Considering that GOP Ag. Commissioner McMillan continues to push three new free trade agreements with Columbia, South Korea, and Panama, I was reminded of the  Republican 1904 platform:

Protection, which guards and develops our industries, is a cardinal policy of the Republican Party. The measure of protection should always at least equal the difference in the cost of production at home and abroad.

Too bad, neither party considers this a valid objective any longer.

When he says that these FTA’s will create new jobs, you would think that Commissioner McMillan would have learned from NAFTA and its progeny.  Instead of creating jobs, NAFTA has sent revenues across the border and caused companies to open up production facilities in Mexico.  There has been a net loss of more than five million U.S. manufacturing jobs – one of every four in that sector – since implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

According to an internal assessment of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement by the U.S. Trade Representative, the new deal will increase American exports to Korea by perhaps $5 billion annually. At the same time, the deal will increase American imports from Korea by more than $20 billion annually. This, of course will lead to further job loss as our trade deficit increases. According to an independent analysis of the Korea and Columbia trade agreements, the increased trade deficit per se will correspond to the loss of 214,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2015.

As far as agriculture is concerned, does importing agriculture do anything for local food security and safety or small family farms.  Consider that nearly 300,000 U.S. family farms were lost during the NAFTA era, while these farms’ income shrunk 13 percent. Why would we want to do anything which will cause us to be further dependent upon foreign food?

Let’s agree with Theodore Roosevelt when he wrote in his letter to Henry Cabot Lodge in 1895: “Thank God I am not a free trader. . .”

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