTO -- suggested or discussed by WTO advocates, and that should tell you something!
Currently Georgia is allowed to block Russia from joining the WTO, as an aspect of the political agenda of the EU. In that context, Russia's Putin has questioned whether Russia even wants to join the WTO. US policy is stupidly tied to EU policy toward Russia, committing us to an absurd attempt at reviving the Cold War along the lines of the ancient division of European Christendom between East and West. To justify a situation where the USA allows the EU to dominate our policy toward Russia, objections are raised as to human rights, democracy and so forth, but those objections are patently hypocritical when we consider human rights in nations that we consider to be deserving of the highest preferential trade status -- People's Republic of China, Indonesia, Columbia and others.
That the USA is failing to advance toward the clear opportunities presented by a trade agreement or treaty with Russia, passing up a fantastic opportunity for both Russia and the USA ... is a clear example of the stupidity of USA trade policy.
GERMANY is the heart of the EU
Is a trade treaty or agreement with Germany possible outside of a general treaty or agreement with the EU? I don't think so. The EU is one of our major trading partners, and what that proves is the soundness of current USA-EU trade relations. There's no point in a special trade agreement with Germany, and that isn't a possibility anyway.
JAPAN is all about rice
Japan has reservations about food security. The Japanese government wants to support farmers, especially regarding rice. Rice costs 3 to 5 times more in Japan than in USA.
The following is excerpted from an Agence France Presse (AFP) story (29 September 2011) via TerraDaily.com --
PROBLEMS IN THIS WHOLE THING
Do you believe this crap -- the implicit premises in all this scheming? I don't. Specifically ...
(1) It's pure bull pucky about the Obama administration (Obama's USTR) might conceivably negotiate a "new type of trade deal that creates jobs while ensuring stringent labor rights and environmental standards." That is just NOT in the cards, given the Obama administration's record in "renegotiating" the Columbia FTA and the reality that USA has yet to get our own house in order with such necessary trade policies as the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act.
(2) I don't see that there is any necessity whatsoever for Japan to stop underwriting its rice farmers in order to advance solutions to what are essentially global nuclear and strategic issues. (Campbell uses the term "new areas of cooperation" as a codeword for "destroying Japanese rice production".)
(3) I don't believe that either President Obama or Prime Minister Noda had any business conducting a conversation that was anything but completely open and recorded in an easily accessible public record concerning trade negotiations. (Neither Obama nor Noda can claim to represent the working peoples of either nation, especially respecting trade relations!)
(4) I don't believe that USA "has been alarmed by a lack of momentum in its alliance with Japan," and I don't think it is any of our business that Japan "has had a new prime minister each year since 2006." (Good for them!)
(5) I don't believe that USA played a particularly key role in responding to the tsunami and related nuclear disaster. Government of the USA did what it could, but all that is irrelevant to the apparent push by the Obama administration for the next great US-economy-destroying trade initiative. I don't believe that there is any problem in a supposed "lack of new initiatives tying together the two allies."
In short, I am too old to fall for this same old corporate globalism okeydoke. Been there. Done that. Tried that. Doesn't work. End of story.
KFTA, CFTA, NAFTA
If the FTAs for Columbia and Korea actually do what they propose to do with labor rights, environmental regulation and contracts (yes, Article I of U.S. Constitution is now modified for KFTA), then the effect on both parties is neo-colonial. The colonizer is the MNC, the Bilderbergs, and the Super-National court enforcing the agreement.
With NAFTA, our rights on environment and labor were superseded by NAFTA and its kangaroo courts. For Mexico, it has been deluged with U.S. grain to such an extent that it has forced the emigration of Mexican campesinos northward, and the destruction of the Ejido system created by Mexico's 1917 Constitution.