Saturday, July 30, 2005

CAFTA: Cratering America's Future Through Attrition

CAFTA Expected to Benefit U.S. Consumers: Yahoo! News

So CAFTA is on its way to reality and a few more manufacturing industries will likely be decimated. Because most Americans have figured out that NAFTA and China in the WTO has resulted in massive exporting of manufacturing industry, you don't see "new jobs" mantra chanted by the Cheney administration anymore.

Instead, you tend to get this:
"U.S. shoppers should get a price break on shirts and pants made in Central America. American farmers and manufacturers are hoping to gain new sales in the region."

If "price break" means Wal-mart might get a few more suppliers to cut more margin from their razor-thin profits... yeah, I suppose so. But the Wal-mart phenomenon is entirely based on low manufacturing wages.

Corporatism absolutely loves this particular vicious cycle: poorly paid workforce equals desperate workforce. To keep the family fed, both parents must work and cut costs, and how better to cut costs than buy cheap crap at Wal-mart.

Where this scenario falls into Bizarroland is the exploitation of low wage earners by the right for political gain. While they fight to get a few crumbs of The Dream, they are accused of driving up health care costs, draining the federal budget, driving down property values, and... worst of all... not being white Christians.

The true genious of the hard right and Christianists is their ability to get poor, white, Christian voters to go along with the myth. Hate is a malleable force; I've had many poor, white friends recite the company line disparaging the lower class without a hint of doubt or irony.

I used to agree with those who said this philosophy can't last forever, because eventually you run out of consumers. The theory goes that as incomes continue to fall (even accelerate), no one will be able to afford the overseas good produced by American companies.

I've changed my view. I think these behemoth corporations now understand that once you reach a certain percentage of impoverished workforce, you can sell your goods anywhere. Honestly, if you are allowed to set up a virtual prison camp with indentured servitude the de facto corporate vision; who cares how cheap you sell the resulting product?

For now, this economic model results in massive profits in any market. Factor in the hundreds of methods companies use to shield their income from taxes, and the grossly obese personal income the management takes home (further increased by the Bush wealth transfer from middle-class to rich); no one will move to endanger this money train.

Eventually, the average American consumer will be bled to death from falling wages and rising health care. At that point, how different will the American market be from Mexico? Corporations will be true mini-nations, able to sell their goods to every other equally struggling population.

I think this runaway disaster can be avoided. It takes the left wing of this country to stand up and make noise. It takes the Democratic party to shed its pathetic, right-wing pandering members and encourage its inspirational members (without DLC interference.) It takes the overhaul or removal of the corporate media structure and a new media based on journalism, not entertainment.

And finally, above all, when the right obtains such unfettered power that the White House is reduced to a criminal enterprise, that the Congress is nothing but the legal division of Halliburton; the American people must demand the exposure, removal, and punishment of these bad actors.

And there need not be a single shot fired. Vote these bastards out of office.

Unless you enjoy seeing the circus that is your Congress today:
"'Passing CAFTA required last-minute procedural stunts even after weeks of the president's personal attention ... months of GOP leadership threats and goodies and an army of corporate lobbyists,' said Lori Wallach, head of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, a CAFTA opponent.

The administration did avert what would have been a damaging political loss for the president."

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