Where Is Comprehensive Trade Reform?
President Obama is now calling for immigration reform. Americans recognize the need for a sensible immigration policy, so why don’t we have a sensible trade policy as well? By entering into “free trade” agreements we are allowing workers from afar to take our jobs, devastating our economy and straining our system without any immigrants even setting foot in our country.
The hypocrisy of many of our representatives is astounding. They will get up on their soapbox and rant about how a flood of illegal immigrants are taking our jobs, but then turn around and sponsor a “free trade” agreement that gives away our jobs to the lowest-cost competitor. The worst part is that while illegal immigrants usually take some of our least desirable and lowest paying jobs, “free trade” agreements ship our best middle class jobs off to other countries. How can these politicians stand up with a clear conscience and claim they care about jobs when they sign these disastrous agreements?
Free trade allows unrestricted, uncontrolled access to our economy for goods made overseas at labor costs far below ours, sometimes as low as $4 per hour, tariff- and duty-free. We cannot compete with these labor costs, so we must outsource our manufacturing or see our factories go bankrupt. This renders us uncompetitive and sends the middle class jobs we once depended on overseas, devastating our economy.
We need to think about trade policy the same way we think about immigration policy. When politicians talk about immigration reform they talk about coming up with a solution that helps America thrive. This does not mean throwing the doors to our country wide open; it means only letting in law-abiding citizens who will be productive members of society. Our politicians don’t think so pragmatically on trade, however. They allow imports into our country, regardless of our needs or the consequences for American jobs.
This thinking has to end if America is to succeed. “Free trade” has been an abject failure whose disastrous consequences have been ignored for too long. We need real trade reform now.