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stasisLAX
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Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:15 am

In the fifteen years since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was established, the flow of goods across borders has sharply increased and the profits of multinational corporations have added to investor's wallets . However, the social and economic costs to many Americans have been considerable. The levels of economic inequality has skyrocketed in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. NAFTA's side agreements that were put into effect in order to protect labor and environmental standards have been proved to be very weak and largely unenforceable.

NAFTA's provisions for protecting the rights of foreign investors, on the other hand, have been successfully used in all three countries to challenge local and state regulations protecting public health and the environment.

The United States has lost millions of industrial jobs that paid decent wages and benefits, and corporations have used the threat of exporting jobs to reduce wages and benefits even for the unionized factories that remain in the USA and Canada. The negative impacts of NAFTA in states such as Michigan, Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania have been profound.

The industrial jobs created in Mexico were primarily poorly paid and insecure; some of these jobs were also been relocated to China. In fact, small subsistence farmers in Mexico lost their ability to earn a living, forcing many of them to cross the border into the U.S. in a desperate search for work, only making the illegal immigration situation worse.

At the beginning of 2008, the provisions of NAFTA required that the few remaining protections for basic foodstuffs had to be dismantled in Mexico, and hundreds of thousands of poor Mexicans took to the streets demanding that NAFTA be heavily renegotiated or outright repealed. A strong citizens' movement in Canada (especially those Canadians involved in the farming/agriculture business) is also demanding that NAFTA be renegotiated.

"Free trade" agreements like NAFTA are increasingly unpopular with many working Americans, particularly union members and families. The issue played a pivotal role in electing several proponents of "fair trade" in both the 2006 and 2008 congressional elections.

In the key states of Ohio and Texas, fair trade advocates secured written statements by President-Elect Obama that, if elected, he would renegotiate NAFTA. Obama promised to include enforceable labor and environmental standards, and to reexamine clauses that excessively favored investor interests.

None the less, the 2008 general election campaign has featured an ongoing debate on "free" trade versus "fair" trade, particularly in those states that have suffered most trade-related job losses. Senator McCain wholeheartedly supported NAFTA and other "free trade" agreements that primarily benefit the multinational corporations and economic elites. President-Elect Obama has advocated substantial reforms in U.S. trade policies.

However, the Obama campaigns was financially supported by business interests that favor "free trade," and both candidates are advised by economic policy analysts who are "free traders"-raising a substantial question about the willingness and ability of the President-Elect to fulfill his promise to renegotiate NAFTA.

Was Ross Perot correct when he warned all of us back in 1992 that the "giant sucking sound" we'd all hear would be the sound of American manufacturing jobs leaving the United States? Should NAFTA be repealed or simply renegotiated in your opinion?

[Edited 2008-11-08 21:17:19]
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Aaron747
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:25 am



Quoting StasisLAX (Thread starter):
Obama promised to include enforceable labor and environmental standards, and to reexamine clauses that excessively favored investor interests.

It's difficult to respond to the entirety of your post given the complexity of the issue but I'd like to point out this one salient point since it relates to our President-Elect: Of all his pledges, this will be among the most difficult to deliver on.

Enforceable environmental standards are a pipe dream in the trade world. Rightly or wrongly, most G8 countries consider our decision on Kyoto to have been completely self-motivated and without merit. The cries of hypocrisy would be deafening were Obama to actually push on that issue, especially when he will be unable to get very far with further cost burden on environmental standards in the energy and automotive industries at this point in time.

Determination of 'excessive favoritism of investor interests' is another noble idea that is inherently unrealistic. How does one begin to define such a thing?? Do we use different standards for publicly and privately held companies? Do we use different standards depending on proportion of overall revenues from exports? Do we use different standards depending on the number of workers outsourced overseas in a given industry? You can't reexamine clauses that merely appear to be excessive - to really do what he says he wants to do, would require reexamining all of them. And nobody, especially an incoming President, wants to do that. This will be a great couple of years for billing hours at lobbying firms...
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Arrow
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:59 am



Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 1):
It's difficult to respond to the entirety of your post given the complexity of the issue but I'd like to point out this one salient point since it relates to our President-Elect: Of all his pledges, this will be among the most difficult to deliver on.

I think he will approach this with extreme caution. The political rhetoric demanding renegotiation, as it emanates from all three countries, is based on a one-sided view of what a renegotiation will bring. Each thinks its time to "fix" those provisions they think puts them at a disadvantage, and none recognize that in order to gain some thing in one area, you might have to sacrifice something in another. That's how the deal was negotiated in the first place, and that's how it will be renegotiated (if it happens at all).

Examples:

U.S wants to standardize labour and environmental standards. Is the US prepared to raise its standards to match Canada's, or does Canada need to lower its standards to match the US.

Canada wants to re-negotiate the dispute settlement provisions because the US consistently ignored the existing tribunals when they lost cases -- e.g. softwood lumber. Is the US prepared to honour dispute settlement rulings it loses in exchange for Canada's acquiescence on labour/environment standards?

Canada is unhappy with the supply guarantees on energy exports to the US -- oil, gas and electricity -- because it prevents Canada from curtailing exports without imposing similar curtailments on its own citizens. Would the US sacrifice that to get something in return?

The people who clamour for renegotiation of NAFTA have absolutely no idea what the pros of the existing deal are, they focus only on the cons. I don't think Obama is stupid enough to open this can of worms without some back channel discussions with both Canada and Mexico long before any formal move is made. All three countries have far too much to lose by messing this up.
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Blackbird
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:05 am

I think NAFTA should be repealed...

Blackbird
 
jcs17
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:09 am

Yes and no.

The problem is with our neighbor to the south who can never get their head out of their ass (the ass is paying the head under the table). The Mexican government doesn't seem to realize that their labor migrating to the United States is absolutely killing them. Mexico has such a competitive advantage over the United States and Canada in terms of cost of labor, it is unbelievable. However, the problem is that to get anything done in terms of setting up any kind of labor in Mexico, you've got to bribe anyone and everyone to conduct business. It's reminiscent of the Mafia in New York in the early 20th century, except on a national scale. Very few American or Canadian companies really want to take that risk especially with the crackdowns on illegal/international labor.

I have no problem with Mexico being part of NAFTA if their companies financial dealings were actually subject to the kind of scrutiny that takes place north of Juarez. However, the way things are now, Mexico could rival Nigeria in terms of gross misconduct by government officials and the drug gangs.
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Pyrex
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:43 am

Quoting StasisLAX (Thread starter):
strong citizens' movement in Canada (especially those Canadians involved in the farming/agriculture business)

A.k.a. "subsidy whores".

Quoting Arrow (Reply 2):

Very good post. It really highlights all the issues. Basically, who would the U.S. government screw to protect union jobs? Consumers? Other sectors of the economy?

[Edited 2008-11-09 00:44:17]
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Arrow
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:10 pm

If you want a thorough understanding of what is involved in a trade negotiation, I recommend "Decision at Midnight" by Michael Hart.

This book documents the often frenetic back-and-forth that went on when the original Canada-US free trade agreement was negotiated. That was the precursor to NAFTA (All NAFTA did was bring Mexico into the fold, little else changed).

More importantly, it shows what each side put into the agreement, and what each side sacrificed to get a deal. That's the most important aspect, because after the fact, when people on both sides started attacking "Provision A" or "Provision B" they did so with absolutely no appreciation for the give and take that went into the deal.

It is a NEGOTIATION. Too many people think a re-negotiation will be a unilateral attempt by one side to get everything it wants without giving up anything in return. There is not a hope in hell that would happen.

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 3):
I think NAFTA should be repealed...

None of the three countries is that stupid. Obama is a smart man, so is Harper, so is Calderon. No one is going to walk away from NAFTA, despite all the bombastic rhetoric you hear.

Here's a little factoid: Canada is the number one customer for exports from 38 of the 48 continental states. Why in heaven's name do you want to mess with that?

Quoting StasisLAX (Thread starter):
The United States has lost millions of industrial jobs that paid decent wages and benefits, and corporations have used the threat of exporting jobs to reduce wages and benefits even for the unionized factories that remain in the USA and Canada. The negative impacts of NAFTA in states such as Michigan, Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania have been profound.

Very little of that can be traced to NAFTA, most of it is Asia. As far as those four states you mentioned? Read above.
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seb146
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:20 pm

So, what about renegotiating NAFTA and at the same time renegotiating trade with Asian countries especially China? The way I look at it, most of the United State's trading issues stem more from Asia than Mexico and Canada.
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Flighty
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:38 pm



Quoting StasisLAX (Thread starter):
The United States has lost millions of industrial jobs that paid decent wages and benefits, and corporations have used the threat of exporting jobs to reduce wages and benefits even for the unionized factories that remain in the USA and Canada. The negative impacts of NAFTA in states such as Michigan, Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania have been profound.

The United States until this year was providing jobs for nearly every American who wanted a job. Put simply, unemployment numbers were extremely low in the USA until the last couple of months. So what you say is not supported by the "big picture," only the "small picture." Did it occur to you that NAFTA helped our country become more vibrant, and added millions of jobs? I guess not. What about the fact that American job creation was excellent during all those years. Do only factory workers matter, or can we say that other people matter too?

Quoting StasisLAX (Thread starter):
Was Ross Perot correct when he warned all of us back in 1992 that the "giant sucking sound" we'd all hear would be the sound of American manufacturing jobs leaving the United States?

No because he, like you, did not account for the vast benefits of trade with foreign countries. If they make stuff cheaper than we are willing to make it, that speaks of a consensual, beneficial trade agreement. Both parties benefit, this is basic economic science (this is as rock solid as the law of gravity or the theory of relativity).

Quoting Arrow (Reply 6):
Very little of that can be traced to NAFTA, most of it is Asia.

Exactly. Do you guys really want to work in a shoe factory? More to the point, do you wish Nikes cost $275 because American labor is making them? Then we would have black market shoe dealers where you can buy excellent Vietnam made shoes for $100. Do we want a black market economy? Outlawing trade is ridiculous. Tariffs and export subsidies are also, generally, ridiculous and harmful.

America could definitely survive without world trade. But life would be very harsh. We would be living like people in the 1920s. Without imported goods, everything would be expensive. Materially, poverty in America would increase. Televisions would be too expensive and many people would not afford them. But hey, we would have a television factory in America. Duh. That is not the way the world works anymore. Globalization has been a smashing success. Those who denigrate America's economic strength, are simply ignorant of basic facts. Trade has only strengthened America. The problems we do have are mostly political, not economic.

Maybe the middle class in the USA is getting shafted. If you want some of that wealth, vote for universal health care. Vote for free university education for all Americans. Vote for a strong social security system. Tax the people who are getting rich from trade. I would rather live in a rich country than a poor country. Without trade, we are a poor country.
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:41 pm

...only if politicians are first polled to make sure they know 1) WTF it is, and 2) who all is involved.

Sadly, I wish I was kidding-- but after revelations from this recent election: giving elected officials' specific knowledge the benefit of the doubt, is apparently a luxury that we can no longer afford.  Sad
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flexo
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:47 pm



Quoting Flighty (Reply 8):

Couldn't have said it any better. Free trade is extremely beneficial for everyone, not only the rich!
 
lowrider
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:23 pm



Quoting Arrow (Reply 2):
The political rhetoric demanding renegotiation, as it emanates from all three countries, is based on a one-sided view of what a renegotiation will bring.

I think this is key. Everything costs something. What are American prepared to give up? Probably very little. I think any attempt at renegotiation would become a political tar baby. I don't think repealing it is an option either, because the North American economies are too intertwined. It would be like trying to seperate siamese triplets. I think the only meaningful change would be to expand it and invite other countries, such as Guatemala, and Belize, to participate.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 8):
Maybe the middle class in the USA is getting shafted. If you want some of that wealth, vote for universal health care. Vote for free university education for all Americans. Vote for a strong social security system. Tax the people who are getting rich from trade.

Or you could do something really radical and go try to create and earn some of it yourself.
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photopilot
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:50 pm

Let's see..... Canada supplies about 25% of the United States energy needs through NAFTA. Would you really like to see those provisions of the NAFTA agreement suspended? Be carefull what you wish or ask for.... you just might get it.

If that happens, you'll need to do more than drill, drill, drill.  Big grin

[Edited 2008-11-09 11:51:22]
 
Flighty
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:47 pm



Quoting Photopilot (Reply 12):
If that happens, you'll need to do more than drill, drill, drill.

Right, hahaha, we should never import things, unless it's delicious ENERGY, yum delicious. But importing other things is evil  Wow!

i think Canada and Mexico both contribute a lot to the USA and vice versa. I think immigration is a huge problem but NAFTA was necessary and a huge benefit to all. Face it, our economy from 1994-2008 was pretty dang good. We are having a problem today but NAFTA is not the reason.
 
lowrider
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:59 pm



Quoting Photopilot (Reply 12):
If that happens, you'll need to do more than drill, drill, drill.

Drill sideways (northward)
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YWG
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:48 pm



Quoting Blackbird (Reply 3):
I think NAFTA should be repealed...

Blackbird


Chapter 11 of NAFTA is downright retarded.
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Arrow
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:51 pm



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 14):
Drill sideways (northward)

Indeed, they know how to do that and have been doing it for 20 years now. I think they can run those horizontal wells for about a kilometer -- maybe more. But what can run north can also run south. Big grin
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
lowrider
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:06 am



Quoting Arrow (Reply 16):
they know how to do that

It will take more than a KM, but I am aiming under the nearest Timmy's

Quoting Arrow (Reply 16):
But what can run north can also run south.

Careful, if your aim is a little off, you may not like what you find on the other end.
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FruteBrute
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:06 am

NAFTA should be left alone.

People always get up in arms over trade acting like their nation is being shafted somehow.

Read the book Hot Flat And Crowded or The World Is Flat, both by Thomas Friedman. The world no longer is like it was 50 years ago. Here in the US you need to get more education, and always be increasing your skills. It's a competitive world. This entitlement thinking by some is appalling. Just because your father or your grandfather did a particular task/job, doesn't mean you should be entitled to do the same job and then also expect to be paid a wage that you can raise a family on. America has always been good at implementing new ideas and technology. People won't pay that kind of money these days for low tech goods. You can't expect to work in a textile mill these days and make a living wage.

Back in the 1960s being a grocery cashier or a phone operator paid a living wage. You couldn't afford to talk to someone long distance back then either without spending a fortune. So what's better, having unlimited phone calling from a landline all over North America for $35, or having a couple hundred thousand phone operators that make a good living?

Life moves on. Adapt or die.
 
Flighty
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:34 am



Quoting FruteBrute (Reply 18):
Back in the 1960s being a grocery cashier or a phone operator paid a living wage.

Yes. Also consider that back then, a "living wage" did not need to pay for all the fancy goods and services we have today. People want to live like the millionaire celebrities they see on TV. When people can't afford all that stuff, they start complaining like something is wrong. This is what I don't get about people. Complaining about the American way of life is just crazy IMO. We have it very good. But a cashier can't be a millionaire.
 
Charles79
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Mon Nov 10, 2008 3:22 am



Quoting ConcordeBoy (Reply 9):
...only if politicians are first polled to make sure they know 1) WTF it is, and 2) who all is involved.

True. First show that you understand basic trade concepts, then you can try and do something about it.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 13):
Face it, our economy from 1994-2008 was pretty dang good. We are having a problem today but NAFTA is not the reason.

Greed and spending beyond our means got us into the current situation; NAFTA is just a fancy scapegoat.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 19):
Also consider that back then, a "living wage" did not need to pay for all the fancy goods and services we have today. People want to live like the millionaire celebrities they see on TV. When people can't afford all that stuff, they start complaining like something is wrong. This is what I don't get about people. Complaining about the American way of life is just crazy IMO. We have it very good.

True. Our way of life could be greatly improved if people would spend more time with their families, went out for walks and exercise more often, and decided to shorten their commute by living closer to work when feasible. Unfortunately, most folks feel that what defines quality of life is having gadgets, a new car, a new coat, a new Flat TV, etc.

We have many challenges in our country but keeping a bit of perspective also helps.
 
pacificjourney
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Mon Nov 10, 2008 3:57 am

Seems like no one is happy with NAFTA - Mexico, Canada and the US all think they're being shafted.

Conventional wisdom suggests therefore that this agreement must be about right.

If it ain't broke, don't fuck with it !
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Arrow
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:17 am



Quoting Pacificjourney (Reply 21):
Conventional wisdom suggests therefore that this agreement must be about right.

If it ain't broke, don't fuck with it !

That about sums it up. But it could be tweaked to the benefit of all three countries. That will require give and take. But frankly, I don't like the odds of success for any president who has to take a renegotiated NAFTA back to Congress for approval. The first thing they'll want to do is remove all the stuff that the other two countries got from the negotiation, and add a few items to the list of goodies the US wants. The other two countries will of course tell them to stick that where the sun doesn't shine. End of negotiations; status quo remains.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
Arrow
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:53 pm

More arguments that pragmatism will govern the new president's approach to trade, at least when it comes to NAFTA:


Obama not likely to renegotiate NAFTA, ex-diplomat says

Peter O'Neil, Europe Correspondent, Canwest News Service
Published: Thursday, November 13, 2008

PARIS - President-elect Barack Obama will likely find a way to back off his election campaign promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, a former Canadian ambassador to both the U.S. and France said here Thursday.

Both Chretien and Fredrick Erixon, director of the European Centre for International Political Economy, said opening up NAFTA will be seen as too risky in Washington because of fears the U.S. could lose its access to Canadian energy guaranteed under the continental accord.

"I think that when apprised of their dependency on Canada's imports, not only of oil but of gas, any president would think twice about reopening NAFTA," said Chretien, who starting serving as Canadian ambassador to Washington when the trade deal took effect in 1994.
He noted that Bill Clinton opposed North American free trade before his election in 1992.


http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/n...15ed12-326f-4187-8cd1-85ceef892b9a
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
Flighty
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:16 pm

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 20):
We have many challenges in our country but keeping a bit of perspective also helps.

Yeah.... my foreigner friends keep me sane sometimes. One guy from Ethiopia asks me who buys $25,000 boats to go fishing. I had to explain that in this country, regular people can do that. Not just king and warlords but regular people. Just to go fishing. For food? No! Just for fun. He was like, "that is very wasteful." But our thinking is different. We have warlike machines to go through the forest... not to engage in civil war... but to hunt turkeys for amusement. In Ethiopia they must be more interested in the basics!


The problem is, human beings are usually never satisfied. If the median wage were $90,000 instead of $40,000 people would still complain they were short of funds. And we would still have a banking crisis exactly like we have now.

[Edited 2008-11-13 10:26:14]
 
AirframeAS
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:41 pm

Its outdated. I think it needs to be re-written to todays standards in order to keep everyone's economies afloat. Everybody needs all the help they can get to prevent a global collapse. But that is just my opinion.
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MD-90
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:52 pm

How about a genuine free trade agreement that the US, Canada, and Mexico agree to that simply states that no tariffs or taxes will be excised on trade between the three countries? No quotas, no restrictions, no qualifiers, nothing but genuine free trade--which is not what NAFTA is.

Free trade is not "government managed trade."
 
Arrow
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Thu Nov 13, 2008 7:43 pm



Quoting MD-90 (Reply 26):
How about a genuine free trade agreement that the US, Canada, and Mexico agree to that simply states that no tariffs or taxes will be excised on trade between the three countries? No quotas, no restrictions, no qualifiers, nothing but genuine free trade--which is not what NAFTA is.

It's pretty close. The vast majority of products crossing US/Canada do so tariff-free. But each country has its little pet sectors that it refuses to open up to competition. For Canada, the dairy industry is at the top of the "protect at any cost" list, along with "cultural" industries. For the US, it's sugar, lumber, and cement (although I think they did a deal with Mexico on cement). I'm not sure where it lies with Mexico, but there's bound to be something.

A true, unrestricted free trade agreement would be wonderful -- but as long as politicians in all three countries need the support of their farming communities (and others, but ag is the worst) to get elected -- it ain't gonna happen. And certainly not in today's economic climate.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
Charles79
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:30 pm



Quoting Flighty (Reply 24):
The problem is, human beings are usually never satisfied. If the median wage were $90,000 instead of $40,000 people would still complain they were short of funds. And we would still have a banking crisis exactly like we have now.

You know, I remember when the Enron scandal broke out I wondered when do you realize that you have enough money. I mean, we had folks with banks account approaching the GDP of a small country who still tried to make more. Enron had some examples of greed that knows no boundaries.

More recently with the talk about Obama's tax on families making over $250K Fortune magazine (I think) had an article where they profiled 5 families all making between $250-500K. What struck me is that all families were no larger than my family while growing up (2 parents, 3 kids) yet all complained that they didn't have enough. Not enough to cover education costs such as a private tutor, to cover ballet and piano lessons, to cover vacations, to cover the mortgage on their 7500 sq ft homes, etc. My parents annual budget was never more than $20K yet they raised 3 kids who all went to college (one to an Ivy League school) and did it without food stamps or any other government assistance. I guess some people have their priorities mixed sometimes.
 
victrola
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:08 pm



Quoting Pacificjourney (Reply 21):
Seems like no one is happy with NAFTA - Mexico, Canada and the US all think they're being shafted.

Conventional wisdom suggests therefore that this agreement must be about right

Always remember its the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. The only people who bring up NAFTA are the special interest groups who have lost out due to this deal.

You won't hear any more about NAFTA from Obama. There is really no upside to starting up negotiations with Canada and Mexico again. People who assume that Mexico and Canada would be willing to give anything to the United States without receiving anything back are fools, and the collapse of NAFTA would put millions of people out of work in all 3 countries. People tend to forget that a lot of people have good paying jobs in the field of international trade.

Furthermore, the idea that NAFTA is the major cause of the loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States is nonsense. The main cause of the loss of manufacturing jobs has been advances in manufacturing technology that diminish the need for manual labor. Free trade is just a scapegoat. It's easier for politicians to attack foreigners (foreigners can't vote) than to attack something like the advance of technology that inevitably makes some jobs obsolete.
 
Arrow
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:16 am

Another NAFTA shot across the bows:

Energy sales likely hot-button issue if NAFTA reopened: Cannon

Mike Blanchfield, Canwest News Service
Published: Friday, November 14, 2008

OTTAWA - Renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement would have "consequences," Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon warned Friday, including finding markets other than the United States for Canadian oil.

Cannon said he agreed with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's assessment earlier this week when he suggested to business leaders that he was not reassured on the future of NAFTA after a meeting with advisers to U.S. president-elect Barack Obama.

During the presidential primaries, Obama raised the possibility of renegotiating the three-way trade agreement, which also includes Mexico, in order to protect U.S. jobs. Until the Obama team firmly discounts that possibility, Canada's Conservative government continues to send strong messages defending the treaty.

"Clearly I share Minister Flaherty's views on that," Cannon told Canwest News in an interview Friday. "Canada is an energy superpower. We produce oil. If at the end of the day, that is not going to find a way down to the American market, we have to be able to sell it elsewhere. There are consequences to this, on both sides."
Added Cannon: "We don't take it lightly."


http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/n...d7a8ec-9462-46f5-974f-daa5ec83df0c

Funny -- this is a huge issue up here, and gets ignored by mainstream media in the US. And only two days ago, Enbridge Inc. announced it would like to fast track a proposal for a huge new pipeline to carry Alberta oil to Kitimat on the west coast. The company said it was pushing ahead on the urging of Asian customers ready to sign contracts. Kinder Morgan is already in the middle of a big pipeline expansion to double shipments of Alberta oil to Vancouver, also for potential shipments to Asia.

Is anybody awake down there? Or is Obamamania still in full flight.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
Flighty
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:28 pm



Quoting Arrow (Reply 30):
unny -- this is a huge issue up here, and gets ignored by mainstream media in the US.

That's the reality. The trade volume of NAFTA, while large for the USA, is (ten times larger?) for Canadians relative to their economy. It is a bigger issue for Canadians in reality.

This "anti-NAFTA" sentiment in USA is aimed at Mexico, not Canada. So we are bewildered when Canada starts making statements on it. But I agree we should keep NAFTA.
 
L-188
Posts: 29870
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:16 pm

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 26):
Free trade is not "government managed trade."

God that is so true....problem is that there is no tax money in free trade.

Quoting Arrow (Reply 30):
Is anybody awake down there? Or is Obamamania still in full flight.

I don't think so. But it is funny, I went to a bunch of gun stores yesterday...nobody in any of them would admit to voting for the guy.

[Edited 2008-11-16 13:17:30]

[Edited 2008-11-16 13:18:34]

[Edited 2008-11-16 13:19:54]
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
Dougloid
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:33 am



Quoting L-188 (Reply 32):
I don't think so. But it is funny, I went to a bunch of gun stores yesterday...nobody in any of them would admit to voting for the guy.

You're in alaska, right? Nobody there voted for Obama anyway. But you know what? It doesn't matter. Nobody in North Dakota did either.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
Arrow
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:02 pm



Quoting Flighty (Reply 31):
That's the reality. The trade volume of NAFTA, while large for the USA, is (ten times larger?) for Canadians relative to their economy. It is a bigger issue for Canadians in reality.

You're right -- Canada sends more than 80% of its exports south. But a huge proportion of that 80% is energy -- oil, natural gas and electricity. When US politicians (including both McCain and Obama) talk about securing independence from "foreign" oil, they conveniently ignore the Canadian component and define that as domestic . But Canada is the #1 supplier of "foreign" oil.

Those comments in the story I posted -- from two high profile cabinet ministers -- came AFTER a meeting they had with Obama's transition team about his intentions re NAFTA -- and they came away "not reassured on the future of NAFTA." Conservative politicians in this country rarely take shots at the US, so you have to wonder why all of a sudden they are doing so. They appear to be sending a message -- don't take that oil for granted; we can sell it elsewhere.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 31):
This "anti-NAFTA" sentiment in USA is aimed at Mexico, not Canada. So we are bewildered when Canada starts making statements on it.

Keep in mind that changes in NAFTA rules will affect all three countries -- not just Mexico. There are very high profile US senators -- like Max Baucus -- who have had a life-long hate on for all things shipped from Canada -- lumber, beef, wheat, you name it. He was a very powerful and influential Senator (chairman of the finance committee) under a Republican Administration; try to imagine how much more powerful he is now. He is public enemy number one up here, and has almost literally been run out of town in B.C.

Quoting YWG (Reply 15):
Chapter 11 of NAFTA is downright retarded.

The effect of Chapter 11 is grossly over-exaggerated. It is an investor-protection clause designed to prevent any of the three nations from discriminating against a foreign company trying to do business. It simply says you have to treat the foreign company the same way you treat your own -- and if you don't, there is recourse for the company to bring a complaint. It also says you have to honour contracts you sign, and if you change them unilaterally, there is a legally-binding forum for you to complain about it.

The irony here -- Chapter 11 was a US stipulation in the original negotiations. They wanted to make sure that an American company operating in Canada or Mexico would get fair and equal treatment. It never occurred to them that Canadian and Mexican companies would turn around and go after what they believed were discriminatory rulings by US authorities. There have been some significant wins under Ch. 11, but there have been more significant losses.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
slider
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:24 pm

NAFTA has done nothing but export American jobs outside of the USA. Our trade deficit in North America and the world continues to climb.

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=29439

And Buchanan is again on target….I’d really recommend reading this and not skimming it, fully understand exactly where the free trade cultists have gotten us. Our pants are now collectively around our ankles and we’re out in the cold. China is but part of the problem. NAFTA is another.
 
Arrow
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:14 pm



Quoting Slider (Reply 35):
Our pants are now collectively around our ankles and we’re out in the cold. China is but part of the problem. NAFTA is another.

This kind of simplistic approach to the world (and I read the Buchanan piece) is what will lead you down the path to oblivion. Fortunately your leaders -- even Dubya -- are smarter than that. The isolationist's cave will be a very cold and lonely place.

Blame China all you want, but the fact is that the standard of living for the average American is 50 times better than the average Chinese, and still in the top five globally. If you measure it by material goods alone, I bet you're still number 1 by a long shot. And you are grousing because they are growing faster than you? Try to remember that the story of China's rise to prominence in the 21st century looks a lot like the story of the US rise to prominence in the 19th and 20th centuries.

When your unemployment rate gets as high as ours, or Mexico's, raise the issue again. In the meantime consider this: You would probably run a huge trade surplus with Canada if we turned off the energy tap. Does that sound like a good idea?

Quoting Slider (Reply 35):
NAFTA has done nothing but export American jobs outside of the USA

There's no such thing as an "American" job any more than there is a "Canadian" or "Mexican" job. The number of jobs lost in the US because of NAFTA pales into insignificance when compared with the number the US has gained. Again, look at your unemployment rate.

Pat Buchanan is a quintessential example of that old adage "a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing."
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
Dougloid
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:26 pm



Quoting Slider (Reply 35):
NAFTA has done nothing but export American jobs outside of the USA. Our trade deficit in North America and the world continues to climb.

I'm not entirely sure that nafta did that but what it did was remove the barriers that had existed previously, and American capitalists gleefully sent those jobs offshore by the containership load-which is what they were doing with Mexico before Nafta.

In the words of Pogo, "We have met the Enemy, and he is Us."

Remember folks, every dollar you spend is a vote for what you want your world to look like.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
victrola
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:53 pm



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 37):
I'm not entirely sure that nafta did that but what it did was remove the barriers that had existed previously, and American capitalists gleefully sent those jobs offshore by the containership load-which is what they were doing with Mexico before Nafta.

More kneejerk nonsense. Ignorance of economics is probably the most dangerous thing we are facing in this country today. Stop listening to ignorant fools like Lou Dobbs and Pat Buchannon who know nothing about economics. There isn't a reputable economist on this planet who subscibes to their protectionist nonsense.

For your information the U.S., Mexican, and Canadian economies are significantly larger than they were in 1995 when NAFTA came into effect. Furthermore, in spite of our current recession, there are more people with jobs in the U.S. today than there were 1995.

Did you ever stop to consider the millions of Americans who have gained jobs because of free trade agreements? All we ever hear about are the uneducated factory workers who lost their jobs, mostly due to automation; not international trade. However millions of Americans work for freight forwarders, companies that export, airlines, steamship lines, customs brokers,banks, insurance companies, trucking firms, warhouses, accounting firms, and consulting firms. These are all jobs created by international trade.

The reason we hear so much about the people who have lost their jobs is because they come from small highly organized groups who know that if they scream enough, they will get some attention from some ignorant politician.
 
slider
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:58 pm



Quoting Arrow (Reply 36):
This kind of simplistic approach to the world (and I read the Buchanan piece) is what will lead you down the path to oblivion.

Guess what: we’re already on the fast track to oblivion! So you are defeating your own argument.

Quoting Arrow (Reply 36):
The isolationist's cave will be a very cold and lonely place.

Ah yes, the ad hominem attack of being an isolationist. Protecting national self-interest is something that should be a given and it’s NOT wrong. I’m tired of anyone who simply highlights the need to protect American interests first being branded some lunatic protectionist. There IS such a thing as being too open.

The GM crisis and US automaker bailout is the perfect example…and whether you dislike him, Buchanan is factually correct—the playing field IS tilted against us. We’ve over-corrected to endanger our own companies at the expense of free trade. The net result is that we have record trade imbalances, growing debt, a monster decrease in manufacturing capacity, and for what? To avoid making anyone mad at our own detriment? No thanks…the Hamilton theory was on target then and even though our world has gotten far more complex, the root foundational principle is absolutely accurate. If every company truly protected their own industries zealously, you’d have an even playing field instead of subsidies, tariffs, treaties and currency fluctuations, Federal legislation that all conspire to create a massive amount of carnage everywhere. The party is over!

Quoting Arrow (Reply 36):
When your unemployment rate gets as high as ours, or Mexico's, raise the issue again.

Unemployment is but one small indicator of the problem. Besides, in the vein of just automobiles again, look at how many are manufactured in Canada and Mexico that come here.

Arrow- I know we’ve sparred before on the timber issue and I’m well aware of your positions and respect them. But there ARE simple answers…you can have simple solutions without being simplistic. And my contention, and the growing body of evidence would suggest, that we are in a real pickle here and there is no end in sight.

If NAFTA is successful, why are so many able-bodied male Mexicans here in the States, leaving behind ghettos and massive poverty back home? Where is the commensurate Mexican internal reforms that will enable transborder NAFTA agreements to succeed? There are scores of questions that need to be asked…the answers and the debate about them will be illuminating enough to make one realize that NAFTA is and has been far from an outright success.
 
victrola
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:10 pm



Quoting Slider (Reply 39):
Guess what: we’re already on the fast track to oblivion! So you are defeating your own argument

Your ignorance of economics is only rivaled by your lack of ability to make a coherent arguement.
 
Dougloid
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:19 pm

Quoting Victrola (Reply 38):
Quoting Dougloid (Reply 37):
I'm not entirely sure that nafta did that but what it did was remove the barriers that had existed previously, and American capitalists gleefully sent those jobs offshore by the containership load-which is what they were doing with Mexico before Nafta.

More kneejerk nonsense. Ignorance of economics is probably the most dangerous thing we are facing in this country today. Stop listening to ignorant fools like Lou Dobbs and Pat Buchannon who know nothing about economics. There isn't a reputable economist on this planet who subscibes to their protectionist nonsense.



With all due respect, stick it where the sun don't shine. I don't pay any attention to Buchanan or Dobbs for the most part, but to characterize them as ignorant fools and to start an argument by telling everyone who disagrees with you that they're full of crap is hardly a well thought out line of reasoning, but it is a lot of hot air. I'd bet my last confederate dollar they could run rings around your ignorant ass in an argument.

Fact is, I know a few things myself. My postgraduate degree's in agricultural law-which means I spent a lot of time thinking about the issue of international trade. I also spent the first 45 years of my life as a blue collar worker and union member, which means I've got that corner of it wired for sound too.

In the words of the poet, I may be an Okie but I've been to town a few times.

So before you pop off about things of which you only know your own angle on it, make sure you understand who you're insulting.

[Edited 2008-11-18 14:32:13]
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
slider
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:04 pm



Quoting Victrola (Reply 38):
There isn't a reputable economist on this planet who subscibes to their protectionist nonsense.

Actually, there are plenty of them, including noted think tanks, among them the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Club for Growth, and others.

They advocate free trade, as do I. But if you want free trade, then make it TRULY free! Unshackle it fully and go big or go home.

Quoting Victrola (Reply 38):
Furthermore, in spite of our current recession, there are more people with jobs in the U.S. today than there were 1995.

Wow-considering the general demographic growth since 1995 in the US, that would stand to reason, would it not? And we’re not even getting into the tens of millions of illegals in this country who’ve also taken jobs that Americans can and should do and have also upset the equilibrium.

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 41):
Fact is, I know a few things myself. My postgraduate degree's in agricultural law-which means I spent a lot of time thinking about the issue of international trade. I also spent the first 45 years of my life as a blue collar worker and union member, which means I've got that corner of it wired for sound too.

Victrola....I think that's the sound of a spanking! haha
 
Arrow
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:26 pm



Quoting Slider (Reply 39):
Unemployment is but one small indicator of the problem. Besides, in the vein of just automobiles again, look at how many are manufactured in Canada and Mexico that come here.

They cross the border in all directions. Cars manufactured in the US come here, as do cars manufactured in Japan and Korea and a few other countries. And those Asian manufacturers (others too, I think) make a lot of cars and parts in North American manufacturing plants. This is the best argument I've seen for globalization -- the Detroit big three are not in trouble because of free trade, they are in trouble because they lost their ability to innovate, lost their ability to act quickly, and got themselves in a strangling knot of contractual relationships with states for dealerships, unbelievable severance terms for laid off employees, and a host of very expensive employee bennies that other manufacturers don't offer.

Those cars manufactured in Canada? Many of the pieces come from Michigan. Just as cars put together in Michigan get pieces from Oshawa. The level of cross-border integration is staggering. Just a hunch, but I bet you'd argue that ALL that stuff should be repatriated to Michigan.

My problem with the Buchanan (and Lou Dobbs) approach is that they think it's a zero sum game -- that the US can turn its back on decades of free trade and somehow restore the country to its former manufacturing glory through a host of protectionist measures. The only problem is, free trade has been the US mantra for decades and -- surprise surprise -- the world bought into it big time. If the US now decides it won't buy any more foreign stuff, those foreigners (and there's a lot of more of them) will ultimately decide not to buy your stuff. Ask Boeing how it would like a world in which its only airplane sales were to American carriers, and the rest of the world went Airbus.

Quoting Slider (Reply 39):
And my contention, and the growing body of evidence would suggest, that we are in a real pickle here and there is no end in sight.

I agree with you. Where we disagree is on the solution. You can call it "national interest" all you want, but building up walls and stifling trade through a variety of protectionist measures
will make things worse, not better. That approach was tried in the 30s (Smoot-Hawley) with catastrophic results for everyone.

Keep this in mind: there is nothing manufactured in any country in the world that can't be manufactured somewhere else.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
victrola
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:13 am



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 41):
With all due respect, stick it where the sun don't shine. I don't pay any attention to Buchanan or Dobbs for the most part, but to characterize them as ignorant fools and to start an argument by telling everyone who disagrees with you that they're full of crap is hardly a well thought out line of reasoning, but it is a lot of hot air. I'd bet my last confederate dollar they could run rings around your ignorant ass in an argument.

Your response is a pathetic. You should consider sticking it where the sun doesn't shine yourself. I seriously doubt any of them could take me in a arguement. I have had an extensive education in the area of economics and international trade. I have spent my entire 20 year career in the field of international trade.

Quoting Slider (Reply 42):
Victrola....I think that's the sound of a spanking! haha

It still doesn't change the fact that you have no understanding of economics. Ha Ha
 
victrola
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:21 am



Quoting Slider (Reply 42):
Actually, there are plenty of them, including noted think tanks, among them the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Club for Growth, and others.

The Cato Instutie and Heritage Foundation are some of the leading proponents of free trade.

As far as NAFTA is concerned, it is easy to choose certain aspects of the agreement and have legitimate criticism of them. It was an agreement negociated by politicians. Not economists. If you want to renegociate, once again it will be renogciated by politicians who have more interest in protecting their supporters than arriving at a better agreement.

Countries are prospeous to the extent that they let sound economics triumph over sound politics.
 
victrola
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:33 am



Quoting Slider (Reply 42):
They advocate free trade, as do I. But if you want free trade, then make it TRULY free! Unshackle it fully and go big or go home.

Surprisingly I agree 100% with your comment. However I got the impression from your other posts that you were anti free trade.

If it were up to me NAFTA would probably be a one page document.
 
Dougloid
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:40 am



Quoting Victrola (Reply 45):
As far as NAFTA is concerned, it is easy to choose certain aspects of the agreement and have legitimate criticism of them. It was an agreement negociated by politicians. Not economists. If you want to renegociate, once again it will be renogciated by politicians who have more interest in protecting their supporters than arriving at a better agreement.

I think you should muse on the absurdity of what you've just advocated.

All politics are local. Politicians run the government. Politicians represent their constituencies, including you and me. We elect them.

Why on earth would anyone entrust such an important thing to someone who couldn't be trusted to act on our behalf?
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
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WarRI1
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Wed Nov 19, 2008 3:10 am



Quoting Victrola (Reply 38):
Furthermore, in spite of our current recession, there are more people
with jobs in the U.S. today than there were 1995.

Sure there are, but not exactly living wage jobs. The average wage has not moved upwards for eight years. In fact according to the link in The Free Choice Act thread, Adjusted for inflation, the typical wage has barely increased for the last 34 years. 1973-2007 I do believe an economist wrote that. His name is Mark Weisbrot.

Quoting Victrola (Reply 38):
Did you ever stop to consider the millions of Americans who have gained jobs because of free trade agreements? All we ever hear about are the uneducated factory workers who lost their jobs, mostly due to automation; not international trade. However millions of Americans work for freight forwarders, companies that export, airlines, steamship lines, customs brokers,banks, insurance companies, trucking firms, warhouses, accounting firms, and consulting firms. These are all jobs created by international trade.

I wonder, do they outnumber the number of jobs lost? I think the accepted number lost is 3 million. I have to love your line, "uneducated workers, mostly due to automation" that is bull, and somewhat Eliteist. I guess you have to accept the old line by the manufacturers that the old plants were just too expensive to modernize. We will just build them overseas where the (cheap labor) is. We will build them on wheels so when that market gets expensive, we can move them quickly. No benefits over there, no pensions, low wages. Steamship lines? Everyone I saw in LA was Chinese. Warehouse workers, low wage. Freight forwarders, low wage. Trucking, low wage. Oh, I am sorry, you were talking about the owners, not the workers. I think that when the USA made most of their products and exported them, those same jobs you mentioned all existed before NAFTA. They also had benefits, pensions and paid a living wage for the most part. Amazingly, a lot of them were union. Now that is a subject that is not welcome to the free traders. It also is a not so hidden agenda for those same free traders.
It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees.
 
Dougloid
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RE: Should Nafta Be Repealed Or Renegotiated?

Wed Nov 19, 2008 2:47 pm



Quoting WarRI1 (Reply 48):
They also had benefits, pensions and paid a living wage for the most part. Amazingly, a lot of them were union. Now that is a subject that is not welcome to the free traders. It also is a not so hidden agenda for those same free traders.

The best college class I ever took-and I took plenty of them, mind you-was comparative ideologies with Prof. Edwards at Cal State Long Beach.

What you get out of it is that there is no revealed truth-that everything we choose is an ideological choice based in the things we believe in. Where this becomes difficult is when people think that they've got the revealed truth and, in the case of economics of the free market variety, the inside track, everyone and everything else ought to be measured by those standards.

In fact, so called free market economics is an ideological choice we make and the analysis is best served by asking cui bono? Who benefits?

Much of the current revealed truth was promoted by a core ideological group that inhabited the Chicago School in the 1950s and a number of them went on to become very important people, particularly in the judiciary like Judge Jack Weinstein.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn

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