Obama’s Change of Heart
During his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama verbally condemned the practice of free trade. He spoke ill of NAFTA and the American jobs it has shipped south of the border. He discussed the poor trade relations the U.S. has had with China, and promised to address the issue before our manufacturing base is destroyed. He denounced the awaiting free trade agreements with South Korea and Colombia, specifically stating that he would oppose them.
But, as we now know, none of these pledges have held up. China is dominating the American economy more than ever. NAFTA is still a major roadblock for American manufacturers. And Obama pushed for the ratification of both the South Korean and Colombian free trade agreements, along with a third pact with Panama – and all three have been passed. Worst of all, Obama’s new found love of free trade has the United States on the brink of a potential Trans Pacific Partnership, which would open up U.S. borders to goods from all over Asia.
What led to this 180 degree shift in attitude? The answer is simple. Money.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that 69 percent of Americans believe that free trade has cost America jobs. So Obama knew that touting the benefits of free trade was not going to get him into office. Once elected, however, Obama fell into the same routine that almost all politicians do in this day and age: he immediately needed to start campaigning to win his next election. And campaigning can be expensive.
The only people that benefit from free trade are large, multinational corporations and special interest groups. And thanks to flawed legislation like the dreadful Citizens United ruling – which allows corporations to boundlessly fund political campaigns – these entities are more than happy provide all of the campaign funding Obama will ever need. Of course, they also want to make sure that their own interests are taken care of along the way. Here in, lies the corruption of free trade in politics.
Americans need to speak out to their representatives about corrosive policies that allow this sort of bribery. As long as corporate lobbyists are pulling the strings for politicians like President Obama, free trade will continue to run rampant in this country. And as long as free trade is prevalent, the American economy will continue to stumble and collapse.