Today is the big vote on Obamatrade
Today’s Senate cloture vote is the last and best chance for conservatives to stop Obamatrade. Just 41 Senate votes against cloture would stop it in its tracks. During previous votes, the Republican leadership had enough votes sewed up. Not this time.
Conservatives believe in free trade. But free trade works only when it is balanced. Obamatrade enables currency manipulation, the chief method through which Japan, Malaysi,a and Vietnam, three of our Trans-Pacific Partners, give hidden subsidies to their products and charge hidden tariffs upon U.S. products so as to give their countries increasing trade surpluses and give the U.S. worsening trade deficits.
Conservatives believe in economic growth, but the record of past trade deals suggests that Obamatrade would substantially increase the U.S. trade deficit, contrary to claims made by some advocates for such deals. Trade deficits send factories abroad, send research and development abroad, and cause a decline in American growth rates.
Conservatives believe in minimizing the number of people who depend upon government entitlements, but Obamatrade would continue disastrous trade policies that have cost millions of good-paying jobs in the private sector over the last two decades, forcing more Americans to seek survival by supplicating the government for Social Security disability, food stamps, welfare, unemployment, trade-adjustment assistance, and other handouts.
Conservatives believe that America can best lead the world by remaining powerful – a force for freedom in the world. Although advocates of Obamatrade claim that it will enhance American leadership, the disastrous trade deficits that Obamatrade worsens will undermine U.S. economic and military power, ultimately making it impossible for the U.S. to preserve its pre-eminence.
Moreover, a vote for Obamatrade is a vote for big government. Conservatives favor small and local government with minimal regulation. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, the first of the Obamatrade deals, creates an international commission that can enact climate change regulations, environmental regulations, immigration regulations, and labor regulations.
Even more perplexing is the political suicide that the Republican leadership is pushing. Every poll shows that American voters in general and Republican voters in particular are strongly against Obamatrade, including a Hart Research Associates poll, a Frank Luntz poll, and a Pew Research Center survey. The trade vote will be targeted by primary and general election challengers: candidates lose elections when the American people think they are out-of-touch outsourcers of American jobs.
The Republican leadership wants to give President Obama the greatest victory of his term, a victory that could destroy America’s future and the Republican majorities in Congress. Conservative senators can stop them today. Will they?
The Richmans co-authored the 2014 book Balanced Trade: Ending the Unbearable Costs of America’s Trade Deficits, published by Lexington Books, and the 2008 book Trading Away Our Future, published by Ideal Taxes Association.