Reality Versus Rhetoric on Trade

Opting out of NAFTA.

Theoretically, yes, it's possible, but who not running for high office could possibly think that it's a good idea? You'd have 14 years of U.S. business contracts, arrangements, supply chains, personal relationships, on and on and on, simply tossed out the window. Picture the effect on U.S. companies who have factored Canada materials and Mexican parts assembly into their product, companies perhaps just squeaking by. It's cutting off the nose of your face to toss into the Pyrrhic victory.

The implausability of such an "opting out" also explains why the campaign vows to reopen NAFTA "or else" are just politics. The governments of Mexico or Canada would simply reject such negotiations as an economic disaster.
Also see:

Free Trade's popularity remains in deficit
It is no coincidence that calls for a reworked North American Free Trade Agreement and for higher taxes on corporations that send jobs overseas come in the days leading up to the Ohio primary. While some of the recent protectionist paeans are merely political rhetoric aimed at Buckeye State voters, there is also a larger underlying change to our political system that signals a significant pause ahead in the era of free trade.

Public opinion has always been mixed on trade. Many surveys still show pluralities supporting NAFTA, but the greater intensity is on the side of its opponents. Overall, a large majority of the American public has been supportive of the concept of free trade, but that support has diminished in recent years.

Candidates rebuked for attacks on Nafta
Mexico and Canada yesterday voiced concerns about calls by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, as the Democratic presidential hopefuls compete to adopt the most sceptical stance towards free trade before next week's Ohio primary.

In a televised debate on Tuesday night, Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton both threatened to pull out of Nafta if elected president unless Canada and Mexico agreed to strengthen labour and environmental standards.

Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico's ambassador to the US, told the Financial Times the US, Canada and Mexico had all benefited from Nafta and warned against reopening negotiations. "Mexico does not support reopening Nafta," he said. "It would be like throwing a monkey wrench into the engine of North American competitiveness."

Observer: Politics of trade
Free trade is taking a beating in the run-up to next week's primary in Ohio, a state in which manufacturing jobs have declined in recent years.

Many Ohioans blame the North American Free Trade Agreement for the loss of good-paying blue-collar jobs, and both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are pledging to re-negotiate the pact if elected president.

This is an interesting dance for both candidates, since Nafta was passed by a Democratic president (who happens to be married to one of them) and has support in the moderate wing of the party.

)))))))American voters to have say on NAFTA((((((((
But opening NAFTA up to renegotiation could end up putting any issue on the table.

In Ottawa yesterday, federal trade Minister David Emerson hinted at that possibility, saying Canada could seek its own list of concessions - including on the topic of oil.

As part of NAFTA, Canada is forbidden from rationing oil exports to the United States in the event of a supply disruption or global shortage, unless the same cutbacks are forced on Canadians.

NAFTA vendetta a sign of electoral pandering
But the stark difference between the province and the state is how presidential primary politics has turned U.S. economic stagnation into a grassy knoll from which to take cheap shots across the border.

Despite both being economic twins of similar size and auto-manufacturing dependency, the North American Free Trade Agreement is suddenly seen as a villain to the south while remaining a saviour to the north.

No votes yet

That's all it is.

When they are in a state that is severely affected by NAFTA, they talk this shit.

This talk will evaporate right after the election.


it does better in Texas.

... in Mexico, and you're "just squeaking by", then you don't deserve to be in business in the first place since the economics of your situation are not sustainable in the absolute sense. If you shift those "squeaky" operations to Asia, where your product will be copied and reproduced by natives, then you will ALSO lose ... just in a way you won't expect.

Remember, it's not the purpose of government to guarantee the profits of business. Items like NAFTA assume that it is.

This is all academic, anyway. Americans are 99.9% fooled into thinking they have to vote for a pro-globalism Republican or a pro-globalism Democrat in all elections. Until the globalists with their investment portfolios are finally ejected from the Congress and the collective American imagination, nothing will change except the worsening of the American lifestyle for the working class.

If NAFTA is such a bad idea now, why did Bill Clinton, HILLARY'S HUSBAND, sign NAFTA into law?

Why did former Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry vote FOR NAFTA?

Don't blame me,
I didn't vote for a

Plenty of Democrats where not for NAFTA; ask Marcy Kaptur.

The Clintons contrary to Wing-Nut beliefs are pro-corporate moderates…

However the negotiations for NAFTA began with George GW Bush, in Florida, before CLinton was even president.

Bush the first did all of the heavy lifting for NAFTA. It could have been signed during his tenure, in fact. BC's administration dotted the I's and crossed the T's. Hillary can't deny it and it can't be undone. What needs to stop is fast-tracking these things through congress.

I know it will be unpopular on here because of Ohio's stance on NAFTA but let me explain why years ago I changed my belief on free trade.

Most if not all of our main issues today: healthcare, terrorism, global warming, infanticide, illegal immigration, starvation; are all linked to one issue global poverty.

You need not look farther than India (which is overtaking even China economically and in population) to see the vast differences between the wealthy west and everyone else.

It is in poverty that we get problems like genocide in Kosovo and Sudan. It is in the slums of poverty where terrorist recruit. It is poverty that encourages people to leave their homeland to see refuge and promise in another country.

Free trade is our only real offense that can offer a solution to these problems. The Average American worker makes over $15 per hour. The average wage in an industrialized and growing country like China is not even 3% of that. If that trend were to continue eventually something would have to give and most times where notable differences like that have occured the result was war. Not just small one on one war but World War (See Seven Year's War, WWI, WWII).

Through free trade the problems of Africa become the problems of the US. The problems of the US become problems of Africa. By everyone having common interests then they will work for a common good. This is the only hope for humanity's survival. Technology has made our world smaller and this has exacerbated these problems so we must work together closer than ever and harder than ever.

It would be in our best interests to not be good American citizens but good American citizens AND good Global citizens.



I fail to see how enslaving workers in sweatshops around the globe has benefitted anyone but big business. The reason companies go to such great lengths to build factories in third world countries is to exploit cheap labor, not alleviate poverty. Disney just recently surpassed Walmart for running the most sweatshops overseas. Great job, Mickey Mouse!

...are people going to want something like the Hartley-Smoot Tariff that lengthened the 1929 Depression? It is interesting to talk against NAFTA but it is well documented that the above tariff (instead of producing employment) resulted in the lengthening of the recession/depression. It will be interesting to see what happens if popular sentiment in Ohio succeeds in putting up tariffs again.

Old South End Broadway

... has already destroyed Ohio's economy. Revenue from corporate taxes fell to only 7% of Ohio's government income, at least by the year 2001 or so. I recall that corporate taxes constituted as much as 30% in the past.

So it really doesn't matter what Ohio does. The economy has been destroyed. If the government refuses to tax certain businesses, and overtaxes the ones still stupid enough to submit, and then watches incomes plummet (producing less tax revenue itself), then there's really nothing left to do in sane terms but to essentially cancel Ohio's government.

I mean, what the fuck do we really need a government in Ohio for? Privatize everything and go to a toll and fee model for services. Since corporations are in charge, just be honest for once and let them low-bid for services.

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