Adios Middle Class
And say hello to the new third world United States.
But look at any number of industries where American factory hands are competing against the Chinese or the Cambodians, whether in textiles or furniture or appliances, and the fallout is the same: The standard of living for the Americans slips.
"For the United States, it's the end of labor as we once knew it," Stephen Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley, wrote recently.
And why might this be your average American blogger wonders. Wasn't NAFTA supposed to be the tide that lifted all ships? I know that's what Bill Clinton sold us, he wouldn't lie, would he?
We will make our case as hard and as well as we can. And, though the fight will be difficult, I deeply believe we will win. And I'd like to tell you why. First of all, because NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't support this agreement.
I believe that NAFTA will create a million jobs in the first five years of its impact. And I believe that that is many more jobs than will be lost, as inevitably some will be as always happens when you open up the mix to a new range of competition. NAFTA will generate these jobs by fostering an export boom to Mexico; by tearing down tariff walls which have been lowered quite a bit by the present administration of President Salinas, but are still higher than Americans.
Here's what US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Zoellick had to say...
" We can begin with what NAFTA and open trade have meant for the average U.S. family. And these are conservative estimates: NAFTA and the Uruguay Round together have resulted in higher incomes and lower prices for goods, with benefits amounting to $1300 to $2000 a year for a family of four. That is real money for farmers, nurses, teachers, police officers, and office workers. The real beneficiaries are lower-income Americans, who bear a disproportionate burden when prices for food, clothing, and appliances are kept artificially high because of trade barriers…. NAFTA has been pulling American goods and grains into Mexico, benefiting consumers and supporting quality U.S. jobs here at home. In the seven years since NAFTA’s implementation, U.S. exports to Mexico and Canada now support 2.9 million American jobs – 900,000 more than in 1993. Such jobs pay wages that are 13 to 18 percent higher than the average American wage."This guy missed his calling, he should be doing stand-up.
Now for the reality ten years later.
One wonders precisely how many Bentley's in the garage do our new robber barons require? How many homes equal success? How many Americans need to be removed forcibly from the middle class before we say enough is enough?
Ten years of economic data belie the promises of broad economic benefits that NAFTA’s promoters used to sell the pact to a skeptical U.S. public. We were promised that NAFTA would result in a growing U.S. trade surplus with Mexico that would create new U.S. jobs. Instead NAFTA has turned a modest U.S. trade surplus with Mexico into a huge new NAFTA trade deficit and the U.S. trade deficit with
Canada has increased fivefold.We were promised 170,000 new U.S. jobs would be created annually by NAFTA.When unprecedented U.S. economic growth in the 1990s created jobs at a fairly rapid rate, the hundreds of thousands of fulltime, high-wage, benefit-paying manufacturing jobs that were being lost to NAFTA were masked.
But the U.S. lost three million manufacturing jobs — 1 in 6 jobs in that sector — during NAFTA and some 525,000 U.S. workers have been specifically certified as NAFTA job-loss victims under just one narrow government retraining program.
NAFTA’s rules provided new incentives to relocate production:“foreign investors”— meaning U.S. companies relocating to Mexico — received both special investor
protections and preferential access for finished products shipped back to the U.S.
Meanwhile, many workers who have lost high-wage, benefits-paying manufacturing jobs have only found new work in service sector positions that typically pay 23-77 percent less than their previous wages and offer few or no benefits.
NAFTA’s transformation of the kinds of jobs available to the 75 percent of Americans who do not have a college degree has contributed to stagnant wage levels that have destroyed the economic security of millions of American families. From 1946-73, there was an 80% gain in median wages.Yet from 1973-2000,U.S.median wages have been almost flat, even though trade now represents two times the share of U.S. economic activity than it did thirty years ago.1
And of course another irony is that we're supposed to accept the outsourcing of jobs as good for us, while our asshat politicians flood the land with illegal aliens and H1-B visas, which allows American companies to import cheaper high-tech labor. I'm trying to calculate if there's any orifice left for our great leaders to rape us in? Nope, I think they did a pretty thorough job. Thank goodness for our brave leaders, without them whatever would we do?
And please remember that NAFTA was guaranteed to create 'better' jobs for all Americans. When's the last time you heard of a company increasing benefits? All I see these days are Starbucks and Cell phone kiosks, are any other jobs being created? We hear constantly about the job numbers, the job numbers, but what are these jobs and are they being filled by citizens of this country? I would tend to think not, I mean all Americans are lazy, right?
And the true, painful irony is that NAFTA hasn't even helped our neighbors to the South. If it had, I think people (not me, but people) would be more amenable to NAFTA, but it hasn't.
I wish we had a government that looked out for all Americans, not just the wealthy. I wish unions still had some usefulness. I guess most of all, I miss my country.
Welcome to McDonald's, can I take your order?
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