by Bud Meyers, published April 21, 2015
Just one of many reasons: Literally rolling up his sleeves and protesting a trade deal that would throw Americans out of work, Senator Bernie Sanders marched with leaders of the AFL-CIO and other labor organizations to a rally outside the U.S. trade representative’s office.
Bernie said, “One of the key reasons why the middle class in America continues to decline and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider is because of disastrous trade agreements which have sent millions of decent-paying jobs to China and other low-wage countries.”
Bernie’s leading role in opposing the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership follows a long record of opposing the North American Free Trade Agreement, Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China and other job-killing trade deals. Partly because of those and other agreements, nearly 60,000 factories in this country have been shuttered since 2001 and more than 4.7 million manufacturing jobs have vanished.
Proponents claimed that NAFTA would create 200,000 American jobs. Instead, that 1994 deal led to the loss of some 1 million jobs in the United States. The trade agreement with China six years later was ballyhooed by corporate backers as way to create hundreds of thousands of American jobs. Instead, it led to the loss of 3.2 million U.S. jobs.
Americans should not be forced to compete against desperately poor workers throughout the world. In Vietnam, for example, workers are paid as little as 56 cents an hour.
“Trade agreements should benefit working people, not just CEOs of large corporations,” Bernie added. “As the largest economy in the world, Americans should expect corporations to invest in the United States and make products in America. Corporate America must begin investing in the United States and not just low-wage countries.”
The senator also expressed concern about other aspects of the proposed Pacific Rim trade deal. While disturbing details of the agreement have been leaked, Bernie criticized the secrecy surrounding the negotiations. “It is absurd that a trade agreement of such enormous consequence has had so little transparency.”
He also warned that the agreement could undermine U.S. sovereignty by giving foreign corporations the right to challenge laws in international courts. “It is beyond belief that this agreement would let corporations sue over laws to protect public health and the environment.”
Bernie and others participated in the rally outside the office of U.S. Trade Representative Michael B. Froman only four days after proponents of the trade agreement introduced legislation that would make it easier to rush the measure through Congress. (Photos from the rally.)
Take Senator Bernie Sanders’ Poll on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (the TPP trade agreement).
Total submissions to date (April 20, 2015) — 13,894
Results to date:
Bernie Sanders’ poll, and every other poll taken, shows that Americans are vastly against this trade deal, so why does President Obama promote it, and why does Hillary Clinton say “It’s good for business”?
Of course, there are many other reasons for Bernie to run — but if for any other reason, to debate Hillary Clinton and put her feet to the fire on the many issues she seems insincere about.
Here’s a Hillary update from the AP (via Yahoo News) and my notes:
Despite what we’ve been hearing from the Obama administration, “candidate” Hillary Clinton now offers a dark assessment of a “stalled out” U.S. recovery: “It’s not enough just to tread water.” (* Actually, many people aren’t even doing that — but why is she only now speaking up?)
Regarding foreign governments that made donations to the Clintons’ charity and receiving preferential treatment from the State Department while she served in the Obama administration: “We will be subjected to all kinds of distractions and attacks.” (* Just “distractions”? And who’s “we”— she and her husband — and was that why she deleted all those personal emails?)