POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Cassandra Candidates

by David Trumbull

December 28, 2007

Two recent news items.

On December 14, 2007 President George W. Bush signed the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement. According to published reports, earlier in the day, Peru's President Alan Garcia told a business audience that he hoped the agreement could be implemented by July at the latest. Currently, the U.S. and Peru enjoy a two-way trade relationship of nearly $8.8 billion dollars.


Preliminary U.S. Dept. of Labor data show 23 thousand textile jobs lost in 11 months of 2007.

And more job losses are coming. Charbert division of Narrow Fabrics of America will close in early 2008, affecting about 100 workers in Alton, R.I. Charbert does knitting, dyeing, and finishing of wide elastic fabrics for apparel and medical applications. That follows the loss of nearly 1,000 jobs in Fall River, Mass., when upholstery fabric maker Quaker Fabric Corporation closed--another victim of America’s failed trade policies.

Some weeks ago in this space I wrote “Now both parties in Washington are totally in the grip of free-trade ideologues who believe that we should get all our goods and services from workers in other nations (or from illegal aliens within our borders); rely on an intrusive and abusive system of direct taxation; and pay for the whole thing through personal and public indebtedness. Common sense tells us that we cannot borrow our way to prosperity. Sadly for our future, none of the leading presidential candidates in either party seems to have common sense.”

I owe you a correction.

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul says: “So called free trade deals and world governmental organizations like the International Criminal Court (ICC), NAFTA, GATT, WTO, and CAFTA are a threat to our independence as a nation. They transfer power from our government to unelected foreign elites. “

And Republican candidate Duncan Hunter says:

“American workers are the most productive and innovative labor force in the world. Unfortunately, they are asked to compete in an unfair environment against other workers who make only a fraction of a living wage and are employed by companies that face few, if any, responsibilities to the environment or the long-term prospects of their employees. Our domestic manufacturers are forced to compete against foreign companies that benefit from their country’s currency and regulatory regimes. Ominously, China is cheating on trade and using billions of American trade dollars to build ships, planes and missiles at an alarming rate while, at the same time, taking millions of American jobs. I will reverse this “one-way street” with a new policy of fair trade for the American worker.”

Hear much about these candidates in “main stream media? Of course not. It’s not that there aren’t politicians who will stand up and state the obvious. It’s just that to do so immediate brands one as a “long-shot” or “marginal” candidate.