Job Killing “Free” Trade is the Problem
The United States was once the world’s factory. We manufactured everything. Since opening up our borders through free trade agreements, we have not only lost that title but have put millions of Americans out of work in the process. Any American looking at the facts can see that free trade has been a bad deal for the United States.
The large companies that once drove our economy are now multinationals with no allegiance to the United States. They seek out cheap labor wherever it can be found and use it to manufacture their goods. They look for places with no environmental or safety standards so that they can operate as profitably as possible. They then utilize our free trade agreements to ship their goods back to the United States at no penalty. This is a very profitable endeavor for the owners of these companies, but it has been disastrous for the American economy and American workers.
Some say that Americans need to lower their standards and accept lower wages, no benefits, poor working conditions, and the elimination of environmental protections in order to be able to compete in a global economy. Americans should not have to accept these concessions just to keep their jobs. They didn’t have to in the past. Michigan recently became a “right to work” state, which advocates claim will make Michigan competitive again by giving unions less power. Unions have their flaws, but unions are not the main reason Detroit declined- free trade is.
At the peak of American manufacturing, the U.S. was able to give workers good wages and good working conditions. The companies made a nice profit and workers shared in that prosperity. The difference has been free trade. We have moved toward a system in which profits trump nationalism and stock prices are more important than building quality products. This has devastated Detroit and the United States as a whole.
Free trade is an economic theory, but experience has shown us that it does not work in practice. It creates winners and losers, with the winners being the executives and owners of big companies, and the losers being the American people. Our politicians have pushed free trade based on the idea that it creates jobs, but we have seen the opposite effect. We need to start looking at the facts and acting accordingly.
The first thing we should do is withdraw from the WTO so that we can manage our own economy once again. The WTO rules against the U.S. in nine out of ten cases brought against us, which has been devastating for our country. We need to get out of all free trade agreements that have shipped our jobs overseas and destroyed our manufacturing base. With these two things accomplished we can begin to rebuild the once-great American economy.