ADMINISTRATION DOESN’T DESERVE “FAST TRACK” TRADE AUTHORITY
|| By FITSNEWS || As a candidate for president in 2008, Barack Obama vowed a lot of things … most notably to “spread the wealth around.” And he’s done that … albeit not as expected. Obama also promised lower health care premiums … which Americans were stupid to believe.
No really … just ask the architect of Obamacare, he’ll tell you: “Stupid.”
A lesser-known promise? Obama vowed to reform the way U.S. trade deals were cut … and specifically to renegotiate the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Has he done that?
No … in fact he’s pushed through another similar trade agreement (the 2011 U.S.-South Korean free trade deal) and is currently seeking so-called “fast-track trade authority” to negotiate a new Pacific Rim trade pact (the Trans-Pacific Partnership).
Should Congress grant him that authority? Hell no …
“Fast-track” is cronyism at its worst. If approved, it would result in the creation of more than 600 official corporate U.S. “trade advisors” – which the Obama administration would select and then grant access to all sorts of secret trade protocols.
Think these advisors would have your interests in mind? Of course not … they’d be looking out for themselves.
The Constitution empowered Congress to conduct trade deals – not the executive branch. Hell, if there’s any president who has demonstrated he shouldn’t be trusted with any additional authority, it’s Obama.
“In today’s environment of executive branch overreach, it makes zero sense to allow Obama to unilaterally write conforming legislation after he waves his mighty pen signing the treaty,” Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG) noted last fall in a column for The Hill.
He’s absolutely right …
Beyond the issue of constitutional overreach, U.S. trade negotiations (like all government business) should be conducted in the full view of the public – not behind closed doors. That’s the only way to ensure the promises of “free trade” truly materialize … which of late has been an iffy proposition.
U.S.-supported trade deals have indeed resulted in lower consumer costs, but they have also contributed to lost jobs and shrinking income levels … especially for workers who lack college degrees.
Is the juice worth the squeeze?
“U.S. workers without college degrees have lost roughly 12.2 percent of their wages – even after accounting for the benefits of cheaper imported goods,” columnist Leo Hendrey, Jr. wrote recently for Reuters. “This means less, not more, consumer demand for U.S. manufacturing and service-sector firms.”
The efficacy of trade compacts is a debate America needs to have. Unfortunately, we’ll never have that debate if Obama is empowered to conduct these deals in secret – with the people’s elected representatives given no other option than to “take it or leave it.”