The last time trade was a hot topic on Capitol Hill, the buzz was about a Royal wedding, not a Royal baby. Call this a #ThrowbackThursday, but in the coming days and weeks the Senate is poised to take up Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) with the hope that it will clear the way for a large free trade deal with 12 Asian-Pacific countries.
We can probably all agree that right here at home it would be nice to see more goods with the "Made in America" stamp. There was a time when "American made" wasn't just a rare turn of phrase but a way of life. It was probably around the same time when "organic food" was just known as food. We see so many imported goods in all aspects of our lives, but do we ever stop to wonder if American-made products ever make their way overseas? Ensuring that American goods are sold overseas is a vital and often overlooked aspect of our economy. That's what TPA does, and this is why passing this bipartisan bill is so important.
The US will benefit from TPA in two primary areas, our economy and national security. Both these issues are at the heart of what really matters to Americans. We want to be able to purchase more with our dollars and have peace of mind when it comes to the safety and security of our nation. TPA is a bill that advances both and passing it is a no-brainer.
While products made overseas are easily found right here at home, many American-made exports get caught in a web of tariffs and red tape. TPA will level the playing field by allowing trade agreements that open up more markets. It will pave the way for American products to be sold in other countries as easily as foreign goods are sold here. These foreign markets are no laughing matter. They represent 80 percent of the world's purchasing power, 92 percent of its economic growth and 95 percent of its consumers. We can't afford to be shut out of the world market.
The stakes are too high for politics as usual. Thirty-eight million American jobs are tied to trade. Making trade easier will bring a positive economic outcome to everyone from the farmers in our nation's heartland to the manufacturers in every city. One in three manufacturing jobs depends on exports, and one in three acres on American farms is planted for export. Trade also boosts power for lower income Americans right here at home by more than 60 percent. This bill is about the middle class and doing what it takes to make trade as easy and as fair as possible.
Economics aside, a world with more trade is a safer world. It means more Chinese-made finger traps to buy here and more American-made cowboy hats in China, and that means each country has a vested interest in the other's security. Trade promotes not only prosperity among nations but also peace. Where trade agreements are strong, diplomacy is also strong. Economic negotiations keep the lines of communication open and the wealth flowing. Mutually beneficial relationships bring peace and prosperity to all.
The president's move to reach out to Republicans to make TPA happen, despite the usual chorus of disapproval from the Democratic peanut gallery *cough* Harry Reid *cough*, is certainly a step in the right direction. With America's ability to compete globally at stake, we cannot afford to play partisan politics with the economy. China is already negotiating agreements with other nations, and these agreements could leave America without a seat at the table.
It's time we talk about trade again. Let's make this a pro-prosperity, pro-security trend worthy of its own hashtag. Move aside #ManCrushMonday and #SelfieSunday! It's time for #TradeTuesday or #MarketMondays. The road to prosperity is paved in sound economic policy. That means more American goods at home and abroad. If that isn't something worth Instagramming, I don't know what is.