Let me finish with the trade issue.
I think it’s important that the Democrats take a hard look at any trade deal for the impact it’s likely to have on jobs and economic development in this country.
It’s important that the country and the party look at how this Pacific trade deal affects us overall. Will it help us compete in the world? Will it help create jobs for the future? Will it give the U.S. worker the best possible shot at those jobs?
We all grew up hearing the calls against trade. We got them before the Great Depression, calls that led to the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, which many believe were a direct cause of the Great Depression.
And, yes, we’ve heard the calls from presidents, Democratic presidents, including Jack Kennedy and Bill Clinton, arguing the advantages of trade expansion.
Yes, there are going to be trade-offs. That’s why it’s called a deal.
The challenge of our leaders is to decide if it all adds up to a net plus or a net minus.
Do most people generally believe we’d be better off if we’d cut off imports from Japan and Germany and Korea in the auto industry? Do we honestly want to go back to the days of the U.S. monopoly on cars, the days when they lasted about two or three years before serious breakdowns, the days of planned obsolescence?
I believe, like everyone listening, that we have done better with our auto production because of the competition from foreign producers, that our consumers have benefitted from having a wide variety of choice from the best products in the world.
That’s how I look at it. I look at the clothes you can buy today, the quality and variety and price, and know that we are doing a lot better than we would have done without the foreign marketplace.
All this should be up for debate. We should look at the cultural as well as the economic impact of the lost jobs, especially on the neighborhoods where I came from.
People matter most and it’s up to the Democrats in this hot debate to look out for them using all their knowledge, all their experience and not let this become a battle to see who can best shut down the other side’s argument.
Let’s hear the best thinking in this argument. That means both sides of the argument.