The past couple of debates that have aired live on TV have given us a glimpse of who is running and what they stand for. However, many can agree that the issues being discussed are insignificant and not real policy issues that truly affect Americans. One huge issue too overlooked from the Democratic debate as well as the previous GOP debates was trade. You may think that this is just another boring and insignificant issue, however, trade affects every person in this country and all across the world. Trade affects our jobs, our wages, the costs of items, and our economy.
How so? When we enter into trade agreements with countries that have extremely low wages, such as China who has an average yearly take home pay of $4,755, we suddenly have millions of jobs shipped overseas. Companies can close up shop in the U.S., forget about labor rights, environmental regulations, and minimum wages, and move to China. In fact, since we helped China enter the World Trade Organization in 2001, we have lost 3.2 million jobs to them.
The same thing occurred in 1994 with the North American Free Trade Agreement. Auto manufacturers went south to Mexico because they preferred paying workers less than $4 to $8 an hour instead of the average $48 to $57 an hour in the U.S. A total of 5 million jobs have been lost since NAFTA, jobs that could've supported American families, college graduates, newly weds, new parents, or individuals looking to get ahead. Instead, they are gone.
Not only do these agreements ship our jobs overseas, they create an influx of cheap imports that we have become addicted to. While it's great that we can afford cheap goods and are able to consume even more, it's horrible that we aren't consuming American made goods! These cheap imports have given our companies two options: either move overseas in order to be able to offer a competitive price, or simply close up shop.
All of this affects our economy. Imagine, if you spend just $1 or more a day in U.S. products, you will help support 1.3 million jobs here in the U.S! Spending up to $10 a day per person supports a whopping 13 million U.S. jobs.
We have lost so much to China and Mexico. However, that's only the beginning. President Obama just wrapped up a monster trade agreement called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which makes NAFTA look tiny. The TPP is a 12 nation agreement including Japan, Canada, Mexico, Brunei, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The mere fact that we are trading with two notorious countries for human trafficking: Vietnam and Malaysia, shows us who really is behind this horrific deal.
If the TPP were to pass, we can kiss many of our last remaining good jobs goodbye.
However, the media has remained extremely quiet about the TPP. In fact, over 94 percent of the people in the U.S. have no idea what the TPP or NAFTA is. Isn't it the media's job to inform us about things that directly affect us? Apparently not when the media is owned by the people who want these trade agreements to pass.
The presidential candidates need to talk more about trade. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, two candidates from different parties have taken a strong stance against these awful trade practices. However, the powerhouse Clinton says too little regarding trade. Her party is mostly against it because of labor issues. However she was a strong advocate when she was Obama's secretary of state.
Presidential debates don't need to be about "what she said, what he said," but more about good policies and getting America back on track to prosperity.