fresh voices from the front lines of change







The NY Times has an editorial on trade today, Keeping Protectionism at Bay. The editorial, written by well-paid New Yorkers living far from the devastated communities of the “rust belt,” explains down to us that it is a bad thing to “protect” our jobs and our communities and our economy and our democracy.

Here is the NYT editorial, depicted in graphic form:


Here are excerpts,

With growth still slow and unemployment high, many developed countries are resorting to measures that restrict imports — from antidumping investigations to tariff increases. This must stop.

[. . .] This course is not surprising given the sluggish recovery. In Europe and the United States, the end of fiscal stimulus has left communities and industries foundering. And with the international solidarity sparked by the global financial crisis eroding, governments want to give domestic firms an advantage.

Workers, Companies Want A Level Playing Field

Far from wanting to “give domestic firms an advantage,” American companies are asking for a level playing field. Confronted with countries that engage in organized cheating as a national policy, our companies are at a terrible disadvantage. China, for example, engages in currency manipulation that means goods produced there have a 30-40% price advantage in world markets, even before taking other factors into account, like the subsidies many of China’s companies receive.

Companies Against Countries

Conservative “you are on your own” ideology blocks our government from getting involved in developing an industrial/economic policy. But other countries are not similarly tied down and can act as a country. This leaves our companies and workers on their own, up against national governments coordinating and promoting entire industries. Individual American companies have little chance when trying to compete with national governments.

Democracy A Disadvantage?

Americans fought and sacrificed to build and keep the protections and benefits that democracy offers. Those include good jobs with good wages, worker safety laws, rules preventing companies from polluting, and so many other things that conservatives complain make us less “business-friendly.”

But “free trade” deals have let the big, monopolist, multinational companies get around these protections of democracy. They let these companies move factories over the borders of democracy to thugocracies and pit employees here against desperate, exploited people who have no voice, no power and no money. Democracy isn’t free, so of course they can be made cheaper elsewhere.

Then we let those goods produced in thugocracies come back here to compete with goods made here? What?

Of course it is cheaper to make things where there is no democracy to set rules and protect working people! Is it a good idea to make agreements that necessarily put goods made in a democracy at a disadvantage because they are made in a democracy?

The NY Times is telling us not to “protect” our democracy.

NY Times Don’t Care

Like the Honey Badger in the video below, the NY Times don’t care. The NY Times don’t give a sh*t.

Frank Sobotka explains:

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