It’s not just about jobs

transparencyRE: The Register’s Editorial “House Dems protect their jobs, not ours, with trade votes.
It’s not just about jobs. Labor is not against trade. We are in favor of “Fair Trade” not “Free Trade” that has no protections for workers, consumers, the environment or protection from rogue corporations utilizing Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) to punish our democracy.
Trade deals such as the TPP only further widen the income gap in this nation, and trade deals need to be negotiated for the common good, not just the good of the business community.
Not that long ago, America was the envy of the world. Not only were the rich were doing extremely well, but workers were doing well too. Workers made enough money to buy products that other Americans made and the economic circle went round and round, and things were good.
Now greed has taken over, and many recent trade deals do not benefit the greater good of working Americans.
The Register’s Editorial basically states that should we just give up on jobs here, “Those jobs will not be coming back, with or without trade agreements…” That automation will replace human factory workers so who cares if we export them. This problem exists in no small part because America is one of the few industrialized nations that has no national manufacturing policy. Many of our allies in Europe, for example, do. Manufacturing will always change and always has, but a reasonable strategy for dealing with it is not to say, “these jobs don’t have value, let’s ship the overseas to the lowest bidder.”
Another issue the Register seems to not want to talk about is the lack of transparency surrounding this and other trade deals. This is ironic because the Register has historically come out for transparency with state and local issues, but they have chosen to not address that issue when 40% of the world economy is at stake with the TPP.
The Register once stated that they wanted to continue “to continue to build momentum for legislative changes or to stop interpretations of existing laws that fly in the face of transparency.”
Some members of Congress and others can review this trade deal, but they cannot take notes, make copies or divulge details – If it is so good for us, then why the secrecy?
This is not just about jobs, it’s about the citizens of America having a right to know what we are trading away, and what we get in return. It’s about putting people before profits. Congress is elected to protect us, not serve the all mighty dollar of multinational corporations or to represent other countries.
We need trade. We need jobs. We have a right to know what our government is doing and have a voice in that decision.

Ken Sagar Iowa Federation of Labor

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