Big push by massive multi-national corporate conglomerates for "Trade Adjustment Assistance" (TAA)
U.S. exports aren't necessarily down because of any "trade imbalance", because U.S. corporations don't have to export their goods and services anymore, they can just export their factories and businesses abroad.
First, they create the demand by enabling foreign consumers with jobs, then they provide the supply with their locally produced goods and services.
These corporations need not export anything from the U.S. to points around the globe, but can export goods to us from overseas. Cheaper products made with cheaper labor (and less regulation) to consumers in the U.S.
And they can also pay a lower corporate tax rate to foreign governments, while their employee's wages are also being taxed for the benefit of foreign governments (albeit, with loopholes, these corporations can pay NO taxes at all to the U.S. Treasury for their business in the U.S.) American multi-national corporations have the best of both worlds..."They can have their cake and eat it too."
As the Obama administration indicated its readiness to enter into substantive discussion with Congress with the goal of approving pending "free trade agreements" with Colombia, Korea and Panama, a very wealthy and powerful coalition of business groups sent a letter to President Obama and Congressional leaders in support of an "expanded trade adjustment" which includes assistance for workers dislocated by international trade as part of the package.
While reading this letter (below), please notice all the nuances and vague references (using words like "displaced" instead of laid-off or fired). Then think about the last 40 years: emerging markets, outsourced jobs, closed factories, high unemployment, urban decay, depressed wages, fewer benefits, reduced worker's rights, union busting, corporate bailouts, collective bargaining eliminated, corporate tax evasion, taxpayer-paid subsidies, record profits, record CEO salaries & bonuses, the Bush tax cuts, the past "free trade agreements" (jobs moved to Mexico, India, China, etc.), the shrinking middle-class, and then finally the Republican/corporate push to kill Medicare & Social Security for American workers when they can no longer work. Then look at the list of signers to this letter.
If I were President Obama, I'd tell them all to go take a hike. Didn't they already do enough damage to this country's work force during the last 40 years?
Now these corporations are telling us that American workers need "new job skills" and that they need to be "more mobile", as though the factory workers, assembly-line workers, the packers, the forklift operators, the janitors, and the truck drivers in China (and elsewhere) were more educated, better skilled, and harder-working than Americans. As though it was the American workers' fault for being unemployed when statistics clearly show that there are five jobless Americans for every job available. Just last month McDonalds said it would not be surprised to receive more than 250,000 applications for 62,000 part-time low-paying summer jobs.
But these corporations never say exactly what kind of skills they are supposedly looking for, that American workers are supposedly lacking. Many unemployed Americans went back to re-educate themselves and learn new skills, paying for school tuitions they couldn't afford, only to still find themselves unemployed like so many other newly graduated college kids.
Any time you hear the terms "free trade", "free markets", "emerging markets", "Right to Work", or "globalization"...or the phrases "competition in the global market" or "needs certainty in the marketplace", you KNOW the American worker is getting screwed again. These are code words for "outsource", "mass lay-offs", and "shut downs" for cheaper labor for higher corporate profits and larger CEO salaries. The global market is they themselves, as they are multi-national corporations. There is nothing "free" about "free trade"...it's "free labor" they are striving for, as in slavery, or "slave wages".
Now we have record unemployment, record home foreclosures, record food stamp recipients, and record deficits. No jobs, no tax revenues, and no middle-class. America is quickly becoming a Third World country because of "emerging markets" and "free trade agreements".
When a corporation lays off a worker for cheaper labor, the terminated employee isn't being "sacrificed" for higher profits, for that would imply that the corporation thought that person had value...but to the corporation, the discarded American worker (if not a consumer), is nothing more than debris.
The result of the myth of "free trade" that has been perpetrated on the American workers for the last 40 years: