Obama to Sign KORUS into Law Friday

Editor’s note:This is a disaster. Please write President Obama and your legislators. Let them know Americans need jobs, but it is impossible for them to support their families if they are forced to compete against workers earning almost non-existent wage rates.

President Obama is expected to sign the free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama into law on Friday, after which he will give remarks in the White House Rose Garden. His remarks are sure to be filled with the same misguided platitudes about increasing exports, and will most surely ignore the economic harm that these agreements will do to our country.

The trade agreements passed both the House and Senate last week, with an unfortunate amount of support from both parties. The Colombian agreement appeared to be the most contentious of the three, with many lawmakers hesitant about putting American workers in direct competition with workers whose right to organize is compromised by fear. The Korean free trade agreement (KORUS) should have been a bigger cause for concern, because it will likely cost the most American jobs. The Economic Policy Institute has estimated that KORUS will cost the U.S. 159,000 jobs in the first seven years alone, and has predicted that it will also increase our trade deficit.

President Obama has been singing a different tune on the trade agreements. Despite his opposition to them as a candidate for President, Obama has jumped on the “increasing exports” bandwagon, and touts the idea that these agreements will create 70,000 new jobs in the United States. Critics of this number have pointed out that any study that estimates an increase in jobs must be improperly considering the effect that imports will have on jobs in this country. With Korea’s average wages at 1/3 those of the U.S. and those in Colombia and Panama even lower, these new trade agreements are expected to add even more cheaply made imports to America’s growing import problem.

With the president’s support of these agreements over his years in office there is no chance that he will rethink his decision to sign them into law, but if he were truly concerned with American jobs he would do just that. It appears our politicians have learned nothing from our previous forays into free trade agreements. These agreements such as NAFTA have cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs and destroyed our ability to manufacture in this country. President Obama acknowledged this before he was president, but has since taken a different course. We need to reverse this course if we want to be prosperous once again.

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