One of Donald Trump’s major campaign promises was tougher and fairer trade deals. During his nearly a quarter of a century in Congress, Senator Roger Wicker has routinely opposed that position:
- Roger Wicker Supports Giving The President Unconstitutional “Fast Track” Authority To Negotiate Trade Deals – “Fast Track” allows the President to negotiate trade deals but Congress is prohibited from making any changes to the agreement. It can be voted up or down but not altered. This is an unconstitutional abdication of congressional power of commerce. Yet Wicker has supported this measure numerous times.
- Roger Wicker Voted To Give “Fast Track” Authority To Obama For TPP – This vote allowed Obama to negotiate the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership that included trade deals with nations like Vietnam, which has an economy that is one percent of ours.
- Roger Wicker Voted Against Withdrawing From The World Trade Organization – The WTO routinely votes against US interests in trade cases brought before it, yet in 2000 Wicker felt we needed to remain a part of it.
- Roger Wicker Supported Unfair Trade Deals With Third World Nations Around The Globe – Wicker has supported agreements with Peru, Chile, Colombia, Singapore, and Sub-Saharan Africa, to name but a few. One notable deal Wicker supported was with the Dominican Republican and Central America (DR-CAFTA). Wicker was not in Congress to support NAFTA but he supported DR-CAFTA, which essentially extended NAFTA to Central America and the Dominican Republic. Yet the combined economies of those six nations equaled the entire economic output of New Haven, Connecticut alone. So how could that possibly help the US economy?
And what promises were made in order to bring passage of CAFTA? The same ones we got for NAFTA – economic prosperity and a slowdown of illegal immigration.
“If you’re concerned about immigration to this country, then you must understand that CAFTA and the benefits of CAFTA will help create new opportunity in Central American countries, which will mean someone will be able to find good work at home, somebody will be able to provide for their family at home, as opposed to having to make the long trip to the United States. CAFTA is good immigration policy, as well as good trade policy.” –President George W. Bush, June 23, 2005
And Roger Wicker went along with it, providing good jobs to people in Central America. The results? Loss of jobs for American workers, sluggish economic growth, and an influx of illegal immigrants. Remember the flood of illegals in 2016 riding in on the top of railroad cars? Most came from Central America, specifically Guatemala.
According to Alan Tonelson, these trade deals with Third World nations have been catastrophic for one industry in particular:
“Just to give an idea of how great the damage has been, since the current phase of American trade policy began at the start of 1994 with the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, U.S. garment production is down by nearly 78 percent in real terms. In many individual segments of this industry, losses have been much greater. For example, from 2005 through 2013 alone, American men’s neckwear output sank from a paltry $362.39 million to $127.38 million – a nosedive of nearly 55 percent.”
In 2015 and 2016, the US trade deficit soared over $500 billion each year, meaning we are importing a half a trillion dollars per year in goods over and above what we export. As our fathers believed, an unfavorable balance of trade means a loss of jobs, certainly, but more importantly, a loss of national wealth.
To the pointy-headed intellectuals in the halls of academia, those statistics mean next to nothing, but as President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Our experience as a people in the past has certainly not shown us that we could afford in this matter to follow those professional counselors who have confined themselves to study in the closet; for the actual working of the tariff has emphatically contradicted their theories.”
Yet it sure meant a lot to the many who lost their jobs as a result. And that’s why fair trade really matters. There’s more to a country than the bottom line, greater interests than corporate profits and making the special interests, like the Chamber of Crony Capitalism, happy. There are real people involved – American citizens with lives and jobs. Donald Trump understands that; Roger Wicker apparently does not.