Jan 152015
 

In 1994, in an effort to increase trade with Mexico and Canada, we approved the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), creating the world’s largest free trade area. NAFTA removed taxes on products traded between these countries and gave multinational corporations the unprecedented right to sue governments for infringement of “investment rights.” These investor protections encouraged the relocation of many American manufacturing plants to Mexico – which is cheaper and less regulated than we are. For nearly 20 years, NAFTA’s impact on American jobs has been intensely debated. However, it now appears Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential election statement regarding “the giant sucking sound” of U.S. jobs heading for the border was somewhat accurate. Supporters claim NAFTA has been a resounding success, crediting it for fueling unprecedented trade and creating millions of jobs here. Foreign investment in Mexico has quadrupled and its over-all trade has tripled during these two decades. They say we must continue to build upon NAFTA and think more as a region in order to be globally competitive. Advocates and unions agree that NAFTA has been a big success for multinational corporations and has made Mexico into a manufacturing giant, but they claim it has also caused great problems for many inhabitants of both nations. They claim offshoring and lower wages have hurt our economy, led to the loss of our manufacturing sector and significantly contributed to the demise of our middle class. They also say that Mexico’s rural industries have been destabilized. Many employees of Mexico’s small companies lost their jobs when their firms failed once NAFTA removed their protective tariffs. This unemployment has been cited as the main reason our illegal immigration doubled in the years after NAFTA was enacted, even though supporters had said this pact would reduce the incentive for illegal immigration. America lost much of its manufacturing and shipping jobs to NAFTA. What we are getting as a result of approving NAFTA, critics say, are American products with American design and technology but without American labor. They disagree that NAFTA has provided millions of jobs, claiming it has merely substituted good-paying American jobs for poor-paying ones. Studies show that over 60% of the net NAFTA job losses were high-paying manufacturing jobs in states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, California and Ohio. Critics also say that threats by corporations to relocate put significant downward pressure on the wages of many American jobs. They claim this “race to the bottom” is the legacy of free trade and NAFTA.

Pending Legislations:

H.R.191 – NAFTA Accountability Act

H.R.156 – To provide for the withdrawal of the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement

I oppose reforming current NAFTA policy and wish to defeat H.R.191 and H.R.156

I support providing that unless the conditions set forth in this Act are met, Congress shall withdraw its approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement; specifies that among such conditions that the President renegotiates NAFTA to correct trade deficits, currency distortions and the impact of agricultural imports on U.S. production; prescribes requirements for gains in U.S. jobs and living standards, increased domestic manufacturing; expresses the sense of Congress that until such conditions are met the President should not engage in negotiations to expand NAFTA to include other countries, and wish to pass H.R.191

I support withdrawing Congress’s approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement and directing the President to provide written notice of the withdrawal to the governments of Canada and Mexico, and wish to pass H.R.156

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Offshoring occurs when businesses send in-house jobs overseas. It is difficult to estimate the number of American jobs that have been lost to offshoring. Our government doesn’t keep relevant records, and the reports of corporations aren’t reliable. However, it is known that during the 2000’s the largest U.S. multinational corporations, those that employ about one American worker out of every five, cut 2.9 million U.S. jobs while increasing overseas employment by 2.4 million. Low overseas labor costs were cited by our executives as the biggest reason these firms moved, but critics say weaker labor and environmental laws also had much to do with these decisions. As offshoring has increased, our manufacturing sector has suffered the most. Eight million manufacturing jobs were lost between 1979 and 2009. More than 51,000 American manufacturing plants closed between 1998 and 2008. Advocates claim these stable, middle-class jobs have been a backbone of the U.S. economy for decades. These losses have done much damage to many communities across our nation. In the 1990’s, private equity firms led the charge for corporations to move to unregulated countries. Corporation executives feared being taken over by equity firms and needed to run their businesses in a way that maximizes short-term profits and share prices – or their companies would become takeover targets and they would be out of a job. The ploy many private equity firms use is to load up company executives with so much stock and stock options that they don’t hesitate to make difficult decisions such as shedding divisions, closing plants or offshoring work overseas. And although offshoring has been an economic boon to China, It has been a disaster for its effects on air and water quality, and the health of its people. Chinese citizen activism is increasing and more that 50,000 environmental protests have occurred since 2012.

Pending Legislations:

S.63 & H.R.375 – Made In America Manufacturing Act of 2013

H.R.1899 Fighting for American Jobs Act of 2013

H.R.929 – Patriot Corporations of America Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current overseas offshoring policy and wish to defeat S.63 & H.R.375, H.R.1899 and H.R.929

I support establishing a program for the joint award of incentive grants to a state or a regional partnership to support the U.S. manufacturing industry; limiting single grants to $20 million, to be used by the recipient to carry out a manufacturing enhancement strategy including; establishing a revolving loan fund for loans to manufacturers for various business purposes, retraining current and training new manufacturer employees, and creating or expanding manufacturer export activity and domestic supply chain opportunities, and wish to pass S.63 & H.R.375

I support requiring corporations to disclose the number of employees working in the U.S. and abroad, the number of employees laid off or forced to resign during the previous year, and prohibiting federal assistance to businesses that lay off a greater percentage of workers in the U.S. than in other counties, and wish to pass H.R.1899

I support reducing the income tax rate for Patriot corporations, and reclassifying foreign corporations created or organized to avoid federal taxation as domestic corporations for income tax purposes. Patriot corporations are defined as a corporation which produces at least 90% of its goods and services in the United States, does not pay its management-level employees at a rate more than 10,000% of the compensation of its lowest paid employee, conducts at least 50% of its research and development in the United States, contributes at least 5% of its payroll to a portable pension fund for its employees, pays at least 70% of its employees’ health insurance costs, maintains a policy of neutrality in employee organizing drives, and wish to pass H.R.929

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an UN-affiliated organization that attempts to promote and supervise international trade. It regulates trade between participating countries, negotiates trade agreements, resolves disputes and enforces participants’ adherence to WTO agreements. The WTO uses the principles of free-market capitalism when ruling whether a member state is compliant with its policies. Its panels, composed of government and industry representatives, decide whether a nation’s laws are a “barrier to trade” and in violation of free trade agreements. WTO’s “most favored nation” provision requires member states to treat each other equally and to also treat corporations from these states equally regardless of their histories. WTO opponents claim its meetings are not transparent and their decisions are made without consumer or citizen input. They say its policies often conflict with those of local communities that wish to reward companies who hire local residents, use domestic materials or adopt environmentally sound practices – all of which may be illegal under the WTO. Some opponents also say the WTO is being used by corporations to dismantle hard-won environmental protections which are attacked as “barriers to trade.” WTO panels have ruled that a provision of our Clean Air Act, requiring both domestic and foreign producers to produce cleaner gasoline, was illegal. The WTO also declared illegal a provision of our Endangered Species Act that requires shrimp sold here to be caught with an inexpensive device which allows endangered sea turtles to escape. Many other such examples exist. Critics half-jokingly say that nations must surrender a portion of their sovereignty when joining this organization. In some countries, the WTO is attempting to deregulate logging and fishing industries which could lead to further exploitation of these natural resources. It is also seeking to privatize public water utilities and energy distribution systems as well as education and health care services. Critics claim privatization usually involves the selling-off of public assets, with these services then being operated for profit rather than the public good. They say the profit motive has no place in allocating these essential services. They also say that WTO decisions should include all aspects of an issue, such as human and environmental considerations, not just the promotion of trade.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current World Trade Organization policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to make World Trade Organization meetings transparent and include consumer representatives; requiring the WTO to give equitable consideration of human and environmental factors as it does with trade promotion factors when devising trade policies

 Posted by at 12:00 am