A few weeks ago I mentioned that a number of GOP elected officials were touting the USMCA and the grand advantages that it would bear for Wisconsin.
Well today it’s Vice President Mike Pence who is praising the trade agreement and the manufacturing jobs that it is going to preserve and create in the United States.
But one big issue still remains. Although approved just under a year ago…and signed by the leaders of the three nations involved, the United States, Mexico, and Canada, November 1, 2018, it still hasn’t been ratified by any of the signatory nations. Why is that?
But I bet VP Pence needs to say something to make himself feel better while getting the bus tire tracks cleaned from his best suit!
But in the past few days Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald praised the value of the USMC trade agreement to Wisconsin farmers. Well it isn’t valuable yet…cause it hasn’t been ratified in Washington.
And then State Senate Tom Tiffany praised its advantages in his announcement as a candidate to replace Representative Sean Duffy (who is resigning to support his wife and unborn child who has health issues). Again, it ain’t helping anyone yet.
Briefly, what is the USMCA…well it’s the new free trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada that replaces NAFTA…and it was signed by all three nations on November 30, 2018…nearly a year ago…and remains unratified.
So the two obvious questions:
Why hasn’t it been ratified in Washington? Apparently the president still supports it.
And why do Wisconsin Republicans suddenly find this a positive talking point when…well you know…it’s unratified? Or don’t they know that?
As we have seen all along…President Trump’s tariff driven trade war is creating havoc around the country. Small businesses are paying higher costs for essential raw supplies. Farmers have lost overseas markets for their agricultural products and are going out of business in record numbers. Consumers will start seeing price hikes in goods this fall following the latest rounds of new tariffs and hikes in existing tariffs. We’ll see more small businesses evaporate right before our eyes.
But the word from the White House and GOP legislators. We have to tough it out to insure we get the concessions we need.
But then we have a number of proposals to raise the minimum wage at both the federal level and here in Wisconsin. Minimum wage levels that haven’t changed since 2009 yet all of us realize it costs more to live here in Wisconsin now than it did 10 years ago…and even then $7.25 wasn’t a living wage.
Many of the various proposals would increment the minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $15.00 some time in the future. The minimum wage increase that Governor Evers proposed with his budget would have moved the minimum to $10.50 by 2023. A proposal stripped from the budget by the Republicans who control both houses of the legislature.
Incremental increases would allow businesses to adjust their prices in steps to absorb the wage changes…a very conservative approach…but Wisconsin does need to get their living wage to parity with a living wage.
But oh my goodness…raising the minimum wage too high (what exactly is that amount) will result in job losses. But those with the raises will spend more and that will create more jobs…and if we can’t afford to pay a living wage now in this supposedly robust economy with full employment…when can we?
So tighten your belts consumers…tariffs are going to cost you some money ($600 to $1000 a year for a family of four depending on who you listen to)…and maybe your job. But we can’t pay you more cause it might raise prices…and cost you your job…despite the fact that productivity is on the rise and unemployment is at an all time low.
btw: what happened to all of that paycheck prosperity we were supposed to see from the Trump tax cuts?
Most of you have probably seen President Trumps tweet ordering American companies to move production out of China. He can’t actually do that but he can increase tariffs and change trade policies to the point to cause that to happen eventually. But in case you missed them:
In a Washington Post article on the subject, it appears even if Apple wanted to move iPhone production out of China it would take them five years or better. And guess who is responsible for Apple’s embedded status in China? Terry Gou…the very same Terry Gou who owns Foxconn. The very same Terry Gou who hoodwinked President Trump and former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker with promises of 13,000 jobs in Racine County. And when things started to sound doubtful, the very same Terry Gou who reaffirmed his commitment to Wisconsin, albeit on a smaller scale, after talking with President Trump.
So howse about if the president hereby orders Terry Gou to move Apple iPhone production to the Foxconn campus in Racine County?
Over decades Apple has become intertwined with China’s electronics assembly infrastructure to a degree that is extremely difficult to undo. In a best-case scenario, it would take Apple five years to move just half of its iPhone production out of China, Ives ( Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities) said.
In many ways, Apple’s rise from an also ran in the market for personal computers to one of the most valuable companies on the planet is due to its partnership with Foxconn, a Taiwanese juggernaut that manufactures in China.
Apple may have come up with the ideas for its consumer products, but Foxconn founder Terry Gou made them a reality starting in the early 2000s by leveraging China’s manufacturing prowess to build sleek devices at such low cost that they were also profitable.
Apple has toyed with assembling products outside China in the past, building comparatively small numbers of desktop computers in the United States and exploring iPhone manufacturing in India and Southeast Asia, but the company remains highly dependent on China.