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Letter: Free trade agreements are anything but free

A nation has probably never drowned in alphabet soup, but it might with the ever-increasing “free” trade agreements.

Such agreements are hardly “free” with their non-elected bodies with unconstitutional sovereignty-draining grants of lawmaking powers. And they haven’t yielded increased U.S. production, more exports or high-paying jobs.

In 1993, NAFTA started our downward spiral of moving manufacturing and jobs to other countries. Then came GATT – which begat the WTO with authority to override our country’s decisions.

NAFTA begat CAFTA with Central America. (There also were GATS, TRIP and TRIMS, by the way.)

Those have worked so well (for some, I guess) that we’re now negotiating TTP in the Pacific and TTIP with the European Union.

Now the most important initials for the U.S. – Trade Promotion Authority or “fast track.” This president (and predecessors) wants Congress to have very limited debate and then quick for/against votes on agreements – no amendments even considered.

Were our Founding Fathers wrong to have the Constitution stipulate all legislative powers be in Congress – or assign Congress the power to regulate commerce with nations? (After all, we certainly can trust whatever a president decides, right?)

No wonder even liberals like Democrat Sens. Max Baucus, Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren and progressive House Democrats are joining with tea party Republicans against ceding more power to the president by giving him TPA.

Tell senators and representatives (Heidi Heitkamp, John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer in North Dakota) to oppose TPA and do their jobs. Otherwise, we may yet drown in alphabet soup.

Duane Stahl in from Valley City, N.D.