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NAFTA and the Election: Left of Center View

Nobody understands NAFTA. The intent may have been good but good intentions donít always lead to good results. There did need to be a response to the formation of the European Union and the new Euro which began even in value with the Dollar so the US, in response to the EU and its new monetary power, passed the North American Free Trade Agreement to shore up our regional economic strength. It just didnít work out quite as well as expected. The Euro, currently worth a Dollar and a half, has now more than compensated for the strength of the United Statesí dollar and is becoming preferable to the dollar in the eyes of many.

There are currently three members of NAFTA, the US, Canada and Mexico. But unlike the Europeans who are free to travel unrestricted across their union, the three members of NAFTA want to build fences to keep each other out. Dang up-tight Canadians! How can people who donít trust each other enough to allow visitation rights really be expected to do business together? Well apparently they canít very well, mainly because there is little or no understanding between the various people involved. The Germans tore down their wall before partnering up with each other, now we want to build one to keep our economic partners at bay.

It really shouldnít come as a big surprise that this trade agreement is a big mess, many of the legislators that voted for the agreement never even bothered to read it. So in essence, according the federal governmentís website http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/Policy/NAFTA/nafta.asp NAFTA is essentially an agricultural trade agreement that removed most of the tariffs in place between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. But then Mexico and Canada entered into a separate bilateral agreement. Still, according to the government NAFTA has been a huge success as you can see from this excerpt from the site:

ďThe North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a huge success for the United States and its NAFTA partners. It has helped Americans work smarter, earn more and increase purchasing power. It has contributed to more trade, higher productivity, better jobs, and higher wages. In ten years of NAFTA, total trade among the three countries has more than doubled, from $306 billion to $621 billion in 2003.Ē

If this is true why, oh why then do the other South American countries, specifically Chile, who have been offered membership, decline it, preferring to negotiate directly with the three member nations individually? Itís probably because they donít understand the terms of the agreement either. Or it could be that they do and see that it might not be the best thing for them.

So what effect does NAFTA have on immigration? I have no idea. To listen to the politicians it seems like it has something to do with lost jobs and illegal immigration but they wonít even tell us exactly how it works so we canít be sure if it has really done anything at all. Iím still trying to figure out what effect NAFTA has had on trade between its members.


Kyle Pesonen - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column.

Got a liberal viewpoint? We want to know what you think.

Next week's subject: Who Wins When Undocumented Workers Come to America?

Send in your view from the Left to be our featured Left of Center View for the week.

Click here to submit your article.

Last Week's View from the Left:
How Can We Curb Illegal Immigration?

Previous Weeks Views from the Left:
Fear Mongering and Illegal Immigration
Border Security and the War on Drugs
Outsourcing or Undocumented Workers: Which Hurts American Workers More?
Sierra Club vs. Border Fence
Who Owns America?
Redefining Immigration
Racism and the Immigration Debate
Free Trade vs. Fair Trade
Migrant Farm Workers and the Cost of Groceries
What Does a New Leader for Cuba Mean for America?High Tech Worker Visas and American Unemployment
What's Wrong With Our Current Immigration System?
How Will The Upcoming Election Impact Immigration Policy?
National ID Cards for American Citizens
American Children of Undocumented Immigrants
Globalization and Immigration
Human Rights and Immigration Policy
Archives by Date




NAFTA and the Election: Right of Center View

It seems that the politicians are determined to make NAFTA an issue this election. The agreement that was conceived under George H.W. Bush and signed by Bill Clinton with wide bipartisan support has come under fire for the number of jobs lost in America since its passage. While jobs in some sectors have been lost others have been created so the question is whether NAFTA is to blame for the lost jobs or to be hailed for the new jobs created.

It is apparent to me that some within the nation would like to turn back the clock and take us back to the days when American workers were factory automatons assembling gadgets on an assembly line day after day. Without things like NAFTA that is likely where we would be. Instead our economy has been shifting to one of innovation and intellectual pursuits. Instead of simply slapping things together we are designing the technology of the future while other developing economies use their labor pool to do the jobs that are now obsolete in our increasingly technology driven economy.

Instead of bemoaning the loss of low skill jobs, we need to be focusing on refocusing our workforceís attention on the jobs that they should be doing. We need to get our former factory workers in front of computers learning about circuit design and systems integration development. Pouring hot steel into molds was fine when we didnít have the knowledge base to accomplish more but that time has passed. We must embrace the economy at hand and stop dwelling on the past. Let Mexico assemble cars and sew jeans while we design the cars and new nanotechnology fabrics to make the jeans so they donít need washing or will always fit the owner regardless of their changing body shape.

Whining about the past and what has been lost to NAFTA and the WTO is not productive. A wise man once said ďYou have to play the cards youíre dealtĒ and we should take that idea to heart. Our economy is not based on manufacturing anymore. We need to accept that and move on. If we donít we truly will end up failing because of NAFTA and other agreements of that type. We have left the manufacturing days behind and need to move on to innovation and design based thinking. Our corporations have taken the manufacturing overseas because they could not compete on a global scale paying American wages for jobs that people in third world countries were perfectly capable of doing. If we donít accept that reality and move on we will be doomed to fail because we wonít have replaced the old with anything new.

Instead of moaning about NAFTA, we need to invest in education and the infrastructure needed to support a technology based economy. Americans are the great innovators of the modern age. We created the automobile industry, the personal computer, the internet and countless other timeless innovations. Now is the time for us to take on the role of being the great innovators of this century so we can give our children the same bright future that our parents planned for us.

The Realist - Patriot at Large | E-mail Comments on this column.

Got a conservative viewpoint? We want to know what you think.

Next week's subject: Who Wins When Undocumented Workers Come to America?

Send in your view from the Right to be our featured Right of Center View for the week.

Click here to submit your article.

Last Week's View from the Right:
How Can We Curb Illegal Immigration?

Previous Weeks Views from the Right:
Fear Mongering and Illegal Immigration
Border Security and the War on Drugs
Outsourcing or Undocumented Workers: Which Hurts American Workers More?
Sierra Club vs. Border Fence
Who Owns America?
Redefining Immigration
Racism and the Immigration Debate
Free Trade vs. Fair Trade
Migrant Farm Workers and the Cost of Groceries
What Does a New Leader for Cuba Mean for America?
High Tech Worker Visas and American Unemployment
What's Wrong With Our Current Immigration System?
How Will The Upcoming Election Impact Immigration Policy?
National ID Cards for American Citizens
American Children of Undocumented Immigrants
Globalization and Immigration
Human Rights and Immigration Policy
Archives by Date

A Legal Immigrantís 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 ďThe RaceĒ 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 isnít 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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