Obama’s Slogan for Trade: “Displaced workers … Made in America”

When I saw Obama’s pivot to creating Korean jobs on Tuesday, I actually thought he had mangled his script.

And I want Congress to pass a set of trade deals — deals we’ve already negotiated — that would help displaced workers looking for new jobs and would allow our businesses to sell more products in countries in Asia and South America, products that are stamped with the words “Made in America.”

As I noted, Obama adopted the phrase used to refer to those who had lost jobs in past trade deals, “displaced workers,” to refer to those who would get jobs out of these new ones.

And his suggestion that letting JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs use trade deals to extend their financial gimmickry to South Korea and incorporate Panama’s secrecy regime into the US orbit constituted products stamped “Made in America”? That’s a cynical appeal to the nearly-unanimous call for the opposite: a move away from such financialized madness to actual manufacture.

But he didn’t mangle the script. That is the script. Obama said precisely the same thing in his weekly address yesterday:

It’s time Congress finally passed a set of trade deals that would help displaced workers looking for new jobs, and that would allow our businesses to sell more products in countries in Asia and South America – products stamped with three words: Made in America.

Shorter Obama: “Displaced workers … Made in America.”

Update: Here’s how the Administration uses the term “displaced” when it’s not trying to propagandize (this is from a statement Austan Goolsbee made on Friday).

Bipartisan action is needed to help the private sector and the economy grow – such as measures to extend both the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, as well as passing the pending free trade agreements with re-employment assistance for displaced workers, the patent reform bill, and a bipartisan infrastructure bill to help put Americans back to work. [my emphasis]

Goolsbee has used the same formula before, as in this statement on July 29. That is, elsewhere, the Administration admits that these deals will “displace workers,” not directly benefit those who have already been displaced by trade deals.

Update: And Obama admits that the trade deals create displaced workers in this press conference on July 15.

I’ve got three trade deals sitting ready to go.  And these are all trade deals that the Republicans told me were their top priorities.  They said this would be one of the best job creators that we could have.  And yet it’s still being held up because some folks don’t want to provide trade adjustment assistance to people who may be displaced as a consequence of trade.  Surely we can come up with a compromise to solve those problems. [my emphasis]

And Jay Carney on July 8:

Q    Speaker Boehner today rejected the idea of tying Trade Adjustment Authority to the free trade agreements.  He says four separate bills.  Do you want it attached because you feel it can’t pass on its own?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, the agreement that was presented was worked out in a bipartisan way.  Trade Adjustment Authority has been supported by members of both parties for years.  And we believe it is very important to provide that kind of assistance to workers who have been displaced by free trade agreements.  And that has been a notion supported, again, by members of both parties for a long time. [my emphasis]


22 replies
  1. Gitcheegumee says:

    Made In America —M I A

    Yes,American manufacturing and jobs have been (and will be )missing in action .

    But the MIC manufacturing sector will continue making war .

  2. rkilowatt says:

    “Made In America”?
    An odd phrase, indeed. Americas? N.America? S.America?

    He means “Made In USA”? He appears bewildered,if not unknowing.

    In truth, “America” speaks to anwhere in the New World…perhaps a single government from Alaska south to Tierra del Fuego. A dark business.

  3. rkilowatt says:

    As for “Free Trade”, such has no meaning without stating “free from what?”.

    Free from regulation? from transparency? from anti-slavery laws? from starvation wages? from checks and balances?

    More dark business.

  4. nomolos says:

    Grrrrr. It really is time to “displace” The Big Zero.

    Capitalism is a failed model TBZ is a failed president.

    If it wasn’t for my veggie garden and barter I would be a dead duck.

  5. A Conservative Teacher says:

    Maybe Bambi should just realize that his meddling in the free market doesn’t help anything at all- people making free choices and freely deciding how they handle their property will always be more successful then a government dictator making those decisions from a far-off location.

  6. emptywheel says:

    @A Conservative Teacher: You mean the free market that has been sucking free money at the government teat for 3 years just to stay afloat, and then lending it out at big interest rates? That free market? The same one that basically dismantled 600 years of property law with its little games with title? That free market?

    Or the free market that is trying to avoid paying the costs of its externalities–just have the people who breath its shit pay the price in hospital bills rather than pay for its shit itself? That free market?

    Or are you advocating a free market that–as Adam Smith described–includes freedom of movement of labor, too, so all the Mexicans who want to come and compete for your job can do so. That one?

  7. joberly says:

    @ A.C.T. # 5 (following suggestion of EW #6)– Adam Smith wrote: “The liberal reward of labour, therefore, as it is the necessary effect, so it is the natural symptom of increasing national wealth. The scanty maintenance of the laboring poor, on the other hand, is the natural symptom that things are at a stand, and their starving condition that they are going fast backward.” (*Wealth of Nations*, Chapter 8).

  8. P J Evans says:

    The free market that used to supply people with adulterated food so they could work twelve hour days with no safety equipment on their sweatshop-factory machines for wages that weren’t enough to live on?

  9. harpie says:

    @P J Evans:
    Reminded me of this from James Galbraith in May [which I just read today-transcribed by selise]:

    […] To learn as we do from the excellent book by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, All the Devils are Here, that at the dominant mortgage originator in the United States, Ameriquest, the office chiefs fed their sales staff crystal methamphetamine to keep them going. It just adds a touch of telling detail, as does the fact that the founder of Ameriquest ended his career as the United States Ambassador to the Netherlands. [..]

  10. MadDog says:


    There is no such thing as a conservative mind.

    Rigid ideological-based codswallop fantasies have long since replaced “thinking” in conservative circles.

  11. GulfCoastPirate says:


    Very well said. How can any market be said to be ‘free’ and at its equilibrium price when part of the cost of each product is socialized?

  12. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @A Conservative Teacher:

    I own a business. I’m trying to figure out what you people are talking about when you say there is all this meddling. I’ve never had the government make choices for me or tell me what to do with my property. THe government makes certain rules that all have to follow but that’s it. Do they not know my phone number and address? Why are they not hassling me like they do conservatives?

  13. Gitcheegumee says:

    Ever heard of anything with the adjective “free ” preceding it that didn’t wind up costing someone a whole hell of a lot of something,usually $$$?

  14. Gitcheegumee says:

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

    John Kenneth Galbraith

    US (Canadian-born) administrator & economist (1908 – 2006)

  15. Gitcheegumee says:

    The flawed Chicago School of Economics?

    Greenspan – I was wrong about the economy.

    Former Fed chief admits ‘mistake’ over regulation

    Andrew Clark in New York and Jill Treanor

    The Guardian, Friday 24 October 2008

    Greenspan gives his view of the crisis to the US congressional committee

    The former Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, has conceded that the global financial crisis has exposed a “mistake” in the free market ideology which guided his 18-year stewardship of US monetary policy.

    A long-time cheerleader for deregulation, Greenspan admitted to a congressional committee yesterday that he had been “partially wrong” in his hands-off approach towards the banking industry and that the credit crunch had left him in a state of shocked disbelief. “I have found a flaw,” said Greenspan, referring to his economic philosophy. “I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact.”

    It was the first time the man hailed for masterminding the world’s longest postwar boom has accepted any culpability for the crisis that has engulfed the global banking system.

    During a feisty exchange on Capitol Hill, he told the House oversight committee that he regretted his opposition to regulatory curbs on certain types of financial derivatives which have left banks on Wall Street and in the Square Mile facing billions of dollars worth of liabilities.

    “I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organisations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms,” said Greenspan.

    NOTE; Intersting that Greenspan used the term presume,where assume ,imho, would have been SO much more appropriate-with the emphasis on the first syllable.

    Also, that the dateline is one week before Halloween. We know how that trick turned out,don’t we?

    …THE quintessential hobgoblin for ALL seasons…all tricks and no treats..except for Wall Street MOTU and their coven .

  16. Gitcheegumee says:

    harpie @ 6:08 pm

    Your post about methamphetamine being fed to the workers reminded me of this Chris Floyd piece about Big Pharma and the military.

    Dead Souls: The Pentagon Plan to Create Remorseless “Warfighters

    Written by Chris Floyd
    Friday, 11 January 2008 18:29

    Penny Coleman at Alternet.com gives us a look at a new program designed to dull the moral sensibilities of American soldiers in combat on the imperial frontiers: Pentagon, Big Pharma: Drug Troops to Numb Them to Horrors of War.

    Coleman takes specific aim at the “Psychological Kevlar Act,” aimed at reducing the alarming spread of soldier suicides and post-traumatic stress disorder spawned by the illegal invasion of Iraq. The program relies heavily on dosing soldiers with Propranalol, which, “if taken immediately following a traumatic event, can subdue a victim’s stress response and so soften his or her perception of the memory,” as Coleman notes. “That does not mean the memory has been erased, but proponents claim that the drug can render it emotionally toothless.” She continues:

    But is it moral to weaken memories of horrendous acts a person has committed? Some would say that there is no difference between offering injured soldiers penicillin to prevent an infection and giving a drug that prevents them from suffering from a posttraumatic stress injury for the rest of their lives. Others, like Leon Kass, former chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, object to propranolol’s use on the grounds that it medicates away one’s conscience…Barry Romo, a national coordinator for Vietnam Veterans Against the War, is even more blunt. “That’s the devil pill,” he says. “That’s the monster pill, the anti-morality pill. That’s the pill that can make men and women do anything and think they can get away with it. Even if it doesn’t work, what’s scary is that a young soldier could believe it will.”

  17. Gitcheegumee says:

    Dead Souls: The Pentagon Plan to Create Remorseless “Warfighters”www.chris-floyd.com/…/1405-dead-souls-the-pentagon-plan-to-cre… – Cached

    Jan 11, 2008 – Dead Souls: The Pentagon Plan to Create Remorseless “Warfighters” … of American soldiers in combat on the imperial frontiers: Pentagon, …

  18. prostratedragon says:

    The new hashishin! (Note of course that stories of their drug use appears to be either a misunderstanding or a deliberate slander.)

    Dumb motherfuckers, and need to be called so to their faces, regularly. After all, they love it when you call them cruel and inhuman, that gives them street cred.

Comments are closed.