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CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The union-owned Democrats – The Washington Post

June 16, 2011

The union-owned Democrats

By Charles Krauthammer, Thursday, June 16, 4:52 PM

“Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected,” observed President Obama this week, enjoying a nice chuckle about the unhappy fate of his near-$1 trillion stimulus. To be sure, Obama has also been promoting a less amusing remedy for anemic growth and high unemployment: exports. In his 2010 State of the Union address, he proclaimed a national goal of doubling exports within five years.

One obvious way to increase exports is through free-trade agreements. But unions don’t like them. No surprise then that for two years Obama has been sitting on three free-trade agreements — with Colombia, Panama and South Korea — already negotiated by his predecessor.

Under the pressure of dire economic conditions and of the consequences of stiffing three valued allies, Obama appeared ready to relent — only to put up a last-minute roadblock. He’s demanding an expansion of Trade Adjustment Assistance — taxpayer money (beyond unemployment compensation) given to workers displaced by foreign competition, something denied to Americans rendered unemployed by domestic competition. It’s an idea of dubious fairness but nicely designed to hold up ratification, while placing blame on Republican heartlessness rather than on political sabotage by Democrats beholden to unions for the millions they pour into Democratic coffers. (A deal reportedly may be near. But the years of delay have been costly. Colombia, for example, is negotiating broad trade deals with China, including a possible Chinese-built railway to bypass the Panama Canal.)

via The union-owned Democrats – The Washington Post.

  1. June 17, 2011 9:00 AM

    NAFTA did create the “giant sucking sound” as Ross Perot predicted. More businesses and jobs went to Mexico. We are continuously told that 70% of the American economy is consumer driven. The things are more likely made outside the United States. Unions are correct in objecting to more trade deals that are likely to result in more exporting than importing.

    Historically the United States has used tariffs to protect American business. Why won’t the same rules apply today?

  2. savetheusa permalink
    June 17, 2011 8:03 PM

    It is amazing how Charles ignore the data from past trade agreements and how our trade deficit sky rocketed after NAFTA and GATT were passed. Charles also ignores the fact that since 200 the United States has lost 5.5 million manufacturing jobs and 42,200 factories with the service jobs along with those 5.5 million. Americans are not afraid of trade nor should we ignore trade. What we have is failed and bad trade policies in which we have been outnegoiated every single time. Charles needs to use data and understand the dat before he writes articles based on myths.


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