After losing 880,000 jobs to NAFTA, we're back for more

Discussion in 'Economy' started by -Cp, Jul 23, 2005.

  1. -Cp
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    -Cp Senior Member

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    Proponents of so-called "free" trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which I opposed, have long promised endless riches for U.S. workers, farmers, businesses and economy. They've been wrong on all counts.

    Failed U.S. trade policies have led to the export of millions of high-paying American jobs; decline in U.S. living standards; soaring trade deficits; and a significant erosion of U.S. sovereignty to international trade bureaucrats.

    Despite this unbroken record of failure, the House is expected to vote before August on an agreement the Bush administration negotiated to expand NAFTA to Central America via the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The Senate has already voted to approve the deal. I will vote no. Here's why CAFTA must be defeated.

    CAFTA will increase the already record U.S. trade deficit. The U.S. trade deficit this year is running at an annual rate of approximately $700 billion, nearly $100 billion above the record deficit set last year. We must borrow nearly $2 billion every day from foreigners to finance this deficit. Prior to NAFTA, the U.S. had a trade surplus with Mexico. In the wake of NAFTA, the surplus turned to a deficit that has risen steadily. The U.S. already has a trade deficit with the Central American countries of $1.6 billion, which will only grow if CAFTA is enacted. Deficits are dangerous because they cost U.S. jobs and put our economic and national security in the hands of foreigners who finance them.

    CAFTA will lead to the export of U.S. jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce predicted NAFTA would create 170,000 jobs in the U.S. They were a little off. The actual result was a net loss of nearly 880,000 U.S. jobs, including more than 12,000 in Oregon. Looking at the numbers beyond NAFTA, Oregon has lost 40,000 jobs due to failed trade policies since 1994. CAFTA will be more of the same.

    CAFTA is not about exporting U.S. goods to Central America. More than 40 percent of workers in Central America make less than $2 a day. The combined economic might of the five Central American countries is only $151 billion, about what the U.S. economy produces in five days. Even if every penny of these countries' economies was devoted to buying U.S. goods, which isn't going to happen, the impact would be insignificant in the $11 trillion U.S. economy. The bottom line is that CAFTA is not about creating U.S. jobs and exporting U.S. goods. It is about creating a favorable climate for multinational corporations to export U.S. jobs and use Central America to export goods back into the U.S.

    CAFTA will erode U.S. sovereignty. CAFTA allows foreign corporations to sue our government for approving laws and regulations that may impede their ability to maximize profits. If the Oregon Legislature or the U.S. Congress approves laws to protect the public health, the environment, or consumer and worker safety that a foreign company doesn't like, they can sue to get the law overturned or to require taxpayers to pay large fines in return for keeping the law on the books. That is an unwarranted intrusion on the sovereignty of American citizens.

    CAFTA will hurt Oregon farmers. Farmers have repeatedly been promised that if we only approve another free trade agreement, they'll get rich. Family farmers are still waiting. The U.S. trade surplus in agriculture peaked in 1996 at $27 billion. The USDA predicts this year that the surplus will be zero. In the wake of NAFTA, the U.S. agricultural trade deficit with Mexico and Canada tripled from $5.2 billion to $14.6 billion. Perhaps that's why the trade committee of the National Association of State Directors of Agriculture voted unanimously to oppose CAFTA. Due to increased sugar imports, CAFTA will be particularly damaging to Oregon's many sugar-beet growers.

    CAFTA will restrict government procurement that benefits U.S. workers. CAFTA will prohibit governments from enacting procurement rules such as "Buy Oregon" or "Buy America" that prevent the export of jobs by giving preference to local contractors; promote the development of environmentally-friendly products or services; or provide preferences for small businesses, among other common procurement rules.

    CAFTA is a model for an even larger expansion of NAFTA. Finally, CAFTA must be defeated because it is a model for an even larger expansion of NAFTA to the entire Western Hemisphere via the Free Trade Area of the Americas, which is currently being negotiated by the Bush administration.

    Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing House District 5. He lives in the Thurston neighborhood of Springfield.

    http://www.springfieldnews.com/articles/2005/07/22/opinion/opinion03.txt
     
  2. Gabriella84
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    Gabriella84 Guest

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    I can't believe I actually agree with cp on something. :bow3:

    I am not out to defeat NAFTA or CAFTA, though. My answer is to tax outsourced work that is sent back to the U.S. the same way we tax foreign goods, with extensive tariffs.
    Any U.S. companies that has goods or products made or assembled outside this country should have to pay the tariffs normally assigned to their country of origin, in addition to a penalty. That is what Japan and China. It is why there are so few Western products in those countries. Too expensive.
    I would also like to see stricter labeling on products. Only products that are produced entirely in this country should be labeled "American." Others should not be.
    Too many companies are making huge profits because they can outsource their labor and bring the finished product back in the U.S. with no penalty or tariff assessed. American workers not only lose their jobs, but end up paying for the products they used to make.
     
  3. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Ya, but they get em SO much cheaper !! :smoke:
     
  4. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    Stop gap measures. Face it. We must compete. to do otherwise is immoral and would be a case of using our current political/military power to form a racist hegemony.
     
  5. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    Is this position naive? Should we just look after our own future and forget the world?

    I don't know.

    I think the existence of icbm's and nukes makes securing our own borders just the beginning of defense, if we would do it. Must we combat the ideologies of irrational hatred and fear? I think so.
     
  6. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Duane, I can't believe you're posting editorials written by Democrats. And I can't fathom why anyone - besides labor unions - would be against free trade agreements. They raise the standard of living in all nations involved - which is crucial in Central America. They mean cheaper goods for American consumers. And it means a more efficient economy.
     
  7. Merlin
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    Merlin Active Member

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    gop_jeff, my opinion is 180 degrees from yours. It may raise the standard of living in some nations, but how on earth could it do anything for the US except drag it down? I don't think we should let ANYTHING from a foreign country into the USA. We need to produce and consume our own products, period. "They mean cheaper goods for American consumers." Yes, cheaper goods, but a lot more expensive in the long run. Things that should last for 5 years don't last for 5 days. As you may have gathered, I am a strict isolationist and believe 50 calibers should be set up every 50 feet on all our borders. I've been watching and fighting this battle for 7 decades now, and all I have seen is degradation of the USA because of foreign junk. Either bring it home and do it right, or keep it over there and sell it to the locals.
     
  8. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Jeff, I agree with you. Too few Americans fail to understand that Central and South Americas are crucial to our own security. Teddy added the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine for security reasons.

    If we don't pass CAFTA, we have given up our leverage with terror developing in our own back yard.
     
  9. Merlin
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    Merlin Active Member

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    You and I agree on one thing, that too few Americans fail to understand that Central and South America are crucial to our own security. (Me most of all) Would you please go into a little detail for us, because I see CAFTA as an open door invitation to "come as you are bring your bombs. We will turn our heads". A lot of us see the Monroe Doctrine as just more toilet paper. If someone can show me how CAFTA can help our security, I for one would be all for it.
     
  10. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I'm not trying to duck this, but some of it is in reading economics, not fun at all. I get mine primarily through political/policy readings. Boiled down to my understanding would be that poverty rates in CA/SA are so high, especially with their far richer northern neighbor, that they are 'ripe' for terror recruitment. Same thing occured during WWII, look at the Nazis that were able to get over there.

    To some degree it would just allow some of their people to become employed, more likely at the expense of Asia than the US. Those are the kinds of jobs we are talking about.

    I've seen numbers thrown around, but basically the US could figure on increase of employment-but less than 1%, while CA would pick up in excess of 4%.
     

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