When did America lose its social conscience in regards to conducting commerce on the world stage? In the face of rising global poverty, unbridled corruption and the destruction of the Earth’s fragile environment, Congress, by ignoring its oversight responsibilities on harmful trade arrangements with corrupt governments, while failing to ratify comprehensive Free Trade Agreements, becomes culpable for the malfeasance that is eroding the U.S. and world economies.

Not so very long ago, the American economy was the envy of the world. Our economy, along with the American Constitution, exemplified the power of our ideals for fair business dealings domestically and internationally. After the bloody end of World War II, as much of the world lay in ruins, only one country stood up and offered to help the very enemies it recently vanquished. America launched the audacious Marshall Plan, which revitalized Europe and Asia. America was hailed as the country to turn to when help was needed.

Now as the world looks to America to restore its leadership position as the engine of economic growth, the international community is not only silent, but complacent in forcing America to comply with export rules that put U.S. manufacturers at a distinct disadvantage. The result is the loss of American jobs, suffocating corporate taxes and the inability to reinvest our financial resources in education, the crumbling U.S. infrastructure and renewable energy. Where once we held sway, the world is tilting away from us, and the ramifications will be felt by everycitizen in every town and village in every part of the world.

Enormous profits are being made by foreign manufacturers off the U.S. economy. These same foreign companies and their employees pay taxes to their home governments providing the vital resources needed to develop their countries. Yet these same foreign governments propagate skewed and unjust trade relations that openly discriminate against American companies and workers.

Meanwhile, American companies forced to flee our shores because of excessive taxation and burdensome regulations are employing workers overseas who are paying taxes to foreign governments. Often these governments are fervently working against U.S. interests. We are aiding and abetting a despicable crime against every American worker and tax payer.

I have seen this firsthand in my travels around the world. I see up close the poverty and the injustice that seem to be invisible to those in a position to help. But solutions do exist in making important progress in poverty and hunger alleviation, corruption eradication and environmental safeguards while creating millions of jobs for the American worker.

There is only one way to bring about change. We must demand Free Trade Agreements that have at their core enforceable measures that deal head-on with the economic and human tragedies our politicians love to invoke but have absolutely no clue how to fix. Congress can start by ratifying the South Korea, Colombia and Panama Free Trade Agreements.

We need Free Trade Agreements with these partners, as well as with every one of our other trading partners and even more so with those that do not possess our values. This means Free Trade Agreements with the world’s most corrupt, manipulative and environmentally irresponsible governments. Ignoring the imposed blight on their citizenry turns a blind eye to the underlying problem. It is our obligation to introduce American justice and fair trade policies to these nations so they recognize that Free Trade Agreements will boost their economy, put people to work and generate alternatives to programs that rape the environment and cause misery to nations thousands of miles away.

Back in 1947 George C. Marshall saw a world in need of change and offered a new vision. I humbly suggest we think that boldly again.

By Neal Asbury

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