Jerry Brown on Free Trade



Opposed the Northern American Free Trade Agreement

Brown was the last Democrat standing in the 1992 race against Bill Clinton, and their competition grew unusually personal and nasty, heightening the drama of a prospective 2016 campaign.

Brown repeatedly attacked Clinton's character and ethics, took after Hillary Rodham Clinton for her work with a prominent Arkansas law firm while her husband was governor--"You ought to be ashamed of yourself," Bill Clinton said in a finger-wagging debate exchange--and carried his fight to the party's national convention long after it was clear Clinton would be the nominee.

Brown never explicitly endorsed Clinton's candidacy and remained a thorn once Clinton became president, opposing the Northern American Free Trade Agreement, welfare reform and other Clinton administration initiatives. Still, Clinton backed Brown's 2010 campaign for governor, even ignoring a swipe about Monica Lewinsky, for which Brown quickly apologized.

Source: Mark Z. Barabak in Los Angeles Times , Dec 17, 2013

Open CA trade and investment office in Shanghai

California's exports are booming and our place in the world economy has never been stronger. Our ties with The People's Republic of China in particular are deep--from the Chinese immigrants crossing the Pacific in 1848 to hosting China's next President in Los Angeles last February. This year we will take another step to strengthen the ties--I will lead a trade and investment mission to China with help from the Bay Area Council and officially open California's new trade and investment office in Shanghai
Source: 2013 State of the State address to California Legislature , Jan 24, 2013

GATT pushes short-term consumption; ignores over-consumption

Here in California, projections show a massive and continuing paving of the prime agricultural land in the Central Valley. The building of houses is so much more profitable in the short term than the production of food that the market drives people to pave over their land. After all, the food can be grown in Mexico or it can be grown in Asia, it can be grown in Spain, wherever.

In the last few years, there's been a mounting chorus call for the elimination of barriers to global trade. This is the GATT, the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, which opposes any barrier to the movement of goods across borders. What this is calling for is energy consumption, extraction, and more and more possession of stuff--chemical, plastic, whatever--with almost no real recognition of the issues of overconsumption.

Everything seems to be moving toward more container ships, more things in them, more port expansion, more railroad cars, more trucks, more subdivisions, more garages.

Source: Dialogues, by Gov. Jerry Brown, p.271-2 , Apr 24, 1997

Maquiladoras liberated rural women to new servitude

"The Nation" magazine recently had a report out of Juarez, Mexico, where a large number of women work in the maquiladoras, producing shoes and T-shirts and windshields for the US market. The maquiladoras, according to this report, have brought women a perverse sort of liberation, a sense of freedom from rural traditions, but they have also brought a new form of servitude, which has reached extremes of murder and abuse. So in this global economy, women may believe they have advanced, but it's a complete trap, because of the pay they get, the way they're treated, and the demoraling of their community through a way of life that is totally at variance with very old traditions.
Source: Dialogues, by Gov. Jerry Brown, p.138 , Apr 16, 1997

Global development system expands gap between rich and poor

I want to highlight this notion of development; it's so powerful. Harry Truman announced "The Development Decade" in 1949, and it has since become an overwhelming obsession. To challenge it is almost obscene. It's almost like taking your clothes off in public. It is taboo to challenge the notion of development. Why do we accept development as an unquestioned good?

Development is a race, and the rules of the race are made by influential people as part of a system that dramatically expands the gap between the rich and the poor everywhere in the world. This logic of development is rarely--if ever--challenged by "The New York Times", the White House, the G-7 summit, at major party conventions, in the mass media, or even in the schools.

Source: Dialogues, by Gov. Jerry Brown, p.140 , Apr 16, 1997

NAFTA and GATT send jobs to Chinese & Mexican workers

[Speaking to Texas truckers,] Here in Washington, both the Republicans and Democrats are constantly singing the praises of NAFTA and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs. As for trade here in Oakland, we have a port with trains coming and going throughout the day--130 cars at a time picking up containers that come off dozens of Chinese ships filled by people making $30, maybe $40 a month. And this is this thing they call a global village with all these rules managing the flow of traffic.

"Very soon these trucks are going to be driven by cheaper workers from south of the border and you're going to be out of a job."

He understood that he was going to be hurt, eventually, by NAFTA. It hasn't happened yet, but it's pretty hard to stop the logic of that, isn't it? Why should a transport company pay somebody $12 or $13 dollars an hour, when, by just going below the border a few miles, the business can save an enormous amount of money?

Source: Dialogues, by Gov. Jerry Brown, p. 46-7 , Apr 11, 1997

Promote village economy by keeping money in community

BROWN: Could people start to get back some more of a village economy, as opposed to this hyperconsumption that we're all hooked on in one form or another?

GUEST: Yes, absolutely. Another of the really interesting things that has been happening around the world is a revival of community currencies.

BROWN: I wonder whether the state or the city could actually pay a part of their salaries in local money. For example, in many US cities a large percentage of city employees live in the suburbs. If one were to say, "We're going to pay you, in part, in currency that is only accepted within the city limits, in the community that has generated and continues to generate your livelihood."

Source: Dialogues, by Gov. Jerry Brown, p.240-1 , Jan 29, 1996

We need people for things other than global competitiveness

What we have done is become complacent with the idea of redundant, surplus people. When we talk about issues, it's all about economics and getting people equipped for global competition. The implied premise is that if they're not needed for competition, they're not needed at all. We may want to invoke something human, but that "something human" has no place in the world we're in now, according to the people who run it.

The criteria has become competition. We have opened our borders for this competition. There's billions of people out there, and the dirty little secret is that a huge number of Americans are redundant and no longer needed in the social organization that is upheld by those who have their hands on the levers of management and control. I believe that's what is going on now in Washington. They're doing the only thing they know how to do, and that's try to make economic sense out of something that only can be understood in theological or human terms.

Source: Dialogues, by Gov. Jerry Brown, p. 23-5 , Nov 14, 1995

Reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank.

Brown signed Letter on Ex-Im Bank

Press release on Letter from 31 Governors to House Republican leaders:

We urge you to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) before its charter expires this year. In its role as the official export credit agency, Ex-Im is a vital export finance tool for exporters in our states, at no cost to American taxpayers.

Ex-Im allows our companies and workers to compete on a level playing field against our competitors. Without Ex-Im financing, US firms would have lost many sales campaigns to their overseas competitors.

Reauthorizing Ex-Im is the right thing to do for our economy, companies and workers. 41 GOP lawmakers and 865 business organizations have called for the charter's immediate renewal. And, House Democrats have already introduced legislation to reauthorize the bank. Speaker Boehner, it's time to act; quit jeopardizing the nation's economy and American jobs.

Argument in opposition from FreedomWorks:

    Top Ten Reasons to Let the Export-Import Bank Expire
  1. It Has Outlived Its Purpose: In the 2010s, US exports have been setting record highs--they don't need government help.
  2. It Lets Government Pick Winners and Losers
  3. Its Risky Loans Put it in Danger of Needing Taxpayer Bailouts
  4. It Costs Taxpayers Money Annually, thanks to government accounting gimmicks
  5. Most of Its Funding Goes to Big Corporations Who Don't Need the Money
  6. It Lets Foreign Corporations Undercut US Competitors
  7. It Only Benefits a Few States, but Every State Bears the Costs
  8. It Is Prone to Corruption (like whenever you involve the government in handing out money)
  9. There Are Better Ways to Help US. Manufacturers: the government should lower and simplify the tax and regulatory burden US companies face.
  10. It Is Unnecessary. The Ex-Im Bank cannot justify its continued existence. It's also one of the easiest programs to retire, as its authorization expires in September 2014 if Congress simply does nothing.
    Source: Letter from 31 Governors 14_Lt_ExIm on Jul 15, 2014

    Other governors on Free Trade: Jerry Brown on other issues:
    CA Gubernatorial:
    Antonio Villaraigosa
    Carly Fiorina
    David Hadley
    Delaine Eastin
    Eric Garcetti
    Gavin Newsom
    Hilda Solis
    Jerry Sanders
    John Chiang
    Neel Kashkari
    Zoltan Istvan
    CA Senatorial:
    Dianne Feinstein

    Gubernatorial Debates 2017:
    NJ: Guadagno(R) vs.Phil Murphy(D, won 2017 primary) vs.Ray Lesniak(D, lost 2017 primary) vs.Mayor Steve Fulop(declined Dem. primary, Sept. 2016) vs.Lesniak(D) vs.Wisniewski(D) vs.Ciattarelli(R) vs.Rullo(R)
    VA: Gillespie(R) vs.Perriello(D) vs.Wittman(R) vs.Wagner(R) vs.Northam(D)
    Gubernatorial Debates 2018:
    AK: Walker(i) vs.(no opponent yet)
    AL: Kay Ivey(R) vs.Countryman(D) vs.David Carrington (R) vs.Tommy Battle (R)
    AR: Hutchinson(R) vs.(no opponent yet)
    AZ: Ducey(R) vs.David Garcia (D)
    CA: Newsom(D) vs.Chiang(D) vs.Villaraigosa(D) vs.Delaine Eastin (D) vs.David Hadley (R) vs.John Cox (R) vs.Zoltan Istvan (I)
    CO: Ed Perlmutter (D) vs.Johnston(D) vs.Mitchell(R) vs.Cary Kennedy (D) vs.George Brauchler (R) vs.Doug Robinson (R)
    CT: Malloy(D) vs.Drew(D) vs.Srinivasan(R) vs.David Walker (R)
    FL: Gillum(D) vs.Graham(D) vs.Mike Huckabee (R) vs.Adam Putnam (R)
    GA: Kemp(R) vs.Casey Cagle (R) vs.Hunter Hill (R) vs.Stacey Abrams (R)
    HI: Ige(D) vs.(no opponent yet)
    IA: Kim_Reynolds(R) vs.Leopold(D) vs.Andy McGuire (D) vs.Nate Boulton (D)
    ID: Little(R) vs.Fulcher(R)
    IL: Rauner(R) vs.Kennedy(D) vs.Pawar(D) vs.Daniel Biss (D) vs.J.B. Pritzker (D)
    KS: Brewer(D) vs.Wink Hartman (R)
    MA: Baker(R) vs.Gonzalez(D) vs.Setti Warren (D) vs.Bob Massie (R)
    MD: Hogan(R) vs.Alec Ross (D) vs.Richard Madaleno (D)
    ME: (no candidate yet)
    MI: Whitmer(R) vs.El-Sayed(D) vs.Tim Walz (D)
    MN: Coleman(D) vs.Murphy(D) vs.Otto(D) vs.Tina Liebling (DFL) vs.Tim Walz (DFL) vs.Matt Dean (R)
    NE: Ricketts(R) vs.(no opponent yet)
    NH: Sununu(R) vs.Steve Marchand (D, Portsmouth Mayor)
    NM: Grisham(D) vs.(no opponent yet)
    NV: Jared Fisher (R) vs.(no opponent yet)
    NY: Cuomo(R) vs.(no opponent yet)
    OH: DeWine(R) vs.Schiavoni(D) vs.Sutton(D) vs.Taylor(R) vs.Jim Renacci (R) vs.Jon Husted (R) vs.Connie Pillich (D)
    OK: Gary Richardson (R) vs.Connie Johnson (D)
    OR: Brown(D) vs.Scott Inman (D)
    PA: Wolf(D) vs.Wagner(R)
    RI: Raimondo(D) vs.(no opponent yet)
    SC: McMaster(R) vs.McGill(R) vs.Pope(R)
    SD: Noem(R) vs.Jackley(R)
    TN: Green(R) vs.Dean(D)
    TX: Abbott(R) vs.(no opponent yet)
    VT: Scott(R) vs.(no opponent yet)
    WI: Walker(R) vs.Harlow(D)
    WY: (no candidate yet)
    Newly-elected governors (first seated in Jan. 2017):
    DE-D: Carney
    IN-R: Holcomb
    MO-R: Greitens
    NH-R: Sununu
    NC-D: Cooper
    ND-R: Burgum
    VT-R: Scott
    WV-D: Justice

    Retiring 2017-18:
    AL-R: Robert Bentley(R)
    (term-limited 2018)
    CA-D: Jerry Brown
    (term-limited 2018)
    CO-D: John Hickenlooper
    (term-limited 2018)
    FL-R: Rick Scott
    (term-limited 2018)
    GA-R: Nathan Deal
    (term-limited 2018)
    IA-R: Terry Branstad
    (appointed ambassador, 2017)
    ID-R: Butch Otter
    (retiring 2018)
    KS-R: Sam Brownback
    (term-limited 2018)
    ME-R: Paul LePage
    (term-limited 2018)
    MI-R: Rick Snyder
    (term-limited 2018)
    MN-D: Mark Dayton
    (retiring 2018)
    NM-R: Susana Martinez
    (term-limited 2018)
    OH-R: John Kasich
    (term-limited 2018)
    OK-R: Mary Fallin
    (term-limited 2018)
    SC-R: Nikki Haley
    (appointed ambassador, 2017)
    SD-R: Dennis Daugaard
    (term-limited 2018)
    TN-R: Bill Haslam
    (term-limited 2018)
    WY-R: Matt Mead
    (term-limited 2018)
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    Page last updated: Jul 15, 2017