Many refer to the TPP as a “zombie” since people think that it died and then when we least expect it, a round of negotiations spark up and bring it back to life. Just why should the TPP die you may ask?
The way the TPP has been put together and negotiated is one reason. Everything has been done in total and utter secret. The government has refused over and over again to release any information regarding the TPP. Our Congress hasn’t been allowed to sit in on negotiations, yet 600 corporate lobbyists have been in every single meeting. Our elected officials haven’t been allowed to see or read the text up until recently, and even then they are watched heavily and aren’t allowed to make copies or take notes. Yet the 600 lobbyists have direct access 24/7 to the TPP text.
Not to mention that we have been lied to by our president about what exactly is in the TPP. He keeps saying that the TPP is great for America, yet refuses to prove it. He wants us to simply trust him. How can we trust him when he and Paul Ryan have stated time after time that the TPP doesn’t have an immigrations chapter, and just last week it was leaked that Chapter 10 of the TPP is all about immigration.
Not only has “free trade” led to the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world, but trillions of American dollars have been lost due to the removal of tariffs, resulting in trade deficits. Additionally, “free trade” agreements are nearly impossible to enforce because they assume that every participating country will play by the same rules. This is seldom the case.
Tariff-free imports are one of the largest barriers to prosperity for the United States. The absence of tariffs tends to favor the country with lower wage-rates. This results in the lower wage-rate country enjoying a transfer of production benefits from the higher wage-rate country. While there are supposed to be reciprocating benefits in the form of lower prices for the outsourcing country, the reality is actually an increase in income disparity and the deterioration of the manufacturing capabilities of the higher wage-rate country.
There are a number of barriers in our trade agreements that make it difficult for the United States to compete. After all, there are so many other “trade weapons” that a country can utilize for their own benefit: currency manipulation, technology transfer requirements, joint-venture policies, selective customs policies, underhanded government subsidies and many, many others. With all of these so-called “trade weapons” available for foreign countries to use, it is difficult to believe that the United States actually continues to rely on a faith-based economic policy with other nations. But it does.
In addition, just by seeing the results of similar “free trade” agreements, we can predict what the true outcome of this one will be.
Since the North American Free Trade Agreement passed, employment in the textile industry has declined by more than 80 percent over the past decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry went from having 900,000 jobs to fewer than 150,000. What kind of jobs did the textile industry provide for America? Good paying jobs with benefits, paid time off, and stability. Now, cut and sew apparel contractors and other apparel manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas where wages are slim to nothing.
We went from having 15,478 textile manufacturing establishments in 2001 who employed 426,027, to 7,855 establishments employing 157,587 workers. In California, 60 percent of manufacturing jobs in the textile industry disappeared from 2002 to 2012. “The problem was the small, independent apparel manufacturers did not see big gains because they did not want to outsource their work, but it put them at a competitive disadvantage,” said Steve Smith, a spokesman with the California Labor Federation
This is just one industry that was affected by NAFTA amongst many. If these are the results with NAFTA, a three nation deal including the U.S., what can we expect with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12 nation deal?
The truth of the matter is that this these multinationals are are pushing the TPP in order to save a buck. They will outsource their jobs in order to save on production and labor costs. The federal minimum wage in America is $7.25 per hour which is roughly $267.80 a week. Compare that to Malaysia’s minimum wage at $297 a month. The average wage for an an engineer in the U.S. is $87,140 but in Malaysia it’s $23,484. The average wage for an accountant in the U.S. is $73,670, in Malaysia it’s $16,263. The average factory worker salary in the U.S. is $36,000, in Malaysia it’s $19,308.
Despite the economists, journalists, industrialists and handful of politicians who have spoken out against “free trade,” our elected leaders have done nothing to get us out of our disastrous trade agreements or the World Trade Organization (WTO). There exists no credible argument supporting our continued involvement with FTAs. They are damaging our ability to compete on the world economic stage.
Little of what American consumers buy is actually made by American-owned companies operating in America. As a result, the U.S. has become uncompetitive. NAFTA and our agreement with the WTO leave us vulnerable. In order to ensure a strong economic future, it is imperative that America cut ties with all of our “free trade” pacts.
We can clearly see the huge difference is labor costs between the U.S. and one of the trading partners in the TPP. That isn’t mentioning Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Peru and Chile who also have low wages in comparison to the U.S. So how exactly is this going to be “good” for America and American jobs? It’s not.
We must stand up against these multinationals who are trying to change the laws and rules of our country. It is supposed to be “We the People” not “We the Businesses.”
For decades now, we have seen our economy struggle to recover jobs that have been lost to outsourcing. We must now come to the reality that our failed trade policies are destroying our economy.
“Free trade” was sold on the idea that jobs would be created in the U.S. The reality has been that jobs were lost in America and shipped overseas, but this was clearly a lie.
- “Free trade” means unrestricted, uncontrolled access to our economy, tariff- and duty-free, for goods made for $4-per-hour or less.
- American manufacturers cannot remain competitive with these wages so jobs are shipped overseas
- Our Trade Deficit now averages $600 billion a year for the last ten years, averaging $1.14 million per minute
- For each $1 billion we have in trade deficit we lose 9000 jobs (Source: Economic Policy Institute)
- Real unemployment, which includes those who are underemployed and long term unemployed is now over 12 percent
- Wages have stagnated because we have lost manufacturing jobs
- The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has devastated our economy
- The first year after NAFTA was introduced the U.S., our trade deficit with Mexico alone increased by over $17 billion dollars
- We have lost over 1 million jobs to (NAFTA) (Source: Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch)
- Illegal immigrants in the U.S. have increased to 12 million today from 3.9 million in 1993, accounting for an overall increase of over 300 percent
- Since NAFTA was implemented, 300,000 American family farms have been put out of business. Overall, net farm incomes are down 13 percent
If these trends continue no one will be able to afford even their cheap imported goods, and the economy will crumble. It is now obvious that we must stop engaging in this destructive behavior and bring back the kind of pro-America trade policies that once served us well. We need to protect our vital industries, keep our best companies under American ownership, and ensure that those who want to work in the United States have a path to prosperity. This is impossible under “free trade,” and we must eliminate these failed policies immediately.