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    CAFTA: Politics At Its Worst!

    Published: Friday, August 5, 2005

    Most of us are aware that Congress has passed and President Bush has signed the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) into law. CAFTA is the latest in a series of international trade agreements to which the United States has committed itself.

    Sold to Congress as promoting "free trade," international agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and now CAFTA are actually huge compromises of American sovereignty and independence for the benefit of wealthy international corporations.

    Consider that since President Bill Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole collaborated to pass NAFTA, nearly 400 manufacturing plants have been closed, tens of thousands of American jobs have been exported overseas, and the American people are now strapped with a gargantuan federal trade deficit. But that is just the beginning!

    NAFTA and CAFTA are precursors for an even more egregious "trade agreement" called The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). FTAA would, in effect, all but erase our national borders, establish a European Union (EU)-style international government, and even pave the way for a multinational currency.

    Adding insult to injury is the fact that many of the mostly Republican members of the House of Representatives who voted for CAFTA knew they were defying the will of the majority of their constituents and were passing legislation dangerous to America's very security.

    Consider the words of my own Congressman, Jeff Miller. Jeff is a conservative Republican representing the First Congressional District of Florida. Before his initial election to Congress, I interviewed Jeff on my radio talk show. He forthrightly articulated his opposition to NAFTA and similar trade deals. In that interview he said, "NAFTA itself may be the death-knell of American agriculture."

    In a letter to a constituent dated June 1, 2005, Congressman Miller said, "I do not believe CAFTA is good for Florida." He further said, "CAFTA is an outsourcing agreement."

    Miller went on to say, "CAFTA will be a market for 'turnaround' exports-products shipped south for assembly and then final sale in the U.S.- particularly textiles and semiconductors. Fabric will be sent to the region, stitched into final apparel and home furnishing products, and shipped right back to the United States. That's not traditional job-creating exports at all. Rather than servicing new foreign markets, these 'exports' serve the same domestic market U.S.-based factories once supplied. The only difference: American workers are removed from the equation. Due to Central American turnaround trade that currently exists, the U.S. trade deficit with CAFTA-6 countries rose nearly 60 percent from 1997-2004."

    Congressman Miller then said, "Still further, at a time when the U.S. is rapidly outsourcing both its service and manufacturing jobs, CAFTA will make it illegal for any state or federal agency to adopt a 'Buy American' policy."

    Sounds pretty convincing, doesn't it? It should. Everything Miller said is true. But guess what? In spite of everything he said, Jeff Miller voted for CAFTA! Yes, my friends, after rightly outlining many of the dangers and draconian elements to CAFTA, he turned right around and voted for it! How could he do this? How could he betray his home district, his state, and even his own conscience?

    You can rest assured that Jeff Miller was not the only Congressman to sell out America's workers and farmers (not to mention our sovereignty and security). The arm-twisting that went on behind the scenes smacks of all that's wrong and rotten in Washington, D.C.

    According to Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), "Leaving aside the arguments for or against CAFTA itself, the process by which the bill ultimately passed should sicken every American who believes in representative government."

    Paul continued, "Yet even after months of unprecedented wheeling and dealing by corporate lobbyists, congressional leaders, and the White House, the Washington establishment still failed to pass CAFTA in the U.S. House. That's right, when the 15-minute voting period expired last Wednesday evening, CAFTA seemingly had been defeated. But pro-CAFTA forces were so determined to get what they wanted, they broke the rules. House leadership ignored the time limit and kept twisting arms and making deals until they finally had the votes to pass CAFTA nearly an hour later."

    Ron Paul then said, "Rest assured that you will pay dearly for these bribes used to buy votes. One of my colleagues estimated that the price tag for buying the CAFTA vote will be at least $50 billion. That's right, $50 billion to win a vote. Is that what you want from your representative in office?" In conclusion Paul stated, "The CAFTA vote had nothing to do with the American public, or even trade policy per se. CAFTA was driven by politics and nothing more. Multinational corporations and political globalists share the same goals, namely the centralization of political power in international bodies and the diminution of national sovereignty. What we witnessed last week was not just the selling of votes, but also a sellout of American control over our own trade regulations." There you have it. President Bush, Republican Congressional leaders, and lobbyists for multinational corporations harangued, coerced, and bullied members of Congress into passing a trade bill that compromises American independence and punishes American workers and farmers. Beyond that, they used 50 billion taxpayer dollars to do it! This isn't representative government; it is politics at its worst!

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