Aug. 4, 2017—Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), the chief Congressional campaigner for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall banking separation (H.R. 790, the Return to Prudent Banking Act), held a hearing in her district Aug. 3, to send a message to President Trump: NAFTA must be completely reworked, because its enactment has devastated the lives of working people in the United States and Mexico.
Kaptur held the event in Brook Park, Ohio at the hall of Local UAW 1250. Testifying before the field hearing were Amy Hanauver (Policy Matters Ohio); Donnie Blatt (United Steelworkers); Roger Wise (Ohio Farmers Union); Lee Geisse (Ohio Blue Green Alliance); Brian Stephan (Inter-Religious Task Force on Central America); Cheryl Johncox (Sierra Club Ohio Chapter); and Nick Nardi (International Brotherhood of Teamsters).
In her opening remarks, Kaptur described in some depth the disastrous way NAFTA’s passage in 1993 was accomplished, and summarized its success in carrying out a “low wage strategy” and job loss for the people of her district, and the nation. The average reduction in wages in Northern Ohio has been $7000 a year, she said. Nor was the agreement a boon for Mexican workers, since millions of Mexican peasants were thrown into desperation by the agreement’s elimination of trade barriers on corn. Desperate people will do anything to support their families, she said, implying that this NAFTA provision, which provided no transitional support, was responsible for some of the problems stemming from Mexican emigration.
What’s needed is a “complete rework” of the agreement, with the aim of eliminating the massive U.S. trade imbalance with Mexico, and guaranteeing increased wages for workers in all countries involved as part of a compact for continental development. Citizens in the Mid-West who voted for President Trump “voted their hope,” she said, that he would deliver on stopping this kind of catastrophe.
While Rep. Kaptur did not make the connection between ending the NAFTA travesty, driven by multi-national corporations (including the banks), and the need for Glass-Steagall, the reality is that they are both essential aspects of restoring the U.S. economy, according to American System principles.
A video of the full hearing can be found on Rep. Kaptur’s facebook page.