Igniting Growth

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, May 07, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Trade: As the U.S. economic hearth flickers, it makes sense to fan it back with the last hardy embers of growth. One is exports, which burn brightest with free- trade treaties. So why is Congress snuffing them out?

Read More: Economy | Business & Regulation

Last week’s preliminary gross domestic product data for the first quarter showed a pallid 0.6% rise. Housing was a drag, pulling real GDP down 1.2%. Business sales were unimpressive, and consumer spending was weak.

But there was one bright spot: exports, which rose 5.5% according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, accounting for a third of U.S. economic growth during the quarter.

Maybe that’s why President Bush isn’t letting up on urging Congress to pass three pending free-trade agreements, which will strengthen U.S. exports. It may have hit a wall with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi manipulating House voting rules, but with a potential recession looming, Bush has no choice but to seek it anyway.

“Opening markets is especially important during this time of economic uncertainty,” Bush said Wednesday. “Last year, exports accounted for more than 40% of America’s total economic growth. With our economy slowing . . . we should be doing everything possible to open up new markets for U.S. goods and services.”

Thus far, his plea has fallen on deaf ears in Congress, which has refused to ratify U.S. deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. Worse, it has halted any new pacts from being negotiated.

After all, with Pelosi literally changing the House rules for a treaty vote to “anytime I want,” it’s unlikely any nation would negotiate a free-trade deal only to see it become a public bargaining chip for Pelosi’s pork-barrel spending schemes.

Pelosi has allies in Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They have collectively become the Three Stooges of Big Labor, which opposes free trade.

Pelosi insists that she’s putting the American people first. That prompted U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab to blast those who “demagogue and prey on anxieties and fear. We do a disservice to the American people by pretending that trade is somehow the culprit of our economic problems and anxieties.” We know whom she meant.

Again, let’s look at what free trade with Colombia would do.

• It slashes tariffs from 32% to zero on 72% of U.S. goods right off the bat. Better still, it levels the playing field for U.S. firms because Colombian goods already enter the U.S. duty-free. In the 17 months that the treaty has awaited passage, U.S. businesses have shelled out $1 billion in tariffs to sell goods in Colombia.

• It provides U.S. investors with legal protections and provides for international arbitration if anything goes wrong.

• It ends child labor and lessens environmental damage, two extras the Democrats requested and got.

Meanwhile, if it’s not passed, the U.S. economy gets . . . nothing.

“Delaying the vote on the Colombia (pact) does not create one American job, it does not put one more dollar in anyone’s pocket, does not save one life, does not help one union to organize, or protect one endangered species,” Schwab said.

It just goes to show that doing nothing on free trade isn’t an accomplishment. In fact, it’s a wet rag on the U.S. economy that will eventually draw angry retribution from U.S. voters.

Bush knows this. Too bad Pelosi doesn’t.

One response to “Igniting Growth

  1. Piyush ‘Bobby’ Jindals 100 + day as governor of Louisiana track record: Ethics reform? -0-…… Pretty much all he managed to get done on that issue was it is now forbidden for anyone to give state legislatures ‘Hannah Montanah’ concert tickets or football tickets ‘free of charge’. period………. Public dislosure? Nothing on that yet either. Couldn’t even impose a $50.00 limit on ‘free lunches’ for legislatures….. Jindals actions as a Congressional Representative aside from taking actions that would allow him to abandon the post and duties he swore to uphold so that he could run for Governor? H.R. 6111………. December, 2006…. On the surface it was for Medicare and health care….. Laying submerged below the water was Offshore Oil and Gas Royalties….. In Federal waters…. Somehow all of the proceeds of the oil and gas royalties in federal offshore waters are going to be given to Louisiana, and Louisiana alone to a very high degree… The rest of the States can forget portions of those revenues, which could have helped pay for Medicare and Healthcare related costs, but instead, those costs are to be born by the other 49 States as well. So…. Analogy,,,, Double dipping……… And then there is the matter of Strongconcrete, or; http://www.strongconcrete.com… On page 12 of that website there are rather generous provisions of aid for the state of Louisiana that would save taxpayers, state and federal alike, a fairly substantial amount of money…. No moves have been made by the Jindal administration on this yet….. And the potentials for reduced cost evironmental calamities protection being made readily available in the near future to other states of the United States are seemingly ‘drowned’ as well. So it would appear that while there is everything available for Louisiana, nothing for the rest of the United States is offered in return, including royalties from oil and gas that doesn’t even exist in Louisiana territorial waters, but are located in Federal waters instead….. One item of note, according to the patent information relating to strongconcrete.com there are provisions for a lower cost flood protection barrier that has applications in the San Joaquin Valley Delta Region of California….. One of the largest agricultural regions of the United States… There is a fairly large distinction between being ‘conservative’ and plain old ’selfish’. For him to jump from his role of Governor to pursue the role of V.P. in midstride, much in the same way as he made a jump from Congressional Representative to the Governors chair would simply bear him out as what he truely is “A really nice self serving ambitious ladder climber that has no concern or care for those he is supposed to care for as he performs his duties he was elected to do” But then again, a V.P. really doesn’t have to do all that much, unless of course we have a repeat of 1945, or heaven forbid, 1963 or 1974 (which is unlikely)…….

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