Saturday, September 3, 2016

Hillary Clinton and the Big (Neoliberal) Lie


This election season has brought to the surface an issue that, until recently, seemed to have become a neoliberal sacred cow, the holy writ of the lords of capital: free trade. And while this cornerstone of US economic hegemony has come under fire from a deeply reactionary, and to varying degrees racist and xenophobic, perspective, as expressed by Donald Trump, it has nevertheless sparked a much needed conversation about free trade and its destructive impact on both the American working class, and the Global South as well.
But free trade having become a campaign issue has also spotlighted for the umpteenth time the breathtaking hypocrisy of Hillary Clinton who I have previously referred to as the high priestess of the Church of Free Trade and Neoliberalism. For it is, in fact, Hillary Clinton who has for more than two decades been one of the loudest and most resolute voices championing neoliberalism and free trade. And still, despite her record, Clinton today presents herself as a friend of the working class. The same working class that has been all but eviscerated by the policies she herself has supported.

 Without question, NAFTA was a direct assault on the US working class. Its repercussions are still being felt today. As the Economic Policy Institute further explained, NAFTA had four major negative impacts:
  1. The loss of at least 700,000 jobs due to production moving to Mexico. Some of the heaviest losses were felt in California, Texas, Michigan and other manufacturing-dependent states, particularly those in the Rust Belt.

  2. Allowed employers to drive down wages, slash benefits, and undermine and destroy unions. Because capital could always threaten to simply close up shop and move to Mexico, workers had little recourse but to accept the assault on their standards of living.

  3. It devastated the Mexican agricultural and small business sectors which led to the dislocation of millions of Mexican workers and small farmers, many of whom were forced to migrate to the US in search of work, thereby creating the immigration “problem” that Trump and his reactionary base have seized upon.

  4. It was the model free trade agreement, the blueprint upon which others were based. It laid the foundation for the neoliberal trade model wherein capital reaps the benefits while labor shoulders the costs

Obviously, one could point out myriad other negative effects of NAFTA. But perhaps even better than that, one could simply take a drive down Interstates 80 and 90 – crossing through New Jersey, upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, etc. – and get off almost anywhere and see the impacts for one’s self. Countless shuttered factories, depressed and often nearly abandoned towns and cities, and populations blighted by unemployment and the social breakdown that goes with it. The bleakness of the post-NAFTA industrial landscape is difficult to articulate, and is often completely hidden from view, especially for many working people in the population centers on the East and West coasts.

Hillary the Hypocrite

Today Hillary Clinton shamelessly presents herself as a friend of working people. She trots out the elites of organized labor, concerned primarily with their own positions atop demoralized and fragmented unions, and trumpets their endorsements of her. And even these working class backstabbers have to grit their teeth and smile as they kneel before the high priestess herself in hopes of eight more years of privileged relations and fine dining.

But behind closed doors, everyone in America who even casually follows politics knows the truth: Hillary Clinton is a crusader for free trade and neoliberalism.


Andrew Anderson said...

Without government subsidies for private credit creation, it's likely that assets would be much more broadly owned and thus that inexpensive foreign goods and labor would be a blessing for all citizens and not a curse for citizen workers.

MRW said...

What kind of horseshit is that, Andrew? You continue to dumbfound me.

Andrew Anderson said...

With government subsidies for private credit creation, those with equity need not share it (e.g. issue common stock) but may instead use that equity as the basis for loans of what is, in essence, the legally stolen purchasing power of the less and non so-called creditworthy.

Shorter: Why share when one can legally steal?

MRW said...

The very best article I read about this that identifies the architect of NAFTA and China’s admission into the WTO is this one by John Nichols for The Nation in 2002. None other than Rahm Emanuel, the former ballerina, IDF soldier, and communications major that Bill Clinton put in charge of because he raised a shitload of dough from Jewish donors for the 1992 election. Emanuel pushed the Most-Favored Nation Status for China after he left the admin and in my opinion, in both instances he was acting solely for the financial interest of his pro-Israel donors and Israel. Israel as our first free trade agreement in 1985. Grant Smith details it, if you want more info.

The Israeli free trade agreement allows Israel to piggyback on any subsequent US free trade agreement without the hassle of negotiating their own thereby escaping political pressure to fix the Palestinian problem, and with the full freight and power of US protection. The Israeli free trade agreement with the US is nothing of the kind. It boggles the mind to delve into it. It’s a one-way street. And permitted Israel to decimate certain US industries, and in one industry to slap a 120% tariff on our exports to them. If you want to explore it go to Grant Smith’s website:
Some pages: [Note the current Federal Reserve vice-chairman’s part in it back then.]
Video of presentation by Grant Smith on the Israeli FTA at Rochester University: (page contains an outline of topics discussed)

[For those who get all shuddery and verklempt at the thought that someone might be maligning poor put-upon Israel, Grant Smith makes no pronouncements or statements without documented proof. None. No conspiracy theories. He works tirelessly with government FOIA requests and the courts to obtain the info he reports. He’s based out of DC. And he is motherfucking relentless.)

Trade Fights by John Nichols

Gary Hart said...

MRW: Thanks for that. Anyone in the know understands that Israel runs this country.