Obama Misleads on Trade


NPR has a Transcript: President Obama’s State Of The Union Address. I looked it up because I wanted to get his words that he spoke about trade agreements.

21st century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more American products overseas. Today, our businesses export more than ever, and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. But as we speak, China wants to write the rules for the world’s fastest-growing region. That would put our workers and businesses at a disadvantage. Why would we let that happen? We should write those rules. We should level the playing field. That’s why I’m asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but fair.

Look, I’m the first one to admit that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype, and that’s why we’ve gone after countries that break the rules at our expense. But ninety-five percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders, and we can’t close ourselves off from those opportunities. More than half of manufacturing executives have said they’re actively looking at bringing jobs back from China. Let’s give them one more reason to get it done.

Yes, China wants to write the rules in its part of the world like we want to write the rules for all of the world.  What they want is bad because they are China.  What we want is good because we are the USA. Our workers are at a disadvantage, not because of the rules that China wants to write.  They are at a disadvantage because of the rues that US corporations want to write.  Certainly our oligarchs who can purchase whatever rules they want from our government see no need to let someone else write the rules.  You might think that leveling the playing field might be a fair thing to do, but what it actually means is that a single corporation can overturn the rules that hundreds of millions of people voted to have their government enact.  Strong new trade deals as defined by what Obama is trying to do aren’t going to protect US workers.  What is  fair about taking away our workers protections to unionize, to take away their right to have pollution free air to breathe, and their right to have safe working places?  What is fair about taking away our product safety rules so that we  can buy products that won’t kill us? These are the kinds of rules that a corporation can overturn if they think that the rules hamper their making ever greater profits.

Previous trade deals have not only impoverished American workers, but they have also done so for foreign workers.  95% of the world’s customers may live outside our borders, but if we keep them in poverty, they aren’t going to be able to afford to buy anything from us anyway.  For years we have been giving corporations tax breaks for shipping our jobs overseas.  If we just stop doing that, the businesses will have plenty of incentive to stop outsourcing.

Past trade deals have not lived up to their hype, not because other countries have broken the rules.  They failed to live up to the hype because the hype from the corporations always covered up the facts that were in the deals.  So Obama is negotiating a trade deals authored by the corporate oligarchs, and will not let our elected officials even see the deals until they are done.  A leak about the secrets in the trade deal indicates that some of what is in the trade deal will even be kept secret for years after it is implemented.  How are our elected Representatives going to oversee the enforcement of rules they aren’t even allowed to know about?  Have you ever heard of rules that only the people who are supposed to abide by them are allowed to know what they are?

Even Ronald Reagan said “trust, but verify.”  So does this make Obama a greater fool than a guy who had Alzheimer’s disease while he was dispensing his pearls of wisdom?  Or does it make Obama more dishonest?

Are we fools to trust anything else in the SOTU, when Obama would tell such blatant lies to us in this part of the speech?  If only we could get the Republicans to impeach the President for this crap.

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