Trade policies are bleeding us dry

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:32 pm

The priority of the presidential campaigns of both parties must be to bring order and equilibrium to our free trade system, which is heavily tilted in favor of foreign nations, especially China. The current free trade policy caused the loss of millions of good paying American jobs.
Presidential candidates promise to create jobs, but they don’t commit to first correcting the cause in order to gain the effect of job creation. The overwhelming strong lobby of multi-national corporations and their campaign contributions, apparently to both parties, are in effect directing government policies.
When multi-national corporations gain new export markets for U.S. made products, American jobs are being created. When multi-nationals set up production abroad and sell in foreign markets, flight of capital results.
However, to produce in extremely low wage countries and to bring these products back to the United States is sinking American living standards and bleeding our economic strength.
Many Americans do not know that multi-national corporations are even rewarded tax deferrals on their foreign profits while transferring jobs and technologies to those outsource countries. Financial papers report that many billions of tax revenues remain uncollected.
Robert Zoellig, the chief trade negotiator for the Bush administration, was recently heard to have implied that our largest trade deficit in history, now approaching $600 billion, is a sign of the robust economy. What a ridiculous theory. The media recently reported that we even have to buy bullets from foreign nations.
Government economists claim that the U.S. output per man hour has increased significantly. They omit that many foreign-made components are assembled into so-called U.S. made gross domestic products. This cuts U.S. manufacturing time and results in an over-stated productivity increase measured by value output per man hour at the cost of lost jobs.
Biotechnology and other high tech developments resulted in some job creation. Generally, though, most of the meager job growth occurred in lower paid service and retail sectors.
There are reasons to suspect that the unemployment statistics are not fully reliable, since they are primarily based on the number of unemployment claims filed.
Americans do not ask for protectionism and trade barriers, but are entitled to demand from elected officials revisions of all inequitable trade agreements. Ironically, the United States has not even enforced the rules of existing free trade agreements in the past, when one looks at how China and others are bullying America in collaboration with multi-national corporations. Instead of opening new markets, the United States has become a wide open market for predatory imports.
The free trade pitfalls are killing our homeland manufacturing base. A balanced and fair global trade would give the U.S. the economic strength to deal with all other national priorities like defense, security, terrorism and health insurance.
Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election in November, the U.S. Congress should act in compliance with its constitutional duty to regulate commerce with foreign nations to maintain national security and to protect the well-being of the citizens of the United States.
In this land, there is a wicked power of greed and profiteering above and beyond the law. Be vigilant America.
Werner Wolpert is the executive
director of the Hartford Area
Development Corp.
September 3, 2004, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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