Unemployment and Job Figures Aren’t Truthful
by JBS President John F. McManus
The U.S. Department of Labor recently claimed that the number of unemployed workers in America has shrunk to 5.6 percent. And the same source claimed that 252,000 new jobs were created during the month of December and everyone should cheer the success of the Obama administration. Shouldn’t we all be delighted with these numbers?
But there are problems with these claims – big problems. Plenty of seasonal jobs are created during the end-of-the-year, pre-Christmas buying spree. They don’t last. Celebrating temporary seasonal job growth as though it were permanent is dishonest.
Secondly, the unemployment figure doesn’t count the many Americans who have ceased looking for work after months of trying to find a job. Nor does it count others who have part-time jobs instead of the full-time employment they formerly enjoyed and would surely prefer. The statisticians compiling the government’s figures don’t include all of these individuals. If they did, the real unemployment rate swells to 11.2 percent, exactly twice the published figure.
A nation’s economic vitality – including decent-paying jobs – depends on manufacturing. A nation whose people are making things is a nation where wealth is being created. But the number of manufacturers in our country continues to shrink. Everyone knows that the stores are full of imported goods made by others in faraway lands. So, too, are many other items made outside the U.S. when they were formerly manufactured by Americans.
America’s wealth-producers took a huge hit after enactment of the 1995 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In 1993, the U.S. had a $1.66 billion trade surplus with Mexico. After NAFTA, the surplus disappeared, replaced immediately by a $15.8 billion deficit that has grown to more than $60 billion per year. The jobs that Americans formerly held haven’t returned. Many more have ended up in China where the U.S. trade deficit has ballooned to more than $80 billion per year.
The Obama administration has customarily provided dishonest unemployment figures. But the President and his team are now seeking congressional passage of two additional NAFTA-like trade agreements, one with Pacific-rim nations and the other with the European Union. If these two pacts are approved by Congress, the already bad unemployment situation will grow even worse.
Follow these links to contact Congress and tell them to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). And messages sent to elected officials ought to demand honesty from the bureaucrats who habitually paint the nation’s economic situation with rosy colors when honesty calls for quite the opposite.
Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.
North American Leaders Meeting Today to Discuss Job-Killing Trade Agreement
by JBS President John F. McManus
President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Harper, and Mexico’s President Pena Nieto met in Toluca, Mexico, on February 20. The most they could agree upon was the need to protect Monarch butterflies whose winter habitat happens to be losing its milkweed food source. But each of the three “amigos” (they enjoy using the term) wants to sink the three countries into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement involving twelve Pacific-rim nations – all the way from North America to Chile, Australia, Japan, and elsewhere.
Hoping to build on the 20-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the three leaders continued to claim that NAFTA was a huge success. Mr. Obama could have pointed instead to the loss of thousands of jobs, the creation of legal tribunals whose decisions trump U.S. law, even a more widely open border for illegal immigrants to stream into the U.S. But these consequences of NAFTA were never mentioned. One can only conclude that similar results will impact America if the TPP negotiations are completed and approved by Congress.
Right now, President Obama is seeking “fast track authority” that allows him to bypass congressional intervention on the way to an up or down TPP vote by Congress with no amendments. He told reporters at the meeting in Mexico, “We’ll get this passed if it’s a good agreement,” and he has already indicated that, for him, it is good. If Congress concurs, they will have ceded more of their constitutional authority to the ever-growing power of the Executive Branch.
Asked by his fellow amigos about progress toward enactment of TPP, Obama acknowledged twin difficulties, first with gaining fast-track authority and then with hammering out details that include immigration legislation, labor rules, and environmental regulations. He thereby confirmed that this newly desired trade pact deals with far more than just trade.
Customarily reliable congressional Democrats including Senate leader Harry Reid have expressed reluctance to approve the president’s fast-track request. But trusting Harry Reid to do what’s right for America is a risky proposition. Other members of Congress are voicing objections to the pact because of the results of NAFTA. They seem likely to turn thumbs down not only on TPP but also on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union scheduled for consideration in 2015.
America doesn’t need more “free trade” agreements that are never free and have lots more than trade in their hundreds of pages. Members of Congress can stop plans to plunge our country into such pacts and thereby avoid more job losses, more dilution of sovereignty, and more unneeded illegal immigration. History shows that supposed “free trade” agreements means economic union. And economic union is regularly followed by political union – as the 28 nations now caught in the European Union have discovered. They were told that they were joining a mere trade group that would enhance commerce. But they have discovered that they no longer control their own destiny.
Congress can stop these entanglements. It’s an election year when members listen more intently to constituents. Stopping TPP and TTIP should be the goal.
Learn more about how you can help by visiting Choose Freedom–Stop the Free Trade Agenda.
Understanding the agenda behind “free trade” is the first step in learning why this type of trade needs to be avoided. In response to the current negotiations of “free trade” through the President Obama administration, Arthur Thompson, CEO of The John Birch Society, has written and published a book exposing the agenda of “free trade.”
“International Merger by Foreign Entanglements” details historic events that helped shape the European Union through trade agreements and how the same could happen to the U.S. Below is an excerpt from Chapter 1: “Nation is Forming Permanent Alliances.”
Nation Is Forming Permanent Alliances
In various pacts the U. S. government has entered into since the end of World War II, we have been witnessing entanglements that deliver power to international organizations through regional institutions, such as NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), and worldwide institutions, such as the United Nations. This is the consistent pattern that runs throughout all of our foreign dealings.
The titles on these pacts promote an idea that is very different from the actual contents of the packages, although there are hints of their contents from time to time even within the titles. And, all too often, negotiations are kept secret not only from the American people but from Congress as well. Repeatedly, elected officials see the agreements only a short time before they are asked to vote on them. Sometimes, they never see the documents. Rarely do they have enough time to thoroughly read and understand them.
Lack of Transparency
Over the last two or three decades, increasing reliance on secrecy has come to dominate the federal administration and the congressional leadership. This can be readily seen in proposed groundbreaking laws and treaties. Once enacted, secrecy remains a presence in the implementation of the various pacts.
In addition to secrecy, there exists a tactic that has been used on occasion to gain approval of controversial treaties. It involves moves by the Senate leadership, based on the ratification provision of Article II, Section 2 — “provided two thirds of the Senators present concur” (emphasis added), that the majority of the Senate would reject. We will give an example in Chapter Nine.
Let us state up front that we believe that a large majority of Americans would support genuine free trade between the businessmen of one country and those of another. But, the results of trade pacts are something far different from the promises given to the American people and Congress as reasons to support the agreements.
If trade between countries were truly free, there would be no need for hundreds or thousands of pages to spell out what it shall or shall not entail. Ask yourself if the following is the kind of agreement you could support: A single piece of paper signed by leaders of two or more countries stating that there will be no interference by the respective governments with the transactions between their businessmen. Except for cases where fraud or national security considerations exist, the government will have nothing to offer. It’s all very simple.
Some individuals will claim that the trade issue is so complex and so important that there is a need to spell out every minute detail. This is a smokescreen designed to discourage anyone from questioning what the mountains of paper say and mean. The agreement should not be complex and neither should the powers of a properly created government.
Keep in mind that our nation’s Constitution as the “supreme law of the land” governs the entire “complex” United States by spelling out what the federal government may do. And it was originally written on four sheets of paper!
Why then do negotiations for free trade agreements take years to complete? Studies made about these negotiations even take a great deal of time and money. And finally, why are the finalized agreements as thick as municipal telephone books?
Ask yourself some further questions: Have trade agreements negotiated in the past few decades actually added to America’s economic vitality? How many jobs and factories moved out of our country as a result of these pacts? Have any of these agreements benefited small and medium-sized businesses, the heart of the American economy? Or, have they mainly helped the multinational corporations whose leaders boast of their international loyalties and their lack of concern about the value of our nation’s independence?
If the answers to these questions are negative regarding our economy, then why do we continue to seek a remedy that has proven to fail? Is there a different motivation behind so-called free trade agreements? One of the reasons these negotiations take so long is that the people who represent the multinationals need a pact that helps them win in a competitive market. In short, they don’t want a level playing field. They have the ears of the leaders of various countries who also like the idea of government involvement and interference. In addition, they have an army of highly paid lobbyists who are in constant contact with negotiators and others connected with the process.