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Candidate vs. President - Obama on NAFTA: Left of Center View

It is never really fair to compare a presidential candidate’s promises to what he or at long and overdue potentially finally, she, may do in office. This is not to say that a candidate who promises not to raise taxes or start a war without provocation should be allowed as President to do such things in the first week of office. It is just that promises are hypothetical and actions are more practical.

Every new President comes to office with hope and vigor; riding the tide of popular opinion, brining change. And then Congress is in session. See "We the People" set up a system of checks and balances. We did this on purpose. True, many Presidents have found ways around the system that is supposed to keep them in check, but the system does have a way of evening things out. For example, President Obama and FORMER, whew feels good to say that finally, president Bush, very different agendas, however since Dick “shut the f**k up” Cheney stretched the powers of the office of the President, it will be relatively easy for the new guy to undo much of what was done.

Despite all of the loopholes, Congress still has the power of the purse. Presidents past may have found a way to start wars without the approval of congress, but eventually they do have to go there to pay for them. Granted it's impossible to be just a little bit pregnant, so in this sort of scenario the answer is forced, but at least the question must still be asked. So when it comes to major policy issues such as NAFTA, Congress must once again be consulted and they all will have their individual agendas to put into place.

Although candidate Obama spoke out on several occasions regarding the downsides of NAFTA, he also said in 2007 that NAFTA may turn out to be the tool that could finally force the Chinese to honor our piracy laws. To call his stances on NAFTA all negative is a mischaracterization. The issue came to the campaign because of the impact it has had on some industries in America and that there are workers who have been negatively impacted by it. Not all the impacts of NAFTA have been bad and President Obama’s stands on the issue have been measured and balanced in their approach. Even as recently as last month he has said that there may need to be future restructuring of the agreement but now is not the time given the current global economic climate.

Our new President comes to power at a time of great upheaval and disparity in our country. We are fighting two wars, our economy is crumbling, banks are failing and the housing and job markets are at their worst since the Great Depression. Instead of simply walking in and placing blame for the debacle on those that got us into this mess, he has taken the high road. President Obama is attempting to do something about all of this. He is not just trying to fix one element, they are all interconnected. Therefore so must the solution be.

Anyone who has lived in a house with other folks can tell you, no matter how strong your convictions are, no matter how determined you may be, you will seldom get exactly what you want. Compromise is a rule of life. We ignored that fact going into the wars in the Middle East and now find ourselves in a financial quagmire the reverberations of which are finally being felt at home. We need to be steadfast in our principals, but flexible in our negotiations. Thank goodness we finally have a leader that understands that sometimes to get more you have to give more.


Kyle Pesonen - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

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Can We Ever Convince the World to Buy American Again?

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Candidate vs. President - Obama on NAFTA: Right of Center View

Well, you knew that this was coming. Obama the candidate says we need to restructure NAFTA to protect American jobs and American workers. He said he would even consider opting out of NAFTA if he couldn’t come to an equitable agreement with Canada and Mexico to adjust NAFTA. Then he got elected and went to visit Canada. The story changed and the mouse inside the man came out for all the world to see.

After meeting with the Canadian leaders Obama started to back-peddle and say that now may not be the time for renegotiation but that he’ll get people on it soon. In other words as soon as people have forgotten about it he’ll let the issue drop and occasionally when asked refer to his “top people” working on the issue. The Canadian Prime Minister made no indication of interest in even discussing the issue. His contention was one of confidence that America would live up to its trade obligations. In other words, we’re good with NAFTA and you all need our oil so back off bub!

While Obama spoke of not wanting to seem as if America were becoming protectionist in our trade policies Harper spoke of America fulfilling obligations. Guess we know who wears the pants in that equation. As our top supplier of foreign oil Canada pretty much has America by the short hairs and knows it. Without Canadian oil we come to a screeching halt. It would seem this is another fine mess the Clinton administration has gotten us into. To be fair George H.W. Bush did come up with NAFTA. Clinton just supported and signed it. Couple of real winners from both sides of the aisle there…

So despite his tough talk about NAFTA on the campaign trail it would seem that there is really nothing that President Obama can actually do about NAFTA. We lose more jobs and our trading partners to the north and south have us right where they want us. We have gone from superpower to economic stepchild in less than a decade. Wall Street is in shambles, our banks are collapsing and don’t even think about investing in insurance. Unemployment is on the rise, people’s retirement accounts are basically vanishing before their eyes and all our new President can do about it is borrow even more money from overseas and tax the hell out of the people who might actually be able to invest in American industry and bring it back from the brink of destruction. So much for him bringing hope and change.

It seems America may have been sold a bill of goods on what our new President can deliver on the economy. If his stimulus package works then I’ll be the first to step up and say maybe I was wrong about his vision for the future but right now things aren’t looking too good. Since he took office the markets have nose dived and unemployment numbers have gone through the roof. He talked a lot about rebuilding our economy and removing obstacles to opportunity like the ones built into NAFTA but so far he has yet to deliver. He has presented a stimulus package with almost no sustained growth potential. He has already backed down on NAFTA and he is getting ready to sign a pork filled budget package. When is he going to actually deliver on the change he promised? He’s got a lobbyist in the administration, which he vowed not to do. He’s going to approve the earmarks in the omnibus despite a pledge of no earmarks. The very first public works project being done under his stimulus plan is basically another bridge to nowhere. It kind of seems like the candidate and the President are two different men.

Tony M - California | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

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Last Week's View from the Right:
Can We Ever Convince the World to Buy American Again?

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A Legal Immigrant’s Perspective

If you are not a Native American, you are an immigrant, so am I. I came legally to this country at the age of five with my parents who worked hard, paid taxes (even Jesus paid taxes), lived by the rules of this great nation and never took or accepted a penny from the government. We came seeking FREEDOM from a communist country. It was months before we were able to enter the US legally. I remember us getting medical exams, shots (small pox), background check, references, and going through numerous interviews once we arrived. I also remembered people coming to the US from all over the world who waited years since it was based on "Quotas". Read more...

Solving Our Immigration Problem

The major problem our country is facing with illegal immigrants today is because of the exploitation of these immigrants. We believe the solution to this problem is two-fold. First, we should allow more immigrants in this country to cut down on the number of illegal ones. Second, all immigrants should be educated about their rights at the expense of the government. Below, you will find an in-depth look at our suggested reforms.

Reforms for immigration limitations:

-New immigrants can't equal more than 1% of the US population in a given year (the population being from the last recorded census). That 1% will be further divided up to allow only a certain number of immigrants each month.
-Each country of origin for immigrants will be allowed a certain percentage of that 1%. No country could receive more than 10% of the total amount and no country can receive less than .1% of it. The left over percentage will be divided up between all countries as follows: Read more...

Do Elements Within the La Raza Movement Pose a Threat to America?

La Raza means literally “The Race” in Spanish. The movement was formed in 1968 to promote the interests of the Mexican-American community. Like the NAACP and other affirmative-action minded organizations, La Raza has many members that are interested in being part of America and promoting equality for all Americans. The fundamental goals as stated by the movement are benign and represent the ideals of American diversity and cultural pride.

There is another movement affiliated with La Raza that has historically been more militant and still maintains documents within their organization that point to isolationistic views Read More

A Plan

The one major thing that seems to be lacking in the immigration debate is a real plan that addresses the legitimate concerns with illegal immigration. There are strong opinions on both sides and a lot of rhetoric but there isn’t really any solid plan being promoted to address the illegal immigration issue in a way that is both fair and logical.

So, that being said here is my idea:Read More

Trucking Cross Borders

This is mainly a concern for the trucking business. If we allow these people to come into our country, bringing cargo that we in America have, and can supply, then we are saying that the American working people are not needed, and have lost all say to legally enforced DOT (Department of Transportation) laws.Read More



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