Here's what we know when it comes to trade:
- President Obama campaigned on a promise to substantially change America's trade policies and move us off of the failed NAFTA trade model.
- Labor unions took that promise seriously, and therefore spent millions of dollars of workers' hard-earned wages to help elect President Obama.
- Obama's U.S. Trade Representative now says he is looking to pass Bush-negotiated, NAFTA-style trade deals with Panama, Colombia and South Korea. While he says he wants some tweaks to these deals, they are still the NAFTA model.
- Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is still giving speeches publicly bragging that he helped pass NAFTA.
- Thanks in large part to the NAFTA trade model, taxpayer funded bailouts of key industries could end up subsidizing the offshoring of American jobs.
Now, after all of this, we're finally getting a proper reaction from labor leaders in Washington, D.C.:
AFL-CIO Takes Aim at Obama's Plans to Push Free-Trade Deals
May 19 (Bloomberg) -- The leader of the biggest U.S. labor federation said he saw no reason to advance a free-trade agreement with Panama and vowed to defeat a separate accord with Colombia.
"We don't think there is any reason to rush it through Congress," John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, said in an interview today. Unions may be "forced into opposing the trade agreements."
Sweeney goes on to say of Obama, "I trust him," which suggests just how cautious labor leaders are being in dealing with the White House. They don't want to have to go into full-on opposition mode, and I can't say I blame them for the desire - but I will blame them if they don't put up a fight. We learned in the original battle over NAFTA that Democratic presidents often have zero problem running "over the dead bodies" of workers in order to pass corporate-written trade deals.
Fool us once, shame on you...