Phyllis Schlafly
The first debate of the 2012 presidential race, with personalized, provocative questions planned by Fox News, was good political entertainment, but somehow it didn't get around to tackling two of the biggest issues. They are: How do the candidates plan to replace the millions of U.S. middle-class jobs that have gone overseas, and what will the candidates do about the millions of illegal aliens in our country?

The unemployment rate has now reached or exceeded 9 percent for the 22nd month. But even that high figure doesn't paint how bleak the jobs picture really is for men in their prime working years (between ages 25 and 54). Only 80 percent of those men have a job (compared to 95 percent in the 1960s).

Even that statistic doesn't measure the millions of men of that age who are now working for one-half, or one-quarter, or even one-tenth of the wage of the job they lost. President Obama is bragging that the economy added 268,000 new jobs last month, but 62,000 of those were hired by McDonald's because Obama gave that chain a waiver from ObamaCare.

This month, former trade negotiator and now Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, unveiled what he called a "Senate Republican Jobs Plan," and it is somewhere between pathetic and counterproductive. It includes asking Congress to hurry up and ratify KORUS (the Korean-U.S. Free Trade Agreement).

KORUS is another bad NAFTA-style trade agreement that will import more cheap Asian products and export more U.S. jobs. It comes out of the economic school that believes in the pseudo-religion of globalism -- i.e., forcing Americans to compete with Asians who work for less than one-third (often as little as one-20th) of the wages that Americans expect for similar work.

Here's what trade with South Korea means. In 2007, the U.S. sold 7,000 American vehicles in South Korea, while South Korea sold 615,000 vehicles in the U.S. In 2010, South Korea's auto sales in the U.S. totaled $7.41 billion, while U.S. auto sales in Korea totaled only $536 million.

Any jobs plan that depends on trade agreements like KORUS is a recipe for losing more U.S. jobs and increasing our trade deficit. The liberal Economic Policy Institute predicts that KORUS will cost us 159,000 American jobs and increase our annual trade deficit by $16.7 billion.

The alleged elimination of tariffs is a racket that allows the Koreans to subsidize their exports to the U.S. while taxing all imports from the United States. South Korea simply replaces its tariff with a value-added tax (VAT), which gives Korean manufacturers a 10 percent rebate on all goods they export and imposes a 10 percent tax on all U.S. goods allowed to be sold in Korea.

Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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