“Free Trade” Will Decimate All of America Just Like It Has Detroit
Our economy continues to struggle to regain the strength we lost from the economic recession which started in 2008. In Detroit Michigan, a city that was once the wealthiest city in America and the fourth largest in the country, has slowly been decimated to the point that we hardly recognize it.
With a population that has declined from two million to barely 700,000, Detroit is now the poster child for America’s deteriorating economy. Its streets are lined with rows of dilapidated structures, old apartments and long-abandoned factories and warehouses. Where once stood the manufacturing epicenter and the symbol of the American middle class lies a bankrupt city, struggling to even survive.
In fact, about a third of all Detroit has been abandoned. Recently, the city became so troubled it had to declare bankruptcy, and creditors are trying to get what little scraps they can for the money lent to the city. This week it is expected Detroit will announce new settlements to deal with its two major pension systems.
How did this happen? Detroit’s alarming decline can be attributed to the crippling effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the massive flood of foreign-made cars into the United States. Under NAFTA, manufacturing in America has all but been eliminated.
In order to compete, Detroit’s automotive companies were forced to lower costs by outsourcing their operations to Mexico. Essentially, NAFTA made manufacturing cars in the U.S. too expensive. As a result, Detroit factories closed down and jobs were lost. The hard-won wealth of Detroit disappeared to make room for “free trade.”
While NAFTA played its role in devastating Detroit’s economy, Japan had their part to play as well. In the 1960′s and ’70′s, Japan steam-rolled through America’s auto-industry with little to no resistance from the U.S. government. It was at this time Japan entered the U.S. market with their own cars. In fact, our government actually welcomed foreign competition with open arms, so much so they actually pushed U.S. companies like Ford and GM out of the country, and with it the American middle class.
KORUS hasn’t made it any better for the U.S. as car imports from South Korea have significantly increased and in the first year after ratification, our trade deficit with them grew by $5.8 billion, or more than one-third.
Now Obama wants to push the TPP, which would open our doors to more developing nations allowing them to compete with our goods, forcing our jobs overseas to countries like Vietnam where workers often make less than a dollar a day.
America has gone from being the largest manufacturer in the world to becoming a servant economy. The vast majority of jobs used to be in producing goods; now they are in flipping burgers, cleaning hotel rooms, and working in call centers. Instead of having a strong middle class we are left being servants to the plutocrats, who only have one objective: more power and more money.
Just as a dead canary in a mine warned miners of danger, Detroit should be a warning to our nation. We cannot persist in pushing the same failed policies that took down Detroit. If these conditions continue, things will only get worse for American cities, and Detroit won’t be the last to go into bankruptcy. Many other American cities will soon follow.
It is essential our leaders in Washington step up and get us out of these dangerous “free trade” agreements and stop the TPP. If they do not, the disease of urban decay will spread to encompass all of the United States.
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