North America's Strongest Union

19 reasons to oppose a trade deal with S. Korea

Get ready, folks. Congress will soon be voting on a trade deal with Korea. We would be hard put to come up with a worse economic proposal. 

Associated Press has the story:

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told the House Ways and Means Committee that Obama hopes Congress will approve the South Korean pact this spring. The administration says that accord could mean billions of dollars in increased U.S. exports and create tens of thousands of jobs.

(Note: The AP story doesn not have a byline because our brothers and sisters at the News Media Guild are in tough contract negotiations. You can sign a petition supporting them here.)

Here are 19 reasons why a trade deal with S. Korea is a horrible idea:

  1. U.S. unemployment in January was 9 percent.
  2. 25 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed.
  3. There were 8.4 unemployed people for every job opening (according to the broader definition of unemployment, U6).
  4. In January, America added 36,000 jobs. If we continue to add jobs at that pace, we won’t reach full employment for 90 years (according to today’s Wall Street Journal).
  5. We need good jobs, not just jobs. One-third of working families are now low-income. (42 million Americans on food stamps, 48.5 Americans on Medicaid.)
  6. NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO are the main reason for stagnant wages and declining employment for the middle class.
  7. Since NAFTA and WTO, the U.S. has lost 5.1 million manufacturing jobs with 43,000 factories closed.
  8. Between 1999 and 2008 overseas employment for U.S. companies rose 30 percent to 10.1 million. At the same time, U.S. employment at American multinational corporations declined 8 percent to 21.1 million.
  9. Corporations had a record increase in profits in the last quarter. In the third quarter of 2010, corporate profits were over 1.6 trillion, 28 percent higher than a year before.
  10. American workers aren’t sharing in these profits. In 2008, output per worker was $105,000 per year. Median compensation is just $26,000.
  11. Trade deals help multinational corporations, but they don’t create jobs in the U.S.
  12. In 2001, 32 percent of the income of the S&P 500 came from overseas. By 2008, 48 percent of their income came from overseas.
  13. In 1993, we had a trade surplus with Mexico of $2.5 billion.
  14. Last year we had a deficit of $48.3 billion with Mexico, projected to be $67.2 billion this year.
  15. The 2009 trade deficit with Korea was already $10.6 billion.
  16. A trade deal with Korea would increase the deficit, hurting U.S. manufacturing of motor vehicles and parts, electronics, metal products, textiles, apparel and steel. 
  17. A trade deal with Korea could cost 159,000 jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
  18. Korean unions oppose it. In 2007, the Korean Metal Workers Union struck for 5 days over the deal.
  19. The rules of origin only require 35% of a product be made in the U.S. or S. Korea, incentives to offshore even more auto manufacturing to China and Mexico.