Opt-Ed by Senator Dick Black
Obama’s mammoth trade deal–the Trans-Pacific Partnership—is now before Congress. It has the backing of President Obama and almost every Republican Senator. Democrat senators voted against it, but signs are that many of them were simply waiting to “see Mr. Green.” Once the price was right, they changed their votes and put their own interests ahead of the American worker. But this is another sell-out for American workers—and one that we must oppose.[read_more]
Free trade policies have gutted the American middle class. They closed tens of thousands of factories and sent our high-paying jobs overseas. From 2000 to 2010, 55,000 U.S. factories closed and their jobs were lost forever.
Forcing Americans to compete with low-income foreigners, the U.S. allowed entrance to 12 million impoverished illegal immigrants and millions of legal immigrants too. U.S. firms once trained young Americans to do technical jobs. Today, they simply import the technicians they need. Meanwhile, American workers attend depressing government “job training” centers that prepare them for non –existent occupations–and lives of permanent government dependency. Since 1979, factory employment has plunged by 37% and 7.2 million middle-class jobs were sent overseas.
You’d be hard pressed to find a single thing free trade ever did for American workers. Sure, it created global titans—mega-billionaires with no allegiance to any nation. But in places like once-thriving Southside Virginia, factories stand abandoned and workers’ skills are long forgotten. That story was repeated in thousands of towns and cities. Factories went to Mexico, China and other places. Free trade gave birth to tremendous American poverty, dependence and welfare.
Free trade is bankrupting us, while enriching China and other mercantile nations. They know how to rig the deck and how to pay off enough politicians to get their way. Since 1992, we’ve accumulated an $11 trillion trade debt, which directly reduces our national output. We face a growing risk that this massively expanding debt will eventually throw us into a dangerous depression.
Free trade gave us cheap tennis shoes in exchange for factories. Short-term gains were traded for permanent job losses. This is the “new normal.” If we don’t stand up for the American worker now, we will continue to bleed jobs at an increasing rate. The only way that the American worker can stand up against the tremendous amount of campaign money that is pushing votes toward “Free Trade” is to contact your local representative in Congress and tell them to vote no on another disastrous “Free Trade” deal.
(Senator Rand Paul has been outspoken in his opposition to the TTP in the Senate.)