Fast Track is the insidious legislative device that authorizes a president to go negotiate trade scams like NAFTA



by Jim Hightower

Yogi Berra once commented that “Half the lies they tell me aren’t true.”

Yogi should hear the lies being told by the politicians now pushing “Fast Track” legislation — none of them are true.

Fast Track is the insidious legislative device that authorizes a president to go negotiate trade scams like NAFTA, which benefit global corporations at the expense of working families worldwide. Once negotiated, the scams are then rammed through congress on a Fast Track schedule that allows little debate and no amendments. It’s an absolute abdication of congressional responsibility to review and shape trade policies.

Still, the Powers That Be in Washington, on Wall Street and in the media are all behind it, telling some fierce lies to try to hornswaggle the public and the congress to approve the Fast Track authority that President Clinton is now seeking.

Their biggest lie is the claim that no nation will negotiate trade deals with the U.S. unless the no-amendment, rush-the-vote process is in place. In the first place, this is total B.S. — every nation craves access to American consumers, who make-up the biggest, richest market in the world. They want to sell their stuff to us, so they’ll negotiate on any terms we want. In the second place, IT’S OUR COUNTRY! If we want our congress to be able to amend trade deals in order to protect workers, consumers, small business and the environment — then we can. Period.

Their silliest argument, however, is that every president since Gerald Ford has had this Fast-Track authority, so Clinton and future presidents deserve it, too. Wait a minute, we’re talking Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton — five weak presidents under whom America’s balance of trade has become the worst in history!

This is Jim Hightower saying . . . If Great Presidents like Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt didn’t need Fast Track to develop trade, neither do these guys.

“Mr. Clinton deserves ‘Fast Track.” Editorial from New York Times: September 8, 1997.

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