Friday, September 9, 2011

Obama Continues His "Free Trade Agreement" Lie

In his jobs speech of last night, Obama, once again, flat out lied about the free trade agreements with Columbia, South Korea and Panama. As he had, time and time, again, he "urged Congress to pass the free trade agreements"; as if it was Congress that was sitting on them.

The fact is that all those agreements were buttoned up and ready for a ratification vote at the end of the Bush Administration. But, it was Nancy Pelosi, speaking for the then-Democrat controlled Congress, who refused to even bring a ratification vote to the floor of the House (Click here to see a typical story regarding Pelosi's block tactics: Pelosi says House will change rules to stop Colombia trade vote). So, Bush was forced to hand over the trade agreements to the Obama Administration for ratification.

Since then, Obama has pursued a course of renegotiating each of the agreements so that the American labor unions are protected and compensated for any job losses that may result from the free trade activity. Further, Obama is demanding that, as part of the agreement, the foreign trading partner guarantee that its workers have U.S. style benefits and working conditions. Here's the actual text from the Office of U.S. Trade Representative website for the Columbia agreement (Click to link to U.S. government website) that explains the continuing process:
President Obama is committed to pursuing an ambitious trade agenda that will help grow our economy and support good jobs for U.S. workers by opening new markets. To achieve that objective, we seek to provide a level playing field that creates economic opportunities for U.S. workers, companies, farmers, and ranchers, and that ensures our trading partners have acceptable working conditions and respect fundamental labor rights. As part of this broader trade agenda, the Obama Administration has worked closely with the government of Colombia to address serious and immediate labor concerns. The result is an agreed “Action Plan Related to Labor Rights” that will lead to greatly enhanced labor rights in Colombia and clear the way for the U.S.-Colombia Trade Agreement to move forward to Congress.
More than anything, the last sentence that I have highlighted above in red, says it all. It clearly states that the agreement is in some kind of agreed upon "action plan" limbo and that, once resolved, it will "clear the way for the" agreement "to move forward to Congress." While the text above was extracted from the Columbia Trade Agreement website, the same text appears on the U.S. government trade agreement website for Panama. On, the South Korea agreement webpage, that agreement is on hold pending a resolution of "concerns that have been expressed regarding automotive trade."

It's just amazing to me that the main stream media of this country allows Obama to keep retelling this lie without ever contesting it. What's really sad is that Obama has placed the concerns of the U.S. labor unions ahead of all those non-union jobs that would have been created by these agreements. Subsequently, Americans have lost 2-1/2 years of jobs opportunities; just so Obama can get labor union support in his 2012 reelection bid. This from a President who hypocritically keeps demanding that Congress act "now" on his jobs plan!

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