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Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 03:46 PM
Number of posts: 24,691

Journal Archives

Do you think that China's growth would have been limited without NAFTA? 90% of China's trade is not

with the US. Trade with China is a bigger part of Germany's economy than it is of the US economy. Germany's unions and middle class are doing just fine. Our problems are internal not the fault of poor people in other countries. We can't blame our regressive taxes, little support for unions and an ineffective safety net on the Chinese or the Mexicans or the Kenyans or the Peruvians. The problem is much closer to home.

Obama promised to work to revise NAFTA to protect Worker's Rights and he hasn't ...

Assuming Obama really means to 'protect worker rights' covering them in TPP which includes Canada and Mexico would be one way to do it.

NAFTA to protect Worker's Rights and he hasn't because the cow was out of the barn and had run over the cliff since that opened the door to shipping our manufacturing overseas to China ...

NAFTA had nothing to do with China. Do you really think that China's growth would have been limited if the US and Canada had avoided a trade agreement with Mexico?

... and anywhere else where workers could be abused with substandard working conditions and wages that kept them in poverty.

"Trade agreements can be written and negotiated to raise living standards for workers and to enforce environmental protections vital to survival of the planet ..."

... the rest we won't know about because it is secret and Fast Track means none of us will know until it's signed.

No. 'Fast track' affects the ratification/rejection process, not the negotiating process.

"Fast Track means none of us will know until it's signed." Do you believe that denying 'fast track' means that we WILL know what's in it before it is signed? The negotiations have been going on in secret for years without 'fast track'. Why would the continuing lack of 'fast track' suddenly open up the negotiating process?

With 'fast track' the negotiations can be secret or they can be public. In the absence of 'fast track' the negotiations can be secret or they can be public.

IF we ever get a trade agreement that would "raise living standards for workers and to enforce environmental protections vital to survival of the planet ...", do you think it is likely that republican majorities in the House and Senate will not cut out precisely those provisions that "raise living standards for workers and to enforce environmental protections vital to survival of the planet ..." and leave in the stuff that corporations and the 1% like, if they are allowed to do so?

"Trade agreements can be written and negotiated to raise living standards for workers and to enforce

environmental protections vital to survival of the planet."

I agree with that assessment. Indeed that is the only argument that the TPP is at all defensible. None of us has seen the chapters on labor rights and environmental protection because they have not been leaked. If those chapters are nonexistent, weak or unenforceable then TPP deserves to go down in flames.

I have often read that Obama believes that a trade policy that respects enforceable labor rights and environmental protections not only is a good thing on its merits but gives the US a competitive advantage with low-wage, environmentally lax countries that we do not have today. The low-wage countries now have that advantage.

Obama has these rights and protections included in his TPP objectives. Obviously, none of us know to what extent they will be reflected in the final agreement - assuming there ever is one. Those who don't trust him - be they tea partiers or some DUers - will of course 'know' that he will sell us out in the end. Indeed he might. But who will we ever trust to negotiate a trade agreement to be "written and negotiated to raise living standards for workers and to enforce environmental protections vital to survival of the planet"? If the answer is, "No one." then we really don't believe that government has a role to play in this.

BTW, the excerpt you posted did not allege that 'fast track' means that the "Senate does the vote without even seeing what's in the Trade Agreement and they have no ability to discuss or revise the agreement because it gives the President total authority."

On most issues she qualifies but not to the same extent as other candidates.

Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 0% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-choice stance. (Dec 2006)
Rated 60% by the ACLU, indicating a mixed civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
Rated 89% by the HRC, indicating a pro-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
Rated 96% by the NAACP, indicating a pro-affirmative-action stance. (Dec 2006)
Rated 35% by the US COC, indicating a mixed business voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 82% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes. (Dec 2003)
Rated 89% by the LCV, indicating pro-environment votes. (Dec 2003)
Rated 100% by the CAF, indicating support for energy independence. (Dec 2006)
Rated 0% by the Christian Coalition: an anti-family voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 17% by CATO, indicating a pro-fair trade voting record. (Dec 2002)
Rated 100% by APHA, indicating a pro-public health record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 100% by SANE, indicating a pro-peace voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 8% by USBC, indicating an open-border stance. (Dec 2006)
Rated 85% by the AFL-CIO, indicating a pro-union voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 100% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 21% by NTU, indicating a "Big Spender" on tax votes. (Dec 2003)
Rated 80% by the CTJ, indicating support of progressive taxation. (Dec 2006)

Voted NO on implementing CAFTA for Central America free-trade. (Jul 2005)
Voted NO on extending free trade to Andean nations. (May 2002)


No, your source was for #13 was citizen.org which used statistics allegedly from a government

source - the US International Trade Commission. But the numbers they used at the link you provided to reach their conclusions were not the numbers actually from the USITC.

They cite the US International Trade Commission as the source for their statistics but a cursory glance at that site shows shows that, at the very least, the figures for our 2013 trade deficit with Canada and Mexico are not accurately represented on the citizen.org table in the article. Here is the link to the ITC and the actual trade deficit figures for 2013: http://dataweb.usitc.gov/scripts/cy_m3_run.asp Here is the link to the Census showing trade with Mexico: https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c2010.html And here is the Census date for trade with Canada: https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c1220.html

... this is a strange conversation to have with a fellow Democrat.

Seeking to base a discussion of trade policy on facts is "unDemocratic"? Quite the contrary, I think that discussing issues without facts is republicans are quite good at.

You're talking in circles, and it seems like you're just making up figures.

If you check the US International Trade Commission and the Census Department, you will see that I am not the one "making up figures".

You have a good one, too.

For the first time in 5 years, jobs/economy drop from top concern in Pew poll.

For the first time in five years, as many Americans cite defending the U.S. against terrorism (76%) as a top policy priority as say that about strengthening the nation’s economy (75%). Since Barack Obama began his second term in January 2013, the economy has declined 11 points as a top priority, and improving the job situation has fallen 12 points (from 79% to 67%).

The survey finds little change over time in many of the public’s other priorities: 67% rate improving education as a top priority, 66% cite securing Social Security, 64% reducing health care costs and 61% securing Medicare.

However, the budget deficit – which surged in importance between 2009 and 2013 – has lost ground since then. Currently, 64% say reducing the budget deficit is a top priority; that is little changed from last year (63%), but down eight points since 2013.

At the same time, other priorities are now viewed as more important. Increasing percentages say improving the nation’s infrastructure (up 12 points since 2013), dealing with global warming (up 10 points) and dealing with the nation’s moral breakdown (eight points) should be top priorities. Immigration, for which there is no 2013 trend point, has grown as a priority since last year; 52% view it as a top priority, compared with 40% last January.


The top Democratic concerns: global warming, the environment, the problems of the poor and needy, education, science, lobbyists and infrastructure. The top republican concerns: strengthening the military, the budget deficit, moral breakdown, immigration, terrorism and the tax system.

The biggest increases in importance were: infrastructure, immigration, stronger military and global warming. The biggest declines in importance: jobs, the economy and the budget deficit.

Great report from the Center for American Progress on how other countries support workers and

their middle class.

Trying to Solve the Great Wage Slowdown

While wages and incomes have stagnated in the United States (as well as in Japan and large parts of Europe), they have not done so everywhere. In Canada, a broad measure of incomes has risen about 10 percent since 2000, even as it’s fallen here. In Australia, it’s up 30 percent. ... Though Australia and Canada obviously are not identical to the United States, it certainly seems worth asking what they’re doing differently.

For starters, they are doing a better job with mass education. They have near-universal preschool, and they both do more to get low-income students through college. In Australia, college is free. “Increasingly,” the report says, “a college education is similar to the high school education of the past — necessary for a prosperous life.” The efforts to create a more skilled work force in Canada and Australia (as well as Sweden and some other countries) have led to better jobs – and stronger pretax income growth.

Beyond education, these other countries do more to intervene in the free market on behalf of the middle class and the poor. Other countries, for instance, have more generous child care and family leave – and their share of women with jobs has surpassed the share in this country. Their tax policies demand relatively more of the affluent. Canada, in particular, appears to have stronger financial regulation.

One theme is that the countries where the middle class has fared better are countries where workers have more power. The share in labor unions is higher, much as unionized workers in this country make more than otherwise similar workers.


The report itself is at https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/report/2015/01/12/104266

The French far-right's first priority: eliminating freedom of movement within Europe

Q&A: Marine Le Pen on France and Islam

French President Francois Hollande has held a national security meeting in Paris after the deaths of 17 people in the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Al Jazeera spoke to Marine Le Pen, the far-right French politician and president of the National Front, about how her party views the issue of security in France.

Al Jazeera: There was a security meeting here in Paris. In your opinion what should the French government be doing now to ensure French people they are safe.

Le Pen: The first priority is the immediate removal of Schengen [visa-free regime], because you can't have security and control in a country without having any powers over our borders. It's impossible to stop illegal arms trade.


The Schengen Agreement is the 30 year old agreement which enshrined freedom of movement throughout Europe. Conservatives here complain about 'open-borders liberals' though there is not much actual evidence of such creatures. This lament from Le Pen shows that the far-right in Europe has the same complaint about liberals.

Schengen is now a core part of EU law and all EU member states who have not already joined the Schengen Area are legally obliged to do so when technical requirements have been met. Several non-EU countries are also included in the area.


U.S. ranks poorly in commitment to fight global poverty

Each year the sharp minds at the foggy bottom think tank known as the Center for Global Development release a very cool and easy-to-use metric for evaluating to what extent wealthy countries are truly committed to fighting poverty and inequity in poor countries.

It’s dubbed the Commitment to Development Index and, despite its somewhat boring name, is quite fascinating and enlightening. This year’s authors, Owen Barder and Petra Krylová (both work in CGD’s European office), note that they measure countries not only by how much they spend per capita on foreign aid but also by poverty mitigation efforts within the context of trade, investment, migration, environment, security and technology.

Overall, the United States doesn’t measure up so well even though our leaders like to repeat that we spend more (in total) on foreign aid than any other country. True enough, but as this index shows that’s a bit of a red herring. As the report notes:

For the third year in a row, Denmark tops the Commitment to Development Index in 2014. Denmark is also the only country which is at or above the average on all seven components. The runners up are Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom, and Norway. These five countries do well on the index because of their consistently high performance across all policies. … The United States is above average in trade, but below average in every other component.

Go to their site and explore their interactive graphic and data. The accompanying graphic above is just a screen grab of the tool from CGD’s website. Below is another way to show the rankings:


4 of the top 5 countries are Scandinavian countries. Not exactly a surprise but they do set a high standard for the rest of us. Of course, they also set a high standard for domestic income equality and standard of living.

Some say it would be a disaster (including 'most republicans'), a big deal or, Krugman's view,

too hyped by all sides.

If the TPP has enforceable labor and environmental standards, as outlined in Obama's negotiating guidelines, it could be a big deal. The only way to get those critical issues included in trade rules is international negotiation and agreement.

If it does not have these standards or if they can be stripped out by republican majorities in congress, Obama would do well not to submit a final agreement (assuming one is ever reached) to congress.

Polls show that the Democratic base supports 'fast track' for Obama while the republican base hugely opposes it.

Democratic support for both treaties is stronger than that of Republicans: 60% of Democrats see TTIP as a good thing compared with 44% of Republicans, while 59% of Democrats look favorably on TPP compared with 49% of Republicans.


Poll: conservative and moderate republicans oppose fast track (for the TPP) by a ratio of 85 percent or higher.

On the question of fast-track authority, 62 percent of respondent opposed the idea, with 43 percent “strongly” opposing it. Broken down by political affiliation, only Democrats that identify as “liberal” strongly favor the idea. Predictably, a strong Republican majority oppose giving the president such authority, with both conservative and moderates oppose it by a ratio of 85 percent or higher.

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