Let me first say that I'm not a big advocate for ideological purity within the Democratic party. I believe there's a place for many different views and that these diverse interests actually help the party. But there are some issues that are so fundamental to the very idea of what it means to be a Democrat that there simply cannot be any compromise.
The current state of our trade deficit and the wage stagnation of the middle class makes Fast Track one of these issues. For those that don't know, Fast Track (aka Trade Promotion Authority) allows the President to negotiate trade agreements that Congress cannot amend or filibuster.
The last two administrations have consistently used this authority to undermine Americans' interest by negotiating "free trade" agreements that can certainly not be labeled as free trade and are patently unfair to American workers and companies. The result has been a trade deficit that has ballooned to $60 Billion/month and is a direct threat to the future prosperity of this country.
In Indiana, we have the second worst job growth of any state and the fact that this decline has happened during the "free trade" era is no coincidence. I do not support Fast Track authority for any President but to give this President the ability to negotiate trade agreements without any influence from Congress or the American people is not only foolish, but also un-Democratic.
Currently, Fast Track is set to expire on June 30 and there is sure to be vigorous debate leading up that deadline. The Democratic party MUST stand with the people and VOTE NO to reauthorizing this disastrous authority to a disastrous President.
This is issue #1 for me and I plan to post more in depth commentary on this and various other international trade topics leading up to the vote. For now, I leave you with a list of how our state's elected officials voted in the last reauthorization in 2002.
Lugar - Y
Bayh - Y
Souder - Y
Buyer - Y
Burton - Y
Pence - Y
Carson - N
Hill - Y
Visclosky - N
Hopefully Bayh and Hill now realize the error in that vote and will no longer undermine the workers of this state. If they don't, then they should not expect the support of the Democratic party...