Saturday, June 30, 2007

Major Victory - Fast Track Off the Table

The AP reports that the reauthorization of fast track will not be on the agenda:
President Bush loses his power today to seal fast track trade agreements without intervention from Congress, where Democrats blame recent deals for sending U.S. jobs abroad.

Since 1975, only one other president, Bill Clinton, has been stripped of that trade promotion authority, designed to speed the reduction of trade barriers and open new markets with other countries. Bush won’t get it back again, and the next president might not either.

House Democratic leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, whose Ways and Means Committee handles trade policy, said in a written statement Friday that their legislative priorities “do not include the renewal of fast track authority.”

Make no mistake, this is a MAJOR victory for the middle class in this country and was only possible because of the Democratic takeover of Congress. This is what I wanted to see. This is what the Democratic party is supposed to stand for. When Charles "NAFTA" Rangel starts to come around you know the times are a changin.

I've had a whole series of posts discussing the problems of international trade and specifically renewing the President's trade promotion authority (i.e. fast track):
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.

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.

Well today is June 30th and I am ecstatic that the Democratic leadership came to their senses. Today is a great day and despite my previous threats I am still an official member of the Democratic party:
Well I've had enough, and if they continue down this path then I will no longer support the Democratic party. It doesn't mean that I won't support certain candidates but I cannot and will not prop up a party that only serves to undermine this country and its citizens.

The DLC and its supporters can go to hell...

I'm back on board, now crank up the populist rhetoric and let's keep the ball rolling. Next up, China...


Larry said...

This is the best news that I have heard in 6 years.

Now when will they undo what has already been done?

Jeff Pruitt said...

The next step should be repealing normal trade relation status with China and removing the taxbreaks given to companies that outsource.

Byron Dorgan has introduced a bill for each of these. It might take a while but I would hope they would come to the floor before the end of the year.

Hopefully this is only the start to fixing our disastrous trade policy. Ideally, I'd like to see us cap our trade deficit and implement Warren Buffet's plan to achieve balanced trade through import certificates

Larry said...

I hope this happens but Corporate America will no doubt throw more dollars toward the Democrats.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

I agree with you 100% that this is a good thing...

I disagree with you 100% that The Democrats have come around on Trade Policy. I feel that the only reason that took this step was to "poke the President in the eye."

The Democratic Party has the ability to change our Trade Policy with their majorities; however, I in no way think they will do any of those things you mentioned!

Mike Sylvester

Karen Goldner said...

Very interesting AP article in this morning's Journal Gazette about the bubble in China. Sorry for the long link:

The summary is that there are a number of factors in the Chinese economy that lead experts to compare it to Japan's economy 15 years ago - very loose banking practices, lots of cash attracted to stocks (which can lead to over valuation), and real estate speculation.

One very interesting line from the article:

"'China is like a giant elephant riding a bicycle – it has to maintain a fast speed, otherwise it will crash,' economist Zhang Chunyue quipped in a recent commentary in the state-run newspaper China Daily."

Jeff Pruitt said...


We'll see. I'm more hopeful than I've been in quite some time due to the new vocal freshmen that were elected in 2006...

I couldn't get the link to work but I'll try and find the story through the ap site.

If you're interested, in this month's Atlantic Monthly James Fallows wrote up a large piece comparing China's current economic boom to the industrial revolution here in the US.

I've been meaning to post about it with some rebuttal but I haven't gotten to it yet...