Obama ‘Free Trade’ Treaty Speeds Race to the Bottom
The Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty that the Obama administration is trying to ram through Congress would force American workers to compete with “countries like Vietnam, where the minimum wage is 35 cents and hour, or Peru, where it’s $1.25 an hour,” said Kevin Zeese, an organizer with Popular Resistance. “Even China won’t be able to compete with those kinds of wages, and so we’ll see a continued race to the bottom,” worldwide. “Free trade,” said Zeese, is “a marketing term. What this really is, is rigged trade for the top transnational corporations.”
Americans Becoming Too Poor for Wal-Mart
“Wal-Mart is a kind of bellwether for the status and well being of the American working class,” said Dr. Nelson Lichtenstein, director of the Center for Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at the University of California, at Santa Barbara. The giant retailer’s sales are off, party because of competition from even cheaper “dollar” stores. “They serve the bottom of the bottom of the working class, and they’re doing fine because people are so poor” under this economy. “What we really need to do,” said Lichtenstein, “is raise the general wage level of the entire service economy – we’re talking about 50, 60, 70 million people.”
American “Exceptionalism” is Threat to Humanity
The prevalence of belief in American “exceptionalism” will lead, “ultimately, if it is not corrected, to devastation of the planet,” said Dr. Johnny Williams, professor of sociology at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut. Dr. Williams reports that many of his students “think there will be no repercussions for them” for U.S. crimes around the world, “that there’s no blowback to them. But we know that’s not true. Most of my students couldn’t tell you where Kenya is.”
Will Working Class Accept Capitalism’s “New Deal”?
Dr. Richard Wolff, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts, at Amherst, said “the world of capitalism has decided to move on, to abandon the United States, western Europe and Japan, and to go where, for them, the grass is greener.” Therefore, corporations now offer the U.S. working class a “new deal”: “No more rising wages, no more rising standard of living, and your children are going to live less well than you do.” The future will be determined by whether the working class accepts the terms of that arrangement.
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