Posts Tagged ‘Panama’

The one thing not mentioned in the article below from the New York Times is that things are still deteriorating, economically speaking. The rich are still getting richer because the government at all levels, but at the federal level in particular, continues to redistribute income from working citizens to the affluent. Congressman Earl Blumenauer voted to redistribute income in this direction when he voted for the South Korea and Panama Free Trade Treaties a few weeks ago. Likewise, Senator Ron Wyden is another Wall Street legislative prostitute who bends over and serves the one percent. When Wall Street bends Wyden over and reams him full of cash, Wyden then reams us. He voted for the same treaties, plus the Colombia Free Trade Treaty. The story below tells us the economy is growing, but most people aren’t experiencing it. That’s because the rich are getting richer. Thank you Blumenauer and Wyden, my legislative prostitutes of the month, year and decade — John Hively

Published: October 27, 2011

Economic growth in the United States picked up in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday, in an encouraging sign that the recovery, while still painfully slow, has not stalled.

Total output grew at an estimated annual rate of 2.5 percent from July to September, still modest but almost double the 1.3 percent rate in the second quarter, the department reported.

The pace, however, was not brisk enough to recover the ground lost in the economic bust, lower unemployment or even substantially dispel fears of a second recession. Still, the report offered a small helping of reassurance.

“It ain’t brilliant, but at least it’s heading in the right direction,” said Ian Shepherdson, the chief United States economist for High Frequency Economics, a data analysis firm. “I want to see 4 percent, but given that people were talking about a new recession, I’ll take 2.5 or 3, thanks very much.”

The consensus forecast of economists shows continued growth at about a 2 percent rate for the rest of this year and all of 2012. That would be an improvement over the first half of this year, but a strong recovery would require a rate closer to 4 percent. In the 25 years prior to the recession, the United States economy grew at about 3.25 percent a year, though demographic changes have led to lower expectations for future growth even in a healthy economy.

This economy is still a flurry of mixed signals. Real income has declined, but so has the number of people filing for unemployment, a trend that continued in the number of new claims announced Thursday morning.

The stock market has rallied but consumer confidence has plummeted to levels last seen in 2008. That sentiment helped push pending sales of existing U.S. homes down for a third successive month during September, the National Association of Realtors reported on Thursday.

The economy may be growing, but Americans cannot feel it.

“For most people, they’re unable to really make a distinction between a recession and just 2 percent growth, which means the economy is growing so weakly it can’t hire enough people to make a dent in unemployment,” said Bernard Baumohl, the chief economist for the Economic Outlook Group.

Thursday’s numbers showed a larger than expected increase in consumer spending, fueled by purchases of durable recreational goods like televisions. Personal spending increased by 2.4 percent, accounting for the lion’s share of the growth.

But business investment, which has been strong throughout the recovery, continued to grow as well, with a 13.3 percent increase in non-residential building and a 17.4 percent increase in equipment and software purchases.

Growth in residential construction slowed, but spending on furniture and appliances picked up. Government spending stayed flat, with a reduction in state, local and federal non-military spending canceled out by an increase in defense spending.

The growth rate was weighed down by a meager increase in inventories, which Mr. Shepherdson said he expected would turn out to have been higher than believed. The initial G.D.P. report is based on estimates and is subject to multiple revisions.The growth that economists expected in the first part of the year was dampened by shocks like blizzards, a spike in gasoline prices and the earthquake in Japan, which disrupted the global supply chain. Those effects were fading away by the third quarter, economists said.

But other risks still loom, from Europe’s debt crisis to the possibility that President Obama’s proposal for renewed stimulus measures, including a payroll tax cut, could fail to get through Congress.

“The better growth performance in the third quarter doesn’t mean that the economy can’t ‘double-dip’ back into recession,” wrote Nigel Gault, an economist with IHS Global Insight, ahead of the report. “But it suggests that it has more momentum than there seemed to be just a month or two ago, and underscores that the primary recession risks are from external shocks, with Europe the biggest wild card.”

On the domestic front, analysts seemed to be betting that the payroll tax cut would continue, but were divided on the odds that extended unemployment benefits would be renewed. The two programs together represent spending power equal to about 1 percent of G.D.P., though some of that money may go into savings or be spent on imported goods.

More pessimistic economists fear that the third-quarter growth will be unsustainable because housing values remain low and consumers, whose spending accounts for more than 70 percent of G.D.P., have little reason to expect that their financial situation will improve. The increase in consumer spending was accompanied by a drop in the savings rate and an inching upward of credit card debt, possibly to accommodate purchases that could no longer be delayed.

“That is unlikely to continue if the economy grows weakly because Americans are much more conscious about adding on a lot of debt to their balance sheet,” said Kathy Bostjancic, director for macroeconomic analysis at the Conference Board, which tracks consumer and executive sentiment. The negative outlook was beginning to spread to businesses, Ms. Bostjancic said.

“C.E.O. confidence is starting to melt away, along with consumer confidence levels, which have always been low,” she said.


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Yesterday, Congressman Earl Blumenauer voted for free trade agreements with South Korea and Panama. Earl pretty much looked at the knees of his corporate masters, turned around, pushed his shorts down, bent over and said, “Here it is oh mighty rich people.” Then they screwed the rest of us by using him like a cheap legislative prostitute. I hope he took a shower after he voted.

Currently, the USA rates 75th in the world in income equality. We’re down there with Uganda and several other third world dictatorships. Earl voted yesterday to drop us to somewhere around 80th in the world. Earl also voted to redistribute more income from working Americans to the rich, and he voted to depress the economy even more. This tells us something significant about Earl. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the non-rich. It also suggests another thing about Earl “Corporate Bitchboy” Blumenauer.

Since numerous studies show these trade agreements will destroy jobs, Earl isn’t really serious about President Obama’s jobs program.

Here’s another thing to take to the bank. Senator Ron Wyden and President Obama support the trade agreements. Their support strongly suggests that they, too, don’t support the Obama jobs bill.

This means Obama supports his jobs bill because he knows that it won’t pass the House of Representatives, and that means his jobs bill is just a cynical, despicable trick to drum up support from his fading base.

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Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Congressman Earl Blumenauer and President Barack Obama plan to destroy more American jobs by voting yes on the South Korea, Panama and Colombia free trade treaties.

Although the treaties will eliminate US jobs, they will enhance the bottom lines of many corporations, such as Nike.

When NAFTA went into effect, Mexico has a shoe and apparel industry. Now, for the most part, it doesn’t. In 1994, Mexican workers in manufacturing earned 1/6th of their American counterparts, but Nike’s Chinese workers earned only 1/10th of what Mexican workers did. NAFTA allowed Nike to export its goods from China and Vietnam into Mexico. That destroyed much of the Mexican shoe and apparel industry. Of course, Nike wasn’t the only American firm to do this. But my point is clear.

US firms will export goods into South Korea from China and Vietnam and destroy much of the manufacturing industry of that country. South Koreans earn on average about 65 percent of what Americans do. So there you have it. The South Korea free trade treaty will destroy jobs in the United States (see previous article) and create tons of them in China and Vietnam.

A massive redistribution of income from working people to the rich will occur. Thank you Earl Blumenauer, Ron Wyden and President Obama. They do for their corporate and wall street masters what a mistress does for her master. She bends over and gives it up. Like the President, the congressman and the senator.

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There’s an interesting story below from Reuters about the lack of job creation in the United States during the month of August. As everybody knows, including Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senator Ron Wyden, the lack of jobs is caused by the lack of demand for goods and services. This dismal demand for goods and services have been caused in large part by free trade treaties, which have redistributed income from working Americans to the ultra affluent. Almost everybody knows this, including the senator and congressman mentioned above. However, like everybody else, those two drones of corporate America prefer to turn a blind eye to reality in order to continue to service their corporate masters.

When a job paying $50,000 a year is shipped overseas, or when a job is established overseas that otherwise would have been created in the USA in the absence of a trade treaty, the job pays considerably less over there than here, say $45,000 less. The $45,000 difference between the old pay and the new is redistributed from the American working class citizen who lost the job to rich shareholders via dividends and higher stock prices. Both Blumenauer and Wyden know this.

Yet they still persist in supporting free trade treaties that are coming up with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. That’s because they’re paid by the rich via campaign contributions and other perks to support this redistribution, despite the fact that these policies are killing the US economy and driving more and more people into unemployment and poverty.

Tomorrow, I will show how these treaties will redistribute income from the people of Colombia, Panama and South Korea to the US rich. Below is the article from Reuters about job growth halting in August. Remember, Congressman Blumenauer and Senator Wyden have happily created this problem with their support for free trade treaties. They are part of the problem, not the solution. And also remember, the US could be slipping into a recession without having recovered from the last recession. So the next time you see your congressman and or senator from Oregon, be sure to say “thanks” with sarcasam dripping from your lips.

(Reuters) – Employment growth ground to a halt in August, reviving recession fears and piling pressure on both President Barack Obama and the Federal Reserve to provide more stimulus to aid the frail economy.

For the first time in nearly a year the economy failed to create new jobs on a net basis according to the Labor Department’s monthly nonfarm payrolls survey on Friday.

Economists had expected nonfarm employment to rise 75,000 last month but they cautioned against viewing the data as a surefire sign of recession.

A worsening debt crisis in Europe and an acrimonious political fight over the government budget and debt, which led Standard & Poor’s to strip the country of its AAA credit rating, ignited a massive stock market sell-off last month and sent business and consumer confidence tumbling.

“The economy is struggling against stiff headwinds, which appear to have intensified in recent months,” said Millan Mulraine, senior macro strategist at TD Securities in New York. “While it has clearly not fallen off the cliff, there is little to suggest it is anywhere close to regaining its momentum.”

Investors fled riskier assets on the news, sending stocks tumbling, pushing up the price of gold, and lowering U.S. Treasury bond yields.

Employment was dampened by 45,000 striking workers at Verizon Communications. Those workers have since returned to work and will be counted as on the payroll in September.

But even taking that into account the report was largely bleak. The unemployment rate, however, held at 9.1 percent as a survey of households found both job growth and, for the first time in a year, an expanding labor force.

With the jobless rate stuck above 9.0 percent and confidence collapsing, President Barack Obama faces pressure to come up with ways to spur job creation. The health of the labor market could determine whether he wins re-election next year.

Obama will lay out a new jobs plan in a speech to the nation on Thursday, and White House advisers said the data underscored a need for action.

“He will be very specific about what we can do that can have a meaningful impact on job growth in the economy right away,” Gene Sperling, a top economic adviser to Obama, told Reuters Insider.

Obama on Friday withdrew new rules to limit smog pollution that businesses had argued would kill jobs and cost them billions of dollars.

The Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, said in a statement it was time for political cooperation “to end the uncertainty facing families and small businesses, and create a better environment for long-term economic growth.”

But speaking later to reporters in Ohio, Boehner struck a combative tone toward the White House and Senate Democrats. “They want to push for the same kind of agenda — more stimulus spending and short-term gimmicks, higher taxes, more regulations. We’ve seen more of this before and it has failed.”


Despite massive cash injections by both the government and the Fed, sustainable job growth has eluded the economy.

“The entire recovery has been a recovery in name only. The Achilles heel … has always been the lack of job creation,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.

The data could strengthen the hand of officials at the Fed who wanted to do more to help the sputtering economy in August. The economy needs to generate about 150,000 jobs each month just to keep the unemployment rate steady over time.

The central bank, which meets on September 20-21, cut overnight interest rates to near zero in December 2008 and has bought $2.3 trillion in securities to inject cash into the economy.

Despite simmering inflation pressures, many economists expect the Fed to launch a third round of bond buying soon to put downward pressure on long-term rates, partly because the federal government appears intent on belt-tightening.

“Even the inflation hawks have to be concerned by this report,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania. “With fiscal policy at all levels of government restraining growth, the Fed is the only game in town.”

Expectations of further Fed action drove the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note below 2.0 percent. The U.S. dollar rose on safe-haven flows, while the S&P 500 stock index fell 2.53 percent.


While employment was held back by the Verizon strike, the impact was offset somewhat by the return of 23,000 public employees in Minnesota after a partial government shutdown.

Stripping out both of those factors, employment would have expanded by more than 20,000 jobs last month and, without the strike, private payrolls would have increased by 62,000, instead of a paltry 17,000.

Still, the overall tenor of the report was decidedly weak.

Employers created a combined 58,000 fewer jobs in June and July than previously thought, and the length of the average workweek fell 0.1 hour to 34.2 hours, the fewest since January. In addition, average hourly earnings dropped three cents.

About 43 percent of the 14 million Americans unemployed in August had been out of work for at least six months. The jobless rate would have been 16.2 percent if people who want to work but have given up looking for jobs and those working only part time for economic reasons were counted.

Although hiring cooled, fairly steady readings on claims for jobless benefits, relatively strong consumer spending and continued demand for manufactured goods offer hope the economy will avoid recession.

Analysts say the economy should pick up steam from here, although they warn the recovery is so weak that any fresh shock could send it tumbling. In the first half of the year, the economy expanded at less than a 1.0 percent annual rate.

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Using the GINI index, the United States places 75th in terms of income equality among 126 nations. Denmark has the best income equality. Japan and then Sweden are next. The world’s hottest economy, Germany, rated 13th.

The United States rates right in the middle of the pack when it comes to income equality among third world nations. We’re ahead of the Philippines and Haiti, but behind Mozambique and Cambodia.

Every position staked out by President Obama has served to redistribute more income from working people to the wealthy. So income inequality is only getting worst. However, Republicans are even more adamant in redistributing income from the middle to the top. This process has been going on for thirty years since that great income redistribution advocate, President Ronald Reagan, the corporate drone.

If Obama is reelected president, the USA will probably drop to 78th or so on the list, just below Thailand. If a Republican becomes president, the United States middle class will see even more income and wealth redistributed to the top than if Obama remains president. That suggest we should vote for anybody but a Republican or a Democrat for president.

By now everybody knows free trade treaties redistribute income. Jobs are shipped overseas with these agreements. When this occurs, the rich receive the difference between the old employee compensation that was in the United States the new lower compensation paid overseas. The rich get their ill gotten gains via higher dividends and share prices. The job losers lose their income and benefits, which are transferred to the rich.

Obama is pushing for more freely redistribute income treaties with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. This is supported by corporate drones, such as US Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Earl Blumenauer. And we keep voting for these corporate bozos? Why?

Below is a list of the 126 nations from worst to best income equality.

Wikipedia: List of countries by income equality
Economy Statistics > income equality > UN Gini index (most recent) by country
Definition Source Printable version
Bar Graph Map

Showing latest available data. The worst income equality to the best.
Rank Countries Amount
# 126 Namibia: 74.3
Namibian Economy

# 125 Lesotho: 63.2
Basotho Economy

# 124 Botswana: 63
Motswana -Batswana Economy

# 123 Sierra Leone: 62.9
Sierra Leonean Economy

# 122 Central African Republic: 61.3
Central African Economy

# 121 Swaziland: 60.9
Swazi Economy

# 120 Bolivia: 60.1
Bolivian Economy

# 119 Haiti: 59.2
Haitian Economy

# 118 Colombia: 58.6
Colombian Economy

# 117 Brazil: 58
Brazilian Economy

= 116 South Africa: 57.8
South African Economy

= 115 Paraguay: 57.8
Paraguayan Economy

# 114 Chile: 57.1
Chilean Economy

# 113 Panama: 56.4
Panamanian Economy

# 112 Guatemala: 55.1
Guatemalan Economy

# 111 Peru: 54.6
Peruvian Economy

# 110 Honduras: 53.8
Honduran Economy

# 109 Argentina: 52.8
Argentine Economy

# 108 El Salvador: 52.4
Salvadoran Economy

# 107 Dominican Republic: 51.7
Dominican Economy

# 106 Papua New Guinea: 50.9
Papua New Guinean Economy

= 105 Mali: 50.5
Malian Economy

= 104 Niger: 50.5
Nigerien Economy

# 103 Malawi: 50.3
Malawian Economy

# 102 Gambia, The: 50.2
Gambian Economy

# 101 Zimbabwe: 50.1
Zimbabwean Economy

# 100 Costa Rica: 49.9
Costa Rican Economy

# 99 Mexico: 49.5
Mexican Economy

# 98 Malaysia: 49.2
Malaysian Economy

# 97 Madagascar: 47.5
Malagasy Economy

# 96 Nepal: 47.2
Nepalese Economy

# 95 Guinea-Bissau: 47
Guinean Economy

# 94 Philippines: 46.1
Philippine Economy

# 93 Uruguay: 44.9
Uruguayan Economy

# 92 China: 44.7
Chinese Economy

= 91 Cameroon: 44.6
Cameroonian Economy

= 90 Côte d’Ivoire: 44.6
Ivoirian Economy

# 89 Venezuela: 44.1
Venezuelan Economy

= 88 Nigeria: 43.7
Nigerian Economy

= 87 Ecuador: 43.7
Ecuadorian Economy

# 86 Turkey: 43.6
Turkish Economy

# 85 Hong Kong: 43.4
Hong Kong Economy

# 84 Nicaragua: 43.1
Nicaraguan Economy

= 83 Iran: 43
Iranian Economy

= 82 Uganda: 43
Ugandan Economy

= 81 Kenya: 42.5
Kenyan Economy

= 80 Singapore: 42.5
Singapore Economy

# 79 Burundi: 42.4
Burundian Economy

# 78 Zambia: 42.1
Zambian Economy

# 77 Thailand: 42
Thai Economy

# 76 Senegal: 41.3
Senegalese Economy

= 75 United States: 40.8
American Economy

= 74 Ghana: 40.8
Ghanaian Economy

= 73 Turkmenistan: 40.8
Turkmen Economy

= 72 Georgia: 40.4
Georgian Economy

= 70 Cambodia: 40.4
Cambodian Economy

= 69 Guinea: 40.3
Guinean Economy

= 68 Trinidad and Tobago: 40.3
Tobagonian Economy

# 67 Russia: 39.9
Russian Economy

# 66 Tunisia: 39.8
Tunisian Economy

# 65 Mozambique: 39.6
Mozambican Economy

= 64 Morocco: 39.5
Moroccan Economy

= 63 Burkina Faso: 39.5
Burkinabe Economy

# 62 Israel: 39.2
Israeli Economy

# 61 Mauritania: 39
Mauritanian Economy

# 60 Jordan: 38.8
Jordanian Economy

# 59 Portugal: 38.5
Portuguese Economy

# 58 Jamaica: 37.9
Jamaican Economy

# 57 Latvia: 37.7
Latvian Economy

# 56 Vietnam: 37
Vietnamese Economy

= 55 Azerbaijan: 36.5
Azerbaijani Economy

= 54 Benin: 36.5
Beninese Economy

# 53 New Zealand: 36.2
New Zealand Economy

= 52 United Kingdom: 36
British Economy

= 51 Lithuania: 36
Lithuanian Economy

= 50 Italy: 36
Italian Economy

# 49 Estonia: 35.8
Estonian Economy

# 48 Algeria: 35.3
Algerian Economy

# 47 Australia: 35.2
Australian Economy

# 46 Spain: 34.7
Spanish Economy

= 45 Laos: 34.6
Lao Economy

= 44 Tanzania: 34.6
Tanzanian Economy

# 43 Poland: 34.5
Polish Economy

# 42 Egypt: 34.4
Egyptian Economy

= 41 Ireland: 34.3
Irish Economy

= 40 Indonesia: 34.3
Indonesian Economy

= 39 Greece: 34.3
Greek Economy

# 38 Kazakhstan: 33.9
Kazakhstani Economy

# 37 Armenia: 33.8
Armenian Economy

# 36 Switzerland: 33.7
Swiss Economy

# 35 Yemen: 33.4
Yemeni Economy

= 34 Sri Lanka: 33.2
Sri Lankan Economy

= 33 Moldova: 33.2
Moldovan Economy

# 32 Belgium: 33
Belgian Economy

# 31 France: 32.7
French Economy

= 30 Canada: 32.6
Canadian Economy

= 29 Tajikistan: 32.6
Tajikistani Economy

# 28 India: 32.5
Indian Economy

# 27 Bangladesh: 31.8
Bangladeshi Economy

# 26 Korea, South: 31.6
Korean Economy

# 25 Romania: 31
Romanian Economy

# 24 Netherlands: 30.9
Dutch Economy

# 23 Pakistan: 30.6
Pakistani Economy

= 22 Kyrgyzstan: 30.3
Kyrgyzstani Economy

= 21 Mongolia: 30.3
Mongolian Economy

# 20 Ethiopia: 30
Ethiopian Economy

# 19 Belarus: 29.7
Belarusian Economy

# 18 Bulgaria: 29.2
Bulgarian Economy

# 17 Austria: 29.1
Austrian Economy

# 16 Croatia: 29
Croatian Economy

# 15 Rwanda: 28.9
Rwandan Economy

# 14 Slovenia: 28.4
Slovenian Economy

# 13 Germany: 28.3
German Economy

# 12 Albania: 28.2
Albanian Economy

# 11 Ukraine: 28.1
Ukrainian Economy

= 10 Finland: 26.9
Finnish Economy

= 9 Hungary: 26.9
Hungarian Economy

# 8 Uzbekistan: 26.8
Uzbekistani Economy

# 7 Bosnia and Herzegovina: 26.2
Herzegovinian Economy

= 6 Slovakia: 25.8
Slovak Economy

= 5 Norway: 25.8
Norwegian Economy

# 4 Czech Republic: 25.4
Czech Economy

# 3 Sweden: 25
Swedish Economy

# 2 Japan: 24.9
Japanese Economy

# 1 Denmark: 24.7
Danish Economy

Weighted average: 40.5


SOURCE: Wikipedia: List of countries by income equality
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5th January 2011 Es posible encontrar un link donde registren los valores consecutivos del indice Gini?
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The time had come to fight power with truth. That’s why I raised my hand at a town hall meeting hosted by Oregon’s liberal Democratic Senator Ron Wyden. Last January, I’d driven thirty miles from Portland to St. Helens to ask one question. There were about 150 of us. I sat and listened as people asked a variety of questions. Nobody challenged any of the senator’s canned answers.

Wyden is a member of the senate finance committee. As chairman of the subcommittee on trade, the senator is in a position to determine the economic fate of millions of his fellow citizens.

I thought Wyden was a liberal, fighting for the good of the common man in the corridors of power in Washington D.C. I guess that was a long time ago, if ever. Nowadays, the senator is a plutocrat serving the corporate elite in their war against the middle class. The purpose of this war is to redistribute income from working people to the affluent. Like many Democrats and nearly all Republicans, Wyden has done his job well during the last thirty years.

Now, with the middle class staggered by job losses, along with thirty years of stagnant wages and declining benefits due in large part to trade policies that Wyden championed, the senator has decided to go for the kill. By all accounts, he intends to vote yes for the South Korea Free Trade Agreement this summer. Then he’ll vote for the Panama and Colombia free trade treaties when they come up for votes shortly afterward.

Free trade agreements are con games of the rich that enable them to swindle the vast majority of Americans out of their American dreams. The free trade income transfer scam is simple. These deals pave the way for corporations to ship jobs overseas. When they do, the difference between the old compensation in the United States and the new compensation overseas becomes profits. The newly available profits are then divvied up to the affluent as dividends and rising share prices. A job that costs an employer $50,000 a year in the United States costs $5000 or less in a lot of other nations. The difference is $45,000. That’s what the rich pocket. The American citizen who loses that job gets unemployment checks for a while, as well as an uncertain future. Wyden is not a dummy. He knows this.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) predicts the United States will lose over 800 thousand jobs within ten years if congress approves the free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea. In other words, the affluent will get richer at the expense of the job losers. Imagine how many more jobs will be lost if congress also approves the FTAs with Panama and Colombia. Job losses from the three FTA’s could approach or exceed 1,500,000, especially if the results are similar to what happened after NAFTA became law on January 1, 1994.

Depending on who is doing the math and what figures they’re using, the experts have decided American job losses due to NAFTA are somewhere between 600,000 and 900,000. For example, Jobs with Justice has estimated the U.S. lost 766,000 jobs to Mexico from 1994 to 2001. More recently, an EPI study estimated the USA has suffered a net loss of 879,000 positions due to the treaty.

Lots of US corporations have taken advantage of NAFTA. Take General Electric (GE) for example. According to Business Week, the company has exported thousands of jobs to Mexico since 1994. This includes jobs making refrigerators and parking meters. However, not all of the positions shipped to Mexico are in manufacturing. By 2008, GE was hiring an engineer a day in Mexico. Those employees earned one-third as much as their U.S. counterparts.

Of course, there are plenty of other companies that manufacture their products in Mexico and then import them to the United States. For example, some Craftsman power tools are now made in Mexico and are then exported to the USA. This brings us to another point. Plenty of U.S. corporations manufacture goods overseas and then export them to the United States. Most Nike shoes are made in Vietnam and China and many of them are then exported to the United States. My Hewlett-Packard computer was manufactured in China. Thousands of other things are manufactured abroad by U.S. corporations and are then exported to the United States.

This brings us to an unfortunate truth about trade deficits. Much of the total US trade deficit is with US chartered corporations that have exported jobs, or created jobs overseas that would otherwise have been established here had it not been for investment clauses in trade treaties. This is especially true with respect to deficits the United States has with developing nations, such as China and Mexico. The same will be true with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

Obviously, this is not necessarily valid about US trade deficits with more advanced countries, such as Germany, Japan and Canada. However, one has to remember that US companies ship many of their products to developed countries from their factories, contractors and sub-contractors in less developed nations. In other words, the shipping of jobs from the USA to lower wage countries also contributes to the US trade deficit with more developed nations.

All of this means trade deficits are a rough tool to gauge the redistribution of income in the United States. The larger the trade deficit, the more income is being redistributed in the USA from working citizens to the affluent. That’s why the trade deficit and the mal-distribution of income exploded upward in tandem after President Ronald Reagan began his war against the middle class thirty years ago. The United States total trade deficit of nearly $17 billion in 1981 has exploded to nearly $500 billion in 2010. During this same period the richest 1 percent of Americans saw their chunk of national income rise from less than 9 percent to almost 24 percent. This was not a coincidence. It was cause and effect.

The EPI projects growing trade deficits with South Korea, Colombia and Panama if the trade deals are approved by congress. This leads us to an unspoken truth. The real purpose behind these FTAs is to redistribute more income from working Americans to the affluent. In other words, on behalf of the rich, Senator Wyden is preparing another frontal assault against the middle class during the summer of 2011. That’s why I was in St. Helens.

These weren’t the only thoughts racing through my head. I didn’t want the senator to redistribute my son’s future to the affluent, just like he’d done to other Americans when he voted for NAFTA, as well as the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). I hoped he might respond to reason.

An hour or so into the meeting, the senator announced he only had enough time to take three more questions. Tons of hands shot up. One of those was mine. I figured there was no way I’d get called on. Then the aide to the senator made a critical mistake; he pointed his finger at me.

I stood and fidgeted for a moment. Earlier, the senator had answered my question when he told a woman he hadn’t made up his mind on which way he was going to vote on the South Korea FTA. That was nonsense. He’d had years to decide. That brought up another question and it wasn’t all that simple. After the aide called on me, I had a few seconds to organize my thoughts. Then I steeled myself and said what I felt needed to be said:

“I don’t understand your position on the free trade agreement with South Korea. Numerous studies show these trade agreements redistribute income and wealth from working people to the rich. That’s one of the biggest problems today. The rich have more of the national income than possibly at any time in our history. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich called this the biggest issue of our time in his most recent book. The demand for goods and services is weak in the United States because of it. This trade agreement is going to ship more jobs from the United States to South Korea according to the Economic Policy Institute. Everybody knows the difference between the old wages here and the new wages in South Korea are going to be redistributed to the rich via greater dividends and enhanced share prices.”

I started gesturing with my hands as I continued, “Look what’s going on around you. Look at your country. There’s massive unemployment. The demand for goods and services is weak. How can we have a robust economy if people can’t buy stuff because their jobs have been shipped overseas? People have gone without jobs for years. Much of the tax base has been shipped overseas. That’s one of the reasons why they’re tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets of Madison, Wisconsin. These treaties only make the wealthy richer at the expense of the rest of us. They weaken the demand for goods and services in this country.”

At this point, I wanted to say, “Your position on this treaty is complete bullshit.” However, I held my tongue and opted to say something a tad nicer, “Your position on this treaty is completely silly.”
As I began to sit down, the senator stood ramrod straight. Then he pointed his finger at me and said, “Sir, I said I haven’t made up my mind on the treaty.”

My posterior hadn’t even hit the chair when I began to rise with my hand in the air. I was indignant. I was going to say, “That’s my point. How could you not have made up your mind?”

At that exact instant, just as the senator was beginning to defend his position with his earlier answers, two of his assistants appeared like magic at my sides. They asked for my name, if I wanted to provide any additional information and several other things. After about thirty seconds, I sat down and told them, “No, you can’t have my name.” I figured the assistants were there to distract anybody who asked a question that might make the senator uncomfortable. So I shooed the assistants away. Then I realized something.
It didn’t matter what anybody in the audience said. We were working people. The senator didn’t care that the South Korea FTA was going to redistribute income from working people to the affluent and weaken the demand sector of our economy even more.

I figured Wyden had already laid the groundwork to wage war again against the middle class on behalf of his biggest campaign contributors: Nike shareholders, hedge fund managers and investors, as well as other affluent institutions and people. Income redistribution: that’s how the wealthy have gotten richer while sucking the middle class dry. In addition, this scheme gives the affluent more money to purchase additional lobbyists and senators.

As the senator finished his rebuttal, I realized the future of our children was on the line. The time had come. I decided to get politically involved in the hope that enough committed voters might change Wyden’s mind.

In April, I attended a meeting with one of Wyden’s assistants. Everything he said indicated the senator intended to vote for the treaty no matter how devastating it was for the majority of Americans.
I now spend more time working as a volunteer with Oregon Fair Trade, an organization aligned against free trade income redistribution treaties. I got involved with Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC), which is against the treaty. They’re taking direct action against any members of congress not opposed to the South Korea FTA. Along with others, these groups are informing voters and taking part in protests. And they’ve had success.

Oregon Congressman David Wu was sitting on the fence on the South Korea FTA. These groups got him to change his mind. This proved one truism.

We can stop the rich and their plutocrats in congress. If we educate enough people, if we get voters to say enough is enough, we have a chance to stop this latest rich man’s scam. The time for action is now. Stand up for yourselves and for your children. Get involved. Go online. Numerous organizations are defending the vast majority of Americans against members of congress intending to vote yes on these trade treaties. The lists are long. We can stop this summer’s free trade income redistribution con game. Sign up, get active and stop the madness.

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