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US Workers Choking On Pretzel Of "Free Trade"

President Bush visits East Moline, Illinois John Deere manufacturing plant to push Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority, offers workers another pretzel
President George W. Bush visited the East Moline, Illinois manufacturing plant of farm and construction equipment maker John Deere to pitch the supposed virtues of "free trade" today (Jan. 14, 2002). The purpose of the trip was to pressure the Senate to pass Trade Promotion Authority, which was passed by only one vote in the US House of Representatives late last year.

Fresh from choking on a pretzel, Bush appeared to believe that he could shove another pretzel down the throats of American workers already reeling from job losses brought on by a previous "free trade" agreement, NAFTA. If NAFTA had lived up to what it was promoted as, a bill that promised to bring hundreds of thousands of new jobs to US workers, Bush might have highlighted this fact in his speech to promote more of the same.

The cold reality is that NAFTA has actually DESTROYED hundreds of thousands of US jobs. Manufacturers have been quick to ship these jobs off-shore to take advantage of cheap labor in Mexico. Rather than raising the wages of Mexican workers by increasing demand for labor south of the border, the lack of enforcement of provisions regarding labor law to protect workers’ rights to organize has resulted in falling wages for Mexican workers. In Illinois alone, documented job losses from NAFTA number more than 139,000 ( Nationwide, some three-quarter million jobs have been lost due to NAFTA’s impact (!/FTAA01/NAFTAreports.htm).

Bush must have still been a little whoozy from his struggle with the pretzel the night before his trip west. He claimed that his tax relief package, under fire for spending down the surplus by giving the bulk of its tax relief to a tiny, wealthy percentage of the population, had already begun to help the economy recover from the twin blows of Sept. 11 and the ongoing deindustrialization of the US economy.

The reality is that the tax relief package was cleverly designed to give back the bulk of the money from the US Treasury after 2005. The Republican leadership had planned it this way so that the budget impact would come AFTER (they hope) Bush is reelected in 2004, so that he could claim credit then without having had the bitter medicine of cuts in government funding yet fully in place to poison the electorate’s view of Bush. Since little to no actual tax relief has occurred yet, Bush must have thought himself already safely in the year 2005 when he made his speech today, if he actually thought his package of giveaways to the rich has had any effect on the economy so far.

For more info on why "free trade" should be opposed by US workers, visit the websites cited above or:

More Info About Trade Promotion Authority AKA Fast Track

Here are some useful links to learn more about TPA and its potential to accelerate job loss and environmental damage.

Statement regarding the unethical pressure to pass TPA to supposedly help fight "terrorism":

Follow the money trail of special interests who promote TPA at the expense of working Americans:

TPA: Bad for people, but also bad for the environment. Both need a Free Trade Bill of Rights to protect them from the self-interests of corporations who promote TPA:

More info on TPA. Although this piece was written before the Thomas version of TPA was passed in the House and sent to the Senate, it outlines the many failings of TPA in regards to the greater good of the majority in our nation:



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