For years the corporatists and their toadies in the Republican Party have whined that government regulation and labor laws are a plot by liberals to hamstring American business. But now, we have China.
China is a Petrie dish on whose face a new outrage grows with regularity. They put poison in our food, our pets' food, and send us dangerous toys. Their food and drug laws, if any, are unenforced. They use tainted or dangerous materials with impunity.
If they have workplace health and safety laws, or child labor laws, they are unenforced. The workers in that alleged socialist paradise have hardly advanced beyond the days of coolie labor.
In other words, a good analog of the United States at the turn of the 20th century when we had no laws protecting workers or consumers. And the business community displayed no responsibility to the public or its own employees. Tapeworm eggs were sold as diet pills, workers were regularly injured or killed on the job with no recourse, and manufacturers put anything in the food that suited them as long as it didn't kill you outright.
The regulatory agencies in this country were not created by clandestine groups of reds out to destroy capitalism, but in response to the outrages of the marketplace and tragedies like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
Free trade? All it has given us is cheap goods, and cheap shoddy as well as inexpensive.
It's time to abrogate our free trade agreements in favor of Fair Trade, refusal to buy from slave labor, sweatshops or irresponsible governments. They are a disgrace, and I don't excuse Bill Clinton, a free-trade Democrat, who was after all a protege of a Rockefeller.
Now we are treated to the spectacle of a Mattel Toy VP publicly kowtowing (i.e., kissing his ass in Macy's window) to the Chinese Minister of Silly Works. The nostra culpa is doubtless because Mattel fears losing its slave labor option and might have to seek other workers to exploit. An inconvenience, don't you know?
Take back our jobs, take back our safety, take back our integrity, and reject Nafta, Cafta, the WTO, and any other assault on the health and safety of workers and consumers, whether here, in China or the Marianas Islands. An injury to one is an injury to all.