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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/13/10

What Else is There Left to Defend?

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Germany, with an export economy of $1.121 trillion, exports everything from automobiles to electricity and 40 percent of its exports are with European economies with similar wage, environmental and safety standards. When you include the United States and Canada the figure goes over 50 percent.

Forty percent of Germany's imports come from countries in the European Union. Only 4 percent of Germany's imports head to China and only 8 percent of imports are from China.

In France the numbers are even clearer; 51 percent of all French exports are with European Union countries and when the US is included the number is almost 60 percent. French imports from European Union countries and the United States is 61 percent of the total.

In the United States our three largest export partners are Canada 20 percent, Mexico 11.7 percent and China 5.5 percent. We export agricultural products (soybeans, fruit, corn) 9.2%, industrial supplies (organic chemicals) 26.8%, capital goods (transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers, telecommunications equipment) 49.0%, consumer goods (automobiles, medicines) 15.0%. That all sounds good until you realize that China accounts for 16 percent of all of our imports or more then three times the amount we sent to them.

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Mexico is another story; 80 percent of Mexico's exports are to the United States, 3.6 percent of her exports are to Canada and Mexico's next largest trading partner is Germany at 1.4 percent. Forty-eight percent of Mexico's imports are from the United States, China 13.5 percent, Japan 4.8 percent, South Korea 4.6 percent and Germany at 4.1 percent. If you add those numbers up it comes to 75 percent, or only 5 percent of exports from Mexico to the US are actually from Mexico.

The United States exports raw materials and imports finished goods and only one of our three largest trading partners has a similar economy. Two of the three have workers who toil for between two to five dollars a day. Can the United States ever compete on that level? Can we maintain safe drinking water or a decent educational system? Can we maintain an interstate highway system or a national defense? The answer is as obvious as the illness; free trade isn't free. Free trade is about the exploitation of labor and the evasion of environment law.

This isn't about xenophobia or trade barriers but about common sense and national quality of life standards. If, as a nation, we won't defend our standard of living and the opportunity for Americans to earn a decent living, what else is there left to defend?

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"One other objective closely related to the problem of selling American products is to provide a tariff policy based upon economic common sense rather than upon politics, hot air, and pull." Franklin Delano Roosevelt

A government that doesn't defend its people isn't worthy of being defended by its people.

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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that (more...)

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