Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate Finance Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you on the subject of the Trans Pacific Partnership. As has been noted, this trade agreement is intended to balance the trade dominance currently enjoyed by China and India, and boost exports and economic growth for the twelve countries involved.
As such, it is significantly broader than the North America Free Trade agreement signed in 1993. But there are important lessons that should be taken from that agreement, which is now believed to have cost America upwards of 800,000 manufacturing jobs.
And while job loss of that magnitude is a concern, of even greater concern to me is that there has been no discussion of the further loss of manufacturing facilities.
Yes, an economist may see these heavy industrial facilities as no longer essential to the needs of today’s knowledge economy. But I see them as something both vital and current: the only places that anyone has ever been able to stop a terminator.
In 1984, my mother Sarah Connor and my father Kyle Reese had to fight off a relatively rudimentary T-800. They did their best. Dad blew up the fuel truck the terminator was driving. That may have exposed the cybernetic organism’s endoskeleton, but it didn’t stop it. Luckily, Mom was able to escape into what I can only imagine was some sort of tool and die factory. This is in Los Angeles, mind you. I defy you to find a tool and die factory in Los Angeles today.
The machinery disoriented the terminator. Long story short, despite being severely damaged by my father (of blessed memory) the terminator managed to get my mother by the throat. It’s only by the grace of god and the manufacturing sector that built America’s middle class that she was able to activate a hydraulic press and crush the life out of that terminator’s cold, red eye.
That’s a story my mother passed down to me. But I had pretty much the same experience myself. This time it was a T-1000 coming after my mom and me. This guy was made out of liquid metal — and he was relentless. Being frozen in liquid nitrogen didn’t stop it. Nor did several direct hits from a grenade launcher.
I should pause here to point out that America has lost more than 42,000 factories since 2001.
Today, I don’t know if we could do what we did back then, because we were able to get ourselves into a steel factory, and finally dissolve this T-1000 into a vat of some sort of molten alloy.
Now, ladies and gentlemen of the committee, your phones and iPads may say, DESIGNED IN CALIFORNIA BY APPLE — but if you want to find the vat of molten metal that actually made the thing, you’d better get your sweet ass to Foxconn City. And I’ll tell you another thing, it’s hard enough to lure a Terminator halfway across town. You try getting one to Shenzen, China.
I’m sorry, I’m just very passionate about this issue.
But we’re a service and sharing and knowledge economy now, and won’t that be our competitive advantage?
Show me a Starbucks barista who tries to stop a Terminator with a Verismo brewer, and I’ll show you a poor sap who never gets to finish his degree at ASU because a terminator ripped him in half.
Put a listing on TaskRabbit for someone to come help you neutralize a well-armed nano-hybrid T-3000 and you’re not going to get any takers, at any price.
And lure a terminator into tech startup? Oh, it’ll love the open floorplan even more than you do. You see a space that encourages collaboration. A terminator sees a space devoid of clanging machines, hissing steam, or even walls to disorient its head-up display.
What about advanced manufacturing, you ask?
Well, I’ll ignore for just a moment that Cyberdyne Systems is an advanced manufacturing outfit, and a whole lot of good that’s going to do us. I digress.
This is another area where I’ve had some experience. Back in 2003, I was being pursued by a T-X model terminator. I was able to get this one into a particle accelerator. Got that thing going, and wouldn’t you know, the electro magnets absolutely pinned that terminator down. For about two minutes. And then it was after me again.
I’m all for advanced science, but when I’m running from something that wants to skewer me with its mimetic poly-alloy arm, I’m not super concerned about whether we’d discovered a new kind of quark.
My point is this: factories provide much more than the good middle class jobs our country needs. They also provide those vital spaces that contain elevated catwalks, hanging chains and pulleys, conveyor belts that lead into saws or presses, all of which can be set in motion by hitting a large, well-marked green button.
What do these factories actually build? I have no idea. But I know that more often than not, they provide me the opportunity to kill the terminator that has usually followed me in.
I urge you to vote against TPP, because of the devastating impact it will have on the facilities that make America great today, and that our nation will most need when Skynet becomes self-aware.
With that, I’m happy to take your questions.
(SOUNDS OF SCREAMS AND GUNSHOTS)
Actually, it turns out I need to go. Could someone direct me to the nearest industrial facility?