Pundit Joe Klein left the cloistered world of the Beltway to travel American during the 2010 mid-term election. He found out and admitted what many already knew: free trade was not the panacea the economic and political elites promised it would be.
“when the middle class looks and sees how free trade has sold them down the river, exporting millions of jobs … they feel whipsawed, pissed off at both sides. I can’t tell my kids that they’ll be able to get a good job with a good company, work there for 30 years and retire with a good pension. I’d be lying. People know that doesn’t exist anymore, and they’re angry about it.”
And trade deals which help corporate bottom lines rather than workers is not fair trade. This isn’t like trading for bubble gum cards or stickers when you were young. These are vast, complex deals worth a lot of money to the powers that be. If your average joe benefits, great, if not well that’s creative distruction for you.
It isn’t just U.S. industrial unions opposing the deal, it’s also Korean farmers protesting trade deals with heavily subsidized U.S. farmers. Those who stand to lose, and stand to lose a lot, are the ones making the products or growing or mining the commodities that will be traded. Pitting worker against worker in a race to the bottom as means of economic growth for those well off already enjoying cheap good in the collusion between big business and big government.
Trade between nations yes but let’s cut out the middleman first.