By Patrick J. Buchanan
GATT is the Magna Carta of the Multinationals. It subordinates everything, from U.S. sovereignty to social stability, to trade. GATT empowers transnational companies to shut down U.S. plants, move factories overseas, hire foreign workers at 10 percent of the U.S. pay, and ship their products back here…..What we gain as consumers, we lose as citizens…
On November 8, this nation brutally stripped the Clintonites of power and gave Republicans a mandate to rule. So what is the GOP’s first official act?
They are trooping back to Washington, to a lame-duck session of Congress dominated by defeated Democrats — dozens of whom will be lobbyists by spring — to approve Mr. Clinton’s giant GATT trade treaty. As with NAFTA, Republicans are going to reach down, give Clinton a hand up, and make him again the Comeback Kid.
Does the GOP have a secret suicide wish?
Republicans ran and won on a Balanced Budget Amendment. But GATT adds $31 billion to the national debt. Republicans ran on accountability. In this lameduck session, retiring and rejected congressmen decide America’s destiny.
Republicans ran against Big Government. GATT creates world government, a 123-member World Trade Organization where America can be out-voted by any two tiny dictatorships.
Republicans call for “defunding the Left.” Hidden inside GATT is a $200 million special FCC fee reduction — for the Washington Post!
In their Contract with America, Republicans said that never again should U.S. troops be put under U.N. command. But they are about to put U.S. trade under foreign control. Decrying regulation by Washington, Republicans embrace it from Geneva.
Is there anything Republicans will not grab off the shelf, if it can be fitted into a container labeled “free trade”?
Since GATT does not even have to be ratified until next July, why the rush? Why not put the vote over until January 5, when the Republicans will control every chairmanship and committee in both Houses?
Because GATT is the non-negotiable demand of our financial elite. The men who write the big checks do not care a fig how you vote on abortion or school prayer, so long as you deliver on the bottom line. GATT is the payoff to the boardrooms for all those dinners, all those contributions, all those ads in party brochures.
They want GATT now, not some noisy debate where folks might discover just what’s in it — and rebel.
Despite their talk about taking power, some Republicans really don’t want power, or the responsibility that goes with it. They want to get GATT “behind us,” because they’re terrified that if they put the vote over to the New Year — just one month! — the GATT deal could unravel. And the big money men would blame them.
But if a Republican Congress would reject GATT, why is the GOP collaborating with lameduck Democrats to ram it through?
America’s populists lost on NAFTA. But they cannot complain they did not get a hearing. Debate was full, fair, open and robust. On GATT, however, the media censors have choked off debate.
But GATT is too important not to let the American people know where it is they are being led. GATT is the Magna Carta of the Multinationals. It subordinates everything, from U.S. sovereignty to social stability, to trade. GATT empowers transnational companies to shut down U.S. plants, move factories overseas, hire foreign workers at 10 percent of the U.S. pay, and ship their products back here.
What we gain as consumers, we lose as citizens. Hourly and weekly wages in the U.S. have been falling for 20 years. In real dollars, they are 20 percent below where they were in 1972 — down to levels we know in the ’50’s. Beyond our suburban mall affluence, the consequences can be seen in gutted cities and ghost towns all across America.
All of us believe in free trade among the 50 states. Most of us believe in free trade among compatible economies: America, Canada, Britain, etc. But forcing American workers earning $15 an hour into dog-eat-dog competition for jobs with Asians earning 25 cents an hour is wrong; it is a formula for Asia’s rise and America’s fall.
It is our country that is at stake in this GATT treaty.
Last week, the U.S. reported an October trade deficit of $10 billion. The 1994 trade deficit may set an all-time record. But, if GATT passes, rest assured, that record will not stand long.
Can Republicans see no linkage between the $1.5 trillion in trade deficits since 1972, the 3 million U.S. manufacturing jobs lost over the same period, and the 20 percent fall in real wages? Why not GOP hearings to determine if, just possibly, there is a connection?
“Usually,” a friend remarked the other day, “politicians wait until they’re sworn in, before they sell out. This crowd is going to do it before they’re sworn in.”
Republicans had best remember: They rode the mighty wave of middle-class rage and resentment to the beach. They did not create the wave. It can carry them out to sea, just as it did the Democrats.