Is US Senator Bernie Sanders going to run for president because former Wall Street Senator Hilliary Clinton won’t represent the middle class. The Hilliary Clinton? The person who twice received $200,000 for half hour speeches to Goldman Sachs executives in October 2013. Hilliary is unlikely to represent the middle class as president, but she will spout off about doing so. That’s my take.
On Tuesday, President appeared on Hardball to defend the Trans Pacific Partnership, a massive income and political power redistribution agreement. It will take income and voting rights from the 99 percent on behalf of the 1 percent. Leaked documents from the negotiations reveal this to be true. President Obama said US Senator Elizabeth Warren’s critique of the deal was wrong. See what the president, and Wall Street Senator’s Ron Wyden, Orrin Hatch and Mitch McConnell have in store for you at https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/wall-street-senator-ron-wyden-introduces-bill-into-the-us-senate-to-increase-income-and-wealth-inequality-in-the-united-states-and-throughout-the-pacific-rim/
On Wednesday, Warren responded via Twitter.
“The Obama Admin says I’m wrong — we shouldn’t worry about TPP. So why can’t the American people read the deal?” she questioned.
It was a direct attack against the administration’s handling of the negotiations, which liberals say have lacked transparency.
The administration argues that it hasn’t made the deal public to protect the status of the sensitive, ongoing negotiations.
Obama is attempting to build a bipartisan congressional coalition to support the 12-nation pact that he says would help economic growth and provide fair guidelines for workers.
He’s asking Congress to grant him trade promotion authority — or “fast-track” power — that’d allow him to negotiate trade deals without them being amended in Congress.
In a blog post that accompanied Warren’s tweet, she doubled down in her criticism of Obama.
“The Administration says I’m wrong — that there’s nothing to worry about,” Warren wrote. “They say the deal is nearly done, and they are making a lot of promises about how the deal will affect workers, the environment, and human rights. Promises — but people like you can’t see the actual deal.”
Posted in Barack Obama, Economics, the Rigged Game, Uncategorized | Tagged Barack Obama, Chris matthews, Elizabeth Warren, exports, Hardball, jobs, Trans-Pacific Partnership, wages | Leave a Comment »
Vietnam is the answer to the question in the title of this article.
Vietnam’s minimum wage rate is .28 cents an hour. Environmental standards are lax, if there are any, and labor unions are non-existent. Those conditions will make it likely that more American jobs will be exported overseas because the labor, health, safety and wage standards are much less than even in China. If it wasn’t financially feasible to ship US jobs to Vietnam, a trade pact with Vietnam will make it so, and send tens of thousands upon thousands of US jobs there. Let’s face it, jobs are the number one US export.
But there’s something even more sinister than meets the eye. Millions of jobs in Mexico, Central America, Peru and Chile will also be threatened with exportation to Vietnam and China under the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). In which case, US exports will decline.
Maquiladora zones are located in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. These are free trade zones established by the United States and the host nations, such as Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador. The zones allow US manufacturers to assemble products in the zones, and then ship them duty free to the United States. Wages are bone poor in the Maquiladora zones, as low as $7.50 a day in Mexico’s northern zone, but they are higher than in Vietnam and China. China’s minimum wage is a little more than double Vietnam’s .28 cents per hour.
The parts assembled by US manufacturers in the Maquiladora zones must be made by US companies. This has been negotiated. In 2013, US corporations shipped $51 billion worth of parts manufactured in the United States to the over 3000 US factories in the northernmost Maquiladora zone in Mexico. That zone is twelve and a half miles deep and stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean.
That 51 billion dollars of exports supports 250,000 American manufacturing jobs. The people who earn a living with those jobs spend their hard earned cash in their neighborhood grocery stores, stereo stores, clothing stores, computer stores, automobile dealerships, real estate companies, restaurants and more. That’s how those 250,000 manufacturing jobs keep another 400,000 to 800,000 people employed in other areas of the economy.
That doesn’t count the tens of thousands of Americans that mine the iron ore, or the rock, or chop the trees to make paper and houses, or manufacture cement, or who mold metal into products, and other producers of raw materials, or the people who operate the electric companies that power those 250,000 soon-to-be-lost manufacturing jobs. That’s another 100,000 US jobs in mining, smelting, excavating and other jobs dealing with raw materials that will be lost. Those jobs support another 200,000 to 300,000 service sector jobs.
But that’s not all. All of these jobs pay state, federal and local taxes that support schools, road building and maintenance, forest service jobs, fire and police, and a lot more government jobs. This is another 100,000 jobs that will be lost.
The Trans Pacific Partnership appears to be geared toward rendering obsolete the Maquiladora zones. Why else would Vietnam be a party to this agreement? The Vietnamese aren’t going to be purchasing a lot of American goods and services simply because those people can’t afford to do so.
When the Trans Pacific Partnership becomes law, kiss those jobs in the Maquiladora zones goodbye. Kiss that $51 billion dollars in US exports goodbye. And that’s just for the exports to one of these zones.
In El Salvador, 230,000 apparel workers will likely lose their jobs, which will be shipped to Vietnam if the TPP becomes law. Tens of thousands of workers in other central America nations will also lose their apparel manufacturing jobs in the zones. These people sew many of the clothes people wear in the United States and elsewhere. However, the rules of the zones state they can only assemble finished products. And that’s only in one industry.
Over 200,000 American workers supply the parts necessary to manufacture those clothes. Fabric, yarn and thread are made in US factories, and are then exported to Central America. Kiss those exports goodbye. Kiss those 200,000 plus American jobs goodbye, as well as the hundreds of thousands of US jobs supported by those manufacturing jobs.
We’re looking at the loss of billions of dollars of exports yearly, and millions of US jobs, if the TPP becomes law. And that’s only with the loss of two zones.
With the loss of jobs in the zones on such a massive scale, wages will drop like dead flies in Central America. That happened in Mexico after Nafta, which drove millions of people into the USA illegally.
Hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of people will be forced to migrate to the United States illegally, and not because they want to migrate. This will depress the wages of millions of American citizens and put incredible pressure on our social service tax dollars, which will be greatly weakened by the loss of jobs.
So who benefits from the TPP? The difference between the old higher wages and the new lower wages will go straight into the pockets of rich shareholders and CEOs via higher corporate profits, rising dividends, and soaring share prices. Working people will pay the price. In other words, the TPP will redistribute massive amounts of income from the 99 to the 1 percent. That’s what it has been negotiated to do.
That’s one reason why Wall Senator Ron Wyden supports the Trans Pacific Partnership, along with President Obama, Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch, and Wall Street wing of the Republican Party. The TPP is an income redistribution scam.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka hits the mark in the video below.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Barack Obama, Mexico, United States, wages, Ron Wyden, Nafta, Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch, Vietnam, Export, Peru, Latin America, Chile, exports, product, Maquiladora zones, apparel industry, forced immigration | Leave a Comment »
Finland has the highest performing K-12 students in the world, year after year.
“Finland’s schools weren’t always so successful. In the 1960s, they were middling at best. In 1971, a government commission concluded that, poor as the nation was in natural resources, it had to modernize its economy and could only do so by first improving its schools. To that end, the government agreed to reduce class size, boost teacher pay, and require that, by 1979, all teachers complete a rigorous master’s program.
They also banned all standardized testing, as they figured out this takes too much time and too much money out of learning; and now they only give standardized exams to statistical samples of students to diagnose and assess school progress.”
For every 45 minutes of study, Finish students get 15 minutes of free time recess.
In the United States, recess has been curtailed, and in some cases, eliminated.
The average class size in Finland is 19. Teachers are highly respected, highly paid, and highly unionized. So what can the United States learn from Finland?
That’s because education reform in the USA has nothing to do with education. It’s all about campaign contributions, government corruption, and ever rising profits for the publishing industries. Public K-12 students are merely victims in the profit production process through which these aims can be achieved.
This is why the US has the most tested students in the world. The more tests they complete, the more profits for the publishing corporations, such as Pearson Limited and McGraw-Hill.
This is why educational test standards are always raised in the United States. The higher the standards, the more students fail to pass. Then they must retake another profitable test over and over again until they move up a grade or pass it. The more students fail these tests, the more profitable they are for the testing industry.
Tests are changed every few years because it’s more profitable than retaining them. When school districts change tests, each district must purchase new testing materials from the publishers. In the United States, students are part of the production process for producing profits, and keeping share prices of the publishing giants rising constantly, quarter after quarter.
So don’t expect any real educational reform in the US anytime soon since real educational reform by definition means lower profits for the publishing corporations, which means less money with which to corrupt government. So don’t expect anything to change in education in the US anytime soon. The corruption of government at all levels is far too massive.
Just look at Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden who betrayed the voters of Oregon on behalf of Monsanto and Wall Street when he co-sponsored Fast Track legislation in the senate. Wyden once wrote a constituent who wrote to him to complain about the Common “Very Profitable” Core Standards. Wyden wrote back, “Please rest assured that I will continue to do all I can on the federal level to ensure Oregon students receive the highest quality education….” Wyden’s letter shows he supports the Common Very Profitable Standards, which demonstrates how corrupt he is in all areas in which income is redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent. See Wyden’s letter at, http://oregonsaveourschools.blogspot.com/2014/06/sen-ron-wyden-doesnt-get-it-on-common.html .
Wyden’s idea of students receiving “the highest quality education” is to increase the profits of the publishing corporations, which is another way of enriching the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent. In other words, less recess, more tests, and higher standards, which is another way of saying the senator wants all students to be on a college track, even if they had no desire to be on such a track.
Income redistribution from the 99 to the 1 percent; that’s precisely what Wyden does as much as anybody ever has in the US senate. That’s why he supports standardized testing of public school students, as well as Fast Track and the Trans Pacific Partnership. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/06/how-finland-keeps-kids-focused/373544/
Posted in corruption, Economics, education, free trade, income redistribution, Orrin Hatch, Politics, the Rigged Game | Tagged corporate, education, Fast Track, Finland, income redistribution, McGraw-Hill, oregon, Orrin Hatch, Pearson Limited, profits, Ron Wyden, standardized testing, the Rigged Game, Trans-Pacific Partnership, United States | Leave a Comment »
By Kelly Conklin
Thirty-seven years ago, my wife and I founded Foley Waite, an architectural woodworking company based in Kenilworth, New Jersey. My high school woodshop teacher, Mr. Thomas, instilled in me the pride of making things with my hands, and I’m incredibly lucky to have turned that passion into a successful small business.
We started with just the two of us working in a tiny shop, and now we have thirteen employees who are also highly skilled in our trade, allowing us to provide a very high level of quality and detail in each custom project we install across the tri-state area.
But like many others, our small business struggled through the Great Recession. And although we’ve slowly rebuilt, and we’ve been able to restore wages to their pre-recession levels, we are watching very nervously as Congress considers again making it harder for American small businesses to compete.
Even with the economy as fragile as it is, apparently some Congressmen and President Obama think it’s a good idea to “fast track” another bad trade agreement, this time with many low-wage countries in Asia that undercut businesses like mine. As a business owner, I think it’s a bad idea to give the President a blank check to negotiate another bad deal for the American economy.
For decades, we’ve heard that so-called “free trade” agreements will lead to higher wages, new jobs and more economic development. Free trade was supposed to be the panacea that will cure our nation’s economic ills.
But small business owners like me know better. These trade agreements have been anything but free, and they’ve given the advantage to huge corporations that make cheaper, low-quality knock-offs, costing me business and holding down wages for employees in my industry.
Outsourcing American jobs overseas doesn’t make our economy stronger. Instead, unbalanced trade agreements tip the scales against workers and employers who want to do the right thing and create jobs at home.
In my case, it’s because fast-tracked agreements like NAFTA – and the newly proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) – devalue the work we do. We pride ourselves on family-supporting wages and high-quality work, but overseas companies can ignore wage standards, environmental rules, and labor laws, and end up paying their workers a fraction of what my employees earn. That puts downward pressure on prices and wages, which hurts both business and workers.
What this nation needs is smarter trade deals that lift up both business and workers. Trade agreements that get other countries to live up to our standards, rather than force us to compete downward, will be how my business grows and our economy grows. I want to value the individuals who make my community strong.
For me, this isn’t about “fairness” or “leveling the playing field.” After four decades building a small business, I know life isn’t fair, and that the playing field is never level. But going down the same road of previous failed trade deals challenges common sense.
The question is crystal clear: do we need another bad trade deal? The answer is a resounding, “no!” Congress should reject fast track and move towards an economic policy that values American work, American manufacturing, and American jobs.
Conklin is the co-owner of Foley Waite in Kenilworth, NJ. He is also on the National Executive Committee of The Main Street Alliance, a national network of small business coalitions working to build a new voice for small businesses on important public policy issues.