"Free trade" and the Tea Party Congress
An op-ed in the Washington Post points to an idea worth exploring:
For all the talk of populist foment – the Tea Party on the right and the new Occupy Wall Street movement on the left – business interests remain firmly in control. Forced to choose between their voters and their donors, lawmakers don’t hesitate before choosing the latter.
There is little doubt about where the Tea Party faithful stands on free trade. A year ago, a Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll found that 61 percent of Tea Party supporters thought free-trade agreements had hurt the country, compared to 53 percent of Americans overall who held that view. Shortly after that, a Pew Research Center poll found that only 24 percent of Tea Party supporters thought free-trade agreements were good for America.
The US is trapped in the 1840s: a wealthy clique wants to depress the wages of free labor by exploiting oppressed workers of a different ethnic group. The wealthy buy off both political parties and the issue is off the political agenda.
The US is in an economic emergency — we need to suspend “normal” political wrangling over prayer in school / abortion /gay rights / etc. etc. and focus on the real issue: deindustrialization and the collapse of the American economy. There has to be a new left-right coalition that puts offshoring/globalization front and center. AFTER we have 25% tariffs and are re-industrializing, then we can go back to the other stuff.
If the US is as poor as Belize in 2020, how many of us will really be spending our days thinking about abortion / gay rights / gun rights (control) / sex on television, etc? We’ll be too busy worrying about what garbage dumps might turn up edibles or some torn clothing. Wall Street for too long has used wedge issues to divide and conquer the vast American masses.
We need to force the national debate onto the one issue that really matters.