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Posts Tagged ‘Nafta’

The billionaires who control the US federal government and both major political parties are quaking in their boots because the Mexican government has increased the national minimum wage ever so slightly, by .45 cents per day. No doubt the billionaires are worried the increase will cut into corporate profits, slow the increase in share prices during the current economic and stock market bubbles, and perhaps even slow the increase in dividend payments. Heaven forbid!

CNN reports that “Nearly 25 million Mexicans are getting a pay raise next week. From $4.25 to $4.70 — a day. Mexican government and business leaders agreed on Tuesday to raise the country’s minimum wage starting on December 1 to 88.36 pesos from 80.04 pesos. The 10% raise is good news for 24.7 million Mexicans who work either one or two minimum wage jobs. But it also resurfaces a key complaint by American workers who voted for President Trump, in part because of his pledge to renegotiate NAFTA, the trade pact between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Trump blames NAFTA for the loss of many American jobs. Cheap labor has attracted American companies to Mexico for decades.”

Trump, of course, is correct. Millions of US jobs have been exported to Mexico since before Nafta, and millions more have been created there by US corporations rather than here because the terms of Nafta paved the legal road to do so. Generally, the numbers have been egregiously understated by researchers because the methodology they use deliberately understates US job losses.

What Trump doesn’t want US citizens to know, which is also what the billionaires who run the Republican Party and the Democratic Party don’t want you to know is that US income and wealth inequalities have been fueled by Nafta, and the stock markets have been booming since Nafta, precisely because Nafta has allowed US corporations to export millions of US jobs to Mexico. The difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new lower Mexican wages with no benefits goes straight into the already super-sized and ultra-fat wallets of the uber-rich via higher corporate profits, surging share prices and rising dividends.

Do you ever wonder how Warren Buffett, Phil Knight, the Koch Brothers, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and others ever got so much richer than they should be? These wonder boys have always been big-time supporters of cheap Mexican and cheaper Chinese, Vietnamese and Bangladesh wages with no benefits and fewer worker safety and relaxed or nonexistent environmental controls in those and other nations. They also have prospered because of these things.

So these rich folks owe quite a debt to the record income and wealth inequality they have created to Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Paul Ryan, and Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden. The rest of us pay the price of the massive political corruption they have created.

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Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened shows she is completely out of touch with reality and voter’s anxieties over the economic policies that have redistributed trillions of dollars from the 99 to the 1 percent. These policies were championed by her, former President Bill Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush, and a host of other Republicans and Democrats, such as Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Wall Street’s favorite brown-noser, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden.

In her book, Clinton blames Bernie Sanders for her defeat in the presidential election. She claims Sanders candidacy split the progressive vote. Hogwash! Hillary lost the presidential election because she is a gold plated pawn of Wall Street. Voters were tired of their jobs and tax dollars being exported to Mexico, China, and Vietnam. Clinton supported the policies that did this. Wall Street loved her support for these policies.

The CEOs of Wall Street, other major corporations, and billionaire investors rewarded her and her husband with $150 million in speaking fees from 2001 to 2016, at $225,000 a pop. Progressive voters knew that yes big money had gotten her to change her mind on legislation cutting back on the abilities of working folks to declare bankruptcy on behalf of the big banks who had purchased her lock, stock and barrel (See video above). Progressives knew the mind boggling millions of jobs that would have been exported from the United States to China with the Trans Pacific Partnership, which she called the “gold plated standard” for trade agreements. Then, of course, there was her support as Secretary of State for the coup that overthrew the lawful government of Honduras and resulted in the death of hundreds. You could go on and on about why progressives could not and would not support Candidate Clinton, but you cannot blame Bernie Sanders.

Hillary is completely out of touch with reality, but the book suggests she might want to run for president again.

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nafta-protest

The US corporate false-news media is reporting one-half of a story, but not the other half.

It’s true Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last Thursday he is willing to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which US President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants to change or scrap.

During the campaign, Trump called NAFTA the worst trade deal the United States has ever signed, while proposing protectionist measures to repatriate American jobs lost to free trade.

Now here’s what the right and left corporate news media doesn’t want you to know.

The US NAFTA problem isn’t with Canada. It’s with Mexico. Ultra-rich US campaign donors corrupting the politicians of both major political parties, as well as Wall Street executives, hedge fund managers, and other CEOs, like exporting US jobs to Mexico, rather than to higher paying, more unionized, Canada. So while this is big news that Trudeau is willing to renegotiate NAFTA, it isn’t that big of a deal since Canada isn’t where US jobs are being exported to.

When the Mexican president says he is willing to renegotiate NAFTA, then that’s news worth reporting, but only if any new agreement includes enforceable high minimum wages equal to about $10 an hour in the USA, as well as high labor, health, and environmental standards. That’s not likely to happen because corporate profits will suffer, meaning stock and bond prices will fall.

In which case, don’t count on any serious re-negotiation of NAFTA that might benefit the 99 percent of the United States. And certainly don’t look for such a re-negotiation like this, because it would help Mexican workers.

Neither the US or Mexican governments represents the vast majority of the 99 percent. NAFTA, as is, redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent, and that’s what it was negotiated to do.

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bring-back-the-jobs

The Eaton Corporation has decided to shut down its Berea Ohio factory where it manufacturers quick-connect couplings for hydraulic lines. More than 100 will lose their jobs.

The first layoffs will begin in April 2017 and the plant will be closed by December.

Eaton plans to buy the couplings from another manufacturer and ship them to a plant it owns in Mexico where workers will assemble them. Shares in Eaton peaked in 2014 at about $80. On Friday it closed just above $60 a share. The company will redistribute the wages of its soon to be former employees to rich shareholders in order to jack up share prices. Eaton management has been doing this since 2014.

Eaton cut some 2,500 jobs in 2015, closing eight factories in an effort to boost its declining share price. It is likely many of these jobs were exported to Mexico.

Eaton describes itself as a diversified industrial manufacturer of power management technologies, including electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power. Eaton’s products are used in mining, oil, solar, wind, other electrical systems, agricultural equipment and large trucks.

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Wall Street Senator Tim Kaine is a supporter of the Wall Street agenda, which means redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent. So in picking Kaine as her running mate, Hillary Clinton made certain Wall Street understood where she stands on the issues, no matter what she is forced to say in public. Today, Saturday 7/23/2016, Kaine came out against the TPP, after saying as late as two days ago (Thursday) that he was for it. Anybody believe he’s against it?

Before Bernie Sanders entered the Democratic primary race last summer, Hillary had publicly voiced support for the Trans Pacific Partnership 45 times (TPP), and she never expressed a doubt about it, going so far as to call it “the gold standard” of trade agreements. Bernie Sanders entered the race, mentioned how it would result in the loss of millions of jobs, just like NAFTA (which Hillary supported), and Wall Street’s candidate was forced to say she was against the TPP, even though she never was against it, and likely still isn’t. She’s just making stuff up to get elected.

But Mrs. Clinton had to give Wall Street a clear signal that she was still their political pawn, regardless of what lies she felt she needed to say on the campaign trail, so she made another Wall Street politician her running mate. Wall Street Senator Kaine is as much a pawn of Wall Street in the investment bankers war against the 99 percent, as is Hillary Clinton.

One has to wonder why Hillary felt so strongly about Kaine that she likely lost most of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Those are the Democrats that Donald Trump began wooing with his opposition to the TPP, and his vow that he will renegotiate NAFTA or exit it.

Obviously, Clinton felt she needed Wall Street money more than progressive votes. Sure Donald Trump has lied and exaggerated during the campaign, but Hillary has lied throughout her career. Most recently she knowingly gave many false statements to FBI agents in the email scandal, and each lie is a criminal offence. So Hillary can’t be trusted any more than Trump.

What’s a workin’ stiff to do in this election?

According to Wikileaks, “Making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) is the common name for the United States federal crime laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which generally prohibits knowingly and willfully making false or fraudulent statements, or concealing information, in “any matter within the jurisdiction” of the federal government of the United States, even by mere denial.”

With these two candidates, the US hasn’t sunk this low in quality in a presidential election perhaps in its history.

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tppPANEL

TransCanada Corporation made its intention clear in January to recover costs through arbitration for Obama refusing the company a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. It is filing its claim for $15bn in damages under North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) provisions.

Now a secret tribunal made up of corporate lawyers will determine if US taxpayers have to ante up $15 billion in order to not allow an environmentally hazardous pipeline to cut across the USA.

TransCanada took a risk that it might not get the presidential permit, as required by law. The management took a risk, and now via an unconstitutional secret tribunal they may be able to require US taxpayers to cover their losses.

Some of the biggest US investors in TransCanada include JP Morgan/Chase, Vanguard Corporation, and Prudential.
These companies are circumventing US law via the unconstitutional rules of NAFTA.

If the US government loses, there is no reason why we as taxpayers should not launch a class action lawsuit challenging these secret tribunals of NAFTA as unconstitutional. Since the US Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people, a challenge can be issued under the equal protection clause of the US Constitution, which should render illegal the secret tribunal provision of NAFTA, depending on how corrupt the US courts are.

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To a remarkable extent, the level of inequality—which fell during the New Deal but has risen dramatically since the late 1970s—corresponds to the rise and fall of labor unionization in the United States; and US labor union participation rates corresponds with the number of free trade agreements the US government enters into, as well as the development of historic levels of income and wealth inequality.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, “As union membership has fallen over the last few decades, the share of income going to the top 10 percent has steadily increased. Union membership fell to 11.1 percent in 2014, where it remained in 2015 (not shown in the figure). The share of income going to the top 10 percent, meanwhile, hit 47.2 percent in 2014—only slightly lower than 47.8 percent in 2012, the highest it has been since 1917 (the earliest year data are available). When union membership was at its peak (33.4 percent in 1945) the share of income going to the top 10 percent was only 32.6 percent.”

As you can see in the graph below, the share of US workers represented by labor unions began to drop in 1960 as electronic jobs, such as manufacturing televisions and radios, began to be exported more and more to places like Taiwan. That process began in the 1950s.

Union membership began to decline even more in 1964 when Mexico and the USA signed a treaty creating the free trade Maquiladora Zone inside Mexico. This zone runs along the US border, and is twelve miles wide and runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. Corporations are allowed to import parts into the zone, assemble things there, and export the finished products into the United States duty free. Tens of thousands of US labor union jobs were exported into Mexico because of this treaty.

Other maquiladora zones have been created throughout Central America since then. What happened to the US textile industry? Much of it is in Central America. Roughly 225,000 former US textile jobs now reside in El Salvador alone.

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US labor union membership dropped from 28.5 to 25.4 percent from 1964 to 1980. Then, of course, Reaganomics and more trade treaties hit US workers. NAFTA struck, and the rest is history. The stock markets shot up as labor union members saw their jobs being exported. You can see the amazing coincidence in the graphs above and below. As the jobs were exported, the stock markets exploded upward. Roughly 35 million US jobs have been exported since 1990.

S&P500_(1950-12)

Nowadays, the top 1 percent are stealing 37 percent of all income produced in the United States, compared to 8 percent in 1980. That’s because when a job is exported the difference between the old higher US pay and the new lower third world country pay goes straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate profits, surging dividends, and soaring share prices.

This is the link between income/wealth inequality and trade agreements business leaders, politicians, academics, and the corporate press don’t want you to know about.

Corporate stocks and bonds, by the way, are wealth. Wealth is something of value that you own, while income is money coming in. So the rich get more income by shipping jobs overseas, and in the process, they inflate the value of their wealth, such as stocks and bonds. The rich get richer with every trade agreement.

Now President Obama, and several Wall Street Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton and Ron Wyden, have joined with the majority of Republicans in congress to redistribute more income from the 99 to the 1 percent via the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is the largest income redistribution scam in US history, and the Wall Street Democrats and most Republicans are falsely marketing it as a free trade agreement. The Guardian News Paper calls the TPP “NAFTA on steroids.”

As more of those labor union jobs are exported, much of the tax base is exported with it. Actually that tax base is redistributed to the rich. As that tax base diminishes, the tax funds for fire, police, Social Security, public schools, slowly evaporates. And unionized public sector employees find themselves under attack.

It’s a big scam folks.

Protect your jobs! Protect your future! Fight against the TPP! Vote for Bernie Sanders!

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