...Unfettered free trade has not only put the Henry County region near the top of Virginia’s unemployment rankings for more than a decade, but it has also ushered in an era of soaring food insecurity and Social Security disability claims.
And crime, too. A sheriff’s deputy told me at another book signing that many of his calls are now related to methamphetamine and heroin. An unemployed man accidentally set an abandoned factory on fire while trying to rip out copper electrical wires to sell on the black market; he was riding a bicycle, an unusual sight in this hilly, rural, car-reliant area.
After weeks of Congressional chess over the Asia-Pacific trade accord, with lawmakers finagling new methods to pass or block trade-negotiating authority — depending on the day — the so-called “fast track” is now on President Obama’s desk, a crucial step toward completion of the accord, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.