In Washington's partisan political climate, there are few issues with such broad bipartisan support as the Colombian Free Trade Agreement. An issue where John Kerry and Barack Obama both enthusiastically agree with George W. Bush and John Boehner, the Colombian Free Trade Agreement is one of those issues. It is one of three Free Trade acts now awaiting Congressional confirmation, along with South Korea and Panama. It has been said that insanity is repeating the same action over and over and expecting a different outcome. If that is so, then, Free Trade must qualify as the height of insanity.
The North American Free
Trade Act has caused economic disruptions in all of the nations
involved. American industrial workers are forced to compete against
Mexican wage scales. Small Mexican farmers are forced to compete
against giant American agribusiness. Industrial pollution in Mexico
has poisoned water supplies, driving ever more small farmers off of
their lands. In Tijuana, the water treatment facility is near
collapse. The city's water treatment facility is antiquated and
overwhelmed by industrial waste water that the facility was never
designed to handle.
The toxic overflow is then released into the Pacific Ocean where it washes up on California's beaches. The situation in Tijuana is illustrative of Free Trade in general. The elimination of tariffs and low environmental standards makes Tijuana a better place for huge mega corporations to manufacture and produce goods. The Korean giant Samsung manufactures television sets there and dumps toxic cleaning solvents directly into the water. They pay their workers wages below the American minimum wage and when their product is complete, it is boxed up for shipment to the United States, tariff free.