Look for the union label

The U.S. House of Representatives passed “CAFTA”, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, by a face-saving 217-215 margin; a few Republicans from protectionist favoring districts (meaning contributors in the textile industry) were “permitted” to vote against the measure. House Dems actually held pretty firm against the measure.
Why? Becuase Democrats are idiots, that’s why. The fact of the matter is, as the Grey Lady piece notes, the combined economies of the six nations (five in Central American plus the Dominical Republic) total barely the size of Greater Tampa’s economy (or Connecticut’s)… around 1% of the American economy, if that, combined. In short, while this may have a significant impact on the lives of Central Americans (who may, ahem, find it more attractive to stay home while their own economies develop, rather than try to sneak in here, driving up the costs of our providing social services to them, while they help put ever more downward pressure on domestic wages), the overall free trade pact itself it will probably have a very minor effect on our economy– certainly not a major negative effect.
And as usual, Democrats don’t have a freaking clue. In short, organized labor is dead wrong on this: millions and millions of hard-earned working men and women’s dollars are flushed down the toilet each year in a pointless, counterproductive, and downright stupid effort to desperately try to hold back the global economy, and “preserve jobs here”. As we say in my home town,”fuggedaboutit. (To their credit, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry all understood this, and were ardent free traders… alas, the Gephardt wing of the party isn’t dead… which is really too bad…)
Capital will move around; if someone in Southeast Asia will do the damned job for 1/10 the cost of their counterpart here, and the other components of the product (including transport) work out profitably… the job is going to Southeast Asia. Sorry: that’s the way it is.
There is a reason why private sector union jobs are hemorraging– now barely 8% or so of the private work force. Because unions have ceased any form of effectively pitching for, oh, the actual direct rights of the working man and woman, through, oh, things like higher wages, improved working conditions, decent sustainable employee benefits and that sort of thing… instead… see above re: fighting free trade agreements.
Given the fact that we haven’t had a God damned minimum wage increase from the obscenely low $5.15 per hour (with no health insurance!) in twelve years (seven of those with a Democratic President, no less), let’s just say
that organized labor just ain’t doing its job.
So go ahead, fellas: you just keep fighting those free trade agreements, and get the Democratic Party to go along with it. Good move all around.