Another View: Korean Trade Agreement Would Kill Maine Manufacturing Jobs

The Portland Press Herald The Maine Voices column by Stephen Meardon taking U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud to task for questioning the proposed new trade agreements with Korea, which would see the last of Maine's shoe industry jobs shipped overseas, is about as speciously presented as one can imagine. According to Meardon, the gains from this agreement "will probably (probably?) not be felt by the thousand or so people working in the footwear industry, where times may (may?) be tougher and jobs scarcer." But this foregone transfer of manufacturing jobs to Korea will result in "several thousand more people working in blueberries, poultry, potatoes, fishing and agriculture among other industries." And these gains "will be felt ultimately, if only slightly, in the greater abundance of goods in Maine households." If blueberry picking and return to an agrarian society is the best Mr. Meardon can foresee, then, to my mind, he has lost the argument. All Americans are aware of the massive transfer of investment and jobs overseas. The overall argument in favor of this scenario is that we move "high-cost" home manufacturing labor to "low-cost" overseas labor, produce cheaper goods, and benefit one and all. For most of the ordinary workers displaced, and the communities that thrived where they worked, there has been nothing commensurate in the way of replacement. Those invested directly, or indirectly, in the newly gained profits from these massive shifts of investment have prospered. It is no secret that over this period, the income distribution in the United States, already favoring the rich, has widened in their favor, or that the share of national wealth has become so skewed that the bottom 40 percent of our people can claim less than 1 percent of the total. There is hope that at some point a manufacturing base will begin to revive here. For the present, however, more of the massive income and wealth that have come the way of the privileged of our country are needed, not just for debt control, but invested in our communities at every level. Read original post here.