I am more than a little surprised that Kasich’s statement that “We didn’t lose jobs to China” in last week’s debate has not gotten more attention.

If for any other reason, it was the first time Kasich attempted to be a free trade apologist.  Either that or his head is in the sand.  Either way, such an event is worth noting.

Until that moment, John Kasich has been an unapologetic advocate for free trade.  The difference between the two could not be clearer, nor can how Kasich’s free trade record in Congress has hurt Ohio now:

  • Ohio lost 49,886 jobs from the signing of NAFTA from 1993 to 2004.  [HR 3450, Vote #575, 11/17/93;Scott et al, “Revisiting NAFTA: Still not working for North America’s workers,” Economic Policy Institute Briefing Paper #173, 9/28/06, p. 4].  Ted Strickland voted against NAFTA, saying it would cost Ohio jobs.
  • In 2000, Kasich voted for normalizing trade relations with China, paving the way for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001.  Since then, Ohio has lost at least 91,800 jobs as the trade deficit with China has increased. [HR 4444, Vote #228, 5/24/00; Dallas Morning News, 5/25/00; Chicago Tribune, 5/25/00; Economic Policy Institute, 3/23/10; Akron Beacon Journal, 3/24/10].  Ted Strickland voted no to permanent trade relations with China.
  • According to Policy Matters Ohio, from 1995 through May 17, 2010, 119,215 Ohioans were eligible for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. TAA “provides help to workers who lose their jobs because of rising imports or shifts in U.S. production to overseas locations. Workers may receive additional unemployment benefits, training and a health coverage tax credit, among other benefits.”
  • John Kasich attempted to deny Ohio workers that assistance, despite his policies causing them to lose their jobs.   According to the Journal of Commerce, “The plan slashes… Trade Adjustment Assistance for displaced U.S. workers…Rep. John Kasich, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Budget Committee, kicked off Wednesday’s committee meeting on the plan by placing an electronic ticker displaying the mounting $ 4.77 trillion national debt on the wall above the committee dais… ‘This is for real. It’s going to happen. And it’s going to be enforced,’ Rep. Kasich said, referring to the party discipline that Republicans, who hold the majority in the House, showed in recent months on passage of the Contract With America.” [Journal of Commerce 5/11/95].
  • John Kasich had supported over twenty “free trade” deals in Congress.  Each one, Ted Strickland opposed.
  • While John Kasich approved giving the President “fast track” authority to negotiate free trade deals, Strickland opposed.
  • The only time Strickland voted FOR China MFN status, it was because the Clinton Administration had tied China’ MFN status to human rights and labor issues.  Incidentially, these were the only two times Kasich OPPOSED China MFN resolutions. 

Despite the fact that he himself voted on an Ohio corporate board to send hundreds of Ohio manufacturing jobs to China and Mexico, Kasich continues to assert that Ohio has lost “no jobs to China.”

If John Kasich refuses to see how his policies contributed to the problem, how can any Ohioan expect him to fix it?

We have a decade—a DECADE—of research showing how the pursuit of so-called “free” trade has cost Ohio manufacturing during the 1990s until now.

Huffy didn’t move to Georgia, John, they went to China.  And they’re not the only ones.  For Kasich to say that we haven’t lost jobs to China shows that he either doesn’t know the real economic consequences of his trade record has had in Ohio’s economy… or he hopes voters don’t find it out, themselves.

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