Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Your Jobs Are Just a Negotiating Point (Yawn)

It is increasingly threatening to the longterm wellbeing of the country that it is represented in too many ways by unelected, and politically motivated, representatives of the White House. Our elected representatives are newly empowered, and a return to sanity by voters has occasioned a lot of startling revelations about how badly the executive branch has strayed from its constitutional powers, and conduct of constitutional duties.

Valentine's Day hearings before the House Ways and Means Committee in which the executive branch was represented by Trade Representative Susan Schwab brought out a stark contrast between the popularly elected representatives' need to protect American jobs and the economy and the administration's wish to have powers to negotiate without hindrance by those concerns.

During a February 14 hearing, Democratic members of the Ways and Means Committee, joined by some Republicans, expressed frustration over what they perceive as the administration’s inability to address the growing U.S. trade deficit and unfair competition from other countries.
Experts say that language on such labor standards as the right to associate and to bargain collectively, prohibitions on child labor and forced labor, and employment nondiscrimination is likely to be included in any legislation to renew trade promotion authority.
Schwab said that current and future presidents will need TPA to negotiate regional and bilateral agreements because few countries will negotiate with the United States without it.

A few days prior to her appearance before the committee, she said that failure to renew TPA would “signal to the world that the United States has lost faith in Doha.”

But at the hearings she reacted coolly to the idea of a one-year extension of TPA supported by the U.S. business community. She said any extension should accommodate not only a possible Doha deal but also other types of future trade agreements.

As in the statements by Secretary of State Rice citing administration 'gains' in negotiations on Darfur, this administration seems increasingly to look for trophies to hold up rather than actual benefits.

While the U.S. trade gap grows exponentially, this administration works for the elimination of barriers to trade, claiming that the losses in jobs domestically is really just a result of other factors such as oil prices. (Of course, it does nothing to diminish those record revenue producing oil prices.)

Our trade gap is of course astonishing;

............ in the United States , imports exceeded exports last year by $617.6 billion, a record gap equal to 5.3 percent of gross domestic product. The U.S. trade deficit , which swelled to $66.1 billion in September, has grown further in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period in 2004.

South Korea, by contrast, ran a $29.4 billion trade surplus last year, or 4.3 percent of its GDP, and even that paled by comparison with Japan's $132 billion surplus or the $100 billion-plus surplus China is expected to post this year.

The mountain of U.S. bonds that foreigners are accumulating means the United States is going deeper into debt to fund its import binge, to the tune of about $3 trillion as of this year.
I think there's pretty broad agreement among economists on both the right and left about what ought to be done. First of all, the U.S. needs to increase its savings--and since we've never succeeded at getting individual Americans to save more (though IRA's and so forth), that basically means reducing DISsaving. And the biggest dissaver of all is the U.S. government, through its budget deficit.

This is a government by cynical manipulation that has nothing to do with the public's interests. The danger of a worldwide collapse means nothing to the representatives of corporate interests.

I am tempted to think that a monumental failure of this magnitude would be a final blow to any hopes members of this abusive executive branch might have for a future in government. Unfortunately, the blindness of the voters in casting almost a majority in 2000, and a definite majority of votes in 2004 is sobering. Without media's keeping their failures constantly under review, the public can forget that the people who made these missteps are dangerous to our country.

The threat to their jobs and to the global economy are mounting. Their defensiveness is mounting. Their service of the public interest is falling.

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