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Feb 13, 2005
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February 28, 2005 Monday

BYLINE: Lou Dobbs,

Coming up next, the high cost of so-called free trade. Thousands of Americans could well lose their jobs if the White House pushes through a new free trade agreement with Central America. That's next.

DOBBS: Tonight we begin our special report on the latest free trade agreement that the White House is trying now to push through Congress after this fall. Setting it aside for fear of influencing in any way the outcome of the presidential election, now the White House wants to move it quickly and certainly quietly. The Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA, would open up, its advocates say, free trade between the United States and six countries in Central America. Critics, however, say it will cost only more Americans their jobs.

Kitty Pilgrim reports.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George Naylor's family has been farming in Greene County, Iowa, since the 1880s. His grandparents bought this farm in 1918, and George started farming it in 1986. But he sees a bleak future. Only 20 percent of the small family farms in the area are left. He says free trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA will continue to drive down crop prices for small farmers in the United States.

GEORGE NAYLOR, IOWA FARMER: CAFTA is really a bad idea, because it's just continue to continue what's been going on under NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. And you can see that farmers in this country haven't benefited. We're still getting as low of prices as ever.

PILGRIM: The AFL-CIO says 40 percent of Central America's workers earn less than $2 a day, and their rights are routinely abused. American workers can't compete. Job migrate to other countries. But multinational corporations benefit by finding lowest labor costs. CAFTA includes Central American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

RICHARD TRUMKA, AFL-CIO: We want trade that will actually lift their standard of living and will result in a better economy and a better world for all of us, not just multinationals.

PILGRIM: But not every industry is against it. For pharmaceutical companies, CAFTA establishes news rules for the protection and enforcement of drug company patents. The retail apparel industry thinks it will help keep costs low.

ERIK AUTOR, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: For apparel retailers, one of the critical things about the region is its proximity to the U.S. market.


PILGRIM: Now, the watchdog group Public Citizens points out the compelling statistics that show American workers cannot compete with the workers in CAFTA country. The average worker in Honduras earns only 90 cents an hour to produce goods for the American market. And on average, Lou, children start working in El Salvador in the sugarcane fields at the age of 10 to 13 years old.

DOBBS: It is -- it is so embarrassing that people, Democrats and Republicans, interested in this issue -- all Americans should be -- but just don't just call lies for what they are. They're not misstatements or misunderstandings. They're straightforward lies being uttered on this issue, and a refusal to deal with the facts.

We had the experience with NAFTA. We had the experience with other free trade agreements. And why there will not be a discussion about labor protection and environmental protection, and a leveling of the field, and the protection of the American middle class, is beyond me.

PILGRIM: We found a very frank discussion of this in Iowa with the farmer, and they seem to know the issues very, very well. It's too bad that the American public is not more well-versed on this issue.

DOBBS: And too bad that many of our representatives and senators in Congress and the Senate aren't as articulate and thoughtful as that farmer in Iowa. Thank you very much. Kitty Pilgrim.

A new poll tonight on CAFTA shows American consumers don't want to give up their jobs for lower prices. And even though advocates of CAFTA and other free trade agreements, by the way, try to bring racial and ethnic issues to the forefront on trade issues, it turns out they are pushing a lie.

In point of fact, there is very little difference between Hispanics and non-Hispanics on this issue. This new poll commissioned by the nonprofit organization Americans for Free Fair Trade, registered voters were asked, "Would you favor or oppose CAFTA if it reduces prices you pay as a consumer but eliminates jobs for U.S. workers?"

Seventy-four percent of those polled said they would oppose it. Only 17 percent would support it. When asked the same question, 67 percent of Hispanics said they would oppose CAFTA, 22 percent said they would support it.

Senator Hillary Clinton addressed the issue of outsourcing American jobs to cheap foreign labor markets this weekend. Senator Clinton was in India, meeting with the country's prime minister and top business leaders. There she urged Indian industries to invest more in the United States to cut the enormous trade deficit with India.

In 2003, the United States exported $5 billion worth of merchandise to India, while India exported nearly $14 billion to this country. The former first lady, however, said outsourcing will continue, saying, "There is no way to legislate reality."

Well, the shipment of American jobs to cheap foreign labor markets is just part of the assault on this country's middle class. Prices on just about anything, in fact, are rising, despite outsourcing, despite a $600 billion-plus trade deficit. And American incomes are now struggling to keep up.

Bill Tucker has the report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The rich really do keep getting richer. Last year, the overall CEO's salary rose 5 percent to $10.7 million, while the overall income increase for all Americans was just 3.5 percent when adjusted for inflation.

Break those numbers down by earnings levels, and it's obvious. The only increases are at the very top end of the scale. In other words, the old axiom, what's good for GM is good for the economy, may no longer be true.

JARED BERNSTEIN, ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE: This is an economy with very strong profit growth and quite weak compensation growth. Now, this has raised many an eyebrow, including that of Alan Greenspan, who a few months ago in testimony said this is a source of concern.

TUCKER: And as the cost to heat homes, fill gas tanks and pay for health insurance continues to rise, the margin for error gets smaller.

AMELIA TYAGI, AUTHOR, "ALL YOUR WORTH": If something goes wrong, you can't say, "Why don't we just get half of health insurance, or why don't we give one bedroom back on that new house we bought?" These are costs that are largely fixed, and people don't have a lot of room to cut back on them.

TUCKER: And that squeeze is getting tighter. Homeowners cashed out almost half a trillion in equity in their homes over the past three years.


TUCKER: And it is that cash which has fueled much of the economy. Now interest rates are rising and home prices are no longer increasing. In fact, the last month the median price of a home fell almost 5 percent. And Lou, given that set of figures, you have to wonder just how much gas is left in the tank for the middle class.

DOBBS: And you have to wonder why policymakers, lawmakers that presumably represent working men and women in this country aren't representing them on Capitol Hill and why the White House won't focus on the reality. I love the fact Senator Hillary Clinton saying that you can't legislate reality.

Well, there are a few folks, like 435 congressmen and 100 senators that are wondering just exactly -- well, make that 99 other senators wondering what she meant by that. Because reality does have to be legislated, or it's going to be unbearable for our middle class.

Bill Tucker, thank you very much.

Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. Illegal alien crackdown; New York facing some major legal hurdles. The commissioner of the New York's Department of Motor Vehicles is my guest as we discuss driver's licenses and whether illegal aliens should hold them.

Then the CAFTA controversy. The U.S. trade representative explains why he says CAFTA is good for America.

And reviving this country's unions. Can they be revived? The secretary treasurer of the AFL-CIO will be our guest. Please be with us.

For all of us here, good night from New York. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" coming up next.


LOAD-DATE: March 1, 2005

That post is proof why CNN is losing big time in the media market. It cracks me up when they have to advertise on Foxnews.

That transcript you posted is just a "cry-me-a-river" load of crap.

Why don't you show us some facts of job losses/gains since NAFTA was started? Maybe compare the price of cattle then and now.
This typical CNN load of crap is one reason why their market share is also in the crapper. Here's the story:

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

CNN tanking as Fox News surges
Double-digit declines reported for Larry King, Wolf Blitzer

5:00 p.m. Eastern

© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

The ratings are in for February, and the numbers are not good for CNN which saw steep losses in its viewership, while the Fox News Channel continued its rise.

According to Nielsen Media Research, CNN's ratings fell by 21 percent last month in primetime, and 16 percent overall, reports Variety.

Primetime big-name shows such as "Larry King Live," "Wolf Blitzer Reports," "Lou Dobbs Tonight," "Paula Zahn Now" and "Newsnight With Aaron Brown" all experienced double-digit declines.

Only "Anderson Cooper 360" had a slight increase of 2 percent.

During President Bush's State of the Union Address, CNN was soundly beaten by Fox, and even lost the key 25-54 demographic to third-place MSNBC.

In contrast, Fox News was the only news network on cable to see viewership increases in February, as it outpaced all other cable news companies combined for the sixth straight month.

"FNC averaged 1.57 million viewers in primetime, up 18 percent from the same period last year, while CNN fell 21 percent to 637,000 viewers from the same time period," Variety stated.

The growth appeared across the board at Fox News:

"On the Record With Greta Van Susteren" up 37 percent;

"Hannity & Colmes" up 19 percent;

"Special Report With Brit Hume" up 20 percent;

and "The O'Reilly Factor," up 9 percent.
Variety says the dismal performance by CNN's new president Jonathan Klein has led some at Fox to refer to him as "Jon De-cline."

CNN wasn't the only network to plunge last month. MSNBC dropped 15 percent overall and 14 percent in primetime. CNBC fell 23 percent overall and 42 percent in primetime.
the high cost of so-called free trade. Thousands of Americans could well lose their jobsif

Some facts that dispel the If:

NAFTA has increased both U.S. exports to and imports from Mexico by a growing amount each year. Those increases are small, and consequently, their effects on employment are also small..

The expanded trade resulting from NAFTA has raised the United States' gross domestic product very slightly.

Furthermore, CBO's analysis indicates that the decline in the U.S. trade balance with Mexico was caused by economic factors other than NAFTA: the crash of the peso at the end of 1994, the associated recession in Mexico, the rapid growth of the U.S. economy throughout most of the 1990s, and another Mexican recession in late 2000 and 2001. NAFTA, by contrast, has had an extremely small effect on the trade balance with Mexico, and that effect has been positive in most years.

Mexico is now the United States' second largest export market

U.S. trade with Mexico has grown faster than U.S. trade with the world as a whole.

Cumulatively, over the 15 years ending with 2001, Mexico's share of U.S. quarterly goods exports rose by a substantial 9.1 percentage points while its share of U.S. goods imports rose by a smaller but still substantial 7.3 percentage points. Of those increases, 5.4 percentage points and 4.7 percentage points, respectively, occurred over the eight years since NAFTA went into effect.

NAFTA, according to the simulations, has had comparatively small and smoothly increasing positive effects on both exports and imports over time (see Table 1). It increased U.S. goods exports by 2.2 percent in 1994 and by gradually growing amounts thereafter, up to 11.3 percent in 2001. In dollar terms, the positive effect grew from $1.1 billion in 1994 to $10.4 billion by 2000 before easing back very slightly, to $10.3 billion, in 2001.


I can see by reading the economic models why the leaders are pushing forward with the CAFTA agreement, all the if senerios from the NAFTA agreement proved false and the net result was that our economy grew and benefited from the agreement.

I am in favor of free trade only when it is truely = free trade, and not an agreement as such that we have with China. (they sell US stuff and we buy it).

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