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Taxi Driver Donating Member (142 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:04 PM
Original message
The Free Trade issue and the two parties
Why are the Republicans so opposed to protecting Americans from free trade? Have they always been like this? I only know two Republicans who are against free trade: Arlen Specter and Patrick Buchanan (not a Republican anymore apparently). Can anyone fill me in on why the left has adopted the protectionist stance while the Republican Party has abandoned it?

Also, can I get a list of Republicans who are against free trade?

Thank you very much.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:07 PM
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1. The Democrats are against free trade? Huh?
Apparently you must have missed how the Clinton administration was one of the most zealous free-trade administrations in memory!

In fact, "free" trade (the correct term, in reality, is "corporate-managed trade") is largely supported by politicians in BOTH parties. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that they are all supported by similar corporate interests....

But that's a whole other can of worms, one I don't have the energy for right now.
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Taxi Driver Donating Member (142 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Well of course Clinton supported trade, but that is because
to get the private contributions to be elected President you have to be good for the corporations.
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Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Yes but it was passed by mostly Republicans
A good majority of the Democrats voted against Clinton's Nafta and Gatt bills. Clinton was the best Republican President we have had since Lincoln.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:21 PM
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3. The free trade
..argument has been made by both parties since the 1950s. Free trade has benefited every country on earth that has embraced it EXCEPT the USA, which has lost most of its manufacturing base and is now starting to lose many of its white collar jobs to countries that trade their currency at a low rate against the dollar.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:32 PM
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5. Free Trade Is NOT THE PROBLEM
Edited on Tue Oct-07-03 04:40 PM by cryingshame
It's the lack of new jobs and technologies to replace the ones that go overseas.

Also, Business needs to be more responsible in alerting Government to when they are shifting jobs overseas so that the Government can redirect resources and retrain workers.

The problem with Junior is that even if Business had forewarned him he wouldn't have done anything except cut more taxes for the wealthy. He is not giving money to the states for job creation.

Paul Krugman has an article in today's NYTimes that speaks directly to this issue.

It is a MISTAKE to think that there is a finite number of jobs to be had in the United States.

The Government and Business is ENTIRELY CAPABLE of creating new jobs... either through providingn money to the States for job creation ala Homeland Security or to Business for Research and Developement in Alternative Energy.

Business should be made accountable for when they just outsource jobs without giving the Government any warning.

General Clark spoke about this last night, by the way.
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RandomUser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Smart Trade
I'm surprised this hasn't been discussed already on DU after the Iowa townhall meeting. Clark seems to be advocating something different from Clinton/Bush's irresponsible free trade and Kucinich's isolationist fair trade. He mentioned something called Smart Trade that mixes the Fairness Doctrine with prognoticating analysis/compensation mechanisms for free trade expansions. I hope he expands on it -- this was the first time I've seen him articulate the concept and it sounds intriguing.
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ieoeja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:48 PM
Response to Original message
6. Why the Switch

Conservatives originally opposed free trade in order to protect American businesses. Then they realized that large American businesses were in a position to buy out their overseas competition. So they went from protectionist to opportunist.

Progressives originally supported free trade as a way of lowering barriers that often led to war and kept powerless countries in poverty. I am not entirely certain their switch isn't in large part a knee-jerk reaction to the Conservative switch. There are certainly plenty of arguments against free trade in favor of the little guy in this country. But overall such opposition is hardly Progressive. And certainly not Liberal.

The problem is two-fold. American labor unions see the competition when they should be looking at billions of potential dues-paying members. Worse yet, these unions would need the same United States protection that is being given to business as part of the free trade agreements, but the United States government has, since Reagan's destruction of the Air Traffic Controllers, been decisively anti-labor.
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