Admittedly I know little of how these trade deals, such as NAFTA, work. And I certainly don’t know how the Trans Pacific Partnership President Obama is negotiating is supposed to work — I understand the details are secret.
But I do know the reality: jobs keep being shipped overseas or over the border, where wages are extremely low and working conditions are horrendous. In fact, workers sometimes have no rights at all.
Nonetheless, the president hypes up the trade deal he is negotiating in secret at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Nike may have its headquarters there but it only employs a few thousand people in the U.S. but millions elsewhere, mostly in Asia.
Nike sneakers are real popular in the ghetto. People have been killed for them.
Too bad we don’t make them here. Then people would have jobs and hopefully would not be killing other people over tennis shoes.
But let me insert this: It’s not that we don’t have industry here. In fact, after posting this, in my job as a truck driver I was sent to the place I am at now — a paper products plant in Oregon. I’m picking up paper grocery bags (hey good for the environment; biodegradable paper instead of plastic) and while I am waiting, besides writing this, I took a gander of the workers out on the floor busy producing those bags and readying them for shipping. Made in America, jobs for Americans. And of course the raw material is from our own natural resources (maintained in a sustainable way I would hope).
They say trade protectionism does not work.
All-out protectionism with its extremely high tariffs on incoming goods would present a problem because of course we want to export our own goods overseas. We need a balance. But we need to produce stuff right here in the good old USA. Too much of our society is unproductive.
We could all afford to pay a little more for our shoes, as long as they were of high, long-lasting quality.
We cannot afford to let our own society waste away.
I mean we are not going to employ everyone in Silicon Valley designing games or phone apps. Someone actually has to make and fix things of real utility value. And we all cannot be hedge fund managers or participants either.
I really wonder if the powers that be in either of our major political parties really get that or really care or have the will to go a different direction.
Also, much of our energy and money is going to fight the bogeyman ISIS.
Certainly we need to protect ourselves, but sending out drones all over the world that kill innocent people along with the bad actors and eavesdropping on our citizens like the Gestapo or KGB or Stasi is not improving life here at home. And sending our military into the Middle East to try to deal with the chaos there is not tending to our own society.
For my own part I cannot complain, but I see a society falling apart around me.
Still looking for the leader or leaders who will show us the way out of this morass.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has worked for the Obama administration in the past, and whose politics generally align with the president, is strongly opposing him on the trade deal. She claims it will mean more lost jobs for American workers and that provisions in the agreement could even be detrimental to curbs on Wall Street excesses.
I have not found any detail on the latter charge, but in fact, details on the whole trade agreement proposal seem to be secret.
Our economy depends upon trade. I know this first-hand as a truck driver. Much of what I haul is imports, but I also haul exports (as well as domestic products traveling from point to point within our nation). But I would not want to be competing with workers who earn half or less than what I do and who work under harsh conditions.
Also, I recently read about toxic building material being imported from China. And we know that China manipulates its currency to make its exports more marketable.
If consumers were more savvy much of this could be dealt with through the market place. We should be demanding quality and safety and we should buy American where we can.
The president says that Warren is wrong on her trade deal criticism and charges that she is playing politics. It may well be that she is using the charge in part to drum up support for a presidential run on her part — even though she claims she is not intending to run.
Since details on the trade deal are secret, there is really no way to judge on all of this.
But it is no secret that much of the monied class is quite happy to ship jobs overseas to put labor on the defensive.
The people do have the power to change things if they would just use it, except that they need candidates on their side.
But big money donors have the advantage.
Nonetheless it costs nothing to vote (but of course you need someone you have confidence in to vote for).