jobs, have stagnated since 1980. Indeed, in sectors exposed torninternational trade, business analyst Charles McMillion observesrnthat the United States has generated no jobs net in thernlast 20 years. Pay has also stagnated, and real weekly earnings inrnmanufacturing and services have declined.rnThis trend has been apparent since the Kennedy Round ofrnGATT negotiations effectively removed tariffs as an obstacle tornmost American imports in the early 1970’s. Since then, thernUnited States trade imbalance has soared, averaging $120 billionrnover the last decade. Because each $1 billion in exports orrnimports affects 17,000 to 20,000 jobs on the average, the datarnsuggest the United States has been exporting some two millionrnjob opportunities annually as manufacturing moves abroad inrnsearch of lower labor costs. Thus, in the open world economyrnthat America created after Worid War II, the American dreamrnof rising wages and opportunities for unskilled workers disintegratesrnin the face of reality. In a single global market, the pricernof unskilled labor reflects world supply-and-demand conditions.rnForced to compete with cheap labor in developingrncountries using state-of-the-art production technologies, lowskilledrnworkers in high-income countries face declining realrnincomes.rnNAFTA is a good example of what happens when developedrnnations enter free-trade agreements with low-income nations.rnPresident Clinton sold NAFTA as a device to create thousandsrnof export jobs. Instead, it may cost 500,000 job opportunities inrnthe next two years. Imports from Mexico and Canada are surging.rnBased on first quarter trade data, America’s merchandiserndeficit with NAFTA partners is likely to approach $35 billion inrn1995—second only to the bilateral deficit with Japan.rnWhat about retraining the dislocated for jobs in emergingrnindustries? This has been a goal of American trade policy forrnover a generation. The realitv is that government programsrnhave worked poorly for middle-aged workers. In their zeal tornopen the domestic market, the Cobdenites have romanticizedrnthe ease with which pooriy educated people can be retrained asrnhigh-tech workers.rnThus, President Clinton’s proudest achievements—freetradernpacts opening the American market to competition fromrndeveloping countries—are proving costlv ‘ictories. In the absencernof effective educational programs to facilitate retraining,rnthey seem likely to exacerbate class conflict, to corrode thernAmerican nation and its commitment to community, and tornjeopardize domestic support for mutually beneficial internationalrneconomic arrangements.rnHad American leaders—particularly Ceorge Bush and BillrnClinton—studied more history, they might have discoveredrnthat a diverse group of influential thinkers and public figures—rnfrom Abraham Lincoln to Kad Marx—foresaw these dire consequencesrnmore than a century ago. Lincoln predicted that thernremoval of tariffs would demonstrate the necessity of them. Asrna Henry Clay Whig, Lincoln warned that “abandonment ofrnthe protecti’e policy by the American Government must resultrnin the increase of both useless labor, and idleness; and so, inrn[proportion], must produce want and ruin among our people.”rnWilliam McKinley of Ohio warned that free trade “will bringrnwidespread discontent. It will revolutionize values. It will takernaway more than one half of the earning capacity of brain andrnbrawn.” McKinley added; “Free trade results in giving ourrnmoney, our manufactures, and our markets to other nations.”rnProtection, the policy of the Republican Party, McKinley said,rn”has made the lives of the masses of our countrymen sweeterrnand brighter, and has entered the homes of America carryingrncomfort and cheer and courage.” And Senator Reed Smoot, arnpolitician applauded in the New York Times as a “statesman ofrnthe highest type,” offered similar comments. In 1932, he predictedrnthat repeal of the protective tariff barrier would forcernAmericans “to slide back down to the economic level of the restrnof the world.”rnIn an 1848 speech, Karl Marx, hardly a defender of the capitalistrnsystem, also endorsed global free trade, believing that itrnwould hasten the global social revolution: “The protectivernsystem of our day is conservative, while the free trade system isrndestructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonismrnof the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extremernpoint. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution.rnIt is in this revolutionary sense alone . . . that I vote inrnfavor of free trade.”rnBill Clinton’s Cobdenite design for the post-Cold War woddrncontains another fatal flaw. The World Trade Organization isrnnot simply a forum for gabby go’ernment officials, it representsrna giant step toward world economic government. Article 16rnstipulates that “each member shall ensure the conformity of itsrnlaws, regulations, and administrative procedures with its obligationsrnas provided in the annexed Agreements.” This mandaternextends to a wide variety of nontariff issues—services, investments,rnagriculture, intellectual property. With each nationrnhaving one vote, developing nations will hold a voting majorityrnand enjoy the freedom to interpret WTO rules as they desire.rnFor America’s negotiators, a principal objective in thernUruguay Round was mandatory dispute settlement procedures.rnIn order to lock-in the deregulatory agenda globally, the UnitedrnStates pushed proposals to subordinate national authority to arnnew type of trade Supreme Court operating in Geneva. Disputernsettlement panels composed of trade experts, not independentrnjurists, will issue binding decisions on trade-relatedrnmatters that affect a range of legitimate local activities: tax andrnregulatory policies, health and safety, and environmental issues,rnamong others. Because the WTO gives priority to tradernissues, dispute settlement panels may soon intrude on mattersrnof state sovereignty. And the Clinton administration hasrnpledged to accept panel decisions.rnWhat have Bill Clinton and the neo-Cobdenites done?rnWithout either a constitutional amendment or a treaty ratificationrnvote in the Senate, they ha’e circumvented lawful proceduresrnfor modifying the Constitution. Mesmerized by the sirenrnsong of free trade and insensitive to the requirements ofrnnational independence, the governing elite has seeminglyrncompromised American sovereignty. In his 1796 “FarewellrnAddress,” President George Washington foresaw such “usurpation,”rnand he warned that this “is the customary weapon byrnwhich free governments are destroyed.”rnParadoxically, Bill Clinton, the yuppie internationalist whornchose to fulfill Cobden’s economic agenda and to lock it inrnwith commitments to the WTO, may prove free trade’s mortalrnenemy. As speculators and corporate high-rollers move moneyrnand plants abroad to take advantage of lucrative opportunitiesrnoutside the United States, more Americans are voicing discontentrnwith economic circumstances at home. In the next cyclicalrndownturn, millions of trade losers may vent their rage at thernballot box. The politicians who have been “shooting Niagara”rnwith an elitist faith in Cobdenism and wodd economic governmentrnmay encounter the rage of grass-roots democracy.rn16/CHRONICLESrnrnrn