Saturday, February 2, 2008

McCain defends and misrepresents NAFTA

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.


Anonymous said...


You and I agree :). I hate NAFTA, which was signed by Clinton. I think corporations should be punished for moving jobs overseas. It is stuff like this that is hurting the middle class. American corporations should not be given any incentives to move labor abroad. I would support a zero corporate income tax, and increase individual taxation, inorder to keep American jobs here. However, the reduced taxation would have to either be reinvested in the company or given to labor.

I am a conservative, however, some of the things that are going on in corporate America is not conservatism, it is greed.

Michael Rosen said...

NAFTA was designed to protect corporate interests, particularly financial and intellectual property rights while ignoring labor and environmental rights As long as corporations can search the globe for the lowest labor costs and weakest labor and environmental regulations, we will experience middle class decline. Trade does not have to be designed this way.

The US has federal tax incentives that encourage corporations to offshore production. John Edwards was campaigning against these. Hopefully others will pick it up.

The US had its strongest rates of growth and highest levels of productivity in the 1950’s and 60’s with much higher corporate taxes then today and higher marginal tax rates. We cannot keep shifting the burden of funding necessary government services to the working and middle classes. So I can’t see how you justify eliminating corporate taxes. They have the rights of citizens, powerful ones at that, and should contribute their fair share to the greater good.

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