President Obama recently downplayed the impact of unfair trade on the U.S. workforce, arguing that many manufacturing jobs are low-paying. But I disagree. This nation's manufacturing base provides a pathway to prosperity for many Americans -- and this administration cannot shut the door on their future.
Economic growth dynamics vary across the region, broadly along North-South lines. While spring may be in the air for Mexico, Central America, and parts of the Caribbean, the economic climate remains decidedly chilly in much of South America. What is behind these divergent prospects, and how can a sunnier outlook be restored to the entire region?
We don't yet know what is in the TPP, because it is still secret and will remain so until shortly before the fast-track process requires Congress to vote. The president says to trust him, telling us that it will be great and "progressive" and create lots of jobs and expand the economy. Great. But the history on our trade deals -- especially those passed using fast track -- has been very bad. NAFTA was sold as creating a lot of jobs and growing the economy, but NAFTA destroyed jobs and expanded the trade deficit. China's entry into the World Trade Organization was sold as creating a lot of jobs and growing the economy, but it turned out to be absolutely devastating for America's working people, middle class and entire manufacturing ecosystem, and the trade deficit with China is now enormous. As a result of these agreements, entire regions of the country look like wastelands. Seriously, go look at Detroit.
Conventional wisdom usually does not link trade to programs and policies that address poverty. We need to unpack this conventional wisdom and explore how improving key aspects of trade link to development, using as an example how U.S.-Africa trade policies can unlock Africa's economic potential in agriculture.
With progressive voice Sen. Elizabeth Warren helping lead the fast track/TPP opposition, and possible candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley joining in opposition, it's time for Hillary Clinton to tell people where she stands on fast track and TPP. Will she join with working people and the 99 percent, or will she bend to the D.C./Wall Street crowd?
The legitimate force that drives trade agreements is companies' need for predictability and stability in order to invest beyond the borders of their home country. Everyone can support that. But where trade agreements go wrong is in secret negotiations, with virtually zero democratic input or accountability
A key section of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement has been leaked to the public. The New York Times has a major story on the contents of the leaked chapter, and it's as bad as many of us feared. Now we know why the corporations and the Obama administration want the TPP kept secret from the public until it's too late to stop it.
I wrote to my senator, Chuck Schumer (D-New York), about a critical issue and actually received a response. In my letter I had registered particular concern about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and plans to "fast track" its implementation, two of several issues on which I wanted his input.
The ongoing trade deficit has transferred trillions of dollars out of our economy. It has cost us millions of jobs, tens of thousands of factories and entire industries. As it continues, it is costing us our ability to make a living as a country -- except for our financial sector. This has made a very few people unimaginably wealthy, but it has made the rest of us, and the country, poorer.