Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Trade and offshoring important issues in election

HT: Voice of Mordor
Yesterday Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) voted for the badly flawed trade bill with Vietnam written by lobbyists.

Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI) voted against this idiocy.
I guess Dave Camp didn't see Public Citizen's analysis of the election - or maybe he doesn't care what voters think.
From Florida to Hawaii and parts in between, pro-fair trade challengers Tuesday beat anti-fair trade incumbents, according to an analysis of the 2006 midterm results conducted by Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division. [...]

“This election changed the composition of Congress on trade to more closely represent U.S. public opinion. Congress needs a system for negotiating U.S. trade agreements – with a steering wheel and emergency brakes on negotiators – that delivers on the public’s expectations for a new trade policy that wins for American workers and farmers and does not harm the environment or food safety,”said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division.

Trade and offshoring were wedge issues actively used in 115 campaigns nationwide with 25 paid campaign ads run on trade and offshoring. Election exit polls conducted by CNN and The New York Times revealed that Americans’ anxiety about the economy and job security trumped Iraq war concerns.
Camp and other business friendly Republicans might want to rethink their positions on trade if they're serious about working with Democrats and answering voter's issues.
As Democrats prepare to take control of Congress, incoming leaders are planning to insert labor and environmental protections into pending trade treaties and to demand that the Bush administration adopt similar measures in future pacts it negotiates, congressional aides and government officials said yesterday. [...]

The shift on trade policy is a reaction to more than a dozen years of efforts by the Bush and Clinton administrations to boost trade by opening foreign markets to U.S. goods while allowing greater access to imports from China, Latin America and elsewhere.

The U.S. mood mirrors a world trend, as people on every shore grapple with the challenges of globalization. In Eastern Europe, former communists are returning to power, riding electoral discontent over the loss of jobs. South Korean farmers are protesting the prospect of imported U.S. rice if a free-trade deal is struck. From Ohio to Montana, incoming Democrats made trade an issue in the campaign, accusing Republicans of selling out American workers to corporate interests, and vowing to oppose further trade liberalization.

"For 20 years, we've been told, 'Don't worry, there's going to be a more sophisticated economy, an economy based on knowledge and information,'" said Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, which represents U.S. factories, including textile mills in Southern states that have been ravaged by competition from China. "Manufacturing? Well, we can supposedly let that go, because we're going to get something better. Well, we've been waiting, and now we're making less money, and workers are told they have to give up health benefits and pensions and wondering, 'How am I going to make it?'"
The results of the election showed voter discontent and disenchantment over jobs moving overseas. How much clearer can voters be? If politicians want to hold onto their seats, they'd be wise to remember that or risk losing their jobs.

Related links:
Election pushes globalization to forefront
Vietnam Trade Bill Fails in U.S. Before Bush Visit
House defeats bill on Vietnam trade


Lew Scannon said...

I think we've seen that these trade agreements don't create jobs in the US, as well as increasing the trade deficit, since we don't manufacture anything here to sell over there.

abi said...

This is one of the reasons I was not a fan of Bill Clinton's. Like Michael Moore said, Clinton was the best Republican president we ever had.

Libby said...

I think we got some in office this time around that understand the difference between free trade and fair trade. Whether there's enough remains to be seen.