Posts Tagged ‘free trade’

“MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) — Republican Mitt Romney said Friday he wants to help displaced workers with special accounts they can use to pay for more education and training,” writes Amy Lorentzen for the AP in a story titled Romney Wants Help for Displaced Workers

Romney’s plan is part of a free trade proposal he’s touting this week. In it, he seeks more authority for the president to negotiate trade deals, and calls for a new alliance of foreign partners that are committed to opening more markets.

“I want to make sure that trade is fair and our workers are trained properly for the jobs of tomorrow,” Romney told about 150 people at a hotel in central Iowa.

Romney’s plan would help displaced workers by creating what he calls worker empowerment and training accounts. The self-managed accounts would be for any worker entering the work force development system, not just those hurt by trade deals, according to his campaign.

The accounts could be used to purchase training and education — from community colleges or from businesses. Similar proposals from Republican congressional leaders and the Bush administration put the accounts at a range of about $2,000 to $3,000 per year. The accounts would be paid for by reallocating existing resources, the campaign said.


1. Give me the authority to negotiate trade deals—i.e. to fast track trade deals. Who will this benefit? It will benefit organizations like Romney’s own Bain Capital. See:

Hunter on Romney: “…while it is true that you no longer control Bain Capital, the contributions you have received from its principals as its founding member indicate that your influence within the company remains strong”

2. Romney believes that his trade deals will displace US workers. Well, he’s probably right. But Romney has a plan. He wants you to subsidize special accounts that workers will be forced to pay into to protect themselves against Romney’s trade deals.

3. So: Romney, Bain Capital, and other private interests profit, and the public—i.e. workers, taxpayers—gets to absorb all the costs. As we wrote elsewhere, this is a laboratory pure example of privatizing the gains (profits that accrue to Bain Capital) and socializing the costs (subsidizing displaced workers at public expense).

No wonder Romney is so rich. He’s quite enterprising. Imagine enjoying the opportunity to plunder the accumulated capital of an entire nation.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.


“‘The other nations of the world are working very hard to open up markets for themselves,’ he said. ‘I want to make sure the negotiations benefit America. Signing agreements doesn’t mean anything for our workers if they’re not enforced.’—so says Romney as reported by someone named Jennifer Colton for the Greenwood Index-Journal, reproduced on in a post titled, strangely, Romney calls for “Ideology of Strength”

“Romney’s solution to the trade dilemma is creating what he called the ‘Reagan Zone of Economic Freedom.’

“‘The Reagan Zone is a group of nations engaging in trade and living by higher regulations and safety standards,’ he said. ‘Let’s create a global zone of economic freedom to create the large free-trade area in the world. We can promote American goods and services on a global scale if it is fair.’

“The zones would create a ‘true level playing field’ for trade, he said, and involve enforcement of regulations and currency exchange.” … etc., etc.

This is not free trade, dear readers. What Romney proposes is the antithesis of free trade, the precise antithesis of free trade. What Romney proposes is some species of so-called fair trade, which requires a “true level playing field” that takes the form of trade, regulatory, wage, and, yes, tax harmonization. Here is the problem: to administrate a boundary-spanning trade regime will require a boundary-spanning tax, labour, and regulatory regime—it will also require a budget and a governing, adjudicating, and deliberative assembly of its own. Think: WTO or NAFTA, only writ large, very large, with the same power to override local ordnances, statutes, laws etc.

If we read Romney by way of Colton correctly, what Romney proposes is to eliminate regulatory competition—and tax competition too, otherwise how can our trade be fair trade if our producers and exporters are unfairly burdened?—on the model of e.g. the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.