Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, February 29, 2008

NAFTA is Becoming a Campaign Issue

And it’s about time. NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was supposed to provide hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America; and higher wages for American workers. And — get this! — NAFTA was going to boost the economy in Mexico so that impoverished Mexicans would no longer have to sneak across the American border. Hahahahahahaha.

You know that sheepish beat-yourself-up feeling you get after you’ve sent $50 to a post office box so you can find out about stuffing envelopes at home for thousands of dollars a week? Well, that’s how gullible Congress was when they bought this bill of goods in 1994.

This agreement has been etched in stone all during Clinton’s and Dumbya’s presidencies. But now Obama and Hillary (it has sort of a hollow ring to it in her case) are both talking about rewriting NAFTA so that it includes workers’ safety and environmental protections.

NAFTA was rammed through Congress by some of the world’s largest corporations. Undoubtedly these same 800-pound gorillas will throw their weight around if the next president tries to renegotiate the agreement.

McCain is taking the opposite side, warning of the dire consequences that will occur if NAFTA is renegotiated.

McCain said tampering with NAFTA could jeopardize the crucial military support we've been getting from Canada. Gee, I thought Canada was just a bunch of anti-war potsmoking gay-marrying socialists. Isn't that what Rush O’Hannity is always saying?

McCain needs to get his Talking Points straight.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Blogger Candace said...

I remember Perot talking back then about the "giant sucking sound" of American jobs being lost. I hope the next giant sucking sound is of the air being let out of the 800-lb gorillas! GO OBAMA!

February 29, 2008 at 7:28 PM  
Blogger LET'S TALK said...

Great post and outstanding links Tom. I loved the fact that NAFTA "promised it would create hundreds of thousands of new high-wage U.S. jobs, raise living standards in the U.S, Mexico and Canada, improve environmental conditions and transform Mexico from a poor developing country into a booming new market for U.S. exports." What happened?

Then McCain talks about the 2,500 troops serving in Afghanistan would be jeopardized etc. what a lame brain this guy has become.

As you stated Mexico is suffering and beating feat to come here. We, thanks to the duck we call President has put this country on the verge of a recession and we are hurting.

NAFTA is not what it was sold to be and has hurt more than help all involved.

February 29, 2008 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Candace: Yeah, I remember Perot warning about that "giant sucking sound," and 2 years later NAFTA was born. I'll sure look forward to hearing the air being let out of those 800-pound gorillas.

February 29, 2008 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Let's Talk: Thanks. Congress sure got taken for a ride when they fell for that NAFTA sales pitch. And unfortunately we all suffered.

I can't believe McCain is actually worried about Canada pulling their troops out of Afghanistan if we change NAFTA. He's probably just afraid of offending the Republican base.

February 29, 2008 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger anna said...

Canada? Military support? No more Mexican's jumping that non existant fence we were supposed to build?


March 1, 2008 at 7:43 AM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

Maybe Obama should ask Hillary if she helped craft NAFTA during all those experience-filled years spent in the White House.

March 1, 2008 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anna: I guess we'll have to sign another treaty giving the corporations even more power and less accountability. And then everything will be fine. Maybe.

J: I'm sure Hillary helped with it. Her health care plan went down in flames, so she gave us NAFTA instead. If NAFTA was popular she'd be taking credit for it. Since it isn't, she'll claim she was home baking cookies at the time and Bill did it all.

March 1, 2008 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

The question is will NAFTA be a focus when the election is over, and either of the two that profess to abhor NAFTA have a chance to remove it.

March 2, 2008 at 3:34 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Tom, exactly. All politicians do that, but she's really been fumbling the last few weeks. I don't remember her once going on back then about how NAFTA would've been a bad idea. Here in Ohio, we've seen jobs leave, plants close, etc. Our manufacturing base is toast. NAFTA has been nothing but a boon to corporations. Which is pretty much like every law these days.

March 2, 2008 at 5:52 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Larry: Good question. Obama might try to modify it, but there's no way to know ahead of time. Hillary undoubtedly had a hand in arranging it in 1994, so I doubt if she'll do anything to change it, regardless of what she says.

Randal: Yup, a boon to corporations; that's what it's all about. They keep putting a folksy "this will create jobs" face on new laws, and people keep falling for the same sales pitch over and over. I've heard that Ohio was one of the hardest hit by NAFTA, with none of the benefits.

March 2, 2008 at 11:24 AM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

McCavein can't get his underwear on straight. Don't expect miracles where none are to be had.

March 2, 2008 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

JR: I sure hope there won't be any miracles from him. If he gets elected it'll be like Bush never left.

March 2, 2008 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

I really think the Dems have to keep this going as an issue, or, well, at least Obama does. What would work better in parts of Ohio where jobs have become scarce?

I think Congress almost got taken for as bad a ride with NAFTA as they did with the Patriot Act.

I'm with Randal on this one. I think NAFTA is designed as a way to keep a sort of economic bubble going by allowing our corporations to do things on the cheap. I wonder, if NAFTA hadn't been instituted, how many of our corporations would have gone under without the chance to outsource so many jobs and set up their manufacturing in other countries.

It's weird how the main money-making activity in the U.S. has gradually gone from manufacturing to moving money around.

How much longer can our country keep this up before things just collapse, completely? Kevin Phillips addresses a good deal of this in his book "American Theocracy". He isn't necessarily a leftist, either... I believe he worked for Reagan at one point. Anyway, it is a great read, very well-written, very logically presented, and very alarming. Phillips paints a picture of the combination of the rise of religion in America, our dependence on oil, and our vast debt as an indicator of how our country as we know it is likely to end.

That kind of thought doesn't get much press, probably because that kind of thinking doesn't lead to the making of very much money. Heh.

March 3, 2008 at 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Andrew said...


NAFTA was jammed through Congress by President Clinton after he signed the agreement with our North American neighbors. Give the Clintons credit where credit is due.

Also, NAFTA isn't all bad for America. We get cheap oil (and LOTS of it) from Canada as a part of the agreement. No question there are significant problems with the agreement, but neither Clinton nor Obama has the antidote (yet). And we can't just rewrite it or pull out.

March 3, 2008 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: I just hope that whoever gets elected next November will revisit NAFTA and the Patriot Act. And CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) is the worst of all. It passed in 2005 by two votes, and that was after 3 hours of armtwisting by DeLay.

Like you said, we've gone from manufacturing to moving money around (mostly to secret bank accounts in the Cayman Islands). That, and saying "would you like fries with that."

Andrew: I agree NAFTA isn't all bad, but changes need to be made. Labor and environmental standards need to be written into the agreement. And once that NAFTA Superhighway is up and running, there'll be a lot more outcry against NAFTA. (You'll notice that the above link is from a extreme rightwing source; there are a lot of bipartisan complaints about NAFTA.)

March 3, 2008 at 3:12 PM  

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