NAFTA redux

Public Citizen on the trade agreements Obama just sent to the Congress:

By asking Congress to approve three NAFTA-style trade deals signed by former President George Bush, President Barack Obama has completely flip-flopped on his campaign promises to fix America’s failed trade policy and has cast his lot against the majority of the American people who oppose more of these job-killing deals.

At a time of 9 percent unemployment and broad public opposition to more NAFTA-style trade agreements, it’s a fairly shocking shift away from the president’s job-creation message to suddenly call on Congress to pass three old Bush trade deals that the federal government’s own studies say will increase the U.S. trade deficit.

The Korea FTA is the most economically significant since NAFTA, is projected to increase our trade deficit in key “jobs of the future” sectors such as computers, high-speed trains and solar, and result in the loss of an additional 159,000 U.S. jobs.

Congress should not even be considering a trade deal with Colombia, where scores of trade unionists, human rights defenders and Afro-Colombians are murdered or displaced from their lands every year and conditions have worsened since the administration signed off on an unenforceable “Labor Action Plan.” At a time when America is trying to reduce the national debt, Congress should not be considering a trade deal with Panama, a notorious tax-haven where U.S. firms and wealthy individuals go to dodge their taxes.

These trade deals replicate the mistakes of the past, not the way to win the future, and thus pose serious policy and political perils. Poll after poll shows that the vast majority of the American public – across stunningly diverse demographics – is opposed to more of these NAFTA-style trade deals and that members of Congress vote for them at their peril. Even White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, whose job it is to sell these trade deals and who helped former President Bill Clinton sell NAFTA to a skeptical Congress, recognized that workers “lose from these agreements,” and implied that campaigning against free trade agreements could even be an electoral advantage. ( “White House’s Daley seeks balance in outreach meeting with manufacturers,” The Washington Post, June 16, 2011).

3 thoughts on “NAFTA redux

  1. Just add it to the evidence that Obama is at best a DINO and probably more accurately designated as a moderate Republican – at any length a corporatist. One more reason not to even vote any longer – all politicians are part of this corporatist take-over and will continue to disappoint the masses.

    Occupy Everywhere!

  2. Bill Clinton’s fingerprints are all over Obama’s “flip-flop” on these “NAFTA-type trade deals.” “The era of big government is over,” said plutocrat ‘Slick Willie’ to a joint session of Congress. Since that statement, his passage of NAFTA and his elimination of the Glass-Steigel Act the middle class in America has been destroyed. Thanks Bill and Hillary. As for Obama, he wants so badly to be accepted into the oligarchy (1 percenters) that he will do whatever they ask him to do. And that’s why only 37% of the public would vote to reelect him if the election were held today. But reelected he will be. The 1 percenters will see to that.

  3. toomey actually used the term “job creators” in his official response about this. guess he thinks i’m as stoopid as the people who voted him in.

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