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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Grayson Launches New Trade Offensive

by Gaius Publius

Just as the Fast Track and TPP battles are heating up in Congress — expect floor votes in both houses next month — Alan Grayson has launched a new trade offensive. The video below lays out clearly the best arguments against TPP and TAFTA, NAFTA-like deals that Grayson calls "trade treachery" against the American people.

He's right, of course. It is treachery against our people, all to serve just one group, the same group that owns most of our politicians (more on that below).

First, watch Grayson's video; it's well produced, and like all of Grayson's explanations, extremely clear. Note the pivot, at 7:01, to his counter-proposal. It's a fascinating, workable idea.

Next, please share it — Facebook is the most effective place for shares, but consider Twitter and other social media as well. And don't forget email, especially to that cranky aunt and uncle who keep sending you the flag-draped anti-Kenyan screeds. This video is flag-draped as well, for all the right reasons for a change, and should therefore be right up their ... wheelhouse, for want of a better word.

I'm serious. "Free" trade deals are hated on the right as well, for all the right reasons. This is bipartisanship you can believe in, the anti-Beltway, anti-predator kind. Help that aunt and uncle do some good with all that pro-America energy. Send them this video.

Finally, support the project. We need to defeat Fast Track (which will kill TPP and TAFTA, the Trans-Atlantic version). Then we need to fix the trade deficit, which is why Grayson is offering the Buffett plan.

To contact your senator or congressperson, call 202-224-3121 and you'll be put through. You can also contact them directly. House phone numbers here:

Senate phone numbers here:

And thanks!

From the Transcript

For those who prefer to read (and to copy-and-paste), here are some bits from the transcript (self-made, errors mine; emphasis mine as well):
For the past 14 years, our average annual trade deficit has been over half a trillion dollars. That's a deficit of over $1500 each and every year for every man, woman and child in this country. ...

Look back across history, all the way back to the Stone Age. ... Look all across planet Earth, that beautiful blue marble, all 193 nations, all 7 continents. You will find that the 14 largest trade deficits in the history of mankind — all of them — are the U.S. trade deficits for the last 14 years.

Today we're creating millions, no, tens of millions of jobs in other countries with our purchasing power, while we're losing millions of jobs here in America because people in other countries are buying their own goods and services, rather than ours.

They're not creating jobs in America, but they're buying our assets — our stocks, our bonds, our mortgages, our homes ... our farms, our coastlands, our big businesses, our small businesses.

Our debt to foreigners right now already totals more than $35, 000 dollars for every man, woman and child in America. ... Ultimately, if we keep going the way we're going, [all of our assets] will be [owned abroad]. ... And the endgame is the end of America. We're in a deep deep hole.
I grabbed a picture of that endgame. It's a little frightening, and far more true already than most Americans realize:

The battle for naming rights in a once-sovereign nation (click to enlarge)

I found the following an effective way to tell the story of what we're giving away:
[TPP and TAFTA] would put our $30/hour workers directly in head-to-head competition with workers in Vietnam and Brunei, who are lucky to make 30 cents an hour.

"Free trade" countries like that are free of health and safety rules and environmental protection, free of social security, pensions and health care, free of child labor laws, free of the right to organize, and even free of the rules against slave labor.
That's "freedom" as the predatory wealthy prefer it; their freedom to feed off everyone else's pain. But there are actually several ways out, including this, from Grayson (jump to 7:01):
Warren Buffett, the greatest investor of our lifetime, has offered a plan for liberating us from the trade deficit. He would require importers to obtain certificates for the goods and services they sell us. The charges for those certificates could be used to increase Social Security and Medicare benefits, rebuild our roads and schools, and cut our taxes.

I support that plan, and I will be offering legislation to implement it. It is the light at the end of the tunnel for our economy.
I'm looking forward to seeing that legislation. 

Job One: Kill Fast Track

If you walk away from this read-and-watch with just one thought, make it this — Kill Fast Track.

You don't want Barack Obama to give away the store (for his own benefit, don't forget) to the CEO class and the corporations they control. Nor do you want the next president, whoever she may be, to have that power either. Declare "open rebellion" yourself, and take the power back from the money-owned Beltway elite. As Howie Klein wrote on this issue (again, my emphasis):
So-called "free trade" is one of the points of contention between the Establishment and normal Democrats. Corporate shills-- from Obama and Rahm all the way down into the depths of Wall Street ass-kissers like Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Isadore Hall (D-CA), etc. With even the overwhelming majority of Republicans opposing Fast Track authority, the White House is on a jihad against Democrats in Congress who are standing up against corporate hegemony in regard to the TPP. It's an ugly mess.
It's not our fault we were taken to war by the predatory rich, but unless they stand down — how likely is that? — we have only two choices. We can fight back or go to our beds an increasingly impoverished people. The bully doesn't stop punching you because you won't rise up against him.

Fighting back seems a decent choice to me, and here's a way to do it — Kill Fast Track. This could actually be a turning point, a tipping moment in the war we've been fighting since Reagan. Be strong and be optimistic. Also, act. (And thanks.)


Update: Oh, and Draft Alan Grayson for Senate!