More on the Failure to Pass the FTAs
"Slowly but surely, Americans have realized that delaying the FTA is destroying jobs in America," insisted Gabriel Silva, Colombia's ambassador to the U.S. Noting that Colombia must import 70 percent of its corn and 95 percent of its wheat due to limited domestic production, he pointed out that "in 2008, U.S. farmers were the largest providers of agricultural products to Colombia. The U.S. had 46 percent of the Colombian food import market. That's since fallen to 20 percent."
So Congress and Obama talk all the time about increasing the number of U.S. jobs and lowering the unemployment rate, but their joint failure to pass the FTAs demonstrates that they really aren't serious about jobs. Maybe maintaining the support of U.S. organized labor is more important politically than creating thousands of new jobs for Americans.
After all, by not passing the FTAs, politicians maintain union support but don't lose any political support because unemployed workers around the country aren't even aware that their lack of employment might be due to Congressional and presidential inaction on the FTAs. If they pass the FTAs, elected officials lose union support, but don't gain any new political support because newly hired workers in U.S. industries exporting to Colombia and Panama may not even realize that their employment came about because of FTA passage. And the thousands of newly created jobs from FTA passage would be dispersed throughout the economy in many industries, and those new workers, unlike organized labor, are not unified and organized as a powerful political block. So politically, there is probably no net benefit from passing the FTAs, and a very likely net loss politically, especially for Obama and Democrats in Congress.
Bottom Line: The failure to pass the FTAs has nothing to do with economics, logic, common sense, creating jobs, or what's best for the country as a whole, and everything to do with good ol' politics.