Phyllis Schlafly

When will Republicans wake up to the way U.S. jobs are betrayed by Barack Obama and the corporate interests that hide under the moniker "free trade"? It's an embarrassment that Republican powers-that-be have joined with the Obama Democrats to push the new Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

We should have recognized free trade as bad news when Obama hammered on it in his State of the Union message. He probably looks upon it as another strategy to redistribute the wealth of our country, which is a major goal of his administration.

In 2012 when Congress was passing the Korea-U.S. Trade Agreement (KORUS), Obama predicted that it would create 70,000 U.S. jobs for Americans who would then pay taxes and not need food stamps. He even predicted, "soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit."

The bad effect was immediate. In the first year after KORUS took effect, the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea increased by $5.8 billion, costing 40,000 jobs, mostly in manufacturing, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

KORUS was really good in creating jobs in Korea but caused a big loss of American jobs. While the U.S. trade deficit with the world increased 21 percent, our trade deficit with Korea jumped 81 percent.

We're still waiting to see Detroit-made cars on the streets of Seoul. With that experience, it makes no sense for our trade negotiators to expand and imitate the KORUS model.

Remember NAFTA? The year before NAFTA, the U.S. ran a $1.6 billion trade surplus with Mexico. Last year, the U.S. ran a $64 billion deficit.

NAFTA was predicted to create 20,000 new U.S. jobs by increasing our exports to Mexico. That turned out to be another pipe dream; by 2010, NAFTA had eliminated 682,900 U.S. jobs, some in every state.

Business news sources have recently been predicting that U.S. manufacturing is on the verge of a large, permanent comeback because labor costs in China are rising and U.S. energy costs are dropping. Some writers became so excited that they dubbed the change "the insourcing boom."

Dream on. It isn't happening. Even after labor costs increase in China, there is no way they will rise enough to send U.S. plants back to the U.S. (Many will move to Vietnam.)

Trade agreements are supposed to be about increasing job-creating exports. They are not. They are about creating imports from low-wage countries that often cheat us coming and going.


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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