Monday, July 26, 2010

A Politician Cares Only About One Job—His Own

POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

A Politician Cares Only About One Job—His Own

by David Trumbull - July 23, 2010

What is going on with Res Publica? A column about local politics and local current events has, more and more, been devoted to U.S. international trade policy. As I sit in a room in Washington, D.C. writing yet another column to send up to Boston, I say to the readers, Believe me that what is going on here in the federal capitol city is too important for Post-Gazette readers not to know, and so little reported in the main-stream media that if you don’t read it here you may not see it anywhere else.

Much is made, on talk radio, and in other conservative and Republican circles, of the American jobs lost due to the Clinton-ear North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico. Preferential trade benefits for the nations that border us on the north and south may be a good idea, but NAFTA is full of so many loop-holes that much of the benefit of the agreement has gone to other nations, especially China. Yes, it is little reported, but is easily documented, that U.S. jobs lost to Mexico due to NAFTA are nothing compared to U.S., Mexican and Canadian jobs lost to China due to NAFTA.

Looking out for our backyard, the nations of Central America and the Caribbean, was a long-standing U.S. policy going back to the early 19th century “Monroe Doctrine.” But the trade agreement we have with those nations, like the NAFTA it is modeled on, is shot full of holes that make it a significant transshipment vehicle for Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and other nation’s products.

As our “jobless recovery” continues apace—with substantial fears that even this economic up tick may be a temporary blip before we enter the second part of a double-dip recession—policy makers in Washington continue to push more NAFTA-type schemes sure to result in more American job losses.

You don’t hear much in the news about the proposed U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. And you won’t hear much about it until after the November election. That’s because this one makes NAFTA look like good policy. It will, immediately upon passage, open our market to a duty-free (with a permanent ban our ever increasing that rate) flood of goods from an industrial powerhouse. As for access to the Korean market for U.S.-made goods, our negotiators agreed to allow the Koreans to impose a 10% tax on our products, and gave them the flexibility to raise that tax any time they wish to any level they need to keep U.S. products out. President Obama has stated that he wants Congress to pass this abomination sometime after early November—in other words, after the election.

The machinery of government here in Washington is slowing grinding its way toward a free trade agreement with several nations bordering the Pacific Ocean, including duty-free access to the U.S. for goods from the communist nation of Vietnam. That’s another agreement you will not hear about in the mainstream press until after the election.

Politicians talk before the election about creating American jobs, but watch after the election for the votes they take to send more jobs overseas. The typical politician, after the election, does not worry about jobs—he has his job, and that’s the only one he cares about.

[David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee. Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.]

Friday, July 2, 2010

On Independence Day Remember the History of American Freedom and Equality

Res Publica: On Independence Day Remember the History of American Freedom and Equality
by David Trumbull, July 2, 2010

At a quarter of ten on the morning of Sunday, July 4, the Declaration of Independence will be read out to the assembled people from the balcony of the Old State House just as it first was read in Boston, 234 years ago on July 18, 1776. Yes, back in the Revolutionary (before E-Mail) Period it could take two weeks to get a document from Philadelphia to Boston. These memorable words of the Declaration:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

punctuate one scene in a sweeping drama of history going back thousands of years.

Liberty and equality before law can be traced back to the Great Charter of England (A.D. 1215) which declared:

No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the

And that medieval declaration of rights echoes an earlier act in the drama of freedom. In the Institutes of the Roman Emperor Justinian (A.D. 535) we read:

The precepts of the law are these: to live honestly, to injure no one, and to give every man his due. Freedom, from which men are called free, is a man’s
natural power of doing what he pleases, so far as he is not prevented by force
or law: Slavery is an institution of the law of nations, against nature
subjecting one man to the dominion of another.

A thousand years earlier, Pericles (439 B.C.) said of Democratic Athens:

Our constitution favors the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all.

And our founding fathers, who threw off allegiance to King George, must have agreed with the words of the Hebrew prophet Samuel who, half a millennium before Pericles, warned the people that asked of him a king.

This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive yards, even the best of them. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you --1 Samuel chapter 8.

As you enjoy the long weekend and all the events planned for Boston Harborfest, take some time out to reflect on the meaning of American Independence and our legacy of freedom. God bless America!

David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee. Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.