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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-09-09 12:32 PM
Original message
Obama quells push to ‘Buy American’
Douglas Turner

Updated: 02/09/09 6:27 AM

WASHINGTON — After throwing hints in Rust Belt primaries a year ago that he would take a tough stand on free trade agreements, President Obama has become a sophisticated man of the world.

Obama’s hand-wringing last week over “Buy American” demands in what he and the Democrats call a stimulus bill ought to leave working men and women wondering if they will ever again see a Democratic president who really cares about them.

Powerful globalist interests — not steelworkers, autoworkers or machinists — were behind Obama’s warnings that the Senate should not pass Buy American provisions that violated existing trade agreements. The Senate quickly complied, softening the bill by voice vote.

Since the 1960s, it has become the habit of free-trade Democrats to throw bones to working people like “retraining,” “trade adjustment” pay and unemployment insurance after Congress opened the nation’s gates to subsidized imports from Asia.

more: http://www.buffalonews.com/149/story/573876.html
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AndyA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-09-09 12:36 PM
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1. Common sense just seems to indicate free trade won't work.
We cannot compete with foreign countries that offer no worker protections, and pay them pennies a day for their labor. It just isn't possible, unless we roll back all of our worker's rights and minimum wage requirements. And even then, no one will make enough money to buy anything.

If all we do is consume, and we don't actually *build* anything, I doubt we'll see many jobs returning to this country.

I think with the economy the way it is today in America, we have adequate grounds for restoring the "Buy American" philosophy. What's wrong with putting your own country, it's people, and its jobs first over a foreign nation?
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zbdent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-09-09 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. okay ... let's level the playing field ...
let's match the foreign countries' tariffs and universal health care and vacation leave ...
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-09-09 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
2. We have to be able to export, too
Many jobs here are created by being able to export to other markets, losing them would defeat the purpose.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-09-09 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Biggest trade deficit in the history of humanity.
:hi:
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Hello_Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-09-09 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. Seriously. The biggest export of this country seems to be JOBS. eom
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Skwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-09-09 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
4. Unemployment insurance can't last forever.
I heard a woman on CNBC pushing people to buy stock in a Chinese company that produces solar products. Will any of the manufacturing of solar panels be done here? Plus, what about quality control? Will we spend billions installing solar panels imported from China only to find a few years down the road that we spent billions on junk that doesn't last or is hazardous to your health?

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Hello_Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-09-09 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
6. Everyone needs to read this!
Jan. 29 - Companies that Offshored Jobs Attacking "Buy America"/Stimulus on False Grounds
Firms That Sent U.S. Jobs Offshore Now Claim That Investing U.S. Taxpayer Funds in America Is "Protectionism," While Falsely Claiming That U.S. Steel, Iron Requirements for Highway, Transit Projects Violate Trade Pacts

Posted: 1/29/2009

Before any more front-page stories get the facts wrong about the preferences for U.S. steel and iron in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, please be advised: Buy America and Buy American are separate pieces of legislation with separate regulatory requirements and different statuses under U.S. trade agreements. The House stimulus package requirement that U.S. steel and iron be used for federal and state transportation infrastructure projects simply extends existing law (the 1982 Buy America Act) and practice and is EXEMPT from coverage under various trade-agreement procurement rules. (What various U.S. trade pact rules do require and what these two "Buy-A" laws require is discussed below.)

Meanwhile, lobbyists from corporations such as Caterpillar and General Electric seem to be intentionally conflating Buy America and Buy American to falsely claim that the U.S. iron and steel rules violate trade-pact rules. Perhaps the real reason these firms have launched a fact-distorting PR and lobbying effort is because they have moved so much production away from the United States to low-wage foreign venues, meaning that their products may see less benefit from this massive injection of government spending.

As well, the notion that these Buy America provisions will launch a global trade war is ridiculous, if for no other reason than the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (AGP) applies only to 39 countries with an additional 13 countries being signatories to U.S "Free Trade Agreements" (FTAs). The United States has no trade agreement or other procurement obligations to China, Brazil, India and many other major developing-country industrial powers. Further, any number of laws implemented in any number of countries to date in response to the economic crisis violate WTO rules. But these have not been subject to WTO challenge, which suggests that there is some sort of multinational gentlemen's agreement among WTO signatory governments to ignore each others' take-backs of non-trade policy space to implement needed regulations during this emergency period. Contrary to recent newspaper editorials repeating the hysterical 'launching a trade war' tone of the corporate attack on the Buy America provisions, a review report circulated by the WTO's director general on January 23 concludes that the global economic crisis has so far provoked little "protectionist" reaction from governments in the form of increased tariffs or other barriers to trade.



http://www.citizen.org/hot_issues/issue.cfm?ID=2135
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