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The free trade pact between South Korea and the United States originally negotiated in 2007 by the Bush administration and tweaked by the Obama administration and South Korean negotiators last week is a good deal from the point of view of the White House, the Democrat-hating U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Ford Motor Co., the United Auto Workers, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, House Ways and Means Chairman Sandy Levin and his soon-to-be Republican successor Dave Camp, both of Michigan.

Here's a summary of key parts of the pact, KORUS, which must be approved by the U.S. Congress and South Korea's parliament. More details from the White House can be found here as well as the administration's take on the economic benefits here.

“This agreement will create thousands of new jobs, advance our national goal of doubling exports in five years, and demonstrates that America is once again ready to lead on trade,” [Chamber of Commerce President Tom] Donohue said. “The administration has done its part. Now it’s time for the new Congress to make passage of KORUS a top priority in January. We will do everything in our power to round up the votes.”

Opposed are Rep. Mike Michaud, who heads the House Trade Working Group, an 80-member caucus of Democrats, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, U.S. Chamber Watch, Sen. Max Baucus, Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Linda Sánchez.

Said Michaud on Friday:

We had what I thought was a productive meeting just a few weeks ago at the White House on changes we’d like to see in the agreement. At the time, we told the President that we believe the agreement as it exists now has several fundamental problems that go beyond the issues with beef and autos.

But after talking to Ambassador Kirk today, I learned that these concerns were not addressed.  I had hoped for more from this White House, which campaigned on a need to change the way we negotiate trade agreements so that they truly benefit American workers and businesses.  The deal reached today, while beneficial to the auto industry, falls far short of that goal.

Lori Wallach of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, NAFTA-style free-trade pacts, said:

Why the administration would consider moving another NAFTA-style trade deal is inexplicable, especially given that export growth under past U.S. free trade agreements was less than half of that to the rest of U.S. trade partners. Bush-era International Trade Commission studies show the Korea deal will increase America's trade deficit, and Americans across diverse demographics are united in opposition to more-of-the-same trade policy.

Choosing to advance Bush's NAFTA-style Korea free trade agreement rather than the new trade policy President Obama promised during his campaign will mean more American job loss and puts the White House at odds with the majority of Americans who, polling shows, oppose more-of-the-same job-offshoring agreements.

Some fence-sitters on the pact, like Mike Lux - a former AFL-CIO lobbyist, special assistant to the President in the Clinton administration and co-founder of the political consulting firm Political Strategies - are waiting to make up their minds until they hear from Leo Gerard, the United Steel Workers president whose critical views on trade policy are among labor's toughest. Said Gerard, whose union also represents rubber and tire workers and whose board will meet Monday:

I guess some people feel they're smart enough to make decisions based on rumors. I want to be more thoughtful. … Even if it was the best agreement ever negotiated in the history of mankind, if we have no industrial strategy, what the hell good is it? I'll have a direct discussion with Bob, and our paths overlap, and sometimes they don't overlap.

"Bob" refers to Bob King, head of the UAW, who has spoken in favor of the pact for quite some time, unlike his predecessor.

Marcy Wheeler, who has strong connections in the car industry and blogs as emptywheel, had a decidedly negative view of the deal. Changes in the original agreement from 2007, she wrote, would allow U.S. automakers to export an additional 55,500 cars to Korea, four times the number in the original deal. But since each car takes about 30 hours to build, that would mean the equivalent of a mere 800 jobs for the U.S. auto industry.

OK. Eight hundred jobs in the auto industry, and, according to the administration, as many as 69,200 other new U.S. jobs. Wouldn't that be worth it? Certainly sounds good. If the pact really will generate that many new jobs. But will it?

In a white paper published earlier this year by the liberal Economic Policy Institute, Robert E. Scott said that, overall, KORUS would mean a considerable loss of U.S. jobs. He subsequently wrote:

Although the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) projects this will have a small positive impact on the U.S. trade balance, and “minimal or negligible “ impact on U.S. employment,  history  shows that such trade deals lead to rapidly growing trade deficits and job loss in the United States.

The Charts [on the right, Click here for a larger version] compare USITC’s estimates of the impact of the forthcoming free trade agreement with Korea to EPI’s own calculation. Unlike USITC’s forecast of a small positive impact, EPI’s research shows it will increase the U.S. trade deficit with Korea by about $16.7 billion, and displace about 159,000 American jobs within the first seven years after it takes effect.

Scott pointed out that this isn't the only official prediction of great U.S. gains from trade agreements being off the mark. They frequently are, he said. For instance, in 1999, the USITC "estimated that China’s entry into the World Trade Organization would increase the U.S. trade deficit with China by only $1.0 billion, and have no significant impact on U.S. employment.  In fact, the U.S. trade deficit with China increased by $185 billion between 2001 (when China entered the WTO) and 2008, and 2.4 million U.S. jobs have been displaced or lost. A study by Josh Bivens in 2008, Everybody wins, except for most of us: What economics teaches aboutglobalization, found that all of the neoliberalization benefits in the U.S. from 1982-2007, generated about $9 per household. That's not a typo. $9. And it amounts to about $1.5 billion total.

Christy Seltzer, a spokeswoman for the watchdog group, U.S. Chamber Watch, said:

It's crystal clear why the US Chamber is supporting a deal effectively shipping over 150,000 American jobs overseas: As the nation's chief cheerleader for outsourcing, the Chamber gets to go to bat for its top corporate members ... and gets a jump-start on one of its key goals for 2011: tax breaks for outsourcers.

Given the array of sharply differing statistics being proclaimed by various groups with various points of views, including from the group that cheered loudest when the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision was announced, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one thing that isn't crystal clear – not yet anyway – is whether the free trade agreement between South Korea and the United States represents significant progress or will be another corporate-boosting, neoliberal boondoggle that slam-bangs American workers yet again. There are many elected Democrats who obviously think it's the latter.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:30 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Correction: a "good deal" with the head of the (7+ / 0-)

    UAW. His staff are apparently not so enamored with the deal. Who knows what the rank-and-file will think.

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:33:21 AM PST

  •  sirem (9+ / 0-)

    Free trade is a siren--looks so appealing--but it's a trap.  Free trade levels the playing field--the poorer country rises, the rich one (USA) sinks.  Been there, done that.  Instead of more free trade, I want tariffs and some inflation.  If we import less, we hire more.  Kinda easy to understand.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:35:11 AM PST

    •  exactly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pescadero Bill, drewfromct

      screw imports, they are killing this country.

      The child has grown, the dream is gone. I have become comfortably numb.

      by dark daze on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:38:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  exports (5+ / 0-)

        Right now, we export military equipment, planes, and food.  Not much competition with that -- and, judging by Walmart, we import everything else.  I'm oversimplifying for effect, but, like a graph, you get the picture.

        Apres Bush, le deluge.

        by melvynny on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:41:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd like to know (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dirtandiron

          how much we U.S. taxpayers contribute to the defense of south Korea, particularly as opposed to how much the Koreans themselves are paying. If it were not for 60 years of American military protection, what would South Korea be today? When will they start paying back for all we've done for them? The same question also goes for Japan and Europe. We're broke today because we saved the world from Communism. Now that that threat is gone, it's time for American taxpayers to get a break, and for those who benefited to give something back.

          Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

          by drewfromct on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:53:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  'saved the world from communism'. Really? nt (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shpilk, wsexson, frandor55
            •  News Flash: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dirtandiron

              The Cold War was real. It was not, as some might have you believe, an elaborate fiction.

              Go read some history.

              Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

              by drewfromct on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:01:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sure it was. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wader, wsexson, Dirtandiron, dark daze

                But that does not really imply 'the world was going to be taken over by communism!'

                A few countries here and there might have switched allegiance from hegemonic sphere A to hegemonic sphere B.

              •  And gee willikers, the world was a dangerous plac (0+ / 0-)

                e because steely-eyed, clench-jawed "patriots" like Spaatz and LeMay and various members of the Joint Chiefs and their contractors like RAND lied their fucjking teeth out about the capabilities of "the enemy," and sucked the rest of us into playing their stupid fucjking Great Game, and yes, there were sorry fucjkers on the other side who were and are just as evil and self-serving and grasping and murderous as our Rough Men, but gee, why do "we" have to bankrupt ourselves to give them the toys to play their stupid futile dead-end fucjking Game?

                Bomber Gap. Missile Gap, Window of Vulnerability, Warsaw Pact Sweeping across the steppes and plains, all fucjking lies...

                You read your little smugly self-satisfied version of history -- seems to me that with eyes wide open, the history looks a lot different than when you squint at it through redwhiteandblue-colored glasses.

                "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

                by jm214 on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:21:59 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  actually (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              drewfromct, Dirtandiron

              We saved the world from Stalin--who was not much different from Hitler.  I don't know who was responsible for more deaths in the world--but the numbers for both are in the tens of millions.

              Apres Bush, le deluge.

              by melvynny on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:06:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  'saved the world from communism' (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jm214

            So instead of being slaves for dictators, these people can be slaves for corporate fascists, instead, provided with an illusion of freedom, and a few table scraps once in a while to keep them quiet.

            It's hardly worth making the distinction.

            Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

            by shpilk on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:01:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Again, go read some history (4+ / 0-)

              As much as it sucks to be a Capitalist peasant today, read up on what it was like to toil and die in Stalin's Gulags.

              Extreme Capitalism is awful, but extreme Communism was orders of magnitude worse. What is needed is strongly regulated Capitalism with a strong social safety net and a maximum of individual freedom. Something like Europe has today, and arguably would not have were it not for 60+ years of American military protection.

              Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

              by drewfromct on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:08:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  we were never going to fall to communism. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                shpilk, wsexson

                and even if we did, communism as not a boogeyman, it is a type and style of government.  They are as good or bad as you want to make them.

                The child has grown, the dream is gone. I have become comfortably numb.

                by dark daze on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:24:53 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's a sadly naive statement. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  melvynny

                  The ghosts of tens of millions of victims of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot would no doubt disagree with you. As for how close we came to losing the Cold War, it was really a matter of FDR having the remarkable foresight to dump Wallace as VP in 1944 and choose Truman instead. That made all the difference in the world.

                  Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

                  by drewfromct on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:34:33 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Communism has never existed in (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  melvynny, dark daze

                  governmental form in any nation on this planet. The closest one gets to communism is trade unions, maybe some communal constructs and a few scattered city governments [Italy].

                  Irony; if you belong to a gated community and agree to be part of that structure and abide the rules, you are closer to communism than any Russian, Chinese or Cuban ever got.

                  None of the national governments that claimed to be 'communist' were: they were the exact opposite, in many ways.

                  Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

                  by shpilk on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:36:17 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Regulated Capitalism is the slippery slope.... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                drewfromct, jm214

                ...to more broadly shared prosperity.

                Which of course is Godless Communism. Well, that's what I heard....

                "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

                by Egalitare on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:27:06 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Capiltalism with conscience is the best (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Egalitare

                  path, but we've abandoned that, ceding all control to boardrooms, shady deals, lobbyists, Dick Cheney's Energy Task force and organized crime.

                  The power of politicians is an illusion.

                  Our democracy is dead; it's been strangled to death when Democrats rolled over allowed criminals to get away with their crimes, roughly from the 1970s on. Eisenhower warned us, even though he was part of it, he did warn us. The illusion of democracy continues, but it's weak, pathetic, craven to the whims of criminals who control everything.

                  So instead of "godless communism", we have the religion of greed, which has poisoned everything.

                  Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

                  by shpilk on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:45:03 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  'extreme Communism' wasn't. (0+ / 0-)

                It was just dictatorship.

                'Central Planning' is not Communism.
                China, Russia, Cuba .. all dictatorships which were never 'communist' to begin with. The "class struggle" of Marx is more evident here in the US and Europe than it ever was in any 'communist' country.

                No country on this planet has ever been communist, and never will be. The history books are full of distortions and labels, written by people who want to fool you into thinking what you've got is better than what the other folks got.

                So yeah, I've read the 'history books'.
                Thanks for the 'suggestion'.

                Meanwhile, the ideology of capitalism has been totally hijacked by corporatists who are destroying what remains of a weak and pitiful democracy, and on the verge of enslaving billions. Unlike the 'communists', the corporate interests are going to survive until the end, which is coming soon enough.

                Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

                by shpilk on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:32:21 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  My favorite, as a Vietnam vet who "helped make (7+ / 0-)

          the world safe for democracy" and "preserved our freedoms" and "kept the dominoes from falling," is that Walmart peddles nice slacks and shirts and tighty-whities Made in Vietnam by "Communist Gooks." Gee--- anybody want to tell me what THAT was all about, again? And why some say that what is going on in Notagainistan is "different, this time"?

          And of course the "casus undeclaredwari" for the whole Vietnam thing, the bullshit that sucked "us" in in the first place, was the supposed "attack" by N. Viet Navy patrol boats on a US destroyer skating up to and maybe way inside N. Viet territorial waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. And now, after a trillion in waste and a big step down from "democracy at home" to our current State Security Triumph, that US navy conducts joint fucjking naval maneuvers with that same "communist" Vietnamese Navy.

          I would like my honor back, please...

          "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

          by jm214 on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:15:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Oligarch playing RISK with real human (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dirtandiron, dark daze, jm214

            lives at stake.

            Sucks to be a game piece.

          •  It's quite simple, really. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jm214

            We make things that kill people. Weapons have been America's largest employer, by far since the 1940s. Without wars to use them in, the companies that make these things go out of business.

            This is the legacy of what WWII has brought us: America has become a self perpetuating giant mass murder machine, constantly searching for another group of people to target. The 'intelligence agencies' job is to manufacture targets which we can then destroy.

            In times of peace, the rhetoric of fear is used to make us waste trillions on ridiculous asinine 'Star War' missile shields.

            Reagan and Poppy Bush did a great job, working with Iran and Iraq to create that whole new never ending "war on terror", which we are blessed with forever.

            Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

            by shpilk on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 08:00:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sky Net

      I want everything to be much more expensive as well. Screw consumers!

      •  I'll take 'more expensive' along with 'have job' (12+ / 0-)

        over 'less expensive' and 'no job' any day.

        And guess why American goods are more expensive?

        We require higher safety, environment and quality standards.  So along with 'more expensive' you get 'less overall pollution', 'fewer workers injured or killed while making', and 'no toxins deliberately inserted into products to cut costs'.

        So yeah, screw consumers by forcing them to buy milk without melamine, dog food that won't poison and kill their pets, toys without lead and cadmium, and kitchen utensils that aren't radioactive!

      •  Have you any idea what accounts for "cheaper" pri (7+ / 0-)

        Have you any idea what accounts for "cheaper" prices?

        According to an article in Industry Week last month, only ten percent of the U.S.-China price differential results from cheaper Chinese labor costs.

        The other ninety percent results from Chinese government subsidy for export industries, currency manipulation, and - most importantly, in my opinion - abysmal environmental, consumer, and workplace safety laws and practices.  

        "Cheap" is only cheap because our present economic system DOES NOT PROPERLY ACCOUNT for externalities such as environmental damage and workers' health and well-being. Those costs are paid for by governments, or by people suffering the ill effects of those practices, and never make it into the "accounting stream" determining the price of a particular good or service.

        But economists have convinced policy makers that trade automatically results in net gains for each trading partner. This is an article of theological faith for neo-liberal economists, but heterodox economists who have attempted to account for ALL costs (of externalities) in the system have shown that it is simply WRONG.

        What we need to do, in the U.S., is discard the flawed policy of economic growth based on international trade, and adopt an industrial policy that provides economic growth based on national development.

        The general contours of the national development needed are clear enough: moving society off its dependence on burning fossil fuels.

        A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

        by NBBooks on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:05:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Seriously, is that depth of your thoughts on this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Involuntary Exile, Dirtandiron

        matter?

      •  Do we want to be a nation of people with jobs, or (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chaoslillith, Involuntary Exile

        a nation that can save a buck or two on socks at WalMart?

        Where are all the jobs, Boenher?

        by Dirtandiron on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:43:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Another Consequence (9+ / 0-)

      Is that the capital class here in the U.S. grows richer than ever and that money goes back into the political system where they push for more tax cuts and more cuts to the social safety net.

      Government saved the markets and sacrified its people.

      by bink on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:52:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I vote for (9+ / 0-)

    another corporate-boosting, neoliberal boondoggle that slam-bangs American workers yet again

    I cannot see any good that has come out of any of these trade agreements.

  •  Given the history of the current Administration.. (6+ / 0-)

    ...the sellout will occur in 5...4...3...2...

  •  As soon as you hear the word "free" you need (6+ / 0-)

    to be suspicious. Nothing is free. Fair, maybe, but free is being used as a buzz word to fool people into believing it's something it isn't. And with the current North/South tensions in the pennisula I wouldn't be shocked to see this rammed thru as "patriotic".

    Those who forget the lessons of history are probably watching Glenn Beck.

    by ontheleftcoast on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:36:26 AM PST

  •  It's Hard Not to Be Discouraged (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a lynn, JML9999, Dirtandiron

    Is this the jobs package that we've been waiting for?  I hope not.

    Government saved the markets and sacrified its people.

    by bink on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:37:27 AM PST

  •  Proposed by Bush, supported by Ford, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TJ, Dirtandiron, maryabein, Ezekial 23 20

    the Cham of C, and Mitch????

    Can't possibly be in our best interests!!!

  •  Hmm, so this creates thousands of jobs? (8+ / 0-)

    And destroys hundreds of thousands??

    That seems about par for the course . . . .

  •  You know if the American public would just get (8+ / 0-)

    over themselves and agree to work for about $3.00 a day, we would have all the jobs we could possibly want, and we could booster those poor, suffering millionaires.  Yes, snark, but I do believe there are people who think this way

    Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. Harry Truman

    by temptxan on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:42:27 AM PST

    •  Norquist's dream. (5+ / 0-)

      We all become mindless serfs, glued to the Teevee, inspired by Glenn Beck, watching ads for shit made by slave labor. Of course, where the money comes from to sustain an economy like this .. I think the assholes of the fascist right haven't quite figured that part out yet.

      Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

      by shpilk on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:57:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure they have. (0+ / 0-)

        They don't see us having such a high standard of living as you describe.  They're more than happy to have a third world level of poverty right here.  Why would they care?  They live in the best places and if the public unrest becomes a problem, they've got the MIC and mercenaries ready and waiting to quell the masses.  If not, well, Dubai is a great place to live or anywhere else they don't have to see the pesky little people.

        ONE DOLLAR, ONE VOTE! - Supreme Court of the United States. Amend the constitution! Corporations are NOT people!! Money is NOT speech!

        by Back In Blue on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:55:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's not enough (4+ / 0-)

      It's not just wages, it's those pesky environmental regulations that those dirty tree-huggers forced down our throats. It won't be enough until we're working for twenty cents an hour, 16 hours a day, standing in waist-deep pools of toxic sludge. Only then will we be "Competitive in the global free marketplace".

      Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

      by drewfromct on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:57:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep, now you got it (0+ / 0-)

        Once the turn the USA into a cesspool then the wealthy will be happy and living of course somewhere else.

        "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

        by noofsh on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 09:20:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's Being Worked On Now (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      With QE2, that is devaluing our currency where everyone is effectively being pay cuts each month. There might be QE3 to give people even lower real wages.

    •  $3.00 / hr is too high (0+ / 0-)

      It would need to be about $1 / hr.  In other words, slave wages.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 09:19:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As "Isolationist" as it sounds to the Village... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TampaCPA, wader, Dirtandiron

    ...I just don't see how we get even a token number of new jobs by focusing on expanding exports, even if this or any future Trade Agreement had or will have the appropriate labor and environmental so-called "side agreements."

    The problem is the Financial Elites taking a disproportionate share of income that we currently create in our own still very large domestic market. Most of what we do and will do for the foreseeable future is derivative of total economic activity. The fact that Wall Street trades directly in derivative speculation seems to imply to all the "Serious People" that the Financial Elites are the only ones who are entitled to benefit from aggregate derivative activity.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

    by Egalitare on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:45:31 AM PST

  •  Hmmm, now why would Obama do this? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drewfromct, Chaoslillith, Dirtandiron

    One has to ask the question.  Is it part of the apparent "triangulation" strategy?  Sucking up to the Chamber and big business to show he's not "anti-business".

    Good luck with that.  While the rest us get screwed again.

    I really am starting to hope somebody primaries this guy.

    -9.00, -5.85
    If only stupidity were painful...

    by Wintermute on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:45:32 AM PST

  •  Sounds like 'Bob' from the UAW is being (6+ / 0-)

    as shortsighted as any corporation, focused laser-tight on his specific 800 jobs 'win' while ignoring the forecast 159k job loss overall.  So we'll export more cars to South Korea, while at home, another 160k fewer people will be able to buy cars.

    Way to see the squirrel tree while ignoring the forest around you going up in flames, Bob.

    •  Is that it? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      I understand why the Chamber or large corps would like it but don't understand who else would and why.

      "slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

      by ban nock on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:49:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's been a "bug" not a feature... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, drewfromct

      ...in Labor for quite some time. UAW opposed raising CAFE standards because it would kill jobs. Why? Because Management told them it would. Of course, management "left out" all the other things that killed jobs FASTER and more effectively.

      Domestic content is how Germany and Sweden play this game.

      Strategic Security Interest is how the Military Industrial Complex plays this game.

      We have a SOCIETAL SECURITY INTEREST in FAIR trade. But then, the "Serious People" really don't believe there is such a thing as "society."

      "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

      by Egalitare on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:56:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Steel production is a decent clue (0+ / 0-)

    ..as to where this is going.

    South Korea produced about 48mil metric tonnes in 2009. The United States about 58mil, or about half what it did a decade ago.

    Forty years ago there were over a half million steelworkers in the U.S. Today it's less than 100,000. A lot of that has to do with modernization of methods of making it of course but it also has to do with where steel is being made, now mostly in China (nearly half of the world production).

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:48:12 AM PST

  •  $9. Is that Net, or Gross? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ezekial 23 20

    all of the neoliberalization benefits in the U.S. from 1982-2007, generated about $9 per household.

    Does anyone know if there is any economiduddlist prognostiferication that would compare where "WE the People" would have been, household-ly speaking, if "we" had not been pitched into the Fiery Lake of "globalization," with the Grand Total $1.5 billion $9-bucks-a-household figure? And of course whether that $9 is even a real number?

    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:50:54 AM PST

  •  How to negociate with S. Korea. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drewfromct, Chaoslillith, Dirtandiron

    It's simple.

    They either buy more of our stuff or we will let North Korea devour them.

    What is the good of having allies if those allies won't trade fairly with you? Jeezus.

  •  More of the same. (5+ / 0-)

    It's all being done simply shifting profit into the hands of the wealthy at the expense of the working classes in both countries.

    There should be no 'trade agreements' of any type.

    There should be hard and fast rules of commerce, that we will allow goods and services to be provided based upon rights of workers in foreign countries and environmental impact of what these countries do to support industry. Otherwise, government has no business being in business. Period.

    Assholes become billionaires by bribing corrupt politicians to get an upper hand: while this has been going on, well forever .. money and the power of wealth lubricates the process, and has become so pervasive it has totally rotted out the core of our democracy in the past 30, 40 years.

    All of these "deals" make a mockery of ethics, law, democracy, fairness and human rights.

    It's sickening.

    Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

    by shpilk on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:54:26 AM PST

  •  increasing the trade deficit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    The deal increases our trade deficit. Isn't that the bottom line? How could it be a net creator of jobs?

  •  if the only jobs added (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drewfromct, Dirtandiron

    are brokers for foreign labor...

    fact does not require fiction for balance

    by mollyd on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 06:59:01 AM PST

  •  What's interesting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    is how scared some on the left are over issues like this.  Even a "progressive" like Mike Lux is unsure??

    It is obvious to anyone with even a loose grasp on reality that free trade and globalization are behind the explosion in inequality both in the US and elsewhere.  

    It is the elite "progressives" that are for it.  But they are very much aware, in my opinion, that theirs is a minority view among the rank and file.

    Which why frankly they try to bury the issue.

    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

    by fladem on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:00:48 AM PST

    •  There's a whole bunch of people who (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fladem, Dirtandiron

      label themselves different ways; even the label 'progressive' means almost nothing today.

      Liberal, progressive, Democrat .. all useless labels, when one is willing to throw human rights and ethics under the bus to make a few assholes billionaires.

      ALL of these trade agreements have been nothing but vehicles to make that handful of people wealthy, to suppress trade unions and union activity, to turn whole populations into serfs who serve oligarchs. NAFTA/CAFTA, tools of oppression for millions, handing power over to owners and boardrooms, devastating environmental laws, human rights and most of all collective bargaining.

      The flowery rhetoric in these agreements are nothing but packs of lies, designed to fool the masses. Meanwhile, the concentration of wealth continues, unabated.  

      Fixing the US and world economy is easy. Tax speculation, not labor.

      by shpilk on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:14:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You just know that this trade agreement will (5+ / 0-)

    show up on the list of Obama's accomplishments and like most of the other "accomplishments" on the list, it will benefit someone other than working class Americans - yet there are those in this community who will applaud loudly.

    "If DADT is going to end, the President could stop enforcement of that policy, pending that change. Why isn't he?" - Rachel Maddow

    by Ginger1 on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:02:00 AM PST

    •  It reminds me of the old line... (0+ / 0-)

      I'm from the government and I'm here to help you!  We can update that to, "I'm from the Obama Administration and I'm here to help you!"

      I can't believe it has come to this.  These guys operate like it's the mid 1990s, and there isn't a Depression going on for millions of Americans.  And they wonder why there is absolutely no enthusiasm for them.

      In an insane society, the sane man would appear insane

      by TampaCPA on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:14:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  MB, you should make a correction to this diary: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hatecloudsyourthoughts

    The following is factually incorrect:

    Changes in the original agreement from 2007, she wrote, would allow U.S. automakers to export an additional 55,500 cars to Korea, four times the number in the original deal. But since each car takes about 30 hours to build, that would mean the equivalent of a mere 800 jobs for the U.S. auto industry.

    The changes allow for an additional 55,000 cars to be exported to South Korea that are exempt from Korean standards, some of which seem to be designed to specifically block U.S. car imports.  I don't think there is a set limit on car imports to S. Korea in general, as your diary makes it out to be.

    One thing that one should also note when discussing this trade agreement, is that the E.U. signed a trade agreement with South Korea last year.  So in the greater context, without this agreement between the U.S. and South Korea U.S. products would be at a greater disadvantage.

    From what I've heard on European news, this trade agreement also allows the U.S. a back door into China.  (whatever that's supposed to mean)

    "The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

    by Lawrence on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:10:15 AM PST

  •  Krugman gives this deal a raspberry (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, Egalitare

    ....for creating jobs.

    There is a case for freer trade — it may make the world economy more efficient. But it does nothing to increase demand.

    And there’s even an argument to the effect that increased trade reduces US employment in the current context; if the jobs we gain are higher value-added per worker, while those we lose are lower value-added, and spending stays the same, that means the same GDP but fewer jobs.

    If you want a trade policy that helps employment, it has to be a policy that induces other countries to run bigger deficits or smaller surpluses. A countervailing duty on Chinese exports would be job-creating; a deal with South Korea, not. If you want the Korea deal, fine; but don’t claim virtues for it that it doesn’t possess.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/...

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:11:09 AM PST

  •  A walk through any Target or Walmart (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    will show you why deals like this will only decrease US jobs, no matter what kind of stats show up regarding import/export ratios: Practically everything that requires significant labor is made overseas, from baby clothes to flat screen televisions. The only stuff I could find stamped "made in USA" were bulk products requiring little labor input like detergents, kitty litter, garbage cans. On a larger scale, container ships leaving the US also carry bulk like timber, coal, recycled metal, while incoming ships bring finished products.

    However, there's no  need to trash China,Viet Nam, Thailand, Korea, Bangla Desh or other low-wage countries since a lot of the profits are going straight to US manufacturers operating overseas.

    "Para dialogar, preguntad primero; después... escuchad." - Antonio Machado

    by Valatius on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:14:03 AM PST

    •  You demonstrate a big part of what is wrong with (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HappyMichBlogger

      America, as you show a lack of education in regards to foreign nations when you state that South Korea is a low wage country.

      South Korea is a highly industrialized nation with high wages... throwing it in the same pot with countries like Vietnam, China, and Bangladesh is just plain silly.

      "The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

      by Lawrence on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:56:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  South Korea definitely not low-wage. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence

        $20,165 Per capita GDP. It's even higher if you adjust for exchange rates, and measures on income inequality are very low.  

        Compare to Vietnam($2,942), China($3,735), Mexico($10,211), and Poland($12,575).

        •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

          I find it frustrating that so many here have trouble understanding that a "free" trade agreement between the U.S. and a high wage country has very little in common with free trade agreements between low wage countries and the U.S.

          "The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

          by Lawrence on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 08:25:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  But isn't US per capita income higher? (0+ / 0-)

          ($39,000 in 2009)

          And wouldn't this make labor costs in the US higher than in South Korea? If not, how do you explain the shift of so much manufacturing out of the US?

          On a personal note, I grew up in a thriving American town of 10,000 people concentrated on the manufacturing of bicycles, clothing,dairy equipment, and paper. The town is only 5000 now and the only industry left is the paper mill, but even that form of bulk manufacture is facing pressure from overseas competitors. Apparently it is becoming cheaper to ship out wood pulp and import back the finished paper.

          "Para dialogar, preguntad primero; después... escuchad." - Antonio Machado

          by Valatius on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 10:09:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The problem with taking U.S. per capita income (0+ / 0-)

            at face value is that due to income quality being so much higher in the U.S. than in other places, I big part of that average comes from the top 2%.

            Once you factor out the top 2%, the per capita gdp in comparison to many industrialized nations suddenly changes dramatically.

            I do understand your general point about outsourcing and job losses, but a trade agreement with a highly industrialized nation like South Korea is just the wrong place to drop blame for it, imo.

            Furthermore, it's not all due to outsourcing... lots is also due to increased mechanization and computerization.

            "The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

            by Lawrence on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 10:28:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps I should have distinguished between (0+ / 0-)

        the types of manufacturing done for the US market by workers overseas.

        Of course, labor costs where garment manufacturing has been relocated, like Thailand or Banagla Desh, are lower than in South Korea or Taiwan, where heavier manufacturing has gone. The level of skills required for workers will be higher for more high tech products.

        But in either category, corporations must move toward areas of lowest labor cost in order to stay competitive, unless a national government imposes conditions that make that choice unprofitable.

        "Para dialogar, preguntad primero; después... escuchad." - Antonio Machado

        by Valatius on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 09:54:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Funny (0+ / 0-)

    The whole article and almost none of the comments actually mention why they think the agreement is bad, other than globalization is icky, etc.  Nobody seems to actualy understand what an FTA is.

  •  It's about China (0+ / 0-)

    the administration is trying to integrate south korea economically to the US so that it is not dependent upon China.  

    think of this action as a begining step in a NATO-like network around China to contain their power.

    workers again sacrificed on the altar of american global empire

  •  Eric Cantor Says It's Great Deal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wsexson, Dirtandiron

    And of course, he claims the Republicans deserve all the credit and wants to move on with a Colombia and Panama deal ASAP.

    http://j.mp/...

    Good test for the teabaggers. Instinctively the teabaggers know these deals end up costing lots of jobs. Will they line up with the GOP Leadership, as they are supposed to do?

    •  Then you know it sucks (0+ / 0-)

      It's that simple.  If Republicans are singing it's praises you know it's good for business and terrible for workers.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 08:55:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  US Jobs #1 - trade agreements are a distraction (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    ...at best, and at worse, they have a bad track record wrt unemployment in the most hard hit states.

    This is not the time to debate the merits and risks of foreign agreements.

    What's in it for Americans this year or next?

    Now is emergency management time, think Katrina, the water is rising, people are asking for help, they're looking up to the single helicopter doing recon waving their arms for help. They don't want to hear about a new way to irrigate crops when their fields are underwater. Don't bullshit us. Again.

    Free trade agreements should be back-burnered until our economic and financial crises - emergency, structural, and systemic - stabilized. Focus.

    "Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... it's about learning how to dance in the rain." (unknown)

    by kck on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 07:47:47 AM PST

    •  Exactly - what's in it for us? (0+ / 0-)

      That's the question we need to keep hammering all the politicians with.  I don't want to hear about what's good for business.  We already know that doesn't translate to either jobs or wage increases.  Mr. President, what's in this deal for us - you know, the American people?

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 08:56:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  MB I love you but please (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Muggsy

    don't say "corporate boosting" and "liberal" in the same phrase!  The "neo" really doesn't make it better.

    Just kidding . . . sorta.

    Here's a big one: who are we running in '12??????  The sooner the better -- we need a liberal agenda on the table in a clear voice -- now.

    Keep up the good work.  I love to read your stuff.

    -M

  •  I guess I don't see what the big deal is... (0+ / 0-)

    Comparing this to NAFTA seems like a bit of a reach, though I will admit that I know few details of the agreement beyond some of the auto-related provisions.

    South Korea is a democratic nation with a developed economy. You can't draw a parallel with China(very low wages, authoritarian government) or Mexico(low wages, geographic proximity, under-developed rule-of-law). Korean wages are high enough that no one is going to be able to make a quick buck in South Korea though labor arbitrage alone, and Korean workers can be credibly thought of as potential consumers of American products. I suppose I can understand objections over the use of the NAFTA model, which is indeed very flawed and long-overdue for an overhaul. I just don't buy that this thing is going to be a jobs killer.

    •  OK, if that is the case (0+ / 0-)

      Can you suggest any American manufactured products that might sell in Korea? (I am not talking about wheat, coal,or timber)

      "Para dialogar, preguntad primero; después... escuchad." - Antonio Machado

      by Valatius on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 10:14:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think we are the only country on earth that (0+ / 0-)

    goes out of it's way to send jobs overseas. And most of the population thinks that's just fine. What is wrong with us?

    Where are all the jobs, Boenher?

    by Dirtandiron on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 08:17:25 AM PST

    •  We are brainwashed by the corporate media (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      People are brainwashed by the crap they hear on Tee-Vee.  They think that the needs of business must come first and what is good for business is somehow good for them.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 09:14:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nothing wrong with us (0+ / 0-)

      The US and multinational corporations that provide campaign funding for both parties are able to take advantage of lower labor costs overseas. And thanks to the Bush-Obama tax cuts, the rich will be able to put their money where it will get the greatest rate of return, in Asian markets. Shortly after Obama took office, Daily Wealth predicted that the Hong Kong Stock Market would skyrocket and it has.

      Nothing wrong with us Americans, if by "us" you mean the rich folks. They really are interested in job creation, but not anywhere around here.

      "Para dialogar, preguntad primero; después... escuchad." - Antonio Machado

      by Valatius on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 10:22:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And that's why the SK Free Trade deal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Involuntary Exile

    wasn't a good thing, as I wrote about earlier.

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 08:45:20 AM PST

  •  Another bullshit free trade agreement (0+ / 0-)

    This is why I lost it with Obama.  Is he doing anything good for the American worker?

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 08:54:29 AM PST

  •  US Trade Deficits (1999-2010) at a glance (0+ / 0-)

    hi-rez.
    Image host: Image Shack

    Data links:

    -- 1999-2009 Goods and Services Trade Data. Source: BEA
    -- 2010 Goods Trade (Jan-Sep) Data. Source: Census
    -- 2010 Goods Trade latest data. Source: Census

  •  What's the point of blind leading the blinder? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lorpius Prime

    I may not be using pretty words -- but I mean it constructively.

    If we are not able to read something thoroughly and analyze it ourselves -- then what benefit to other people and the country is it to merely repeat what amounts to gossip that we can't verify.

    Lori says it's nafta-like and Bush-style?

    The one clip that actually attempts to present factual information is old -- based on then current proposals rather than what actually just passed.

    I don't mean to offend you -- but if you're not going to give us yours or somebody else's timely analysis of the actual deal as passed -- a real analysis -- not ad hominem stuff like if the chamber of commerce likes it -- they're evil so it must be bad -- WHAT is the point?

    •  The post includes all the information... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile

      ...that everyone, on both sides, is presenting. The point here is there is going to be a fight over this because not everybody agrees with the administration this is a good deal. Scott's key analysis, though a few months old, stands: official government predictions of how wonderful these trade deals are have invariably been wrong, not just by a few percentage points but by magnitudes.

      Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 10:11:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't call it a "free" trade pact (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paleo, Involuntary Exile, Valatius

    As economist Dean Baker keeps pointing out, there's nothing "free" about these trade deals:

    http://www.cepr.net/...

    "Free trade" is a propaganda term.  It's a trade pact, not a free trade pact.

  •  Another Obama sell out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Valatius

    "We have to deal with the world as we find it." The rallying cry of Vichy Dems.

    by Paleo on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 09:57:32 AM PST

  •  Preserving jobs by screwing consumers (0+ / 0-)

    is neither smart nor liberal.  The hordes of consumers that shop at discount retailers like Wal-Mart don't give a rat's ass that their spending habits make it more difficult for American manufacturing workers to survive.  Rather than trying to hold onto those jobs at all costs by legal fiat, how about we accept the reality of consumer behavior and work on strengthening the US job market without opposing liberal trade policy.

  •  With all the OBAMA HATERS on KOS calling for him (0+ / 0-)

    to resign, I wonder who they see taking over his position that could cater to the progressive whims.

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