Ever wonder why the U.S. enters into so many trade agreements? The short answer is to allow U.S. companies to exploit the natural and human resources of other countries. In essence, most of these agreements have clauses that allow U.S. corporations to move their production activities to foreign countries, use their cheap labor and then bring their product back into the country without facing a tariff.
Why would U.S. corporations do this when they know it will cost American jobs? The answer is simple. They don’t care. Cheap labor allows them to make more profit; that it also puts Americans out of work is ‘collateral damage’. To our mind these ‘American’ companies are acting in an UN-American manner. The Pro American Party protects our country from this abuse. Take a look at tenets #2 and #4 to see how we address this.
Look at the results of the NAFTA agreement. In the first 15 years following this trade agreement (1994 – 2010) we lost almost 700,000 jobs, mostly in manufacturing, and our trade deficit with Mexico has soared to just under 100 Billion dollars over those years. These industries included motor vehicles, textiles, computers, and electrical appliances. (Source: Economic Policy Institute, “The High Cost of Free Trade,” May 3, 2011)
Ironically, many Americans are complaining about stagnant wages, when it is the inevitable result of bringing in products using cheap labor from foreign countries. So why has this taken so long to become a big political issue? The corporations pay big money in political donations to political candidates, and they don’t want it broadcast. Although If I Had The Power does not endorse political candidates, it is interesting to note that both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, who don’t rely upon corporate money, are both talking about the problems of our terrible trade agreements.
According to researcher Jeff Faux, NAFTA strengthened the ability of U.S. employers to force workers to accept lower wages and benefits. As soon as NAFTA became law, corporate managers began telling their workers that their companies intended to move to Mexico unless the workers lowered the cost of their labor. In the midst of collective bargaining negotiations with unions, some companies would even start loading machinery into trucks that they said were bound for Mexico. The same threats were used to fight union organizing efforts. The message was: “If you vote in a union, we will move south of the border.” With NAFTA, corporations also could more easily blackmail local governments into giving them tax reductions and other subsidies
In a double tragedy, NAFTA also caused thousands of Mexican farmers to lose their jobs. The Congress, in their wisdom blessed U.S. agribusiness with HUGE subsidies, allowing them to steamroll over poor Mexican farmers who could not compete. In case you don’t know, agribusiness is NOT your local farmer, instead they are large corporations that take advantage of several laws designed for small farmers and rake in millions in taxpayer money. (The ProAmericanParty will correct this problem too!) By the way, when Mexicans can’t find work in Mexico, where do you think they go?
One other factor of these trade agreements is that U.S. pollution standards do not apply in foreign countries. However, Mother Nature does not recognize borders and Mexican pollution finds its way to the U.S. whenever the wind blows our way. Once again corporations don’t care about people, or the environment. Their short term, profit-oriented outlook harms Americans and the world on a daily basis.
The bottom line is that trade agreements almost always hurt U.S. workers. They cost jobs and hurt the hourly wages of those who manage to keep their jobs. They hurt our environment. Big business use these agreements to increase profit and access, at the expense of our national well-being. The rich get richer and the little guy gets screwed. Trade agreements suck and both political parties allowed this to happen.