tv Tavis Smiley PBS February 10, 2017 6:30am-7:01am PST
good evening from los angeles, i'm tavis smiley. the future of free trade is very much in doubt. many of donald trump's campaign promises on the issue of trade have already broke down. find out the difference between what trump said and what he's doing, when it comes to deals like nafta, tpp and china. we're glad you've joined us, lori wallach in just a moment.
the program. when you look back on the campaign, both trump and bernie sanders tapped into the ire that so many fellow citizens have about these trade deals in the end. bernie did not win donald trump did. >> a lot of americans are extremely agrieved about how these trade agreements have come out. they got branded free trade. they're just trojan horse maneuvers to expand corporate power. the country woke up right, left and center and said, this was not good for me. there were 500 corporate advisers who negotiate these deals with officials behind closed doors, they got what they wanted. we've seen millions of jobs offshored, wages pushed down, floods of unsafe imported food. medicines a medicines prices jacked up.
bernie sanders realized it. trump realized it, the polling shows it, most democrats in congress realize that, but unfortunately, there has been prior to now a bipartisan presidential sickness in favor of this status quo corporate trade agreements, and the obama folks were pushing the tpp right through the election, they were in all these swing counties, in ohio, michigan, pennsylvania talking the dang thing up through october. >> you brought me this gift when you came on the set tonight, which i appreciate. >> you wrote a piece for huffington post. you really blamed in part barack obama for trump's victory in those counties you announced. burn any was against it, hillary
was for it before she was against it, but what impact does your research show you that the president and his administration, what impact did their pushing this so aggressively during the campaign all the way to the end have on the outcome. >> i did the piece with the political director of credo. which is an online group. we were looking at the outcomes of the race and thinking, how the hell did this guy win some of these counties. then i started thinking, you know, i remember hearing from back homen wisconsin, that there were cabinet level folks right through october. campaigning for tpp, they're hoping to pass it after the election and the lame duck. i wonder if there's any overlap. i started looking where the cabinet folks were going to push tpp. while hillary clinton saying it's a third term of obama, they're making the obama brand. nafta on steroids, tpp job killing, which folks right through the midwest really despised, making it less reputable, that this lady who
had been for tpp still is for tpp. we found swing places that would never vote republican, in the swing states there had been one, two, three cabinet level obama visits pushing tpp. i don't find it a coincidence that these people just said basta. i hate that guy, but i have had it with washington. >> so speaking of molotov cocktails, you may have answered my question. what do i expect looking out my window now, this guy is -- he's the man. >> it is right that our current trade agreements have been really bad for a lot of people, and, you know, look how they were written. he or she who pays the piper calls the tune. you have all these closed deals with all these corporate interests. the question is, if trump is going to make it better or worse. and it could go either way.
so there are a bunch of leftover trade agreements that obama had started that didn't get done. it was good news that interrupt wasn't going to revive the tpp, the tpp was signed a year ago today. could not get passed through congress the entire year, and the public did that, that was not trump. that was republicans, democrats, independents across the country saying, you vote for that thing, i am never voting for you. we all, the public did that, people actually in the other countries. they fought tooth and nail to stop that thing, and we won. so then basically trump said, all right, i'll box and bury it, i'm going to zombie treat it. it can't come back up, but he basically buried it, but then there are all these leftover agreements, same old same old like nafta, he hasn't said he's going to do it. there's one with china, europe, a service sector one that's all about financial deregulation, what's he going to do with the
existing agreements negotiated, then what's he going to do with the leftover ones. he says he's going to renegotiate nafta. if he does it wrong, he could make it worse. on the other hand he could make it better. it depends who's at the table. is he going to change the process? so far those 400 corporate advisers are still at the table. so is the secrecy still on? let's see what happens. >> what is the relationship -- i don't know what the relationship is. let me stop acting like i don't know. there is a linear line between bush, obama and trump where goldman sachs is concerned, and they're not the only ones. i don't want to beat up on them, what do you make of that. >> i have my own theory, this would be -- this is not fake news, but it also is not factual, because it is lori's personal theory.
>> here come lori's alternative facts. >> here's what's really peculiar. trump had this whole list of things he was going to do his first day. he's done some despicable things on that list. one of the things he could do is declare china a currency manipulator on his first day. how many times did we hear that. didn't do it. then he's got this u.s./china deal, check this out. the deal's contents, there's a whole part of it that helps promote offshoring of u.s. jobs to china. according to trump, icksnay. there's a whole part of it that helps chinese companies buy things here and run things. there's a whole system that allows chinese companies going around our courts, go into tr e
tribunal tribunals not answering to the government. these tribunals can help out a chinese company that don't like our law. trump says he doesn't like that. but they're silent on that agreement. why if you have china who's one half of the trade deficit. attributable to china in 2015, and like you're going, nafta, u.k., you're looking every place else, but i'm not going to look over here at china. trade deficit, you want to get rid of the half of it, it's sitting right next to you on the couch. you try to google u.s./china bid. what comes up? goldman sachs. they're the only wall street operation that's pushing that thing. it has to make you wonder -- it's not alternate facts, the only jump is between coincidence maybe, maybe not. he's suddenly being really quiet on the thing that's the biggest
part of the trade deficit, when he's invested with goldman sachs people. >> what is the read on nafta 20 years later? >> i hate to have to admit this, but trump's right, it's been pretty catastrophic. >> don't feel bad. my grandma said our broken clock is right twice a day. >> it is the case in the u.s., depending on what numbers you look, we've lost around a million jobs, there are 880,000 specific u.s. jobs certified by the u.s. government, under one narrow program, called trade adjustment assistance as lost to nafta. either offshoring to canada or imports. we have a trade deficit with the nafta countries now. you have small farmers, people, many, many tens of thousands of plants have been outsources or shut down by nafta trade. but the then is, what happened to the other countries. in mexico, you saw about 2 1/2
million family farm operations displaced by the dumping of corn, that was subsidized from the u.s. we have a lot more corn going there, and it's wiped out these folks livelihoods in mexico. there's so much beef and vegetables coming here, we have a trade deficit. it's a double whammy. and then all those folks that were displaced came to the bord border except there are a lot more folks than jobs. the industrial wages in mexico are lower now than they were before nafta. in canada, they've paid about 350 million to corporations in those sneaky tribunals attacking their environmental laws. the thing needs to be replaced not tweaked. >> it's one thing to talk about as we have now, lori, what president trump will or will not do on these trade deals. what do republicans in congress want him to do?
because clearly they have their own agenda as well on trade. what do they want him to do? >> i hope you don't think i was talking about what he will or won't do. i don't think anyone knows but him. i'm speculating on what he ought to do. if you go to our web side, tradewatch.org, you can see all these citizen groups representing 15 million people, faith, civil rights, consumer, environmental labor, family farm, ten things that have to be fixed in nafta, that lays out what a good deal would be, who knows what he'll do, because the republicans in congress love all the stuff in the old nafta, that makes it the very problem that trump says he's going to fix. if you're going to fix the trade deficit with mexico, which is $180 billion in 2015. and if you're going to fix the job offshoring manufacturing, there are certain sections in nafta you just have to take out. there are rules that actually
incentivize offshoring. nafta has ruled that gives subsidies if you leave. there's a whole chapter on procurement, that bans by americans, under those rules, fdr's buy america, when our tax dollars get spent by buying cars and stuff, you reinvest it in the u.s., it doesn't mean buy american any more, it's buy american, canadian and mexican. the republicans in congress love that stuff, it's their corporate funders that pushed it into the initial nafta. trump has to think a couple steps forward. he ought to be gaining with the democrats, the democrats have the status quo, they have a whole vision that includes getting rid of the incentives for offshoring, getting rid of the ban on buy america. he has to make sure he doesn't put stuff into his redone nafta.
he can get a majority and pass a redone nafta, with a majority of democrats and a handful of republicans. >> what are the chances, though that democrats for a lot of reasons would want to work with him on this or any other issue number one. number two, what blow back does he get from republicans, if he does in fact side with democrats. >> the thing is, he's put himself in an interesting position on the trade agreements, he's set forth as his own agenda, bringing down the trade deficit and bringing up manufacturing jobs. you want to deliver on that, there are only certain things you can do. as a recovering trade attorney, i have to tell you there are certain things you will have to do whether you're democratic republican, independent or march martian. there are only certain things he can do. he's going to have to do things that are going to really aggravate the republicans.
he's going to really aggravate them, he was done with tpp, he was cutting it in pieces and burying it, that's made them mad. by saying he's renegotiating nafta, has made them mad. the only place he has the possibility of building a majority is with the democrats. will they play ball with him? >> unclear. it's his only chance, and i suspect if you really did a nafta replacement, not a tweak, but a replacement that actually got rid of the incentives to offshore, and that create a new model of how to do trade agreements that had a floor of standards, brought up wages in mexico, for instance. they might just do it, because it would be such a benefit to working people. >> this is a big question and it may even be an unfair question, i'm going to ask it anyway. i can't imagine that donald trump would do anything as president that would negatively impact the trump organization.
so is there anything we can read into what's best -- you see where i'm going with this? >> oh, yeah. >> can we read into what's best for the trump organization, where he may want to go with trade. >> i think there's a piece of it on trade with him he's been believing this stuff forever. he's a guy who's very keen to have people agree with his way of thinking. there's a piece of it -- i told you so, you've been wrong forever. nafta, since 1993, he's been railing against nafta. >> he may gut it then. >> he really -- >> he may do it. >> it's one of the areas where it's what he believes, versus other issues, he's been here, he's been there. the winds blowing over that way, i'm going that way today. i think there is a sense that some of these promises he delivered directly from his view to the voters who are responsible for electing him, he feels like he owes delivering on
some of this politically, because if he doesn't, that's the base of his power. he's talking to that set of people who delivered his way into the white house. and these are one of those issues that he knows instinctively, but the polling shows, that is where you take those swing democratic voters. those people who voted for obama twice, in pennsylvania and ohio and wisconsin, you move those folks into supporting him and holding their nose and everything else he does. if he can deliver on the trade and job stuff. >> where is there any environments throughout his entire career that trump cares about workers, that he cares about every day people. >> i don't think he does. he cares about trump winning, but for trump to win in his view, for him to have the power to do what he wants to do. the way he got here, and he's going to have any credibility is to keep that base. this is about trump's success in a way. and the question is, can progressive people more or less
harness, having a billionaire capitalist, if you will, help take down a chunk of what's been one of the most destructive trade agreements to working people. >> what agency does the union movement have? and i ask that because we can have a whole conversation about this, and maybe we will. i was disappointed during the obama era, i thought the white house played them repeatedly, i thought frankly they didn't have the kind of spine they should have had during those eight years, i thought that they took the best they could get, they thought they couldn't do any better. we can do this all night long. i was disappointed in labor over the last eight years. they heard me say this more than once. but i don't know what agency they have at this point, if they wouldn't stand up to obama to stand up to trump, and i'm just reading this, am i being too hard on labor? >> i don't think it's so much stand up, because i think a lot
of their members are pretty irate about the outcome of the election. but there's a split for sure there are people who are in the public sector, 234 in the government unions and the teachers, who see nothing but bad for their future under trump. there are some folks in the manufacturing unions who wonder, if he falls through on some of this trade stuff for real, that could help with manufacturing jobs. there are definitely people in the building trades who are wondering what's going to happen with that big infrastructure project. so far, nothing has happened that's going to lead them to realize they're going to get rolled. >> they are open minded. >> they had a constructive meeting already? >> what's interesting about that, having heard a little more about it is, he basically didn't make any promises about using the davis/bacon law, where there's guarantees about certain labor rights and construction projects. he did say he would promote
prevailing wage laws. like people aren't reading up closely enough necessarily. here's an example. he put out the pipeline set of rules to start out this pipeline again. then he put out another rule, we're only going to use u.s. made pipe in these pipelines. a lot of folks said, that would be something, if you read that carefully, there's code language in there that basically makes clear that he's going to have that waiver of buy america, i mentioned was in the trade agreements, it covers a whole 71 countries, so it's basically, that thing says in reality, we're going to buy pipe from america and 71 other countries. no one's yet called him on that, as the unions have started to focus on that, i think they're thinking, how are we going to make sure that this guy, who wants to appeal to working class people gets held accountable. >> i'm going to ask this question now, we'll have you back on again over the course of this first term to grade him on how he's done.
i'm not asking for a grade now, i'm asking for how we grade him. what's the framework for judging him, for assessing him, for holding him accountable to those things that are in the best interest of the american people. give me the framework for that. >> on trade, i think it's pretty clear. there are the things he said he was going to do that helped get him elected. so declaring china currency manipulator, renegotiating nafta, getting out of it, bearing the tpp, check one box, he buried the tpp. the other stuff, let's see what he does, but then more directly, he said he was doing all of that stuff to bring down the trade deficit and create more manufacturing jobs. the real test is, did he do that? so in a year from now, when he owns that trade deficit and the data comes out of the government every month, the question is, deficit bigger, deficit smaller? when the bureau of labor statistics publishes its monthly
manufacturing numbers in six months, and he owns those, the june numbers, better, worse. more manufacturing jobs, fewer. that is -- where the rubber hits the road, what is the outcome. and then, of course, along the way. all of that gets discounted by all the things he does to make things worse. so for instance, depending on how he handles some of our trade partners, we could end up in damaging trade wars and that's a silly term. i'm using the other side's language, we could end up in a situation where depending on how he negotiates or deals with other countries, we could actually have more job loss. here's an example. in nafta, for it to be counted as a nafta product, you have to have 62% and change of the contents be made in north america, and it has to be assembled in the u.s., mexico or canada. one of the things they say
they're going to do is bring up that number, say 90%. that's cool in the sense that you have more parts coming in. if you don't raise up labor standards and wages in mexico, you know where those jobs are going. it will all be in mexico, where the manufacturering wage per day is more or less what guys in detroit get paid per hour. we're going to see more offshoring if you don't do it right. those are the things we'll be able to see in the end. i believe it was calvin coolidge who wasn't the best president, he once said, the business of america is business. is there anything about donald trump's background as a businessman that you trust to get some of this right. there are a lot of folks who did vote for him in those counties, they said, he's a businessman, he's done this maybe we should give a chance, a try to a businessman. is there anything about his business background for all we've heard about him, for all the politics of the left, and
all the stuff he didn't do right, and all the students he ripped off, and the taxes he didn't pay, and all the -- is there anything that you trust? >> the only thing i think is probably true is, he has more of a sense of the leverage of negotiating. >> okay. >> so when with have almost a trillion dollar trade deficit, that's a lot of leverage. everyone needs us more than we need them. however, in my view, that does not outweigh the crazy, the racist, the nationalistic, the isolationist. >> yeah. >> i think the probability he gets it right is not super high. you ask him what the measures would be, and i gave you empirical measures, things were better for working people. i think given who he is it, the chances of that happening will be because some of the people around him know what they're doing and actually maybe care more about working people. in the trade area, there are some good folks, he's appointed some good folks. his instincts aren't the old
fashioned nafta style agreement. that's not a lot to hang on to, but we'll know better after a year or so. >> i love having someone on the program who takes difficult things and makes it simple. i didn't get lost one time in this conversation. i know lori, there's nobody better than she is, at breaking down these very difficult trade agreements and getting you to understand what's at stake, lori, i thank you as always. that's our show tonight from l.a., thanks for watching and as always, keep the faith. for more information on today's show, visit firstname.lastname@example.org. we'll see you next time.
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