November 29, 2018

Vox: Elizabeth Warren wants to outflank Trump on trade

“His actual policies aren’t stopping [GM] or others like them from continuing to put corporate profits ahead of American workers.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) isn’t ready to cede trade policy themes to President Donald Trump.

In a speech set to be delivered Thursday afternoon at American University, in Washington, DC, Warren unloads a biting critique of a generation’s worth of neoliberal trade policy consensus in Washington and — strikingly — insists that despite Trump’s embrace of protectionist rhetoric and aspects of protectionist policy, he hasn’t gone nearly far enough.

“The president grabs headlines railing against GM’s plans to axe thousands of American jobs in Ohio and Michigan,” Warren says in the speech, in a fairly obvious attack on Trump, “but his actual policies aren’t stopping them or others like them from continuing to put corporate profits ahead of American workers.”

More strikingly, though, Warren specifically argues that Trump’s signature renegotiation of NAFTA is a sellout of NAFTA critics.

“There’s no question we need to renegotiate NAFTA,” she says, before rehashing some of the standard anti-NAFTA talking points that trade skeptics have circulated for years. “But as it’s currently written, Trump’s deal won’t stop the serious and ongoing harm NAFTA causes for American workers — it won’t stop outsourcing, it won’t raise wages, and it won’t create jobs. It’s NAFTA 2.0.”

Warren says the tougher labor standards in the new deal are toothless, the environmental standards are lacking, and it’s “stuffed with handouts that will let big drug companies lock in the high prices they charge for many drugs.”

Consequently, she vows to oppose the deal in the Senate. She’s trying to set up a potential contrast not just with Trump but with other Democratic Party senators on truly supporting American workers who feel victimized by foreign trade.

Read more here.

By:  Matthew Yglesias
Source: Vox