The Fast Track to Bailout City

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Politics is often beyond parody. On Sunday, House Speaker Newt Gingrich declared on “Meet the Press” that unless Congress approves “fast track,” it will “send a signal to the world that is devastating.” “(T)he world,” said Newt, “is looking for us to take leadership.”

What does Newt mean by “leadership”? Well, since fast track means congressional surrender of all rights to amend trade treaties, Newt is saying the world cannot have confidence in America unless Republicans get out of the way and give Bill Clinton a blank check to negotiate NAFTA II. Only if Congress votes itself into irrelevancy, the speaker is saying, can America lead the world.

Thus, a GOP Congress elected to put a conservative stamp on Clinton’s policies will this week vote, 2 to 1, to put a rubber stamp on whatever trade deal Clinton brings home. Clay, Webster, Calhoun — thou shouldst be living at this hour!

What is it in their philosophy that causes good Republicans to sacrifice everything — including congressional authority over trade specifically granted in the Constitution — to the Global Economy? True, the Global Economy has brought a cornucopia of consumer goods. From shirts to shoes to autos to electronics, the abundance and variety of consumer goods in showrooms and on store shelves is like nothing we have ever known. But for all these material things, which we could make ourselves, we are selling out our country.

Consider the costs of the Global Economy: manufacturing jobs lost by the millions, real wages below 1973 levels, a median family income $1,000 below 1989 levels, U.S. merchandise trade deficits now crossing the $200 billion mark. Beyond this, U.S. sovereignty is being surrendered to a World Trade Organization that will soon declare U.S. sanctions on Iran, Libya and Castro’s Cuba illegal. Moreover, the economic independence the founding fathers thought vital to political independence is being lost as our dependency on foreign trade goes from 10 percent of gross national product in 1970 to 25 percent today.

Republicans celebrate the sleek U.S. companies that dominate world trade. But have they taken a hard look at how those companies got that way? They did so by laying off U.S. employees and workers, siting new plants in foreign lands and declaring to their new hosts that they no longer want to be seen as American companies but as “global companies.” The way American companies get fabulously rich these days is by becoming less and less American.

Last week, we discovered another cost of the Global Economy: endless bailouts of incompetent and corrupt Third World regimes. In 1995, Mexico’s bailout cost $50 billion; this fall, Thailand’s bailout cost $17 billion. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin has now announced a $23 billion bailout of an Indonesian regime we only lately sanctioned for persecuting Catholics on East Timor. Some $3 billion will be put up by the U.S. Treasury. Whatever James Riady and his old man did for Bill Clinton, they are sure getting their money’s worth.

Why does Gen. Suharto need $23 billion pronto? To pay back terrified U.S. investors and banks that turned their backs on America to go buck-raking in the Far East. Once again, the rich will be rescued, U.S. taxpayers will be put on the hook, and American workers will pay in lost jobs — as Indonesia exports massively to the United States to raise the cash to pay back the International Monetary Fund and Bob Rubin.

If the Global Economy is such a glorious triumph of the free market, why can’t we let the free market work in Indonesia?

The truth: The Global Economy is a global racket. Its purpose: to loot America of her wealth, her manufacturing base and her jobs to enrich a transnational elite that is without loyalty to this nation or to the American people.

Not long ago, Republicans were the party of Middle America. They reflected the values of working America and sought to defend its interests. Whose interests are today’s GOP leaders advancing by standing tall for Bill Clinton and fast track? CEOs who abhor social conservatives, who would die for a dinner invite from Hillary and who behaved like Madonna groupies in the presence of Jiang Zemin.

Why do we continue to haul water for this crowd?

In the vote on fast track, we may see the outlines of a new realignment: Beltway Republicans standing with Clinton, Al Gore, Strobe Talbott and the Trilateral Commission, while conservative and populist Republicans will find themselves voting with the Reform Party and labor Democrats. With the struggle between communism and freedom ended, the new world struggle will be between amoral capitalists who put the Global Economy ahead of the nation-state — and patriots in every nation who put their own country first.

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