CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight - Transcript
Thursday, June 9, 2005
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DOBBS: My guests tonight sponsored a critically important resolution in Congress. The resolution calling on the United States to withdraw from the World Trade Organization.
Congressman Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who introduced the legislation declared, "WTO rules have failed the American worker, the American standard of living and the American dream. WTO rules have made American jobs our No. 1 export."
The resolution's co-sponsor, Congressman Ron Paul, Republican of Texas said, "for the United States to give up any bit of its sovreignty to these unelected and unaccountable organizations, including the WTO, is economic suicide."
Today's resolution failed by 338 votes to 86. My guests, nonetheless, believe that opposition to the so-called free trade agreements is rising. Congressman Sanders, Congressman Paul join us now. Good to have you with us.
REP. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: Good to be with you, Lou.
REP. RON PAUL, (R) TEXAS: Thank you.
DOBBS: Perhaps disspiriting that you would see a vote of that magnitude against your resolution. Let's begin with you, Congressman Sanders. What is your reaction?
SANDERS: No, I'm not disspirited at all. Congressman Paul five years ago made a great effort bringing forth an amendment and today we got 50 percent more votes. We went from 56 to 86 votes. That tells me that there is a growing momentum on the floor of the House, and among the American people, to end our disastrous trade policies, which is causing the collapse of the middle class, the loss of millions of decent-paying jobs, and the growing gap between the rich and the poor.
So I think more and more members are-of Congress are catching on, are going to be voting for change. And I think we have an excellent chance to defeat CAFTA when it comes up in a few weeks.
DOBBS: Congressman Paul, you were one of three dozen Republicans to vote in favor of withdrawing from the WTO. What does that suggest to you about the direction of the Republican Party itself? Many would be surprised that that many Republicans were willing to withdraw.
PAUL: Yes. I was impressed. And there were some committee chairman on there, there was people in the leadership that voted with us. That was very impressive to me. And I think this does spell a lot of trouble for CAFTA.
So it's much more difficult to get out of the WTO than it is to continue the policy, and that is get further entrenched in more of these agreements. So I would say that this is a sign, which has been whispered around the Hill already, that CAFTA's in trouble, and it will be awhile before they bring it up, because they just don't have the votes.
DOBBS: Let me ask you both, again, turning back to you, Congressman Sanders, why in the world representatives from both parties-why in the world aren't those Congressmen more concerned about what is now a 30-year track record of trade deficits, now at record levels, why aren't they more concerned about working men and women in this country, Democrats and Republicans, who are just being slammed by these trade policies-jobs lost, pain exacted on their families, and frankly, fools running around talking about retraining without suggesting what those jobs are that they should be retraining for.
REP. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: Lou, what is particularly disheartening is that if we do not change our trade policies, what all the studies tell us is that the next generation will have for the first time in the modern history of America, a lower standard of living than our generation.
What all of the studies suggest is that most of the new jobs that are going to be created are low-wage jobs, which require only a high school degree on-the-job training, low wages, poor benefits. We're losing the General Motors type jobs. As you know, GM just announced they're going to cut another 25,000 workers. It is quite possible in 20 years the entire automobile industry will be in China. And our kids will be flipping hamburgers at McDonald's or working at Wal-Mart.
To answer your question, I have to-I don't know what Ron thinks, but to my mind it has to do with the power of big money. Right here on Capitol Hill, these large corporations throw money around, they lobby, they give campaign contributions, they contribute to the political parties. And unfortunately, too many members of Congress vote the money and not their constituents.
DOBBS: A compelling statistic that we recently reported on this broadcast, the pharmaceutical industry alone, two lobbyists for every Congressman on Capitol Hill. Congressman Paul, Republicans are considered to be the, if you will, the party of fat cats. How threatened do you feel when the Democrats are also succumbing at the same rate to the power of corporate America and its lobbyists?
PAUL: Well --
DOBBS: Do you feel a little threatened?
PAUL: Well, I think the longer we're around here, Bernie and I, the more we realize on some of these issues there's not a whole lot of difference when it comes to foreign policy and trade policy. There's a lot of agreement. And I certainly agree, money talks.
But there's a lot of ignorance around here, too. And I say this in an academic sense. There's a lot of misunderstanding. There are some sincere people here who really believe that they're doing the right thing. But money really talks. The pharmaceutical industry is a perfect example of it.
And as long as they have that much influence, there's going to be a lot of arm-twisting. So we have a tougher battle, we're competing against the party leadership as well as the money, and we still make inroads. So that mean, I believe, we're on the right track.
SANDERS: Let me just pick up...
DOBBS: Before I do, Congressman, let me ask you-because we're out of time-but I've really got to ask this last question, because we are out of time. If you would give me-both of you, a succinct answer. Working men and women watching you gentlemen here tonight, sitting on Capitol Hill, serving the country, what are the odds that we're going to see real representation of the views, the interests and the values of American working men and women anytime soon?
PAUL: Well, I would say we're not going to see it anytime soon. But I believe that we have to believe it can happen or we shouldn't be here in Congress. We have to be optimistic enough to work within the system to try to change it. But I think it will come. But, unfortunately, I think there's going to be a lot of pain and suffering before we wise up and do the right thing.
SANDERS: I would agree with Ron. I think we need a revolution in our political culture. We need people to be involved in politics 365 days a year. And we need people to organize to take on the big money interests, which now have a stranglehold on Washington.
DOBBS: Congressman Bernie Sanders, Congressman Ron Paul, thank you both for being here.
PAUL: Thank you.
SANDERS: Thank you.
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