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(DV) Sandronsky: The Minutemen Project and the US Trade Deficit







The Minutemen Project and the US Trade Deficit
by Seth Sandronsky
June 27, 2005

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The Minutemen Project (MP) debuted in April on the Arizona-Mexico border to block immigrants from Mexico and Central America. They were and are looking for low-wage U.S. employment.

California Gov. Schwarzenegger praised the MP. Buoyed by this immigrant’s support and the popularity of white supremacy generally, the MP is now tackling the growing U.S. trade deficit, the nation’s excess of imports over exports.

By addressing this dangerous imbalance, the MP can help to stem America’s industrial decline. It has been weakening private-sector unions, and decreasing living standards for the U.S. majority.

Accordingly, the MP is turning its sights to the threat from China. Its workers produce many goods for export to the U.S., some of which are sold at your friendly neighborhood Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the leading distributor for global trade.

Think of the U.S. trade deficit in light of Whirlpool's microwave ovens that are assembled by Chinese proles. They earn lower wages than their U.S. counterparts, hence producing higher profits for the owners of Whirlpool.

“More than 40 percent of the nation's imports are from the overseas subsidiaries of American companies, contributing to the lopsided trade deficit,” according to an article in the NY Times of June 17. Thus the MP is turning its focus of grassroots activism to capital flight from the U.S.

Currently, the MP is formulating its strategic plan to secure U.S. borders from this financial outflow by any means necessary. In this way, multinational U.S. corporations such as Whirlpool will be brought to heel.

Such a move by the MP has another advantage, namely reducing China’s trade surplus with the U.S. That surplus capital is, in turn, lent to Uncle Sam partly to finance wars to advance electoral democracy and market economies in the Mideast directly and by Israeli proxy.

However, China’s elites aren’t idly sitting around with their excess cash, waiting for the MP’s trade-deficit plan to bear fruit. Case in point is a recent bid by a Chinese firm, state-owned, to buy Unocal, the energy exploration and production company based in California.

Global trade can be changed to benefit U.S. workers, the MP argues. A main way is for Uncle Sam to protect America’s hourly workers from competing with lower paid laborers abroad.

After all, the federal government provides U.S. corporations with copyright and patent protection to boost the corporate bottom line in big ways. What’s good with respect to market protection for corporate America is good for Main St. USA.

The MP’s logic is faultless and the appeal to the grassroots is impeccable. What hourly worker in the U.S. will oppose American corporations with government help shifting investment stateside from abroad?

That is why the MP has launched a new public outreach program that calls for the U.S. trade deficit to shrink as a means to reverse the decline of America’s manufacturing employment. The number of U.S. workers employed in this sector has fallen over-all by 69 percent from 1995, the year after President Clinton rammed the NAFTA through Congress.

Imports made by low-wage workers abroad have helped to reduce U.S. manufacturing jobs from 828,000 in May 1995 to 258,000 in May 2005. There is no time to lose to turn this toxic tide caused by the U.S. trade deficit, the MP warns.

Seth Sandronsky is a member of Peace Action and co-editor with Because People Matter, Sacramento’s progressive paper. He can be reached at:

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