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Bad Santa

Last week I posted a few interesting maps, one was this one that highlights toy imports. One sees very clearly that Americans, are highly dependent on other nations for our toys. One might assume things have always been this way, or its simply the natural order of things.

(HT Sirota) Public Citizen (Damn you Ralph Nader) recently put out a report titled Santa’s Sweatshop. The anti-fair traders might tell you unsafe toys are simply a negative byproducts of globalization. They may, like Obama recently, even call for tough measures for food and toy inspection. What they fail to tell you is most of these anti-fair trade byproducts are by design.

There was a time when 90% of toys were made in he U.S.A.

During the 1970s, nearly 90 percent of U.S. toys were produced domestically. U.S. toy manufacturers began sending production to countries with low wages and weak safety regimes, and by the late 1980s,imports overtook domestic toy production.

Yes, globalization has had a cost, but is it really a natural phenomena as corporatist would have us believe. Not exactly, the lack of safety and inspection rates were deliberately written into the various AFTA legislations. In fact, the investment incentive went to those countries that were more likely to have sweat shop labor.

These agreements also include rules that limit safety standards andinspection rates for the goods sent back to the United States for sale. Santa’s sweatshops were “Made in D.C.” by corporate lobbyists who convinced the U.S. Congress to pass the bad trade policy that underwrites their overseas operations.

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Both Edwards and Obama have said in recent days they wanted greater inspection rates. This and many other acts (on trade) in front of congress are illegal. As the report mentions nearly 80% of all U.S. trade cases on safety grounds have been denied by the WTO.

This is not a time for triangulation, or I was for it after I was against it. This is not a time to “fix it” as I have heard John Edwards say. What we need is the braveness of a little elf from Ohio, and declare in simple, straight forward terms that my first act as president will be to withdraw from the WTO, NAFTA, CAFTA, and other trade agreement that puts the national security and the general welfare of the American people at risk.

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