The AFL-CIO is approaching this year’s mid-term election with a different strategy than employed in the half billion dollar failure to unseat congressional conservatives in 1996. Big Labor promises to use less in-your-face tactics and more carefully crafted messages aimed at specific groups, such as women. Beginning in April, union representatives will stage at least 1,000 rallies for working women nationwide—700 more than last year.
The debate over granting President Clinton’s fast-track authority to negotiate international trade and investment agreements (postponed until next year) has given rise to a larger debate on expansionism vs. protectionism of U.S. trade policy. Protectionists, who are against fast-track authority, claim that expanding trade has a negative impact on the U.S economy. Supporters of trade expansion realize that free trade policies actually increase jobs and improve the economy. NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) has been used by both sides in support of their claims that free trade is harmful or beneficial, respectively. Following are general facts about free trade along with a closer look at the results of NAFTA in the U.S. and Nevada during its first three years, 1994 to 1996.
Nevadans did not plan to deal with high-level nuclear waste shipments until (or if) Yucca Mountain gets approved. But high-level waste is entering the state earlier than expected. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will ship spent nuclear fuel rods from foreign research reactors from Concord through northern Nevada to Idaho Falls starting in 1998. This is not the first time high-level nuclear waste will come through the state, but it is the first time for northern Nevada. All Nevada congressional representatives, along with Governor Miller, have voiced concerns the DOE has yet to tackle. Californians are taking a more active approach—environmentalists and conservative politicians—have joined together to protest the shipments. Nothing can be done to stop the shipments, but politicians are attempting to influence the route the DOE chooses.
It’s not every day the President, Vice President, three Cabinet secretaries, their deputies, an agency head, two governors, nine members of Congress and numerous other elected state officials all gather under one roof. The declining health of the Lake Tahoe Basin was the proclaimed reason for the gathering of these powers—dubbed the Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum. Last weekend’s Forum has put Lake Tahoe in the media spotlight since late May. Three workshops on water quality, forest health and transportation supposedly helped the Administration gather local opinion to be relayed to the President at the Forum. Along with providing a venue to tell Clinton about all of the Basin’s problems, organizers anticipated a pledge of $300 million from the federal government. With months of hype and regional media coverage, the President’s announcement on Saturday was anticlimactic. He encouraged continued cooperation between various groups via a meaningless executive order and promised only $50 million—an increase of $26 million over current funding. Now residents of Nevada and California are left asking, why all the hoopla? Following is a look at what was promised and possible other motives behind this event.