Skip to comments.My Turn: Beware claims of 'free trade'
Posted on 12/29/2010 9:36:43 AM PST by triumphant values
Free Trade agreements create jobs. Our area witnessed a vivid illustration of this in November 2005, when the brick walls of the massive Pillowtex Plant No. 1 in Kannapolis crumbled to the ground. Four thousand pounds of dynamite in shaped cartridges detonated to create a series of controlled explosions that shattered critical supports throughout the structure, and gravity did the rest. Spectators gasped and yelled in response to the succession of booms, and at the huge crumbling sections that slammed to earth with so much force, they blew dust even higher than the towering smokestacks that stood untouched nearby. But all then gazed in silence at the eerie precision of the collapsing structure, which dropped exactly as the engineers of the D.H. Griffin Wrecking Company planned.
It was Griffins second-largest demolition job in the companys history. Its largest was the World Trade Center cleanup. Nine months later, it took down the twin smokestacks.
When Fieldcrest executives first announced the closing in 2003, workers gathered at the plant for weeks afterward during lunch breaks and days off to hold prayer vigils. When the plant closed, 4,300 workers lost their jobs, the largest single layoff in North Carolina history. The Kannapolis area still has not recovered. While the state unemployment rate just increased to 9.7 percent, Kannapolis struggles with a rate of 12.3 percent.
Even supporters of the North American Free Trade Act, which had eliminated tariffs between the US, Canada, and Mexico, admitted Washingtons free trade policies were to blame. Economist Michael L. Walden, in an article entitled, Pillowtex: Dont forget the benefits of freer trade, identified lower-cost foreign labor as the reason so many American textile and apparel jobs had vanished overseas. From 1997 to 2002, North Carolina lost 100,000 textile and 70,000 apparel jobs.
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Are there no prisons? Are there no workshouses?
Bunch of bums. They all should've gotten PhDs in biotech engineering or did something constructive like packaging mortgage securities.
But but... Free Trade is everything right?
I despise free trade with nations like Mexico and China more than I despise the Unions... They have both killed blue collar jobs in the US...
The “Free Trade” fraud strikes again. Mild Protectionism for needed basic industries. By the way that concept of Protectionism was president Madison’s. While Madison was a long time ago at least he did not have a hidden agenda as do most of today’s “Free Traders.”
What we have with China is free trade? Um....I don’t think so...
What we have with China and Mexico isn’t free trade either but it doesn’t stop anyone from throwing the term around.
You are correct. And one wonders why we
STILL have no free trade with Colombia (which would be an economic PLUS for us)?
Better yet, they should all move to California and get one of those ‘green jobs’ the leftists promise that cap n’ trade will create.
Why? Because if you find youself trapped in a pit, stop digging!
Go to Bloomingdale’s or Nordstrom and try to buy a single towel or sheet or pillow or rug or shower curtain or duvet that was made in this country. It is impossible. And it is impossible to purchase a quality, durable version of any of those items without paying a small fortune at Neiman or Horchow. The cheaper ones self-destruct in a short period of time. We have been twice screwed. In my pile of old towels I use to bath the dog, there are a couple that my mother bought in 1971 that are still intact and functional, and I know they were made in this country, not Mexico or where ever. Yet I have a couple of Bloomingdale’s towels I bought two years ago that are about to join their elders in the dog’s pile.
It is the LIBERALS who don’t want free trade with Colombia. Nancy Pelosi, in particular, has worked hard against this.
The same region also produced high quality hardwood furniture, which probably employed about the same numbers of people as the textile industry (also not union labor).
I like free trade. It reduces my cost of living and of doing business.
You trying to pin-point who I should and shouldn’t blame for screwing things up here?
I just want to say, I voted for Ross Perot. Do you hear that sound? That GIANT SUCKING SOUND! We all need to remember that it was Al Gore who debated Perot on Larry King and who swore up and down that Perot was wrong (or worse) for being opposed to NAFTA. It was the Democrat’s Al Gore and Bill Clinton that made the sales pitch for that free trade agreement and because of this, I think we can draw a few conclusions about their actual credibility. For instance, when Al Gore yells about global warming, let’s remember, he yelled about NAFTA too. When people make claims that the Clinton economy was so wonderful, let’s not forget, he signed NAFTA into law. He also forced banks to give home loans to people that were unqualified. And, furthermore, he also permanently extended MFN status to China. How did this all work out for America? Not very well IMO.
No, I am not. Actually, I think all of us share some of the blame for what has happened to our great nation. I am a realist. ;-)
You should check your math again. But regardless, everything isn't always about you.
“You should check your math again. But regardless, everything isn’t always about you. “
Locally a lot of mill jobs up and left for places like NC in the early/mid 20th century. My entire grandparent’s generation basically sang the song you are singing now.
Were workers in NC upset they took jobs from (relatively) overpaid workers in New England? My guess is they weren’t.
Ross Perot was a visionary, I didn’t vote for him but as we all know hindsight is 20/20.
How would you know? Unless you are older then most humans you’ve never had free trade.
I know. That's why I didn't inject my personal situation into the conversation like you did.
What's your point? That we shouldn't wish to see foreigners more upset than our own countrymen?
My point is the work moves where the costs are cheapest, whether in country or out.
To the worker laid off or the town that dries up and crumbles, it doesn’t really matter where the mill goes, does it?
So if a Tariff is used to offset subsudies other contries supply, it could mean the costs are lower here.
You state this as if it is an immutable law of physics.
To the worker laid off or the town that dries up and crumbles, it doesnt really matter where the mill goes, does it?
It most certainly matters if it leaves the country as opposed to leaving the county.
Yes, it does matter because when a company relocates within the US the payrolls and profits and all the feeder businesses stay within the US, and continues to benefit the nation as a whole.
Boeing recently moved some production from the NW to South Carolina. Do you think things would have been just a fine and dandy if they'd moved it to China?
And workers are often given the option to`move and work at the new location in the US.
>> Were workers in NC upset they took jobs from (relatively) overpaid workers in New England? My guess is they werent. <<
In the meantime the high-tech sector in the Carolina Piedmont region has boomed, as big Internet firms like Google have bought abandoned textile mills to use their giant structures, their huge electric service capacities and their water-fed cooling apparati for large “server farms.”
Moreover, both Carolinas are made even more attractive to big Yankee companies due to their large, semi-skilled labor forces — family-oriented, non-union people who no longer are working in sweatty, dirty textile jobs. The region is becoming a veritable high-tech heaven.
Therefore, I predict that when we finally get rid of the Øbamao-Reid clique and its European socialist policies, and when we inevitably come out of the current “Great Recession,” the death of the textile industry in the Carolinas will generally be acknowledged as a blessing in disguise.
Yes at the Federal level I agree. I guess I was thinking as an individualist where the laid-off worker is still just as laid-off whether the mill moves to NC, AZ or Mexico.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want such work to move out of the country.
A 10% unemployment heaven.
“I like free trade. It reduces my cost of living and of doing business.”
Does it really? Have you ever considered the cost of Food Stamps and Welfare benefits you are paying as a result of so many Americans losing jobs?
Will you continue to like it when it eventually affects you personally? The Service Economy jobs that are left do not pay enough for those people to pay for goods and services it will catch up with you.
Do you realize our leader’s via so called free trade have helped Communist Chinese grow from a third-rate military force whose strength lay only in numbers to a very modern and well-equipped force ready to do battle on a global scale.
And people who welcome this have helped them toward that goal by buying their crap.
Carter gave away the Panama Canal, and now China operates it and has total control of who uses it, what ships come and go, and who disembarks from those ships. Who knows possibly Chinese troops in the future.
Bill Clinton gave China most favored nation trading status, screwing American workers for cheap slave-labor-made goods.
Under the Clinton administration, Loral and Hughes were allowed to sell China missile technology and guidance systems for communications satellites. Within months we were told that China now bragged about being able to deliver a nuclear warhead to Los Angeles.
Also under the Clinton watch, Chinese spies were discovered at Los Alamos and in other places, some of which stole nuclear secrets for the Peoples Liberation Army.
When you realize the Danger you have placed your children/grandchildren in I wonder how much you will like those cheap goods then.
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Case in point . . . many of these jobs in the textile industry in places like the Carolinas and Georgia are jobs that moved there decades ago -- after leaving places like New England and upstate New York. I wasn't around back then, but I'm sure you didn't hear too complaints at that time about a "giant sucking sound" coming from the Old Confederacy.
What has really changed for the South over time is that it simply does not have the same comparative cost advantages that it used to have in comparison to the Northeast. There are still some advantages, but not enough to help the region serve as a major manufacturing center for this country's big consumer markets.
The issue is extremely complex, but it comes down to a very basic economic reality: There is an enormous difference between what people are willing to pay for a product or service and what they would charge to do it themselves -- and this difference is what drives our individual buying habits and national trade policy.
I'll make it a little simpler then. New England and the Southeast are both within the US. They are our people.
South Korea, China, Mexico, Peru, etc. are outside the US. They are not our people.
Our people are to get preferences by us over their people, because they are our people and no other reason is needed. That's how simple it is.
I favor free trade since it allows me the freedom to labor and spend how I see fit. It keeps me from being a slave to unions, government bureaucrats, and greedy rent seeking businessmen. Do you propose to tell me how to spend my money?
If a US business is not competitive you should try to discover why and not just listen to what you hear. Many of the good jobs we have lost are in capital intensive industries were labor is so small a fraction of total costs that they are a minor consideration.
Why should any company invest or stay here in the good ole’ USA? Is for the privilege of having to deal with OSHA, EPA, Trial Lawyers, Unions, IRS, US Congress, Department of Labor, FTC, FCC, FDA, ICC, USDA, Army Corp of Engineers, Homeland Security, State government, City government, County government, Federal tax (40%), State taxes (9%), local taxes (2%), property taxes, sales tax,... and I just got started. Not to mention that many of our fellow citizens are illiterate or high on drugs and could not work in an advanced factory anyway.
I will take free trade. If you want to huddle up with the idiots that brought us all of the above to tell me how to spend what is mine then try this website http://www.lovearth.net/organizationsagainstftaa.htm
Try being a patriot for once.
So you can’t argue based facts but will insult my patriotism instead? So you will do the patriotic thing and tell me how where and how to spend my money?
Tell me how this works. Give me a few details on how the patriots will control what the rest of will do. Come on super patriot and reconcile your desire to control me with the basic patriot ideal of freedom.
There's nothing to insult. You showed it right here when you wrote: Why should any company invest or stay here in the good ole USA?
The question wouldn't even cross a patriot's mind. To you a nation exists just to enable a market. That's an ideology, but it's not patriotism (and it sure isn't conservatism).
Anarchist, came to my mind first. Sure wasn’t patriot.
Our people are to get preferences by us over their people, because they are our people and no other reason is needed. That's how simple it is.
I like that attitude and respect you for it, but how prevalent is it when it comes to the price that people are willing to pay for the things they buy?
Can a patriot be bothered with explaining how he will restrict my right to spend my money freely? Or do patriots not think of such things and just let their government do it for them?
"Please put down the container of kool-aid your drinking from and come out with your hands over your head."
The peasant slaves in Colombia live in squalor.
“How would you know? Unless you are older then most humans youve never had free trade.”
That’s actually true. The people who are trashing free trade don’t seem to know that.
So, your saying that the cost of smaller government (free trade) is bigger government ( food stamps, etc.) How about we shrink the government, get rid of protectionism, AND food stamps.
What is so hard to understand about free trade? Trade agreements are what most of the anti-free trade crowd dislike. I agree with them. Get rid of all of the agreements. I also go one step further and say get rid of our laws that restrict my freedom to spend my money as I see fit.
I guess having the freedom to spend my money the way I see fit is what most of you have problem with. Yet when I ask you to explain how you will prevent me from spending as I see fit I do not get answers but insults.
I guarantee you PillowTex isn't charging any less for their slave built products.
PillowTex? I don’t know what they do. Do they make pillows?
Actually your argument is juvenile. Somebody from Mass can move to NC very easily and get his old job back. To China, get real.