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Dump the WTO, NAFTA and CAFTA and Bring Back Tariffs

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In his book, Screwed; The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class -- And What We Can Do About It , Thom Hartmann talks about how tariffs were the primary source of income for the US. Primary!!!. But Reagan, Bush sr. and Clinton totally screwed us by joining the WTO and NAFTA and Dubya signed on the CAFTA-- all good for a few hundred transnational mega corporation, but lousy for US industry and throwing out a major source of income for the US. I say Dump these trade gifts to megacorporations and bring back tariffs. Charge the highest tariffs to the countries that we owe the most to and charge us the most interest on our debt-- and let them help us pay off our debt to them with tariffs.

Sure, we live in different times and there is a need to face the realities of a gobal economy. But that doesn't mean we should just bend over and allow our butts to be kicked and our native industries destroyed, or that we should allow rampant outsourcing of labor. Now, if a company outsources labor, they can report it as contract cost. They should have to report it as exported labor and pay duty on it. Then, they'll have no reason to outsource and we'll keep jobs here.

The temptation to outsource is great. I know. I've been guilty of it. Back in 1993, I travelled to Russia seeking programmers to hire for software development. The idea was to find people over there to do contract work for a tiny fraction of the cost of paying a programmer in the US, where programmers were making $60-$100,000 a year, or $60- $100 an hour.

I ended up bringing over a programmer from Siberia on an H1-b visa. He was making $200 a month in Russia. Now he drives a Mercedes, not because of me though. He went on to apply for a green card and left my employment as soon as he got it. Then HE started doing outsourcing.

When I was looking at doing outsourcing as a small businessman, my goal was to be more competitive, so my small business could earn enough to support my family. The guy I brought over never really worked out and the software project died on the vine, never making a penny, actually costing me tens of thousands of lost dollars. If I'd invested the money I spent on my Russian project in other, US-based projects, I may have come out way ahead.

Since then, I've found plenty of people in the US who will work for me at affordable rates. But times were different then. It may be that I can find programming help more affordably now because outsourcing has already hurt the US market.

The advocates of outsourcing say that they need to outsource to stay competitive. I don't buy it. If we use tariffs to even the costs, the outsourcing becomes unnecessary. If I know that when I send money overseas, or pay a contractor a flat fee, that I must report an explanation of that expense and pay a duty on it, why would I bother?

Signing on to treaties like WTO, NAFTA and CAFTA totally strips the US bare of protections. It subjects the US to rule by secret councils, literally. It is unnatural to exist without some kind of a "skin." I've written about the idea that every living entity must have a "skin" and even nations must have a kind of economic "membrane" that allows some products and services in, while keeping others selectively out.
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Congress and a series of presidents have sold out the American economy and core, bedrock US industries by signing on to these globalist treaties. Yes, we need to deal with globalization. No, we should not just nakedly open our borders.

It is time to reinstate tariffs-- to look at them as protections for US jobs and industries and as a serious source of income. It's a way to pay down the debt without raising taxes. Truthfully, a price will be paid. Walmart loyalists will pay more for the cheap Chinese-made consumer goods they've been lining up at the trough to buy at bargain prices. The alternative will be to buy goods made by US workers who these predominantly right wing consumers have been screwing.

These consumers-- probably the same ones who scream for building a 700 mile border fence-- are happy to allow millions of tons of foreign goods to flood the border. The Zogby polling group routinely looks at who Walmart shoppers are. And the answer is, they are the most conservative voters. It's ironic that they would block foreign workers from coming into the US, but they are happy to buy the goods produced by foreign slave labor pay earning workers.

Globalist treaties like WTO, NAFTA and CAFTA are anti-democratic, forcing the US to obey rules that contradict democratically determined US laws and regulations. They subject the US to destruction of our industries. This is an issue that only the cheapest, most unpatriotic, disloyal Americans, who care nothing of their neighbors' jobs. I'm guessing these are the same leeching people who will do anything to pay their fair share of taxes to support the commons-- our shared costs for roads, quality education, law enforcement, a judicial system that supports robust business, open spaces and clean environments, regulations that protect humans from corporations, international diplomacy...

It's time to make the cancellation of these globalist treaties a major issue that candidates are judged upon. Any candidates who support them are either embarassingly ignorant (I've met them) or more loyal to big corporations than to the people who elect them.
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Just as those on the right talk about "tax and spend liberals," we on the left should start talking about globalist corporation lovers who are bleeding the US to death and forcing us to raise taxes because we're bleeding to death because of corporate welfare.

It's time to start making tariffs a major part of US income. This could be a very powerful tool. How do you cut taxes? Create tariffs!! This is good for citizens, but bad for foreign owned corporations. It might even be a wedge issue that Republicans can't endorse. Of course there will be a fair share of Democrats who are owned by corporations who won't support it either.

Those who say we live in global times requiring global policies are telling half the truth when they advocate policies that eviscerate US industries. It's time to call them on their distortions and take back the USA's economic power, which was given away by the signers of these onerous treaties overdue for cancellation.

 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also (more...)
 

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The "Global Economy" and their legion depend on th... by Jim Reinhart on Sunday, Sep 17, 2006 at 10:37:43 AM
Is this your idea of progressive reform, to stick ... by Steve Consilvio on Sunday, Sep 17, 2006 at 10:56:41 AM
it sounds like you oppose any income for the gover... by Rob Kall on Sunday, Sep 17, 2006 at 11:18:56 AM
"Trade" does not need to be "free" it needs to be ... by Steve Consilvio on Monday, Sep 18, 2006 at 11:34:53 AM
I am an opponent of NAFTA, GATT and the like, and ... by ardee D. on Sunday, Sep 17, 2006 at 7:09:12 PM
I agree with your sentiments. What are the true i... by Devon Greene on Sunday, Sep 17, 2006 at 4:13:41 PM
Of course some countries will want to put tariffs ... by Rob Kall on Sunday, Sep 17, 2006 at 7:53:21 PM
Good article Rob! All those trade agreements have ... by Gary Denson on Sunday, Sep 17, 2006 at 5:13:00 PM
Thank you.... by Nezua on Sunday, Sep 17, 2006 at 7:36:36 PM
Rob, You're right on target. "Free" trade agree... by unlawflcombatnt on Sunday, Sep 17, 2006 at 9:54:32 PM
Free love has lost its lustre and certainly never ... by Rob Kall on Monday, Sep 18, 2006 at 5:52:59 AM
Tarriffs make local corporations stronger, not wea... by Steve Consilvio on Monday, Sep 18, 2006 at 11:45:24 AM
i totally agree with you that world trade agreemen... by liberalsrock on Monday, Sep 18, 2006 at 9:20:13 AM
1. The issue is very complicated and I do not thin... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Sep 18, 2006 at 9:49:28 AM