When candidate Obama was running for president, he said that he would revisit NAFTA and see about changing NAFTA’s trade agreement on protection of labor and the environment. But he didn’t mean it. At his first North American summit meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, he went right along with the plan for “deeper” integration of the continent.
When Obama supported the Peru-U.S. FTA (free trade agreement) as a senator, he did so knowing that there were no enforceable protections for both labor and the environment.
Senator Hillary Clinton, who also supported the Peru Agreement, was careful to avoid any guarantees:
“I support the agreement with Peru. It has very strong labor and environmental protections. This agreement makes meaningful progress on advancing workers’ rights, and also levels the playing field for American workers.”
No. It doesn’t. Clinton lied because, once again, there are no “enforceable”protections for labor and the environment, a fact she failed to mention. The only person telling the truth is Tom Donohue, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He said “…that the labor provisions (Peru agreement) cannot be read to require compliance with ILO (International Labor Organization) conventions.”
That’s why the Chamber of Commerce and NAM (National Association of Manufacturers) supported this trade agreement. None of our trade agreements have protections for labor and the environment. Donohue and corporate America would never accept an agreement with those protections in place.
And as president, Obama supports the passage of three trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. And, of course, corporations and the Chamber of Commerce want these agreements, too.
But Obama also wants a TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance) extension for American workers who lose their jobs to these new trade agreements.
“The TAA program provides workers with reemployment assistance and training, income support and job search and relocation allowances. The program also provides unemployment benefits for 156 weeks rather than the more typical 99 weeks.”
Question for Obama: If these trade agreements will bring all of these wonderful jobs to American workers, why would they need any help. The fact is that all NAFTA gave America and its workers were consistent trade deficits and millions of permanent layoff slips and lower wages, often with no benefits. These new trade agreements are patterned after NAFTA. And the purpose of trade agreements is to bring in more profits for corporations. That’s it.
So Obama, being committed to completing this North American trading region, decided to appoint 26 CEOs from corporate America to the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to improve the job situation for American workers. Remember that these are the CEOs who designed this corporate North American Community and are “advising” Obama on the legislation needed to complete it.
Head of this Council is Jeffery Immelt, CEO of GE (General Electric). “In 2005, a majority of the company’s workforce was located in America. Today, 54 percent of its workforce is overseas. Less than half of the company’s sales are domestic today, too.”
While these corporations send jobs overseas, “the American economy continues to suffer, multinational corporations continue to thrive by neglecting their own countries, and their CEOs have the ear of the most powerful man in the world.
“Seven of the companies, including General Electric and Intel, have nearly doubled their overseas investments in the past four years…” (The old fox and the hen house story again. Putting CEOs in charge of bringing the middle class back when they are clearly doing everything they can to lower wages in America and get rid of the middle class.)
“Since 2009, GE has closed more than 25 manufacturing plants in the US and slashed thousands of jobs…While GE has laid off at least 10,000 workers in the US, it has created more than 30,000 jobs in India over the past decade. The administration’s job czar runs a company that employs more workers overseas that it does in the US.”
A quote from Jeffrey Immelt, December 6, 2002:
“When I am talking to my managers, I talk China, China, China, China, China. You need to be there. You need to change the way people talk about it and how they get there. I am a nut on China (But not so joyful about America.) Outsourcing from China is going to grow $5 billion. We are building a tech center in China. Every discussion today has to center on China. The cost basis is extremely attractive.” (And this man is going to help Americans get good jobs?)
This policy of moving manufacturing plants to China and other third world countries is decimating American workers and destroying our base. Ian Fletcher says that any hint of a revival of manufacturing in the U.S. is a myth. American companies are now moving their headquarters and research and development centers to other countries for highly qualified, cheap labor, especially in China.
“This means that the writing is on the wall for American manufacturing, as it is falling behind our competitors in the investment race. From 2000 to 2008, our capital investment in manufacturing as a per cent of GDP was lower than that of our major peer economies…”
“American companies are not only running down their own productive capacity here at home, they are building up the capacity of foreign nations. From 2000 to 2009, their manufacturing investment abroad averaged 16 percent higher than manufacturing investment at home.”
“The final blemish on the supposed manufacturing revival in America is the fact that the few industrial jobs that are returning to the U.S. are running at much lower pay scales than before. For example, the Suarez Corp. is reopening a former Hoover plant in North Canton, Ohio to produce EdenPure space heaters, vacuums, air purifiers and other small appliances it previously made in China. But while the Hoover plant used to pay its workers around $20/hr before it shut down in 2007, the new jobs will pay $7.50/hr.” (That’s just above minimum wage.)
This is no secret. The corporations have made it clear that they are out to destroy the American middle class, to the point of integrating North America into a trading region with governing institutions. All citizens of North America, including cheap Mexican labor, will be able to live and work anywhere on the continent. They will be the force that will deliver the end to the American middle class and enable American CEOs to be competitive with the world. Oh yes. The unemployment rate will be unbelievable. So much cheap labor to choose from.
American Manufacturing Slowly Rotting Away: How Industries Die. This is an an excellent read.