With free trade agreements between the United States and Panama, South Korea and Colombia set to hit the congressional floor as soon as this month, lawmakers should check out recent polling which shows American voters are overwhelmingly opposed to trade deals that end up sending jobs overseas.
Polls have consistently shown that Americans believe the nation’s trade policy plays a major role in putting our workers behind, but the numbers are growing as the job crisis deepens and more Americans are out of work longer. A recent report from Global Trade Watch brings together in one place results of years of polling on trade and the global economy.
Here’s what people are saying about trade deals.
- This year, for the first time in history, a majority of Americans believe that China – not the United States – is the world’s leading economic power, according to a February 2011 Gallup poll.
- A whopping 80 percent of Americans believe that the global economy has a great or a fair amount of influence on the way things are going in America, while 63 percent believe America’s ability to compete economically is less than good.
- A Washington Post poll in January 2011 revealed most Americans said the trend to a global economy is a bad thing, compared with 60 percent who said it was good in 2001.
- Nearly 60 percent of Republicans at all educational levels believe offshoring plays a “major role” in current unemployment, according to May 2011 poll by the National Journal.
A September 2010 NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found that the impact of trade and outsourcing is one of the only issues in which Americans of different classes, occupations and political persuasions agree. Eighty-six percent said outsourcing of jobs by U.S. companies to low-wage foreign nations is a top cause of our economic woes – by far the top concern, with deficits and health care costs well behind.
Speaking at the “The Jobs Crisis—Moving to Action: A Dialogue Between Workers and Policymakers” forum at the AFL-CIO this morning, Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the agreements in their present form are unacceptable and said they must include enforceable labor rights clauses. He also singled out Colombia’s failure to reign in or prosecute those who have been assassinating union leaders there.