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Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Santa Clara Counties, CA June 6, 2006 Election
Smart Voter


By Stevan E. "Steve" Thomas

Candidate for United States Representative; District 11; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate
We have a jobs problem and an immigration problem because of our trade policies. Any attempt to look at our immigration problems without looking at our trade policies (NAFTA ) is looking at the symptom, not the disease.
We have a jobs problem and an immigration problem because of our trade policies. Any attempt to look at our immigration problems without looking at our trade policies (NAFTA ) is looking at the symptom, not the disease.

The "job ladder" now has three rungs on the bottom, three rungs on the top and all the middle rungs are gone. There is no way to climb from the bottom to the middle or top of the ladder. Instead of focusing on the fight over the lower three rungs, we should be screaming about all the rungs that are missing. The rungs that define the middle class!

The same trade agreements that outsourced American manufacturing jobs first to Mexico and then to China, have not only devastated the working class in the United States, but have devastated the economy in Mexico. Since NAFTA, illegal immigration into the US has taken a quantum leap.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is protectionist. What it protects are the rights of the international investor class, at the expense of workers in all countries. It protects the $400 million dollar pensions of oil company CEOs while pensions for ordinary Americans are destroyed. It protects the rights of corporations to violate our environmental laws if they interfere with their profits. We had a 25 year fight for dolphin safe tuna. It took one Mexican tuna boat captain to say "That interferes, it's anti competitive," and we no longer have dolphin safe tuna in our stores. Appointed, corporate lawyers at the WTO (World Trade Organization) can essentially veto our environmental laws.

There used to be the "Henry Ford Principle," the idea that he wanted to pay his workers enough so they could buy his cars. That is now gone. Why pay an American worker $40 an hour, when you can get a Mexican worker for $4 a day? Why pay a Mexican worker $4 a day, when you can get a Chinese worker for $2 a day? Why does China have "Most Favored Nation" trade status when they enforce their labor laws with bayonets? It's so corporations can higher profits and pay their executives higher bonuses.

Most people don't know that under Clinton, there was a program under which employers had to send Social Security numbers to the IRS. They were checked, and if you sent them a fake number, your account was flagged and you were fined. As soon as George Bush was elected, as a high priority, he ordered the program scrapped and the software sold.

Karl Rove said "When we get elected, we will destroy the American labor movement." Once the manufacturing jobs are sent overseas, the way to drive labor down is to flood the market with cheaper labor. This is the Republican plan. Mexico has been happy with the status quo because billions are sent back to Mexico and the ruling class there can continue to line their own pockets and do nothing for the people. Big business on our side of the border is happy, because illegal immigrants are driving down the cost of labor in the remaining jobs that can't be sent overseas, and there is no enforcement.

The "New Deal" set the stage for American prosperity in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. These same principles were used to rebuild Germany and Japan after WW2. Strong unions, national healthcare and protected industries so the countries could build wealth while the people worked. It created prosperous middle classes and strong countries.

This is now all being taken away from all of us, under the guise of "free trade" and globalization. Henry Clay, one of the greatest Senators in US history said in 1832 "The cry for free trade is as incessant as the cry of a spoiled child in its nurse's arms. Free trade has never existed, it never will exist." Trade between nations is based on laws made by men. The laws say "who, gets what." Right now, the investor class gets everything, the working class gets nothing. That's greedy and un-American. That our Government makes this not just possible, but unavoidable is wrong. America was based on a revolution to create government by the people, not government by the corporations.

It is time to withdraw from NAFTA, CAFTA, and the WTO and draft "Fair Trade" agreements that respect worker's rights and the environment worldwide. It's time to draft trade agreements that will build the middle class, not destroy it. We owe this to our children and our grand children.

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