It is important to address some of the failings of this economy. We import too much and far too many Americans live in debt. College is increasingly unaffordable and healthcare costs are too high. Our politicians ignored the value of science and math for decades and now, to make up for the delay, they are decreasing support to the arts and humanities. Stealing from Peter to pay Paul is not the way to fund education.
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When we sign so-called “free trade” agreements with other countries, we agree to lower our tariffs and allow their goods into our country free of charge. The vast majority of these countries have a VAT, however. This means that although they may remove their tariffs and duties, American manufacturers still have a VAT of 10 or maybe 20 percent tacked on to the price of their goods.
Obama will not be able to get his precious TPP passed by Congress if he needs a 2/3 majority. There is simply too much recognition that “free trade” has drained our country of his jobs and resources with nothing remotely compensating us for the loss. His only hope is to lower the hurdle, to require only a simple majority vote to pass it. It is for this reason that he is calling the TPP an agreement instead of a treaty. We must not let ourselves be fooled by his verbal legerdemain.
Since 1938, the federal minimum wage has increased a total of 22 times, but has never been adjusted to the rate of inflation. The unfortunate result of this has been a widening gap between the rich and poor — increased income disparity. As things stand right now, many Americans are working 40 – 50 hours a week at minimum wage and are still struggling to make ends meet.
“Free trade” means unrestricted, uncontrolled access to our economy, tariff- and duty-free, for goods made for $4-per-hour or less. We cannot compete with these wages so we are forced to choose between going bankrupt, outsourcing our manufacturing or simply selling out. The U.S. is the largest consumer market in the world. Opening our doors to “free trade” agreements has resulted in job losses, enormous trade deficits and the extinction of many valuable U.S. businesses. Our “free trade” practices are harmful and no longer beneficial.