AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka today called for a "Global New Deal" to fundamentally rethink U.S. foreign trade policies, especially so-called "free trade agreements" such as the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
These treaties in the works are examples of "a failed model of global economic policies" based on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of the mid-1990s, Trumka said. "We cannot enact new trade agreements modeled on NAFTA. … NAFTA put corporations in charge of America’s economic strategy with the goal of shipping jobs off shore to lower labor costs," he told an audience at the Washington, D.C., offices of the Center for America Progress, an advocacy group closely associated with the Democratic Party. Echoing common progressive criticisms of the trade deals, Trumka called NAFTA, TPP and TTIP "thinly disguised tools to increase corporate profits by poisoning workers, polluting the environment and hiding information from consumers."
"The NAFTA model is not inevitable," Trumka continued. "We have a choice, and we will choose between the world economy of today—with slow growth, high unemployment and obscene levels of inequality—and the world of tomorrow, of broadly shared prosperity. We will choose between a world of wealth for the 1%, with poverty for the rest of us, and a world in which all of us who work hard can enjoy the fruits of our labor."
Taking a global view, Trumka made the broad point that workers in the United States and elsewhere "need new policies to spark a virtuous cycle where rising wages fuel demand, not flimsy debt-driven demand, but healthy demand, which would in turn spark business investment and more jobs and higher wages in a strong cycle of global growth that works for all our families, for the environment and our communities. We need a global New Deal: a worldwide program to bring the basic infrastructure of modern society—electricity, water, schools, roads, Internet access— to everyone on Earth," he said. Renegotiated trade deals could be a means for establishing such a system, he suggested, but that would require an entirely new approach by government officials.
Read more >> http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/16481/afl_cios_trumka_calls_for_global_new_deal