Does anyone recall the electorate clamoring for more trade deals before the election? No. That’s not what the Republicans have been sent to Congress to do. Wasn’t it all about creating jobs and cutting spending? Nevertheless, here they come. (See the above-linked Reuters article.)
Although President Obama welched on his promise to scrap NAFTA and has failed to respond to Mexican tariffs, Japanese dumping and China’s currency manipulation, give him credit for at least tabling any new free trade deals. But all that is over now. Republicans are already licking their chops at the prospect of moving forward the free trade deal with South Korea. More will soon follow.
The stated goal is to “open new markets to U.S. exports.” But has anyone ever seen a trade deal that didn’t begin with the U.S. first opening its market to those nations’ imports? And can anyone recall the U.S. ever following through to assure that U.S. exports get fair treatment? Do people understand that the terms of free trade deals are dictated by the World Trade Organization and are stacked against the U.S., enforcing protectionism in favor of most nations while banning such practices by the U.S.? Do they understand that, even if the playing field is level, disparities in population density and per capita consumption make trade with overpopulated nations a sure-fire loser?
No, they don’t understand such things, but they do understand that, for whatever reason, our manufacturing jobs have been lost to such trade deals and they want it stopped. No one sent Republicans to Congress to go back to their old ways of cutting lopsided trade deals as payback to their corporate benefactors. If this is the mandate they think they’ve been given, they’re sorely mistaken.