Friday, July 20, 2007

Labor's Impact on Free Trade: Bad Economics, Bad Foreign Policy, Bad for America

It seems that only a few strong sources report on the trade shenanigans of the US Congress. Bob Novak is one of the most clear which he continues in "How Labor Rules." Read it all to belueve it. This is bad economics, bad foreign policy, very bad for all Americans including, I believe, big labor, and bad for America.

Ignoring pleas from outraged South American governments, Democratic leadership of the House this week was adamant about Congress going into its August recess without taking action on free trade agreements with Peru and Panama as promised....

Why did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi renege on her previous commitment? She dances to the tune of AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, who preaches outright protectionism. Hostility toward not only the Peru and Panama pacts but also a vital agreement with Colombia can be traced to influence on U.S. unions by South America's leftist labor leaders, originating in Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.

Beyond U.S. unpopularity in the Western Hemisphere, this exposes deeper problems for the new Democratic majority in Congress. While the AFL-CIO's authority is diminished in the labor movement and among the nation's workers, its chief rules in Congress. Democrats bowed to Sweeney's wishes in voting to end secret ballots in union recognition elections, but the more audacious demonstration of labor's influence on Capitol Hill was getting the House leadership to renege on a bipartisan deal affecting world trade.

Democratic leaders are impervious to the reality that Colombia, Peru and Panama now enjoy one-way trade access to the United States, whereas the agreements would open their markets to U.S. goods. Nor do the Democrats show concern about alienating Uribe and Garcia as Hugo Chavez's menace spreads through the hemisphere.

Sweeney's marching orders are not limited to Latin America. He dismisses the negotiated agreement that finally would open South Korea to U.S. autos as "a losing, one-sided agreement." Obediently, House Democratic leaders declared the Korean pact dead on arrival.

No comments: