Public Citizen Live Blogged USTR Confirmation Hearing

Public citizen live blogged the USTR (United States Trade Representative) confirmation hearing of Ron Kirk.

Here's a classic quote:

Senator Ron Wyden: the middle class does not like these trade agreements. What do you plan to increase support of middle class?
Ron Kirk's Reply: We're going to utilize technology to tell the real story. Our website is "so" 1987.

America knows these trade agreements are glorified offshore outsourcing contracts and the response is to do better Internet PR?

Another Quote from Mr. Kirk:

Cheaper foreign products help hard pressed American families, and exports help create jobs. The overarching benefits of trade are diffuse, and the pain is concentrated.

Uh, no those little local economies of creative destruction now add up to the entire United States. It's more the so-called benefits of these bad trade deals as an aggregate are not good for the United States.

I swear, what is the problem with anyone acknowledging the massive trade deficit? That number magically slips through so many people's mind.

Kirk also said we must turn China into a consumer society. Uh, I don't think that's what China has in mind....if one notices, they save, we borrow, they get our industries and jobs. I somehow don't think they are strategically thinking it's a real good idea to trade places with the U.S. Think about China. The China PNTR has been in effect less than 9 years and we now go begging China to keep buying our debt. How's that trade agreement workin' out for ya? Even the various corporate lobbyists who demanded it are now insolvent.

Even worse, the questioning was short. I have to agree with Public citizen, it sure doesn't look good to actually get reforms in trade policy that are in the United States national interest from that hearing.

Subject Meta: 

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Trade Deficit

My hope is that, while publicly distancing themselves from "protectionism," the administration has served notice to the rest of the world that our trade deficit will not be tolerated much longer. Thus, the emphasis on stimulating domestic demand instead of relying on exports. I think that the whole global community recognizes that it is the huge imbalance in global trade that has collapsed the economy.

Wishful thinking, perhaps, I know. As far as Ron Kirk is concerned, my hope is that his tax problems derail his nomination and that he is replaced with someone who truly understands what the trade deficit has done to this country.

Pete Murphy
Author, "Five Short Blasts"