Letter to the Editor: Federal negotiators have sold out workers


The recent column, “The Truth about Free Trade,” makes a very gloomy conclusion:  America should give up and switch to socialism.

The writer, Robert Reich, suggests “new rules:” higher taxes on the wealthy, a single-payer health care plan, a wage subsidy for low income workers, free public colleges, and more generous Social Security.

Everybody mouths support of “free trade,”  but most of the world is much more protective of  workers.  Japan keeps American beef out to protect its inefficient growers.  France protects its inefficient wheat growers at the expense of American farmers.  South Korea protects its autos.

American negotiators must rationalize it as only a few percentage points and the giant American economy can swallow that easily.  But when every country is given an edge, it adds up to a deficit that totaled $727 billion in 2011.

America has been beat over the head by trade from its birth.  We had to buy cannons from the French because England would not let us develop domestically.  We set up gunpowder factories to fight in the American Revolution —  in the middle of the revolution. And in our memory Shenandoah County and the nation saw its clothing and manufacturing industries swept overseas.

Our federal negotiators (and Mr. Reich was once a top officer of the Federal Trade Commission) have sold out the American worker. They forgot or neglected America’s greatest bargaining tool, the economy every country wants to get into.

Yes, it may be easy to report, as Mr. Reich does, that between 2000 and 2007 America lost 3 million manufacturing jobs.  But what did Federal Trade Commission officials, including Mr. Reich, do about it? Very little.  Let’s hope the next administration does a lot better.

Bonner Day, Maurertown