Transcript of Today's Senate Cloture Vote on Fast Track

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The Senate refuse to invoke cloture on Fast Track today. They needed 60 votes to proceed to debating the bill on the floor. But they could only get 52.

Below is an uncorrected transcript from C-SPAN (from closed captioning). You can get a flavor of the debate.

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THE PRESIDING OFFICER
OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM COLORADO. A SENATOR: THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, IN A FEW MINUTES WE WILL BE HOLDING A VOTE ON WHETHER OR NOT TO INVOAK CLOTURE, CUTTING OFF DEBATE AND MOVING TO THE TRADE MOARGS AUTHORITY BILL.

MR. GARDNER:, AN IMPORTANT CONVERSATION THIS COUNTRY NEEDS TO HAVE IN TERMS OF WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO EXPAND OUR OPERATION TO THE REGION OF THE WORLD THAT REPRESENTS 40% OF OUR TRADE OPPORTUNITIES. A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR THIS CONGRESS, THIS SENATE TO SHOW HOW SERIOUS WE ARE ABOUT TRULY REBALANCING OUR EFFORTS WITH THE ASIAN NATIONS. IN COLORADO ALONE WE'VE EXPORTED NEARLY $8.4 BILLION IN GOODS IN 2014, 48% OF ALL GOODS WERE EXPORTED IN COLORADO IN 2014. OVER 260,000 JOBS ARE DERIVED FROM TRADE WITH NATIONS REPRESENTED BY THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP NEGOTIATING GROUP. AND THE T.P.P. REPRESENTS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR COLORADO TO CREATE NEARLY 4,000 NEW JOBS, AND THAT'S JUST A START. AND SO TODAY'S CONVERSATION ISN'T JUST A VOTE ON WHETHER OR NOT WE'LL HAVE MORE DELAY ON AN IMPORTANT BILL. THIS IS ABOUT SOMETHING THAT REPRESENTS FAR, A GREATER OPPORTUNITY THAN THAT. THE FACT IS OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS WE'VE FOCUSED OUR TIME ON THE MIDDLE EAST AND RIGHTFULLY SO. BUT AS OUR DAY-TO-DAY ATTENTION GETS GRABBED IN THE MIDDLE EAST, OUR LONG-TERM ISSUE LIE IN ASIA AND THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP REGION. SO TODAY I HOPE MEMBERS WILL PUT ASIDE TENDENCIES TO PLAY POLITICS WITH THE TRADE MOTION AUTHORITY AND GIVE US A CHANCE TO GROW OUR ECONOMY, TO MAKE MILES-PER-HOUR -- TO MAKE MORE PRODUCTS REPRESENTATIVE WITH THE SYMBOL AND LABEL "MADE IN AMERICA." THAT IS THE CHANCE WE HAVE TODAY, TO GIVE OUR WORKERS A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE, TO CREATE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR INCREASED TRADE IN AN AREA OF THE WORLD WHERE WE FACE INCREASING COMPETITION AND REGIONAL THREATS, TO SHOW THAT THE UNITED STATES WILL INDEED BE A PART OF A REGION IN THE WORLD THAT REPRESENTS SO MUCH OPPORTUNITY. AND AS WE'VE SEEN INCREASES IN COLORADO AND BEYOND IN TRADE AND TRADE OPPORTUNITIES, THIS BILL REPRESENTS A CHANCE FOR US TO CONTINUE IMPROVING OUR ABILITY TO GROW COLORADO'S ECONOMY AND COLORADO TRADE. SO TO OUR COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE SENATE, I INDEED HOPE THAT WE WILL INVOKE CLOTURE TODAY, THAT WE WILL MOVE FORWARD ON DEBATE, THAT WE WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO CONTINUE OUR WORK TO SUPPORT TRADE AND TO MOVE TOWARD PASSAGE OF THE FINAL T.P.P. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD BACK. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT? THE PRESIDING

00:04:26
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM OHIO. MR. BROWN: THANK

00:04:28
MR. BROWN
YOU. MR. PRESIDENT. THE TRADE PACKAGE WE'RE CONSIDERING TODAY IS MISSING IMPORTANT PROVISIONS THAT SUPPORT AMERICAN COMPANIES AND AMERICAN WORKERS. WE CAN'T HAVE TRADE PROMOTION WITHOUT TRADE ENFORCEMENT. EVEN SUPPORTERS OF FAST-TRACK AND T.P.P., THOSE CHEERLEADERS THAT, THE MOST OUTSPOKEN CHEERLEADERS FOR FREE TRADE, EVEN THOSE SUPPORTERS ACKNOWLEDGE THERE WILL BE WINNERS AND LOSERS FROM THIS AGREEMENT. PAST DEALS SHOW HOW WIDESPREAD THE LOSSES WILL BE. TRAVEL THE STATE THAT THE PRESIDING OFFICER AND I REPRESENT IN THE SENATE AND LOOK AT WHAT NAFTA HAS DONE. LOOK AT WHAT PNTR WITH CHINA HAS DONE. LOOK AT WHAT THE CENTRAL AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT HAS DONE. LOOK AT WHAT THE SOUTH KOREA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT HAS DONE TO US. IT WOULD BE AGO TRAGEDY -- IT WOULD BE A TRAGEDY IF THE SENATE ACTED AND FAILED TO HELP THE AMERICAN COMPANIES AND AMERICAN WORKERS AND THE COMMUNITIES WHOM WE ACKNOWLEDGE WILL BE HURT BY T.P.P. IN OTHER WORDS WE'VE TAKEN ACTION IN THIS BODY TAKEN BY THIS ADMINISTRATION AND THERE ARE WINNERS AND LOSERS FROM THIS ACTION. THE LOSERS ARE THOSE WHO LOSE THEIR JOBS, THE SMALL BUSINESSES THAT GO OUT OF BUSINESS AND THE COMMUNITIES THAT GET HURT BY THIS. THOSE ARE THE LOSERS. HOW DO YOU IGNORE THEM WHEN IT COMES TO THESE TRADE AGREEMENTS? BY C SCHEEGD TWO, EXCLUDING TWO OF THE FOUR BILLS, WE'RE EXCLUDING CRITICAL BIPARTISAN PROVISIONS THAT PROTECT WORKERS AND ENSURE STRONG TRADE ENFORCEMENT. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE OTHER COMPANIES IN OUR COUNTRY ARE PROTECTED FROM UNFAIR DUMPING. THAT IS WHY I INTRODUCED ALONG WITH MY COLLEAGUES SENATORS PORTMAN, CASEY AND BURR AND BENNETT AND COATS THE LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD ACT. WE INCLUDED REAUTHORIZATION WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. IT WOULD STRENGTHEN FORMAT OF TRADE -- STRENGTHEN ENFORCEMENT OF TRADE LAWS TO FIGHT BACK AGAINST UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES. IT PASSED THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE BUT IN THE MAJORITY LEADER'S PACKAGE AND SENATOR HATCH'S PACKAGE, IT IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND ON THE FLOOR TODAY. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE STRONG CURRENCY PROVISIONS ARE INCLUDED. THE FINANCE COMMITTEE OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORTED MY AMENDMENT 18-8. WE HAD SUPPORTERS, THE SUPPORT OF REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES: SENATORS PORTMAN, GRASSLEY, CRAPO AND BURR AND EYE SOCK SON AND -- AND ISAKSON. THIS PROVISION ENSURES A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR AMERICAN BUSINESS. IT IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND IN THE MAJORITY LEADER'S PACKAGE. ANY TRADE PACKAGE NEEDS TO ENSURE WE AREN'T IMPORTING PRODUCTS MADE WITH CHILD LABOR. THAT IS WHY THE FINANCE COMMITTEE PASSED AN AMENDMENT WITH OVERWHELMING BIPARTISAN SUPPORT TO CLOSE A 75-YEAR-OLD LOOPHOLE THAT ALLOWED PRODUCTS MADE WITH FORCED LABOR AND CHILD LABOR INTO THIS COUNTRY. 75 YEARS THAT LOOPHOLE STOOD. WE PASSED THAT AMENDMENT 21-5. WE HAD THE SUPPORT OF REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES. SENATORS GRASSLEY AND CRAPO AND ROBERTS AND CORNYN AND THUNE AND TOOMEY AND PORTMAN AND HELLER. AGAIN, MR. PRESIDENT, THIS BIPARTISAN PACKAGE THAT'S COME TO THE FLOOR, THIS BIPARTISAN PROVISION IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND IN THE MAJORITY LEADER'S PACKAGE. THAT IS WHY I CALL ON MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES, MANY OF WHOM I'VE NAMED, ALMOST EVERY ONE OF THEM ON THE FINANCE COMMITTEE, VOTED FOR EITHER THE CURRENCY AMENDMENT OR THE LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD AMENDMENT OR THE PROHIBITION ON CHILD LABOR AMENDMENT. SOME MEMBERS OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE, REPUBLICANS, VOTED FOR ALL THREE OF THOSE AMENDMENTS BUT THEY'RE NOT IN THE PACKAGE. I'M HOPEFUL MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WILL JOIN DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES TO VOTE "NO" ON CLOTURE SO WE CAN BRING A PACKAGE TO THE FLOOR THAT TAKES CARE OF WORKERS, THAT DOES TRADE MOTION AUTHORITY, THAT -- TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY, TAKES CARE OF WORKERS AND TAKES CARE OF ENFORCING TRADE RULES. THE TRADE PACKAGE WAS PASSED OUT OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE, FAR FROM PERFECT. I HAVE GRAVE CONCERNS WITH FAST-TRACK. THERE IS A REASON THESE PROVISIONS WERE INCLUDED IN THE TRADE PACKAGE. THE SENATE SHOULD CONSIDER ALL FOUR OF THEM. THE MAJORITY LEADER McCONNELL SAYS HE WANTS TO RESPECT COMMITTEE WORK ON LEGISLATION. WELL, HERE'S HIS CHANCE. THE ONLY WAY TO GET THESE IMPORTANT PROVISIONS TO THE PRESIDENT'S DESK IS TO COMBINE ALL FOUR INTO ONE. WE'VE DONE IT IN THE PAST. KEEP IN MIND EVERY TIME CONGRESS DOES MAJOR TRADE LAWS, 2002 FAST-TRACK INCLUDED PROVISIONS ON ENFORCEMENT. THE SAME THING IN 1988 ON THE TRADE PACKAGE. THE SAME THING IN 1972 ON THE TRADE PACKAGE. WHY WOULD WE BIFURCATE THIS? WHY WOULD WE TAKE OUT ENFORCEMENT WHEN THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF TRADE? WE SHOULDN'T MOVE FORWARD WITH ANY TRADE PACKAGE THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE ALL FOUR BILLS. I ASK MY COLLEAGUES IN BOTH PARTIES, THOSE WHO SUPPORTED OUR ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS AND BOTH PARTIES IN FINANCE TO JOIN US AND VOTE "NO" ON CLOTURE AS WE TAKE THE VOTE IN THE NEXT FEW MINUTES. I ASK THAT WE GO INTO QUORUM CALL AND THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE CHARGED EVENLY BY BOTH PARTIES. THE PRESIDING

00:09:50
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT? THE PRESIDING

00:09:54
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM OREGON. MR. MERKLEY: WE HEARD

00:10:03
MR. MERKLEY
THESE PRODUCTS WILL INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PRODUCTS STAMPED MADE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THAT IS PUT FORWARD IN TRADE AGREEMENT AFTER TRADE AGREEMENT AFTER TRADE AGREEMENT. THE FIRST STEP IN THE PROCESS IS TO SAY LOOK AT THOSE MARKETS. WOULDN'T IT BE WONDERFUL IN THAT NATION IF WE HAD DIRECT ACCESS, IMPROVED ACCESS? PARTICULARLY WE'VE DONE A SERIES OF AGREEMENTS WITH VERY LOW-WAGE AND LOW ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARD, LOW-ENFORCEMENT ASSASSINATIONS. THAT'S -- LOW-ENFORCEMENT NATIONS. THAT IS THE FIRST SECOND. THE SECOND STAGE IS WE'RE COMPETING WITH PRODUCTS MADE IN THAT COUNTRY, SO WE BETTER MAKE SURE WE OPEN A FACTORY THERE AS WELL. AND THEN SUDDENLY INSTEAD OF THOSE PRODUCTS COMING FROM THE UNITED STATES TO A FOREIGN NATION, AND IN FACT THOSE PRODUCTS ARE BEING MADE IN THAT FOREIGN NATION, THEN COMES STAGE THREE. NOW THAT WE'RE MAKING THOSE PRODUCTS OVERSEAS AT A MUCH LOWER PRICE BECAUSE OF THE LOWER WAGES, LOWER ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS AND LOWER ENFORCEMENT, IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO MAKE THOSE PRODUCTS IN THE UNITED STATES ANYMORE. SO THAT'S HOW WE LOST FIVE MILLION MANUFACTURING JOBS IN AMERICA. THAT'S HOW WE LOST 50,000 FACTORIES IN AMERICA. AND SO FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO PUT FORWARD THIS SHIMMERA, ILLUSION, MIRAGE THAT SOMEHOW THIS IS GOING TO INCREASE AMERICAN PRODUCTION, AMERICAN CITIZENS SHOULD KNOW IN FACT THAT IS A FALSE PROMISE, A FALSE PROMISE THAT HAS BEEN PUT OUT TIME AFTER TIME AFTER TIME AND SHOWN TO BE WRONG AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. LET'S THINK ABOUT THIS. WHY WOULD YOU PAVE A PATH TO PUT THE WORKERS IN YOUR STATE DIRECTLY IN COMPETITION WITH WORKERS EARNING 60 CENTS AN HOUR? TELL ME THAT THAT'S ADVANTAGEOUS TO MAKING THINGS IN YOUR NATION, AND I WILL TELL YOU, YOU ARE WRONG. SO LET'S NOT GO DOWN A PATH IN WHICH WE PAVE A HIGHWAY TO ESSENTIALLY DESTROY AMERICAN MANUFACTURING TO DISRUPT AMERICAN MANUFACTURING, TO DECREASE THE COMPETITIVENESS OF LIVING WAGES HERE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. LET'S ENHANCE AND STRENGTHEN OUR POSITION IN THE WORLD, NOT UNDERMINE IT. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. HATCH: MR.

00:12:59
MR. HATCH
PRESIDENT? THE PRESIDING OFFICER:

00:13:00
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
THE SENATOR FROM UTAH. MR. HATCH: IN THE

00:13:02
MR. HATCH
REMAINING 2 1/2 MINUTES WE HAVE, I WANT TO TAKE A FEW SECONDS OF IT. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO SUPPORT THE MOTION TO PROCEED. ALL THIS DOES IS GET US ON THE BILL. WE NEED TO HAVE A ROBUST DEBATE ABOUT TRADE AGENDA, AND I'M WILLING TO DO THAT. OF COURSE THE SENATE PIECE IS T.P.A. NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. I KNOW OUR STAFFS HAVE BEEN WORKING TOGETHER TO FIND A PATH FORWARD ON ENFORCED CUSTOMS. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT BILL AND WE NEED TO GET IT THROUGH THE SENATE, BUT TO DO THAT WE NEED TO BEGIN DEBATE TODAY. TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY IS THE KEY TO OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE. I HOPE MY COLLEAGUES WILL STAND WITH ME AND PRESIDENT OBAMA TO VOTE YES TO HELP LAY THE GROUNDWORK FOR A HEALTHY ECONOMY FOR OUR CHILDREN AND OUR GRANDCHILDREN. 95% OF THE WORLD'S TRADE IS OUTSIDE OF OUR COUNTRY. TRADE PRODUCERS, BETTER SALARIES , 13% TO 18%. WE HAVE WORKED THROUGH ALL THE PROBLEMS IN THE COMMITTEE. WE'VE HAD PLENTY OF AMENDMENTS, LOTS OF DEBATE. AND WE PUT THIS ON THE FLOOR WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT IT WOULD BE VOTED ON. AND, FRANKLY --

00:14:15
MR. BROWN
MR. BROWN: WOULD THE SENATOR YIELD FOR A QUESTION? WOULD THE FINANCE CHAIR YIELD TO A QUESTION? MR. HATCH:

00:14:20
MR. HATCH
MY TIME IS JUST ABOUT GONE BUT GO AHEAD. MR. BROWN: I'D

00:14:24
MR. BROWN
ASK IF THE FOUR BILLS WE PASSED IN COMMITTEE -- THE AFRICA GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES AND TRADE CUSTOMS BILL PASSED OUT WITH STRONG MAJORITIES. WE HOPED THAT THE TIME THEY WOULD COME TOGETHER -- MR. HATCH: I UNDERSTAND

00:14:40
MR. HATCH
THE QUESTION. THEY PASSED OUT WITH AN UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE AND MYSELF THAT WE WOULD VOTE ON THEM SEPARATELY BUT WOULD MOVE T.P.A. AND T.A.A. WHICH MOST REPUBLICANS HATE, WE WOULD MOVE TOGETHER AND MOVE THE THIRD ONE AND MOVE THE FOURTH ONE. IT WOULD SUPPOSED TO BE DONE THAT WAY BECAUSE EVERYBODY KNEW THAT PUTTING THE AMENDMENT, THE AMENDMENT ON THE ONE BILL WOULD NOT BE ACCEPTABLE IN THE HOUSE. AND WOULD NOT BE ACCEPTABLE TO THE PRESIDENT. THAT'S THE PROBLEM HERE. AND WE ALL KNOW, WE'RE PREPARED TO HAVE A VOTE ON THAT BILL BUT THE AGREEMENT WAS WE'D VOTE INDIVIDUALLY ALL FOUR BILLS AND FINALLY WE TODAY AGREED TO TO T.P.A. AND T.A.A. BECAUSE YOUR SIDE WAS CONCERNED ABOUT WHETHER THIS SIDE WOULD ALLOW T.A.A. TO GO THROUGH. THERE WAS NO QUESTION WE WERE WILLING TO DO THAT EVEN THOUGH MOST OF US HATE THAT BILL. MR. BROWN:

00:15:47
MR. BROWN
I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SPEAK FOR ONE MINUTE. THE PRESIDING

00:15:49
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION? OBJECTION. MR. HATCH: IF WE WOULD GET

00:15:57
MR. HATCH
A MINUTE, TOO, I'D BE HAPPY TO HAVE THAT. OKAY. THE PRESIDING OFFICER:

00:16:06
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE. THE CLERK: WE IN ACCORDANCE

00:16:10
THE CLERK
WITH THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE DO HEREBY MOVE TO BRING TO A CLOSE DEBATE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO H.R. 1314 AN ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986 TO PROVIDE FOR THE RIGHT TO AN ADMINISTRATIVE APPEAL RELATING TO TAX-EXEMPT STATUS OF CERTAIN ORGANIZATIONS SIGNED BY 17 SENATORS. THE PRESIDING

00:16:29
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
OFFICER: BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE MANDATORY QUORUM CALL HAS BEEN WAIVED. THE QUESTION IS: IS IT THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT DEBATE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO H.R. 1314 SHALL BE BROUGHT TO A CLOSE? THE YEAS AND NAYS ARE MANDATORY UNDER THE RULE. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE: THE PRESIDING OFFICER:

00:39:47
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WISHING TO VOTE OR WISHING TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, ON THIS VOTE THE YEAS ARE 52. THE NAYS ARE 45. THREE-FIFTHS OF THE SENATORS DULY CHOSEN AND SWORN HAVING NOT VOTED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, THE MOTION IS NOT AGREED TO.

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  • commented 2015-05-14 09:16:39 -0400
    Senator Merkley says:

    “LET’S THINK ABOUT THIS. WHY WOULD YOU PAVE A PATH TO PUT THE WORKERS IN YOUR STATE DIRECTLY IN COMPETITION WITH WORKERS EARNING 60 CENTS AN HOUR? TELL ME THAT THAT’S ADVANTAGEOUS TO MAKING THINGS IN YOUR NATION, AND I WILL TELL YOU, YOU ARE WRONG. SO LET’S NOT GO DOWN A PATH IN WHICH WE PAVE A HIGHWAY TO ESSENTIALLY DESTROY AMERICAN MANUFACTURING TO DISRUPT AMERICAN MANUFACTURING, TO DECREASE THE COMPETITIVENESS OF LIVING WAGES HERE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. LET’S ENHANCE AND STRENGTHEN OUR POSITION IN THE WORLD, NOT UNDERMINE IT.”

    It’s worse than that, he’s dead, Jim!

    This is a brilliant observation. Unfortunately, it’s 30 years too late. The industry I worked for was decimated by cheap Chinese imports between 1985 and 1995. It’s over! U.S. manufacturing is all but dead. The only manufacturing that remains here is stuff the Chinese don’t particularly want, yet. Our government has failed us miserably and they continue to twist the knife as we see our standard-of-living plummet.
  • commented 2015-05-13 18:07:55 -0400
    Sen. Merkley in his speech above explains how Free Trade treaties supposedly “opening export markets” boomerang to export US factories and technology to those countries and result in more IMPORTS from them due to lower wages, weaker regulations and, depending on the country, more effective industrial policies.

    I also agree with the comments by Scott Weir, that Free Trade treaties mean global governance via treaty law and international tribunals is eclipsing our national sovereignty and therefore our democracy and republic itself.

    Absolutely we need to enforce our customs laws, and add countervailing duties against currency manipulation to those already on the books against dumping. But Congress can and should do so as an act of our national sovereignty in our national interest, not as a concession to our citizenry so we will also have to accept more Free Trade treaties that offshore our industries, jobs and sovereignty. And in the end, all the enforcement against “unfair” trade practices will not be enough to stop our deindustrialization because it will not end the vast disparity in wages nor convince Asian nations to abandon their effective industrial policies that are indeed their sovereign right.

    In the same way, the USA has the sovereign right to protect our national interest by replacing the Free Trade policy with a Balanced Trade policy that uses Import Certificates to limit our imports to the same value as our exports. This would divert our $720+ billion annual merchandise trade deficits into that much new demand for US-made goods, rebuilding our industries and creating over 8 million new US jobs.

    There is no realistic possibility of anything close to those results by any treaty, which would increase rather than decrease our trade deficits. Nor will trade enforcements alone reverse our deindustrialization. Rather all those trade enforcements would harmonize with a Balanced Trade policy, as the way to help sort out which imports would be blocked and which allowed when the Balanced Trade policy imposes the quantitative absolute limits on how much imports will be allowed.
  • commented 2015-05-12 18:52:36 -0400
    Yes, democracy has a pulse!
  • commented 2015-05-12 18:04:15 -0400
    Early in my studies to become a card carrying economist I fell for the conventional wisdom on NAFTA. I was in my late 40s then, and the skepticism with which I viewed that “wisdom” had softened since I graduated from college 25 years earlier. My skepticism has returned, now with relatively firm knowledge of the guilty and the innocent, and having watched the decay of the U.S. economy in the 21 years since NAFTA.

    First, classical trade “theory” is as bogus as a $3,000 bill, and I am far from the only economist saying so. I have read the original passages in Ricardo’s “Principles” from which the “Free Trade” mantra springs, and they consist of one incomplete example (“it’s obvious”) that even in its day was far from entirely benign. “Free Trade” as advocated by USCC, ALEC, and all transnational corporations trades U.S. jobs and communities for corporate profits and “cheap Chinese crap.” No offense to the Chinese: It is the U.S. firms that spec the products — or fail to (e.g., lead paint on toys ordered by Mattell, melamine in dog food ordered by all of the major brands, etc., etc.).

    Both TPP AND “Fast Track” are direct affronts to democracy as such. I worry far less about the dumping and the currency manipulations that CPA gets so excited about than about the abrogation of democratic process and of the laws of sovereign nations inherent both in the end and in the means by which our misleaders are attempting to pass it past us.