Posts Tagged ‘North American Free Trade Agreement’

Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich asked the following on

“Why has America forgotten the three most important economic lessons we learned in the 30 years following World War II? Before I answer that question, let me remind you what those lessons were:

First, America’s real job creators are consumers, whose rising wages generate jobs and growth. If average people don’t have decent wages there can be no real recovery and no sustained growth.

In those years, business boomed because American workers were getting raises, and had enough purchasing power to buy what expanding businesses had to offer. Strong labor unions ensured American workers got a fair share of the economy’s gains. It was a virtuous cycle.

Second, the rich do better with a smaller share of a rapidly growing economy than they do with a large share of an economy that’s barely growing at all.

Between 1946 and 1974, the economy grew faster than it’s grown since, on average, because the nation was creating the largest middle class in history. The overall size of the economy doubled, as did the earnings of almost everyone. CEOs rarely took home more than forty times the average worker’s wage, yet were riding high.

Third, higher taxes on the wealthy to finance public investments — better roads, bridges, public transportation, basic research, world-class K-12 education and affordable higher education – improve the future productivity of America. All of us gain from these investments, including the wealthy.

In those years, the top marginal tax rate on America’s highest earners never fell below 70 percent. Under Republican President Dwight Eisenhower the tax rate was 91 percent. Combined with tax revenues from a growing middle class, these were enough to build the Interstate Highway system, dramatically expand public higher education and make American public education the envy of the world.

We learned, in other words, that broadly-shared prosperity isn’t just compatible with a healthy economy that benefits everyone — it’s essential to it.

But then we forgot these lessons. For the last three decades the American economy has continued to grow but most peoples’ earnings have gone nowhere. Since the start of the recovery in 2009, 95 percent of the gains have gone to the top 1 percent.

What happened?”

Then Reich explains a lot of true stuff, while leaving out a ton of things the Clinton administration did to bring about our current state of massively unequal income distribution.

For starters, instead of defending the middle class, President Clinton joined his Wall Street masters in redistributing income from the middle to the top via free trade treaties, such as NAFTA. Take a look at the graph below.

The US free trade regime began during the 1980s, during the regime of President Ronald Reagan. Jobs, however, had been exported from the US since the 1950s. Under Clinton, and Wall Street Congressmen, such as Ron Wyden, the exportation of jobs accelerated with NAFTA, as anybody with half a brain can see from the graph above, though not Wyden, who apparently still clings to fulfill the desires of his Wall Street masters.

In this case, the financial markets are a Ponzi Scheme. They need to increase steadily in value over the course of time. Otherwise, they’ll accelerate downward. That’s the primary purpose of redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent, that is to keep the Ponzi scam known as Wall Street from collapsing, as it did during the Great Depression.

Furthermore, free trade treaties also pave the way for US corporations to create jobs overseas. Millions have been created over there rather here because of NAFTA, the South Korea free trade treaty and more.

And finally, with all the jobs begin shipped away, or created away, from the United States, that meant downward pressure on wages, benefits and salaries. And the difference between the old higher wages and the new lower wages have been redistributed from the pockets of the middle class to the already fat wallets of the 1 percent.

This is precisely why the stock markets tripled in value, more or less, during the last four years of the Clinton regime.

It’s accurate to conclude that the primary purpose of the regime of free trade is to redistribute income upward, and to lower wages, salaries and benefits.

The result of all this has been to diminish the middle class by redistributing the tax bases for our schools and social safety nets to the 1 percent, increase poverty, and corrupt democracy in the USA. And that’s just a few of the negative things this inequality has done.

Now Wall Street Ronnie Wyden wants to continue this process of redistribution via the Trans Pacific Partnership, the biggest income redistribution scam of all time in favor of Wall Street and the 1 percent.

As for the Clinton regime, there were plenty things President Clinton did to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent, but Reich has no intention of letting you in on this, like the free trade scams.

In other words, the political and economic game has been rigged, and Bill Clinton and his labor secretary Robert Reich played big roles in creating this inequality, and now Reich is trying to pretend that his boss and he played no role in creating this rigged game.

For the rest of Reich’s semi-accurate story, click the link below.

Why the Three Biggest Economic Lessons Were Forgotten–BillMoyers.com

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“That giant sucking sound predicted by Ross Perot commenced 20 years ago last week. It is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) vacuuming up U.S. jobs and depositing them in Mexico.

Independent presidential candidate Perot was right. NAFTA swept U.S. industry south of the border. It made Wall Street happy. It made multi-national corporations obscenely profitable. But it destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of American workers.

NAFTA’s backers promised it would create American jobs, just as promoters of the Korean and Chinese trade arrangements said they would and advocates of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal contend it will. They were — and still are — brutally wrong. NAFTA, the Korean deal and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization killed American jobs. They lowered wages. They diminished what America cherishes: opportunity. They contributed to the very ill that President Obama is crusading against: income inequality. There is no evidence the TPP would be any different. American workers need a new trade philosophy, one that protects them and puts people first, not corporations.”

Click on the link below for the complete story.

Fast Track to Poverty–Huffington Post


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Look at the graph above. As Nafta was making its way through congress in the early 1990s, more and more money was thrown at politicians of both parties. President Bill Clinton signed Nafta and it became law in December 1994. Hundreds of thousands of American jobs were shipped to Mexico. The difference between the old US wages and the new lower Mexican wages were redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, rising share prices and soaring dividends. Eventually an estimated 2.5 million US jobs went south, and the real number was probably much higher.

Meanwhile, massive amounts of textile products and shoes were shipped from American factories and contractors in Vietnam and China to Mexico, which utterly destroyed those sectors of the Mexican economy on behalf of rich American investors, and redistributed massive amounts of income from Mexican workers to those same investors. In addition, major US government subsidized corporations shipped massive amounts of chickens, corn and other produce to Mexico under the terms of the treaty, and put millions of Mexicans out of work in those sectors of the economy, and in the process, and via the same Wall Street mechanisms, redistributed income from the 99 percent of Mexico, to rich American investors. The results of Nafta put downward pressure on wages in Mexico and in the US. In Mexico, wages dropped nearly 30 percent in the first six years after the Nafta scam became law. All of this resulted in a massive rise in the US stock markets during the 1990s.

Nafta and other trade treaties let the rich pick the pockets of the 99 percent, and then they diverted some of their stolen gains to the political process, corrupting the political system even more, as can be seen in the graph above. Now President Obama has a team negotiating a new “corporate income redistribution treaty” called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). It’s goal is to jack up the prices of goods such as medicine, limit Internet freedom, redistribute more income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent, and destroy state and local labor and environmental regulations in the process, among other bad things.

The unstated result of what Obama is negotiating is a more corrupt government. The TPP will see the rich get richer by rigging the game in their favor even more than it already is, by redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent, and by throwing more of their ill gotten gains at politicians. This is particularly true in this post-Citizens United era, which was made by a very corrupt corporate wing of the US Supreme Court. That court is rigged against the 99 percent, as well as the US Constitution if its contents are not in harmony with the income redistribution scams the court backs.

Goldman Sachs will be awash with cash. So instead of giving Hilliary Clinton $200,000 a speech, they might up it to a half million. Let’s face it. She’s likely to run for president in 2016. The office has been profitable for her and Bill.

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Big Bucks are rigging the economic game. The Trans Pacific Partnership is nothing but a partnership between governments and big corporations to rip you and your children off by redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent, by shipping your jobs and tax bases overseas, and handing your local and state environmental and labor laws over to those multinational corporations, and curbing your abilities to use the Internet. The difference between the old higher wages in the USA and the new lower wages overseas will be redistributed into the pockets of the already rich via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and surging share prices.

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The Trans Pacific Partnership is a massive income redistribution scam being negotiated by President Obama’s team. If this corporate trade treaty becomes law, hundreds of billions of dollars will be redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent every year for decades, and corporate control of local and state governments will increase. This scheme will drive millions of people from Latin America into the USA illegally, like Nafta did. The treaty will drive prescription drug prices higher, lower income for the bottom 90 percent of Americans, weaken our tax bases that support schools, local and state governments, and our social safety nets; but it will drive corporate profits, stock prices, and dividends higher. In doing so, this scam called a treaty will make the wealthy richer at the expense of everybody else. But it will have other negative consequences. Click on the link below for a list of them.

Trans Pacific Partnership Threatens to ….

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Tax cuts for the rich destroy jobs. When the rich get tax cuts, they simply use their newly available money to push CEOs to ship jobs overseas. When the rich have less money, they have less leverage with which to do so.

That’s why, in part, the Clinton years saw an historic explosion of job growth. There were, of course, other factors.

The housing bubble began circa 1994, the tech bubble hit its stride, and interest rates were coming down. However, massive amounts of income were being redistributed to the 1 percent from the 99 percent because of Nafta, which by most accounts, saw a loss of 2.5 million US jobs within a few years after Clinton signed the treaty.

Note something else. Two of the major factors in economic growth during the eight years of Clinton were bubbles. The tech bubble exploded just after Clinton left office. However, the housing bubble marched onward during the reign of George W. Bush.

The housing bubble only occurred because Wall Street investment firms had created a way to buy home mortgages and then issue bonds to rich investors backed by the mortgages. Commercial banks and other lenders no longer held on to mortgages, they simply sold them to Wall Street investment banks. The result was a disaster for middle America. Standards for mortgage borrowers plunged, causing housing prices to explode.

Note that interest rates also came down during the Clinton era. This also spurred economic growth. However, the decline in interest rates occurred because massive amounts of income were being redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent via Nafta, deregulation and other federal legislation. More and more of the 99 percent couldn’t afford to buy as much stuff as before at higher interest rates. Rates were forced down because demand could not sustain higher rates.

So the Clinton era wasn’t really all that great for the middle class. The 99 percent got bubble created jobs, massive amounts of our income redistributed to the 1 percent, and we got low interest rates to buy houses and cheap plastic junk made in China (which we couldn’t afford). Oh, yes, we also got a ton of debt.

There was one thing we lost during the decade. When Clinton signed Nafta, it signaled the complete corporate takeover by the 1 percent over the Democratic leadership, and about 80 percent of every Democratic congress person. That’s when we should’ve known there was nobody left in the Democratic and Republican parties to represent the 99 percent, at least not in large enough numbers to be meaningful.

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U.S. pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly has filed a $500 million international lawsuit against the Canadian government, saying it unfairly shortened the life of patents for its best-selling drugs.

The case, filed Thursday under the rules of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), threatens to shed a light on a horrendous dispute resolution mechanism also being proposed by the U.S. as part of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, which has been called “NAFTA on Steroids.” A secret court made up mostly corporate hacks will hear the case. Nobody gets to hear the case except for a few lawyers from Eli Lilly and a few from the Canadian government.

“Eli Lilly has been arguing with Canada for almost a year over the patents for its best-selling drugs Straterra, used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Zyprexa, used to treat schizophrenia. The pharmaceutical company says Canadian courts unfairly threw out these patents when challenged by generic drug manufacturers, using a legal doctrine that requires a company to provide an unreasonable amount of scientific data in order to secure the patent.

Eli Lilly argues that the Canadian courts are creating too high of a standard for companies to prove the “usefulness” of their products when their patents are challenged by other firms seeking to produce their own versions of drugs. Usefulness is a common benchmark for establishing or maintaining a patent.

The legal fight is moving to the next stage after the two sides failed to settle their differences during a 90-day consultation process, which ends Friday.”

Doug Norman, Eli Lilly’s chief patent counsel, told POLITICO in an interview this week that the court decisions are “so misaligned” with Canada’s obligations under NAFTA, Ottawa should be held accountable for stopping any future judgments that threaten the company’s presence in the Canadian market.

“The Parliament could have stepped in and fixed Canada’s patent statutes,” said Norman. “To date they have looked the other way.”

But critics argue that the case is another example where trade agreements have enabled private companies to go over government decisions made in the public interest. It’s one of those things where profits are preferred over people.

“It’s an eye opener that a domestic court decision can be second-guessed by a foreign tribunal,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, an advocacy group that traditionally opposes trade deals.

She said the Eli Lilly’s use of NAFTA’s dispute resolution mechanism is particularly “invasive” because it subjects Canada’s entire patent system to the whims of a single company. But that’s what these trade treaties are for, to protect the interests of corporate management and corporate investors by destroying the things that keep things safe for the 99 percent.

Public interest groups are trying to battle a similar “investor-state” dispute mechanism being advocated by the Obama administration as part of the proposed 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Australia, which is also involved in the talks, has vehemently opposed an investor-state dispute mechanism and other countries remain skeptical about its inclusion.

At the March round of Pacific trade deal negotiations in Singapore, Wallach said she packed the house with more than 60 TPP negotiators when she gave a briefing on the negative impacts of the Eli Lilly case.

Wallach said the case may also give the administration heartburn in Congress, where some members may use it as ammo in the debate over trade promotion authority – legislation that would allow President Obama to “fast track” final trade deals by allowing only an up or down vote.

Outside observers also view the case as unique because Eli Lilly is not directly challenging Canadian patent law, which by most accounts is very similar to U.S. law. Instead, Eli Lilly is challenging how Canadian judges interpret the law.

The drug company is entering relatively untested legal waters because NAFTA cases have normally been geared toward the administrative or legislative actions of government, not the decisions of courts, said Lawrence Herman, a Toronto-based attorney and former senior Canadian trade official.

Click below for more on the story.

CBC News–/eli-lilly-files-500m-nafta-suit-against-canada-over-drug-patents

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