Tuesday, July 26

CAFTA and the Democrats -- Don't fight free trade

Great suggestions on what politicians SHOULD be doing for American labor. Say yes to CAFTA, say no to protectionist policies that stick-it to the American tax payer.
If Republicans and Democrats really want to help American workers compete in a global economy, they should be looking elsewhere, to retraining. The textile industry has long been one of the most protected in America. Tariffs on clothing bring in close to half of all tariff revenues per year, while those imports account for only about 6 percent of total imports. Despite all that protection, textile jobs have steadily disappeared.

Instead of trying to turn back time, politicians in Washington should be following the very good example being set by Governor Mark Warner of Virginia. Seeking to stem the job hemorrhage in rural southern Virginia as the region's textile plants were shuttered, Warner started creating one-stop worker-assistance storefronts in depressed rural towns in 2002. Beyond helping laid-off workers navigate the maze of federal trade adjustment assistance and unemployment checks, Warner backed a program to help workers without a high-school diploma get equivalency degrees in 90 days or less.