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RandomUser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 05:41 PM
Original message
Clark: Smart Trade
Clark said something interesting last night at the Iowa townhall meeting. It sounded like he was advocating what he calls "smart trade," and it's the first time I've heard him articulate this concept. Does anyone know more about "smart trade"? It sounds intriguing as an alternative to reckless free trade or isolationist fair trade. Let me see if I can remember what he said...

1) No future trade agreements will be approved without labor and environmental standards attached. We probably can't get everyone up to our standards to start with, but we can get closer with each agreement, starting low and working to higher standards with every agreement.

2) Nafta is here, and we have to deal with it by improving it. Working to improve the terms of it.

3) For much of American history, the domestic market has been the largest market. But now, with globalization and the internet, this is no longer true. The global foreign market is now larger than the domestic American market, so we can't retreat. But we can deal with it in a smart manner by advantageously positioning ourselves -- through forward looking planning, education, job mobility, job creation restructuring.

4) Since our ability to compete is directly proportional to the education of our workers in the global environment, we need to be sure that education is promoted, and back to school education for workers are available for people changing jobs.

5) In fluid work environments where we want to encourage workers to feel free to take risks and start new careers, things like social security (did he mention healthcare too?) must be solvent, so that people will feel comfortable taking risks with their careers.

6) No reckless opening of our markets to foreign competition, unless we can be sure that this is reciprocated.

7) Prior to the enactment of any new trade agreement, an impact study must be conducted so we can identify which workers in which regions are most at risk. And then we need to plan ahead, and make sure there are new jobs available for those workers in those regions. This is done through a mixture of education/job-retraining facilities and programs, and making sure the local economy can absorb the impact by offering alternative jobs, with government help and funds if necessary.

8) For each job leaving America, we need to be able to create new jobs to replace them.

9) Invest in research and technology via R&D tax credits to give companies an incentive to invest in domestic American technology improvements, with the attendant business applications that will put us one step ahead of other economies in a global job market.

He denouced the reckless trade policies of the 1990s that helped to devastate American jobs, but he offers a solution that incorporates the Fairness Doctrine without requiring the isolationist trade-agreement renunciation route of Kucinich. What I like best is the forward-looking trade impact studies required before signing new trade agreements. So we can prepare for shifts in the economy before signing an agreement.

He isn't for reckless free trade that damages our jobs market. But he's also not for isolationist protectionism. He finds a smart alternative to reckless free trade and isolationist protectionism. Has any other candidate mentioned such a control mechanism for global trade?
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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 05:48 PM
Response to Original message
1. Trading the Republican party for the Democratic party was pretty smart.
I'm not sure what to make of his "smart trade" ideas yet. I'll wait for a policy paper.
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RandomUser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. Hmm...that didn't even take ten replies
Congrats
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Pez Donating Member (522 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #1
17. "trading parties", "change in diagnosis"...
Edited on Tue Oct-07-03 07:28 PM by Pez
...what's the difference?
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kang Donating Member (254 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 05:49 PM
Response to Original message
2. Sounds good, but the info needs to get out there
I've come across plenty of co-workers and friends who are supportive or interested in Clark, but they don't know enough about him. I'm hoping he gets more TV appearances and gets his ideas out there. I understand he's a serious man who wants to form solid policies before presenting them, but sometimes you have to present works-in-progress to keep the momentum going. I hope his very thoughtful insights on the issues doesn't get lost in overly-scripted speeches.
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Bread and Circus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 05:56 PM
Response to Original message
3. I hope Clark....
invests heavily in Alternative Energy
and Energy Independence.

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RandomUser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. I hope so too
I know he worked for a company that was doing research on pollution-free electic motors.
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Pez Donating Member (522 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #5
18. i got some hope over here too :-D
i hope if clark gets the nomination he will put kerry in charge of environmental policy.
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DemCam Donating Member (911 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
4. Good job on summary
and I'm glad you posted this recap of what Clark said. Now that you've done this...I remember most of it. Otherwise it sadly would have drifted off into the cacaphony of latest breaking news.

Hopefully, he will say more soon.

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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:05 PM
Response to Original message
6. This sounds good.
I'm always back and forth on trade issues. On one hand I think it helps the economy in general, but on the other it seems to take jobs out of the country and hurt the environment. This seems like a good middle ground, but I'd have to hear a lot more.
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Fabio Donating Member (929 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:23 PM
Response to Original message
8. My critique
This seems like a version of the current indictment of free trade and a rehashed advocacy of the "fair trade" proposed by many of the other candidates. I dont see much in the way of specifics here and not much new -- just a rebranding into "smart trade." - which I have heard John Kerry use before (i am not saying other candidates haven't -- i just dont follow them as closely.)

this is from a speech by JK in August -- not exhaustive, but is saying some of the same things. R&D is addressed elsewhere in the speech.


<..snip..>

As President, Ill order an immediate review of our trade agreements to make sure our trading partners are living up to their obligations. Ill vigorously enforce our trade laws and fight for retraining programs to help displaced workers. And Ill make sure all future agreements include strong and fully enforceable protections for labor and the environment.

http://www.johnkerry.com/news/speeches/spc_2003_0828.ht...

<..more..>

Make Trade Work for America. The Bush Administration has neglected to enforce trade laws or respond to the unfair practices of some of our nation's largest trading partners. As President, John Kerry will: order an immediate 120 day top to bottom review of all trade agreements to ensure that foreign nations fully comply with trade agreements they sign with our country; vigorously enforce our trade laws to ensure our workers are not victims of unfair trading practices; insist future trade agreements incorporate within them core labor standards and environmental protections; demand that other countries, such as China, do not manipulate their currencies to gain unfair trade advantages; and help any workers displaced by trade develop new skills and find new jobs.

http://www.johnkerry.com/news/releases/pr_2003_0828.htm...
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RandomUser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. The "smart" element
The "smart" element that I'm not sure if any candidate has proposed is the forward-looking review. All the other candidates are saying they'll help displaced workers. But Clark seems to be saying he wants to identify the workers before they're displaced and create a transition path for them.

Here's a random example, totally conjecture from my head...let's consider the steel tariffs.

Under reckless free trade principles, if you sign a trade agreement lowering steel tariffs, foreign steel's lower prices will devastate our domestic steel industry, putting American steel workers out of work.

Under the protectionist economic model, we'll reject the agreement for lower steel tariffs (bush did this in a bid to gain PA support) and raise tariffs, thus saving jobs of American steel workers. But when Bush did this, he saved some PA steel worker jobs but devastated the automotive industry and other steel-dependent industries because of the higher steel prices. So he ended up losing more jobs than he saved, devastating the workers in two other states. Which is why he's considering lowering the tarrif again. The protectionist tarrifs cost more jobs than they saved.

Unde a smart trade model, we'll assess the treaty lowering tarriffs, and identify the steel workers in PA as being vulnerable. Before enacting treaty, we'll make sure that there are retraining facilities and steel-dependent business start-ups in PA. Then, when the tarrifs get lowered, those steel-workers will transition from their steel-making jobs to steel-dependent business such as automotive, machinery, etc. These new steel-dependant start-ups will flourish under the cheaper steel prices from abroad, and the two other states with steel-dependant industries will flourish as well.

The key is forward-looking analysis and preparation. We're going to continue to globalize, but do it the smart way, saving jobs. When other candidates talk about finding room for displaced workers, they're talking about helping the workers after the fact, in a reactive instead of pro-active manner. That's what I mean by a forward-looking control mechanism for globalization. That's the "smart" element.
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Fabio Donating Member (929 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:46 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I still assert
that the other candidates are doing just that. I think this is just marketing. This is why the government gives subsidies -- the smart trade model.

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RandomUser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Not the same as subsidies
Farm subsidies are basically like tariffs that artificially change the competitive field. Here, we're not protecting the steel industry artificially with subsides/tarrifs, but at the same time we're not going to abandon the workers. We're planning a path for them to transition, AHEAD of the changes. Have the other candidates mentioned that they'll put job retraining programs and such in place in endangered areas PRIOR to the workers losing their jobs? I might be mistaken, but I get the feeling they're for helping displaced workers. This program, by contrast, would be to prevent them from being unemployed in the first place, by shifting them to another job. Subsidies/tarriffs would be protectionism to keep them at their old job.
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Fabio Donating Member (929 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:05 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. I understand that he is not advocating subsidies
what I am saying is that he is advocating having the Federal government making a pro-active economic offset instead of a tariff. Subsidies are a form, but I would argue that being deliberate about rehiring workers is a smarter form.

I hope you dont think I am disagreeing with the model. I just feel that I have seen it before.
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snoochie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
12. Some issues to clear up...
"2) Nafta is here, and we have to deal with it by improving it. Working to improve the terms of it."

is Dennis Kucinich lying when he claims that under the terms of the WTO, it is illegal to change NAFTA?

"He denouced the reckless trade policies of the 1990s that helped to devastate American jobs, but he offers a solution that incorporates the Fairness Doctrine without requiring the isolationist trade-agreement renunciation route of Kucinich."

Two issues... wasn't the Fairness Doctrine the rule which stated that media had to give equal time to both / all sides of an issue? Am I confused here? Was there another Fairness Doctrine?

Also, major red flag... he's lying about Kucinich. Kucinich is not isolationist (duh). Kucinich is for a return to bilateral trade. Trade continues, but not set up under mega-agreements brokered by corporate shills.

Shame on him for that. Another strike against him, but I'm not too surprised by it. Other candidates and a lot of the media have been using this same lie to smear Kucinich. It's sad because I have to wonder, are they being intentionally deceptive, or are they just that uninformed? I'd like to believe the uninformed, but these aren't stupid people, so it stands to reason that the lies are intentional.
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union_maid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Did he mentoin Kucinich?
I didn't hear any other candidate mentioned by name at all. There are some people who are isolationist. Hell, it's a tempting position to take at the moment. Just probably not all that workable.
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snoochie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Honestly I don't personally know...
I'm basing my comments on the original post, which mentioned Kucinich, and which I quoted.

If those thoughts belonged to the poster, and not Clark, then mea culpa, and please note the correction.

AFAIK, there are NO isolationists running for the Dem nomination.
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RandomUser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:23 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. good points
Kucinich seems to be "withdrawing" from all treaties and returning to bilateral trade. I understand that NAFTA can't be changed directly under the terms of WTO. But there are ways to effectively renegotiate it even if you aren't nominally, technically renegotiating it. For instance, you can work out a new NAFTA and time the withdrawal of the old NAFTA with the enactment of the new.

On the Fairness Doctrine, if you're right, then I'm confusing terms. What I was referring to fair labor/environmental standards and reciprocal opening of markets. If I'm using the term wrong, then thank you for correcting me.

The problem with returning to bilateral trade is that you'll be withdrawing from trade agreements (like Nafta) -- that's what I consider to be a more isolationist approach. And when you withdraw from trade agreements that lower tariffs, do protectionist tariffs not go back up? I would appreciated it if you would enlighten me on this.

And the wording is mine, and the interpretation is mine as I understand it. Notice I ask for more information about "smart trade" if anyone has it. No need to call Clark a liar. Last night was the first time I've heard the concept. For the exact Clark wording, check the Iowa townhall meeting when it's available online.
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cprise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:48 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. Indirectly modifying NAFTA could turn into a disaster
" I understand that NAFTA can't be changed directly under the terms of WTO. But there are ways to effectively renegotiate it even if you aren't nominally, technically renegotiating it. "

This would rouse a firestorm of legal wrangling from the Federalist society and almost every Fortune 1000 legal dept.

It sounds more like a way to create loopholes while making NAFTA appear benign. NAFTA has radical language and WTO will not permit changes. I think it's possible that Clark is selling us a Clinton Health Plan (a show).

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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
19. Dean, Clark, Kerry pretty much agree on trade.
They have to try to contrast their positions with each other but there really are no substantive differences IMHO...
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whirlygigspin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-08-03 02:19 AM
Response to Reply #19
21. oh oh
Nafta cannot be changed, only scrapped.

Clark should know this already, it's basic.

minus -10 points for economic desaster potential.

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DannyRed Donating Member (509 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-08-03 04:58 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Clark's points
sound a lot like Dean's...with a dash of Kucinich for color and a dash of Kerry for gravitas.

Good.

Clark, Dean, Kerry, and Kucinich (and Gephardt) have the right idea on NAFTA...

The question of "How" is important, but they all seem to have the "Why" nailed.
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