A: China is a competitor. They hold American debt; there are huge human rights abuses going on in China. But thereís also a trade safety issue here. What about 2 million toys that have come into the US and had to be recalled from China? How about the fact that we donít have real country-of-origin labeling that the US actually enforces, so the American people know what theyíre buying, where itís coming from? We should have a president who enforces country-of-origin labeling. We should have a Consumer Product Safety Commission thatís not looking out for big multinational corporations, thatís actually looking out for the safety of our children here in America.
A: Itís very different, because whatís happened is the lobbyists in Washington DC are the people whose job it is to rig this system against all of you. They do it every single day. They get paid to do it. And the difference between them and trial lawyers is that when lawyers give money to the jury who are making the decisions, thatís called a bribe. When lobbyists go to members of Congress and give money to them, thatís called politics. The question is, are we actually going to bring an end to this? Are we going to stop it? Youíre being outspent 18 to 1 by big multinational corporate lobbyists in Washington DC. What I believe is that America needs change. We donít need lobbyists in Washington. We need the Democratic Party and a president who will stand up for working men and women.
A: Itís definitely too long. And one of the things we could do is publicly finance our political campaigns, which we should do.
I intend to explain to America how important unions and organized labor is to the future and the economic security of this country. Whoís been with you in the crunch? In the last few years, 200 times I have walked picket lines. I have helped organize thousands of workers with 23 national unions. I have worked with employers.
A: It needs to be fixed, but the first thing I want to say is NAFTA is a perfect example of the bigger problem. This deal was negotiated by Washington insiders, not by anybody in this stadium tonight. And the question is, when are we going to change it? Itís cost us a million jobs. We need environmental and labor standards. We need actually the Justice Department prosecuting the standards under NAFTA.
Thatís a disputed estimate. Other economic studies have produced far lower numbers. The million job figure comes from the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank in Washington with ties to the labor movement. EPI estimated that the growth of exports since 1994 has supported an additional 1 million jobs in the US, while imports have displaced domestic production that would have supported 2 million jobs, leaving a net loss of 1 million. EPIís detractors state that EPIís estimate assumes that NAFTA is to blame for 100% of the growth in the trade deficit between the US and both Canada and Mexico and that it ignores other factors.
Whatever the effects of NAFTA, the US has gained nearly 26 million jobs since the agreement took effect on Jan. 1, 1994, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The above quotations are from 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum, August 8, 2007.
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