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LETTER: Luetkemeyer should rethink position on Korean free trade agreement

Friday, June 24, 2011 | 12:00 p.m. CDT

"I was born at night, but not last night," was my reaction after reading Ninth District U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer’s form letter response to my request of his position on the Korean-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, or KORUS.

In his attempt to justify supporting this so-called "free-trade agreement," the congressman relies on talking points provided by the multinational corporate special interest groups pushing this legislation.

Mr. Luetkemeyer summarized his position with this statement: “Through this proposed trade agreement, we are strengthening our ability to create and defend manufacturing jobs in the United States, increase exports of agricultural products for American farmers and ranchers and opening Korea’s services market for American companies.” 

To believe this statement requires the ability to ignore the history of previous trade agreements and nonpartisan analysis of KORUS.

The United States International Trade Commission study of KORUS shows our manufacturing trade deficit with Korea increasing with this agreement. Increasing deficits mean fewer American jobs. This finding is notable because the Trade Commission has a history of overly optimistic projections on the benefits of trade agreements. It predicted NAFTA would decrease our trade deficits with Mexico and Canada. In fact, our deficits exploded, costing millions of American jobs. The Trade Commission also predicted our agreement with China would only increase our deficit by $1 billion. We currently run a $240 billion annual trade deficit with China.

Rep. Luetkemeyer’s statement on agriculture again ignores history and analysis.  Despite promises of greater agricultural sales, the U.S. deficit with the existing 17 free trade agreement countries totaled $39.6 billion from 1989 through 2008. The Trade Commission projects trade deficits with Korea in soy, cattle, sheep, goats, horses, wheat, alfalfa, corn, sugar, rice, oats, cotton and other agricultural products.

KORUS trade deficits will result in a net job loss of 159,000, according to the Economic Policy Institute. As this nation recovers from previous trade deals that have eliminated more than 50,000 plants and five million jobs in the last decade, more of the same is not the answer. Mr. Luetkemeyer should reconsider his position.

As author Rita Mae Brown said in her book "Sudden Death," “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

Darin Gilley lives in Pacific.


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Comments

James Krewson June 24, 2011 | 10:32 p.m.

I am sorry but the Economic Policy Institute is a liberal think-tank. I would like references from less biased organizations before I believe a word of this article.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking June 25, 2011 | 5:09 a.m.

SO what does the suthor of the article feel needs to be done to bring back American jobs? How can we compete with low cost Asian labor and their low cost of production?

DK

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 25, 2011 | 9:11 a.m.

Everyone seeks a bargain...i.e., cheaper goods.
And annual salary increases to which they are accustomed.
And jobs to return to the USA.

These three things are simply incompatible with one another. You can't have all three.

However, you CAN have jobs return to the USA, and you can get better salary increases.

Simply be willing to pay more...a whole lot more...for Made in USA goods.

You want the shoe industry to return to the US? Pay 200 bucks for a new pair of USA shoes. You want the garment industry to return? Pay double for USA jeans and shirts. Same thing...every other product.

YOUR willingness--or lack thereof--to pay more for USA goods (because our salary expenses are higher) is what directs where the jobs go.

So don't bitch about jobs going overseas if you also seek out cheap goods and a much higher salary....if you want your words taken seriously.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 25, 2011 | 9:39 a.m.

"I am sorry"

Agreed.

"but the Economic Policy Institute is a liberal think-tank."

Who ho. A damm liberal sed it so it must be rong.
I wont mi own set of faicts.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 25, 2011 | 10:37 a.m.

"but Fox News is a conservative news show."

Who ho. A damm conservative sed it so it must be rong.
I wont mi own set of faicts.
_______________________

You just can't make this kind of "funny" up.........

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 25, 2011 | 3:31 p.m.

Mike apparently thinks that since the article referenced "a liberal think tank" that it is acceptable to disbelieve all that was stated in the rest of the article, such as this:

"The United States International Trade Commission study of KORUS shows our manufacturing trade deficit with Korea increasing with this agreement. Increasing deficits mean fewer American jobs. This finding is notable because the Trade Commission has a history of overly optimistic projections on the benefits of trade agreements. It predicted NAFTA would decrease our trade deficits with Mexico and Canada. In fact, our deficits exploded, costing millions of American jobs. The Trade Commission also predicted our agreement with China would only increase our deficit by $1 billion. We currently run a $240 billion annual trade deficit with China."

The individual stated clearly that he would not "believe a word of this article" because of one reference. Thus he implied that the facts stated above would be different had the author of the article not referenced "a liberal think tank" at the end of the article.

"You just can't make this kind of "funny" up........."

You're completely wrong about that. I did it just this morning. Nobody helped me.

Feel free to dispute the said facts if you can, including the amount of our trade deficit with China. Take as long as you wish. Again, today is probably not your best day...

(Report Comment)
John Schultz June 25, 2011 | 4:05 p.m.

Well Paul, how would you solve the so-called trade deficit with China? Prohibit free trade between consumers here and producers there?

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 25, 2011 | 4:47 p.m.

So called? So called trade deficit?

I can see your opinion on the matter.

My opinion is that free trade between us and China is largely a one way affair. I believe that China has learned from Japan what they can do with the remnants of our industry. It's a broad subject. Thanks for asking. I'm not inclined to open that can of worms at this time. I was merely asserting that someone's use of a projection that came from "a liberal think tank" does not negate the size of our trade deficit with a particular country nor does it negate what the Trade Commission projected. I hope that clarifies things.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 25, 2011 | 5:22 p.m.

Paul, the number of times you and those of your ilk have dismissed info from Fox...just because they lean right...is what made your post so funny. The truth is that good info can come from the worst and most obnoxious of sources.

You are a case-in-point. In that once-per-year moment of lucidity, you actually posted something profound the other day.....that if you own something, and you sell it for more dollars than you paid for it, you should only be taxed on any profit that exceeds inflation.

So, the good news is...I congratulate you.

The bad news is that we have to wait another whole year.

(Report Comment)
frank christian June 25, 2011 | 10:06 p.m.

Someone said, our trade deficit represents the number of Union jobs lost in this country---?

(Report Comment)

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