Corporations, mainstream economists, and politicians, including the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, Senator John McCain, repeatedly claimed in the early 1990s that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would improve the U.S. trade balance with Mexico and Canada, resulting in a net gain of almost 200,000 jobs in the United States.
The reality is that the U.S.-NAFTA trade deficit has soared over the past dozen years, displacing a total of 1 million jobs nationwide, with losses in every state (see Revisiting NAFTA).
Wisconsin lost more than 25,403 jobs because of NAFTA. One third of those who lost their jobs were not reemployed. For those who were, the wages were 11% to 13% less than they had earned before being displaced.
Simply put, NAFTA has failed to achieve the benchmarks for success established by its proponents. Yet presidential aspirant, Senator McCain, continues to defend NAFTA and misrepresent its impact.