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Dennis Kucinich
NationofChange / Letter
Published: Tuesday 16 August 2011
“Since 2001, the U.S. has lost 5.3 million jobs in the manufacturing sector as a result of trade policies which are adverse to the economic interests of the American people. ”

Kucinich to Obama: Free Trade = Fewer U.S. Jobs

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Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today wrote to President Obama in response to claims that free trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia will spur job growth.  President Obama is scheduled to speak in Iowa today, a state that has lost 21,500 jobs from free trade policies according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The full text of the letter follows:

August 15, 2011

The Honorable Barack ObamaPresident of the United StatesThe White HouseWashington, D.C. 20500Dear President Obama:

As you continue a tour around the United States focused on the American economy and jobs, I write to express my deep concern over your characterization of free trade agreements as vehicles that will increase U.S. exports and boost our economy.  In June, the U.S. trade deficit rose to its highest in three years to $53.1 billion.  At this rate, the annualized 2011 trade deficit could exceed $600 billion.  Historically, free trade agreements have proven very damaging to American workers and the American economy, often resulting in significant job loss and increases in the U.S. trade deficit.   The three impending trade deals Congress is expected to consider this fall - Korea-U.S., U.S.-Colombia and U.S.-Panama – are likely to exacerbate our economic woes rather than resolve them. 

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times portrays your jobs agenda as a plan that “calls for $30 billion to rebuild roads, bridges and ports; improvements to the patent system to spur innovation; trade deals with a trio of countries to boost exports; a $40-billion extension of unemployment insurance benefits; and renewal of the current one-year reduction of the payroll tax at a cost of up to $120 billion.”  With the highest jump in our trade deficit in years, the facts regarding the potential job losses from increases in foreign imports and increases in the U.S. trade deficit as a result of these free trade agreements far outweigh any positive impacts that U.S. exports may have on our economy. The numbers speak for themselves.  

Since 2001, the U.S. has lost 5.3 million jobs in the manufacturing sector as a result of trade policies which are adverse to the economic interests of the American people. According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), passage of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement could result in the loss of 159,000 American jobs within the first seven years of its implementation.  EPI further estimates that the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement will result in the loss or displacement of an additional 55,000 American jobs.   Between 1994 and 2010, states previously known for their manufacturing industries like Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan and Iowa have collectively lost over 772, 000 manufacturing jobs.

We cannot have a strong economy without a strong manufacturing base.  Investments to put Americans back to work by rebuilding our infrastructure would be beneficial for manufacturing.  However, these investments will be significantly undermined by the passage of free agreements which will further damage our manufacturing sector.  Two-thirds of the more than 2.3 million American jobs displaced between 2001-2007 as a result of the U.S.-China Free Trade Agreement were in the manufacturing sector.  This has resulted in the outsourcing of hundreds of thousands of American jobs in the computer and electronic parts, apparel and accessories and fabricated metal production sectors, industries that will be further undermined by the trade agreements for which you are advocating. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that our trade deficit with Korea will grow to $16.7 billion in the first seven years of its implementation. 

We will need American workers and American companies to meet the demand of manufacturing solar panels, wind turbines, efficient cars, new construction materials and many other products needed for the transition to a sustainable economy.  With the unemployment rate continuing to hover above 9%, we cannot afford to squander any investments in the American economy by advocating for more free trade agreements, and I would ask, respectfully, that you refrain from describing these trade agreements as jobs programs when the evidence indicates that they are the opposite.


Dennis J. Kucinich

Member of Congress

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ABOUT Dennis Kucinich

Having been elected to Cleveland's City Council at age 23, Dennis J. Kucinich was well-known to Cleveland residents when they chose him as their mayor in 1977 at the age of 31. At the time, Kucinich was the youngest person ever elected to lead a major American city. Since being elected to Congress in 1996, Kucinich has been a tireless advocate for worker rights, civil rights and human rights.

Most of the ships in American

Most of the ships in American waters are foreign, paying foreign tax as they bring foreign manufactured goods into America. President Obama is definitely not trying to change from a policy of foreign economic globalization with a communist country, to promote American manufacturing jobs instead. This is evident by:
The following report for Congress in DEC 2009 that explains that national ballast water legislation would do the same thing as tariffs, plus protect our environment from pathogens being dumped into our water and air by foreign ships bringing foreign manufactured imports into our country, stealing jobs from Americans. “Although estimates of the costs of ballast treatment may be imprecise and vary from vessel to
vessel, there is some general agreement on average costs.14 For example, it may cost an estimated $400,000 per vessel for modification of container/bulk vessels to use onshore ballast water treatment facilities at California ports. More generally, the cost of retrofitting vessels to treat
ballast water has been estimated at between $200,000 and $310,000 per vessel for mechanical
treatment and around $300,000 for chemical treatment.15 MOST OF THE EXPENSE WILL BE BORNE BY
So what if foreign ships have a cost or logistic problem retrofitting with the technology needed to protect Americas health and environment, manufacturing jobs are created where it is cheap and easy to deliver goods to consumers. Currently because of the Federal governments failure to create uniform protection to protect all Americans equally, foreign ships are receiving a free pass to destroy America’s environment while taking jobs away from Americans with the foreign manufactured goods imported on foreign ships. Failure to quickly enact a strong policy to protect our country from foreign economic interest destroying our environment will, forever be throwing away this chance for American manufacturing to again be competitive. The problem facing America an jobs is our politicians are bent on supporting economic globalization. Unfortunately our political leaders follow the advice from leaders of global companies that depend on foreign investments, as they supply money for our leaders political careers. Sadly American industries are regulated to the max, as foreign industries are allowed to trash the American environment and get away with it. (Gulf oil spill) We need politicians that will worry more about the dangers and destruction foreign economic interest create before going after American manufacturing pollution.

Kucinich rules

Kucinich rules

Yes! What will it take to get

Yes! What will it take to get him to run?

Well it appears that all the

Well it appears that all the commenters have it right and agree with Dennis. Oh wait there is one, Mr. Tanton, who needs to take his own advice and get a grip, a life and some facts. Maybe just find a right wing blog to write on. But I can't let you get away with it Tanton.
The great depression was not caused by protectionism but rather by greedy individuals investors and banks that were over leveraged as well as a society that had no real safety nets for its population and was going rapidly from an agriculturally based society to an industrial one. In fact it was protectionist legislation and enforcement by the Federal government which allowed us to develop our industrial base during the 19th and early 29th century. Do your homework Mr. Tranton before makinig a fool of yourself!
Again Mr. Tanton get your facts straight, get a grip and get a life.
P.S. Is some right wing group paying you to write to this blog Mr. Tanton?

We no longer live in a

We no longer live in a democracy! What we have here is a corporatocrocy! And that form of government has always propagandized their greed to make it seem like 'freedom.'

Fair trade... It cannot happen within a CORPORATOCRACY !

Who is it that gets free trade? It sure ain't the US worker! Our jobs are gone! Does that make us free?

Where is ROBIN HOOD when we need her?

Bigger Giant Sucking Sound

Bigger Giant Sucking Sound headed our way

steve tanton's picture

Careful now folks...balance

Careful now folks...balance please. Hey Dennis, wasn't protectionism one of the factors that led to the Great Depression? (A: Yes!) Of course we have the easy-solution folks - "It was all Hoover's fault". Kinda reminds one of the popular mantra still used by folks who can't or won't look at ALL of the real reasons. (For those of you in Rio Linda and Lowpoint, the current, trite mantra is "It's all Bush's fault".)

Some trade agreements are good and some are bad perhaps, but trade agreements were not designed to bankrupt the American work force. They were designed to help everyone. Some have flaws and some are ill-conceived, but free trade we must!

Free trade is one of the greatest foreign relations and economic balancing tools there is. Did you ever wonder how long the world can continue to support third world economies and the poverty they bring, not to mention second-world economies?

We need jobs in this country, sure, but free trade is the way to go. Get a grip, get a life and get some facts!

Steve, I am afraid you are

Steve, I am afraid you are severely mistaken about the cause of the great depression as very few if any economist I have ever read thinks this was a major cause at all. Free Trade is only balancing when workers' rights are incorporated into the agreement, something that hasn't been done in the least and something that Kucinich greatly supports. He is certainly not against Free trade but he doesn't support trade with countries that have no workers' rights because such trade firmly holds tyrannical forces in place and leads to unsafe products and great loss of manufacturing jobs here at home. Free Trade without such labor rights just causes rich countries to exploit the poor ones at the expense of the rich countries' workers and fails to raise the standards in poor countries. Sure the corporate profits soar due to less labor costs and prices of goods going down, but the workers in this country are cut out of their jobs and the workers abroad end up abused as their agricultural economies get replaced by filthy low-paying industrial jobs. This is a major reason for disparity of wealth greatly increasing in recent years.

Let's not confuse Free Trade agreements with Free Market principles. Free market really works on Clement St in San Francisco, for example, where there are lots of restaurants all competing for diners, thus causing a great amount of good food at good prices but this is hardly the case with Free Trade Agreements.

The difference is that

The difference is that Kucinich is no pay to play shill like Obama and his friends, the Clintons, who gave us NAFTA.

Ron Paul's positions and no votes on free trade agreements echo what Kucinich says

In Columbia they kill more

In Columbia they kill more union activist than the world combined. 17 were murdered this year alone. In Korea, the Army comes in with bayonettes on rifles to stop strikes . Do you consider this a level playing field with American workers? Unemployment will rise and more Americans, including veterans will be homeless. Do you really support that? Then quit giving lip service for the right wing and do something. Start screaming at our elected officials and tell them just who they represent or they will be fired!

Bob, check the number of

Bob, check the number of union activists murdered in might have to revise that statement about Columbia.

Den­nis J. Kucinich for

Den­nis J. Kucinich for President of the United States of America !!!

YEA !!!

Yes!! What would it take to

Yes!! What would it take to get him to run?

There is no other person I

There is no other person I would rather have as President of the U.S. than Dennis Kucinich. He is a true hero fighting to end our senseless wars and to build up our country.Obama is a traitor to the Democratic party, voting for him is nothing more than 4 more wasted years, more tent cities, more flowery words but no substance. It's sad but true. I like so many other Americans who voted for Obama were deceived by this wall street servant.

I agree! There seem to be

I agree! There seem to be lots of us, as I talk to people throughout the days and weeks. If he would get in, it would really shake things up: I think he could be elected, and I think it is essential that Obama be replaced. I would work for Kucinich all the way!

I would like to thank

I would like to thank Congressman Kucinich for his tireless advocacy for American Workers and good paying jobs. This country needs to develop and establish and two-ways trading system, so that jobs would be created in our country and also help other workers in other parts of the world. I believe that globalization is inevitable, but it has to take place within the context of fair trade.

Free Trade Agreements are

Free Trade Agreements are made to make imports into the U.S. easier FOR U.S. COMPANIES making their products abroad - things we used to make in this country! They love to say how the U.S. will now have access to these markets but what they're really for is to give U.S. manufacturers access to cheap labor.
Things we could be making locally are being transported from the other side of the world and they are STILL cheaper at retail because these countries have such low labor costs. U.S. companies should be compelled to make their products using a minimum of 75% U.S. labor force, otherwise pretty soon we won't even be able to afford these cheap, often shoddy, goods!

Kucinich is a good politician

Kucinich is a good politician (is that an oxymoron or what?) in that he appears to be sincerely out for the public good. All the other d-bags in the 2-party system were (are) out for the corporate good (Ron Paul may be the exception.) Problem is, whoever is appointed to the position of President is just another corporate lackey who doesn't stand for the people as a whole. Real change would only come through a 3rd-party candidate. But you all already knew that.....

Ron Paul is a charlatan. As a

Ron Paul is a charlatan. As a Libertarian he is opposed to government regulations. He therefore falls into the same camp as all the other corporate lackies.
Less Government=More Chaos and despair, leading to greater corporate profits.

Why does no one ever mention

Why does no one ever mention the worst and first "Free Trade" agreement this country entered into, the one that has cost the most in lost jobs and stolen intellectual property than any of the others, the 1984 "Free Trade" Agreement with Israel?

There is a major difference

There is a major difference between fair trade and Free trade. Free trade is when you get something for nothing. We all know who is getting the nothing.

When I was discussing NAFTA at Congressman Drier's office almost 20 years ago I was told"The Middle Class has had it in America." It looks like he was right.

Trish House's picture

Radical inequities require

Radical inequities require radical fixes. The American people have no RIGHT to a share of the countries' resources. The land, the air, the water and other resources necessary to their survival must be bought by them from another. For most this means they must support corporations to buy a job, or they must support the government to buy handouts. It should be the birthright of every American to own a share of the land, air, water, resources they need to be self sustaining.

Land hoarding and resource hoarding should be illegal. Why should Ted Turner own more than 2 million acres while other Americans must hide under bridges or in forests to live? Why should T. Boone Pickens own more water than any other individual in the U.S. while looking to control even more? (He hopes to sell the water he already has, some 65 billion gallons a year, to Dallas, TX) Why should he own water at all when it is necessary to the lives of everybody? Why isn't this vital resource part of the commonwealth of all the people?

It is time for a radical change in the way we view resources and the way we think of humanity. Without the desperation of needing a job and income for survival and with the security of knowing that their share of resources is a guaranteed right people would cease working for the military industrial complex and would get busy with the resources they need making their lives comfortable and wonderful. Ask the President for this Mr. Kucinich.

Kucinich has it nailed down

Kucinich has it nailed down tight with his accurate remarks.

Politicos of any ilk can warble forever on a "create jobs" promise without ever being able to deliver unless stiff tariffs and strict regulations are placed upon goods imported from newly industialized countries.

All these trade agreements

All these trade agreements were designed to do exactly what they did , bankrupt the American labor force. T right Wing nuts terror group has accomplished their mission on that front and the dumb ass democrats went along a damn dog after a bitch in heat. If they do not wake up soon the right wing nuts are going over throw our republic and I expect no resistance from the democrats. I wonder why. I also wonder why there is no resistance from the American people ? Cowards, ignorant, drunk , smoking to much dope, Where are the people from the home of the brave?

Free Trade= Poverty Fair

Free Trade= Poverty
Fair trade= Prosperity for all

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