We are living in a time when disastrous “free trade” agreements are the norm, with those who oppose them labelled anti-trade. What we’re really facing is losing our jobs to workers in third-world countries. We are told by plutocrats it’s necessary in the “global economy,” but the result of these agreements is a wrecked economy struggling for life. We were promised they would provide a secure future and good jobs. Instead it has led to devastating trade deficits and high unemployment.
So what are our elected officials doing about it? Governors and legislatures instates around the country continue to fight each other to the benefit of foreign companies. They give foreign-owned companies subsidies to in-source their production in the United States and train workers. To make sure they can maximize the number of jobs gained in their state, they then give those companies tax breaks.
These foreign-owned factories provide very few American jobs in relation to their output since nothing is produced there – they are merely assembly facilities that put together imported foreign parts. We are destroying our own American-owned auto facilities for a few menial jobs in foreign-owned car plants. American subsidies give foreign car companies an even greater advantage against our few remaining companies.
American manufacturing diminishes because it has to compete with these unfair policies. Detroit is $18 billion in debt with no easy way out, so it is obvious a plan is needed. Unfortunately, plans like Rand Paul’s — to create “economic freedom zones” in areas of the country that have unemployment greater than 1.5 times the national average, like Detroit — are based on flawed thinking which would harm the country as a whole, with questionable results for Detroit.
Creating an economic freedom zone would include lowering the corporate and personal income tax rates to 5%, suspending certain EPA regulations and eliminating the capital gains tax. It also includes creating “child education tax credits” that “increase school choice.” It would also gut union laws in the state to make manufacturing more “affordable.” Of course this would come at the cost of workers’ rights.
This is becoming a race to the bottom, to see who can produce the goods as cheaply as possible, with as little regulation as possible. Our tax system has become increasingly bloated with loopholes that allow foreign corporations to escape, while the American people become poor and drop to the scrap heap of the world.
Our leaders are taking us in the wrong direction. Instead of a race to the bottom for manufacturing, we need to do away with “free trade” agreements that have led to huge trade deficits, and make America competitive by creating fair trade agreements and rebuilding our infrastructure.
For most Americans the economy has not gotten better. A survey from the Federal reserve reports that fewer than one-third of Americans believe they are better off financially than they were five years ago, with a lack of household savings and large debt burdens holding back large segments of the economy.
Just 30 percent of survey respondents said that they are better off than they were in 2008, 34 percent said they were about the same and 34 percent said they were worse off.
This survey highlights the strain that has been placed on our economy by failed “free trade” agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As we know, “free trade” means unrestricted, uncontrolled access to our economy, tariff- and duty-free, for goods made for $4-per-hour or less.
For about 70 years our manufacturing dominated the globe. It grew day by day with the invention and innovation leading the way. Our trade policies made America strong and helped us remain competitive. Small and medium-sized companies sprang up left and right, filling our needs. In the present day, we see factories closing in the blink of an eye.
This has all changed as our jobs are outsourced through “free trade” agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and our major companies are bought out by China. On top of our diminished ability to protect ourselves with tariffs, we also allow other countries to use manipulative practices such as currency manipulation to wreck our economy.
Because of these failed policies, we no longer produce for ourselves so we depend on imports. For each $1 billion in trade deficit we have we lose 9000 jobs.
America we need to wake up! We must change things now if we are to return to our former economic strength. In order to go back to that, we must stop these “free trade” agreements that are detrimental to our economy. We must go back to protecting our manufacturing industry and stop outsourcing our jobs.