Sanders: No More Bad Trade Deals

Senator Bernie Sanders voiced concern about the course of international trade negotiations between some in Congress and the White House. He joined a key block of senators at a press conference on Capitol Hill. To read his comments click the following link

There are a whole lot of absurd discussions that take placein the Congress. That's nothing new to the American people. But atthe top of the list for absurd discussions is our trade policy.Year after year after year, what we are doing in trade is failing in terms of our trade deficits, which aregoing up and up and up. The policy is failing in terms of the numberof good-paying, blue-collar manufacturing jobs we continue to lose.Trade policy is failing because we're at the cusp of losing millionsof good-paying, white-collar information-technology jobs.The most important question, in my view, that Congress can dealwith -- should be dealing with -- is why is it that, with an explosionof technology and a huge increase in worker productivity, there aremillions and millions of American workers today who have seen adecline in their standard of living and in their real wages, and inthe last five years, 5 million more Americans have become poor?Globalization and our trade policies are not the only reason forthat, but are an important part of that equation. The simplereality is that what these trade policies are about -- and have been forced upon us by largemultinational corporations -- they are asking American workers tocompete against desperate people in the developing world, who in somecases make pennies an hour. That is what our trade policy is about.And if you are a large corporate leader, it doesn't take a Ph.D.in economics to understand that, yes, you will throw American workersout on the street, who make $20 an hour, have health care, and whereyou have to obey environmental regulations. And yes, you'll run to China, pay people 30 cents an hour. Ifthey stand up for a union, they go to jail. If they stand up forenvironmental regulations, they go to jail. Why wouldn't you go to China?And of course, that's exactly what many, many Americancorporations are doing.One of the changes, in terms of trade policy, that has takenplace in recent years is that, years ago, people really, at the headsof these corporations, didn't admit, didn't acknowledge what they aredoing.But right now, we're seeing people very proudly saying what theyare doing. Jeffrey Immelt, the head of GE has said, "When I'mtalking to G.E. managers, I talk about China, China, China."With pride, they talk about how they're going to throw Americanworkers out on the street and move to China. Other major CEOs do thesame.So, bottom line is, when you have a football coach who, yearafter year, gives you a losing record, what most organizations do issay, "Thank you; we're getting rid of the coach; we're changing ourpolicy."This is a failed strategy. Seeing the middle class of Americadecline is a failed strategy. Seeing jobs go to China that used to bein this country paying people a living wage, is a failed strategy.The time is now, to completely reassess our trade policies anddevelop a trade program which works for American workers and themiddle class and not just for the CEOs of large multinationalcorporations.