Free trade deals have always been less about creating jobs than exporting neoliberal ideology to the Global South, thereby accelerating poor nations' cascade toward low labor standards, environmental exploitation and deregulation.
Leaf through the yellowing archives of business journals and you'll find endlessly repeated the story of a ruthless yet heroic CEO who scoured the realm for "inefficiency" and magically made share prices rise by lopping off the heads of so many superfluous employees.
Mitt Romney has made tough statements about dealing with China which, if sincere, would not only put him beyond the other major Republican candidates on trade, but also far beyond what the Obama administration is doing.
It's striking that at this late date, Senator Kerry would still be promoting a corporate-driven trade agreement by claiming that the agreement would create jobs based on an estimate of increased exports, while ignoring the issue of imports.
Voting for the Colombia Free Trade Agreement is a vote for violent union-busting, for driving people from their land, and setting the American working man and woman up to compete on an uneven playing field that will cost jobs and livelihoods.
These trade agreements achieve a rare trifecta: it's hard to imagine a single initiative that at one time could so infuriate anti-corporate activists, labor unions, and environmentalists at the very moment these disparate movements are finding solidarity and support in the streets.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is poised to pass three Wall Street-driven trade deals written by the 1% for the benefit of the 1%, which will further impoverish and disempower the 99%, in the U.S. and abroad.
Maybe Herman Cain, the latest boomlet in the GOP presidential race, will be elected president. Or maybe his 15 minutes of fame have just arrived. Either way, it behooves us to see what he thinks about America's trade mess.
This Monday, Obama submitted the long-pending Colombia, Panama, and South Korea free trade agreements to Congress. I didn't have my hopes up, but I did harbor the vague hope that somehow Obama was going to stall on these.
In Washington, Congress is nearing a vote on the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement. Human rights, labor, environmental and faith-based groups agree: this agreement is a bad deal for human rights in Colombia.
Obama is ignoring growing opposition from his Democratic base and voters across the political spectrum to resurrect policies Congress has refused to approve for over four years. And to get his message across, he's using every trick in the book.
Unfortunately, the proposed free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama do nothing to address the significant flaws in the free trade model that prioritize the rights of multinational companies over the rights of workers and the American economy.