Aug. 6, 2002
Bush Puts the Nation on a Fast Track Backward
Statement of Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen?s Global Trade Watch
Anytime you see major legislation railroaded through Congress in the middle of the night and then see President Bush?s same corporate buddies, who were allegedly being punished for bad behavior last week, all wildly celebrating this bill?s signing this week, you know it?s really bad news for most of us.
It is a great irony that Bush?s desperation for a political win to get off the defensive about the corporate criminals who are among his big campaign contributors was satisfied today by signing legislation that promotes globally the same extreme deregulation of basic consumer safeguards in accounting, energy services and more that has cost millions of Americans their jobs and retirement savings.
The usual corporate special interests will repeat the tired chant about how Fast Track will be good for us, yet the trade pacts generated under the Fast Track model have resulted in a huge, economy-slowing, job-killing U.S. trade deficit, wages that have not caught up to the 1970s, more unsafe and uninspected imported food and an array of environmental and other important public interest laws being attacked and weakened.
The movement against the corporate globalization Fast Track promotes grows broader every week, with this legislation universally opposed by every U.S. environmental and consumer organization, a wide span of religious denominations, small business groups, the NAACP, the entire U.S. labor movement, the National Organization for Women, and many other groups representing the majority of Americans.
The power of the opposition to the Fast Track agenda and the uncertain fate of future pacts is made clear by the fact that post 9-11, with the public scared and distracted and a huge corporate campaign being waged, it was necessary for a wartime president to come to Capitol Hill to personally troll for votes before a trade bill stalled for two years could be rammed through Congress by a 2-vote margin in the middle of the night.