Social Equality v. Trade Giveaways
I agree with my opponent Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the need for equality of all people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or identity. I have supported the Equal Rights Amendment for women, pay equity for women and for gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, women’s reproductive rights, and marriage equality.
However, one area where Wasserman Schultz falls short is in her support for free trade agreements and corporate giveaways that undermine the rights and protections for working families, women, and gay and lesbian people. For instance, she has voted to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a huge corporate giveaway that’s now opposed by both Democratic presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. There are good reasons that Sanders and Clinton both now think Wasserman Schultz is wrong. The TPP would outsource millions of American jobs, raise prescription drug prices for the sick and elderly, and shift the costs of compliance with health, safety, and environmental protections from the largest corporations to taxpayers. But there are other aspects of the TPP and other trade agreements that should trouble us. The TPP includes Brunei, a country in Southeast Asia that Freedom House says is “not free,” where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by the death penalty administered by stoning. Brunei also allows men to rape their wives, as long as she is not under the age of 13. Shouldn’t our concern for human rights supersede trade giveaways?
The TPP would include Vietnam, a Communist country that suppresses its own workers, prevents independent trade unions, and engages in child labor. It would also include Malaysia, a country with a horrendous record in human trafficking. And the TPP is certainly not the first bad trade deal supported by Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She voted for the Panama Free Trade Agreement, which has only made it easier for her wealthy cronies to move their money into that offshore tax haven, thereby evading rules against money laundering, terrorist financing, and sanctions against terrorist regimes.
These are among the reasons I have opposed the TPP and the Panama trade deal, as well as permanent normal trade relations with the People’s Republic of China and that Communist country’s membership in the World Trade Organization. As I’ve said before, we would never have embraced trade relations with the old Soviet Union this way.
It’s not enough to talk the talk on human rights, to say that you’re for equality for all, regardless of gender or sexual orientation or identity. We have to walk the walk in our daily economic relations. We cannot outsource human rights to repressive regimes.
I believe in non-discrimination. We should all be treated equally in the eyes of the law. And we should insist on such values in our trade relations.
In peace and solidarity,