The Middle Class Needs Help -- Not a Fast Track to Trade Deals by Sen. Barbara Boxer | huffingtonpost.com | Posted: 05/19/2015 2:59 pm EDT Excerpts: "They say timing is everything in life. Well, if that's true, the timing of this legislation to approve fast-track trade authority could not be worse for middle-class families. The middle class is having a terribly hard time -- perhaps the worst time in modern history. In California, a new study just found that our state's lowest paid workers have seen their real wages decline 12 percent since 1979." "Our middle class needs help -- not a fast track to trade deals that could threaten their jobs, their wages, their health and the environment. The last time Congress debated such sweeping trade legislation was nearly 25 years ago when we took up the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Now, as the Congress considers Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation and the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), I am hearing the same arguments all over again." ....... "Back then, supporters of NAFTA promised it would create jobs, raise wages and help our entire economy. Well, we know from history how NAFTA turned out. In fact, we're still living with the consequences. " Instead of the million new jobs that were promised, the United States had lost nearly 700,000 jobs by 2010. Out of those 700,000 lost jobs, 86,500 were from my home state of California." "Instead of improving pay for our workers, NAFTA has pushed down American wages. It empowered employers in the U.S. to say to their workers, "Either accept lower wages and benefits, or we will move to Mexico." "Instead of strengthening our economy, it increased our trade deficit with Mexico. Last year the deficit hit $50 billion."Instead of lifting up our entire country, it has devastated too many communities and too many workers, who have seen their jobs shipped across the border." read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-b...ot-a-fast-track-to-trade-deals_b_7313456.html ....... IMO: In Santa Ana, California, the city had worked hard to keep a Mitsubishi plant that assembled big-screen televisions, secure tax credits to help the plant stay competitive. Even after Nafta passed, company officials promised they would keep the plant open. Three years later Mitsubishi closed the plant saying they had to cut costs so they were moving their plant to Mexico. In an instant, nearly 400 good-paying American jobs were lost. Senator Elizabeth Warren has said that regulations have not been carried out and key provisions for worker protections, plus some of our trading partners use forced child labor. Also any country that pollutes and won't follow regulations, can sue the American government for unlimited money damages. And the new trade deal is being kept secret on a fast track because it is against the best interests of American citizens, and wholly for the interests of the wealthy businessmen. In our precarious economy, this is the wrong time to work a trade deal. We should toss it aside and work toward jobs for Americans with a decent paycheck for our work. We should increase the minimum wage and give 38 million Americans a raise. We should pass comprehensive immigration reform and bring workers out of the shadows. We should invest in a large-scale infrastructure program that will create millions of jobs. We should make college more affordable for our students. We should help women and families by ensuring equal pay for equal work. And we should create a level playing field for America's workers and businesses by fighting for currency fairness.