This Op-Ed in the WSJ by Rahm Emanuel (former Clinton policy adviser) illustrates how ridiculous the positions of the Left.
He starts out to defend NAFTA, but then devolves into leftist cliches about everything. I provide some analysis throughout...
A New Deal for the New Economy
By RAHM EMANUEL
March 19, 2008; Page A17
In recent weeks, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have pledged to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) if elected president. I share their concern for Americans who have lost their jobs to global competition. But here's a bigger idea: Let's renegotiate the social contract with America's workers.
Hmmmm... did John Locke talk about a social contract with America's workers? Was America founded on such a principle? Or have we just "evolved" into such marxist thinking?
The biggest reason many Americans are worried about their jobs is not what happened in the 1990s, but what this administration has done over the past seven years that has squeezed the middle class. Since 2001 the middle-class median annual income shrank by $1,000, health insurance premiums rose to more than $12,000 per year up from $6,230 and college costs increased 64%. The national debt also increased by $3.5 trillion.Hmmmm.... It's interesting to note that both health care and colleges have a high degree of involvement from the government (through regulations, subsidies, tax policies, etc). Meanwhile, areas of low government regulation (eg. Information Technology) seem to be experiencing decreasing costs.
In 1993, I was President Clinton's point man in ratifying Nafta. And, I am the first to admit, the fact that our party is still debating this trade agreement 15 years later is proof it hasn't lived up to its hopes. It is true that if we were to negotiate Nafta today, we'd insist on tough labor and environmental standards that never mattered to negotiators in the first Bush administration, who hammered the agreement together before Bill Clinton took office.You heard it here first - the signature achievement of the Clinton administration was actually the product of George H.W. Bush.
Or, is this just the typical liberal ploy of taking credit for positive developments, while blaming any negatives on those wascally Republicans?
Yet Nafta is not the main reason workers today are hurting. Nor are new and improved trade agreements, and tougher trade enforcement, the whole answer. What we need now is an honest discussion about trade and the challenges and opportunities the new economy presents.It would help if Congress and the Federal government wasn't throwing lavish subsidies on unproductive and inefficient agriculture here in the US, which is one of the main problems that the developing world has with truly free trade with the US.
Trade supporters and skeptics alike agree that the Bush administration has failed by pursuing a partisan, polarizing strategy rather than showing the world a bipartisan, united front on the importance both of strong labor and environmental protections and of tough-as-nails enforcement. If we don't keep our competitors honest, they won't be.
But it's also time for supporters and skeptics alike to be honest. Over the long haul, the only answer to the economic anxieties that many American workers feel is a new social contract that Americans can count on -- no matter how stiff the global economic competition turns out to be.Amen, brother! The exodus of employers (aka corporations) from the US will continue until we simplify our regulatory system, our tax system, eliminate health care as an employer cost, etc.
If we don't have a well-trained work force, it won't matter whether we put up walls or hammer out new agreements. Our workers' standards of living will continue to fall. If we don't reform health care, to give workers more security and to reduce the daunting competitive burden that health-care costs put on U.S. employers, blue-collar manufacturing workers in Ohio and Pennsylvania won't be the only ones feeling shafted. Every major employer will move more good jobs overseas. If we don't turn energy from our most expensive habit into our most promising source of new, high-paying jobs, the acronym inscribed on the tombstone of the American Dream won't be Nafta, but OPEC.
Let's improve our education system through increased competition, free-up corporations from having to embed health care costs within each product created, and unleash the creativity of the American entrepreneur to tackle America's dependence on foreign oil. WOOOOOOOOOOT!
I propose a New Deal for the New Economy -- a plan that helps address Americans' economic anxieties and prepares workers for the future.A what? Did you say..... "New Deal?"
Ummm... I thought you were going in a different direction here, buddy.
First, we must reform the way we educate the next generation of workers to ensure that our nation stays competitive. In an era in which you earn what you learn, Americans should no longer be allowed to drop out of school at age 16. We should require all students to receive one year of training and education after high school -- be it at a community college, technical school, or a four year university. And we should make higher education less costly, by expanding the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning tax credits to make going to community college affordable again. Previous investments, such as the GI Bill and universal high school education, have proven that investing in human capital yields large dividends.Yes, we should drastically change our education system. And, as the old saying goes, "two heads are better than one." Therefore, I suggest that we unleash the creativity and ingenuity of the American people to develop thousands of different models of education which address their local and individual concerns. No more of this Top-down, one-size-fits-all approach which has dominated American society at the same time that you claim things have gotten worse.
Heck, let's take one step towards giving education dollars to the individual student in primary/secondary education and letting their parents decide which school they want to go to - like the Europeans do!
Let's give people the Freedom to Choose! Choice! Freedom! (I'm sure you would agree that both have positive connotations. When combined, they're exquisite!)
Second, we should ensure that all Americans have quality, affordable health care. We should start on the road to coverage for all by building on the success of Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (Schip), guaranteeing universal health care to the two groups most at risk: children and older Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 (who are not yet eligible for Medicare). Schip should be for children what Medicare is for the elderly -- a universal health-care program. Covering every child is a moral responsibility, and will address working parents' greatest worry. Helping older workers and employers manage the health costs of early retirees will make it possible for entire sectors of the U.S. economy to get back on their feet.Ahem... there you go again with your top-down, centralized approach to address what are essentially individualized needs and concerns.
S-CHIP already provides coverage for those in need (along with people who could afford health care themselves). Removing the tie between employment and health care coverage would eliminate all of the problems associated with pre-existing conditions (which become an issue when switching jobs, times of periodic unemployment, etc) and also remove a disincentive for people to switch jobs to something that they actually like doing.
Putting responsibility of health care coverage into the hands of individuals would also give primary focus on costs to the person actually consuming the service, reducing costs in the long term.
"Covering every child is a moral responsibility." Indeed, and the primary moral responsibility belongs to the parents of those children. Why? Not because I'm some Scrooge. No, because the parents have the best interest of the children in mind.
Third, we must support the development of new, energy-efficient technologies that will make energy less expensive for consumers and businesses, help protect the environment, create millions of green-collar jobs, and make our nation energy independent. We should create a new institute -- funded at the same level as the National Institutes of Health -- that will support critical research into energy technologies for the future. These new energy technologies have the potential to do what the information-technology boom has done for our economy during the past 20 years.I agree... we should have a new expensive bureaucracy for green energy development. I mean, all technological advances in health care can be traced to the NIH. And the rapid technological advances in Information Technology can all be traced to the National Institute of Information Technology... what? one doesn't exist? Well, then how in the @#$ am I able to type this blog post for the world to see? What government agency created this wonderful technology?
Hmmm.... there has to be SOMEONE responsible for this thing.... it couldn't be the creative destruction of millions of people working in their own self-interest. That would be chaotic!
Finally, we must become a nation of savers again with a universal savings plan. Currently, 75 million full-time workers don't have a savings or retirement plan beyond Social Security. Universal savings accounts would give workers more control over their economic future and their retirement. Like 401(k) plans, these accounts would supplement, not supplant, Social Security. Employers and employees would contribute 1% of their paychecks on a tax-deductible basis, and workers could make additional contributions if they chose.
Wait a second.... what's wrong with not having a saving plan beyond Social Security?
I thought all of you Democrats have been telling me that there's nothing wrong with Social Security and that it's a fine program that will live on indefinitely?
Are you not telling me something?
I agree... saving is important. So, how about we stop taxing people who save, invest, and don't end up spending every dime they make? How about if you put $ into a 401k, it goes in tax free AND comes out tax free at retirement? Think of how many people would start to fill up their 401k's!
How about a zero capital gains rate?
How about a lower and less complex income tax system, something on par with what they do in enlightened Europe (eg. Ireland) or Russia? This would give people more money to save for their retirement...
Oh, wait.. you have all of those health, education, and green-energy programs that you want to implement.... how are we going to pay for that? I know, let's tax the corporations. (Of course, then they'll just have more incentive to relocate their operations and headquarters overseas.... hmmmm.
Got yourself in quite a pickle there.
If we put in place a New Deal for the New Economy, we can finally put the Nafta debate behind us. But here's the best part -- and the greatest challenge -- of renegotiating a new social contract for America's workers: The only government we'll have to negotiate with is our own.Well, that was a nice attempt Mr. Emanuel. But, I think we've seen these centralized, autocratic movements in the past. From Lenin/Stalin to Mussolini & Hitler, the desire to solve every problem through the creation of some new hyper-efficient and centralized bureaucracy has been shown to be the most disastrous course of action.
Mr. Emanuel, a Democratic congressman from Illinois, was a senior policy adviser to President Clinton.
Don't ever forget, individuals are the best able to control their own lives. I know that disheartens you, because you no longer get to impose your will on others, but it works.
ARC: St Wendeler