Monday, April 18, 2016

AFTA NAFTA - More of the Bill Clinton Legacy - Hoodwinking the Public - Protecting the Rich - The First Family of Goldman Sachs


Recently President Obama put intense pressure on Congress to pass a major new trade treaty and the news media failed to give it even cursory attention.  It was twenty-three years ago the last Democrat President jammed a trade agreement down the throats of American workers and politicians and the negative consequences are still felt today.

Twenty-three years ago Bill Clinton slammed the NAFTA trade bill through congress in 1993, then implemented it in 1994, and we are just beginning to see the House of Cards it was built on and understand the Shroud of Secrecy he constructed to protect the rich.

Do you remember when Bill Clinton and his Vice President Al Gore undertook one of the most savage attempts at character assassination ever staged from the White House during the furious debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?

The target of this attack was the very person who helped Clinton become president in 1992, Ross Perot.  In that election, Clinton won with just 43% of the vote.  Bush got 37.4% and Perot got 18.9%.  Perot's vote total kept Bush from being re-elected.

Only twice in the entire history of American politics did a third party candidate get more votes than Perot in 1992.  In 1856, Millard Fillmore got 21.5% of the vote, and in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt got 27.3% of the vote, neither won.  In fact, only three times in our history did a president a lower percent of votes than Clinton received and they were John Quincy Adams, Woodrow Wilson, and Abraham Lincoln.

I worked as a media advisor to Ross Perot during the NAFTA debates and witnessed firsthand the incredible attempts to discredit Perot.  The Clinton administration used a national debate between Al Gore and Perot on the Larry King show as the showcase using lighting, the chair placement, the camera angles, and every other trick in the book to diminish Perot and undermine his concerns.

Eventually, everything Perot warned could happen did happen and the Clinton-Gore victory in time would be among the most devastating of the Clinton years.  Democrats, the unions, all the minorities, and American manufacturing got sold out by the Clinton promise and to this day have continued to ignore the consequences.

In the end only Clinton and Gore were laughing, all the way to the bank, as both became the richest ex-president and ex-vice president in history, each raking in well over $200 million in personal wealth after gutting the nation's long term economy.

You need not take it from me, look at the analysis by NPR, a Progressive stalwart of the Democratic party, and even the AFL-CIO, whose blind faith in the Democrats has nearly destroyed all the good unions have accomplished.  Listen to their words when it comes to the economic security of America thanks to the Clinton trade initiative.

Once upon a time during the debate over NAFTA Clinton and Gore made many promises, and Perot warned the opposite would happen.  Vilified by the news media and the Clinton administration, Perot told the truth, Clinton and Gore did not, and the American public, are still paying for it.
Here are what others had to say about NAFTA.

AFL-CIO America's Unions

What have workers learned from 20 years of NAFTA?

·         It’s a flawed model that promotes the economic interests of a very few and at the expense of workers, consumers, farmers, communities, the environment and even democracy itself.
  • While the overall volume of trade within North America due to NAFTA has increased and corporate profits have skyrocketed, wages have remained stagnant in all three countries.
  • Productivity has increased, but workers’ share of these gains has decreased steadily, along with unionization rates.
  • NAFTA pushed small Mexican farmers off their lands, increasing the flow of desperate undocumented migrants.
  • It exacerbated inequality in all three countries.
  • And the NAFTA labor side agreement has failed to accomplish its most basic mandate: to ensure compliance with fundamental labor rights and enforcement of national labor laws.

How It Is Destroying The Economy

Global Research, 17 August 2014
The Economic Collapse 14 August 2014

NAFTA Is 20 Years Old – Here Are 20 Facts That Show

Back in the early 1990s, the North American Free Trade Agreement was one of the hottest political issues in the country.  When he was running for president in 1992, Bill Clinton promised that NAFTA would result in an increase in the number of high quality jobs for Americans that it would reduce illegal immigration.  Ross Perot warned that just the opposite would happen.  He warned that if NAFTA was implemented there would be a “giant sucking sound” as thousands of businesses and millions of jobs left this country.  Most Americans chose to believe Bill Clinton.  Well, it is 20 years later and it turns out that Perot was right and Clinton was dead wrong.  But now history is repeating itself, and most Americans don’t even realize that it is happening.  As you will read about at the end of this article, Barack Obama has been negotiating a secret trade treaty that is being called “NAFTA on steroids”, and if Congress adopts it we could lose millions more good paying jobs.

It amazes me how the American people can fall for the same lies over and over again.  The lies that serial liar Barack Obama is telling about “free trade” and the globalization of the economy are the same lies that Bill Clinton was telling back in the early 1990s.  The following is an excerpt from a recent interview with Paul Craig Roberts

I remember in the 90′s when former Presidential candidate Ross Perot emphatically stated that NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) would create a giant “sucking sound” of jobs being extracted away from the U.S.  He did not win the election, and NAFTA was instituted on Jan. 1, 1994. Now, 20 years later, we see the result of all the jobs that have been “sucked away” to other countries.

“Clinton and his collaborators promised that the deal would bring “good-paying American jobs,” a rising trade surplus with Mexico, and a dramatic reduction in illegal immigration. Considering that thousands of kids are pouring over the border as we speak, well, how’d that work out for us?
Many Americans like to remember Bill Clinton as a “great president” for some reason.  Well, it turns out that he was completely and totally wrong about NAFTA.  The following are 20 facts that show how NAFTA is destroying the economy…

#1 More than 845,000 American workers have been officially certified for Trade Adjustment Assistance because they lost their jobs due to imports from Mexico or Canada or because their factories were relocated to those nations.
#2 Overall, it is estimated that NAFTA has cost us well over a million jobs.
#3 U.S. manufacturers pay Mexican workers just a little over a dollar an hour to do jobs that American workers used to do.
#4 The number of illegal immigrants living in the United States has more than doubled since the implementation of NAFTA.
#5 In the year before NAFTA, the U.S. had a trade surplus with Mexico and the trade deficit with Canada was only 29.6 billion dollars.  Last year, the U.S. had a combined trade deficit with Mexico and Canada of 177 billion dollars.
#6 It has been estimated that the U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every 1 billion dollars of goods that are imported from overseas.
#7 One professor has estimated that cutting the total U.S. trade deficit in half would create 5 million more jobs in the United States.
#8 Since the auto industry bailout, approximately 70 percent of all GM vehicles have been built outside the United States.  In fact, many of them are now being built in Mexico.
#9 NAFTA hasn’t worked out very well for Mexico either.  Since 1994, the average yearly rate of economic growth in Mexico has been less than one percent.
#10 The exporting of massive amounts of government-subsidized U.S. corn down into Mexico has destroyed more than a million Mexican jobs and has helped fuel the continual rise in the number of illegal immigrants coming north.
#11 Someone making minimum wage in Mexico today can buy 38 percent fewer consumer goods than the day before NAFTA went into effect.
#12 Overall, the United States has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
#13 Back in the 1980s, more than 20 percent of the jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs.  Today, only about 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.
#14 We have fewer Americans working in manufacturing today than we did in 1950 even though our population has more than doubled since then.
#15 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, only 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.
#16 As I wrote about recentlyone out of every six men in their prime working years (25 to 54) do not have a job at this point.
#17 Because we have shipped millions of jobs overseas, the competition for the jobs that remain has become extremely intense and this has put downward pressure on wages.  Right now, half the country makes $27,520 a year or less from their jobs.
#18 When adults cannot get decent jobs, it is often children that suffer the most.  It is hard to believe, but more than one out of every five children in the United States is living in poverty in 2014.
#19 In 1994, only 27 million Americans were on food stamps.  Today, more than 46 million Americans are on food stamps.
#20 According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if current trends continue.

NPR Public Citizen February 10, 2014
NAFTA’s Broken Promises 1994-2013:

Outcomes of the North American Free Trade Agreement

In 1993, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was sold to the American public with grand promises. NAFTA would create tens of thousands of good jobs here. U.S. farmers would export their way to wealth. NAFTA would bring Mexico’s standard of living up, providing new economic opportunities there that would reduce immigration to the United States.

NAFTA was an experiment, establishing a radically new “trade” agreement model. It exploded the boundaries of past trade pacts, which had focused narrowly on cutting tariffs and quotas. In contrast, NAFTA contained chapters that created new privileges and protections for foreign investors; required the three countries to waive domestic procurement preferences, such as Buy American; limited regulation of services, such as trucking and banking; extended medicine patent monopolies and limited food and product safety standards and border inspection.

After nineteen years of NAFTA, we can measure its actual outcomes. The grand promises made by proponents remain unfulfilled. Many outcomes are exactly the opposite of what was promised. Many U.S. firms used the new investor protections to relocate production to Mexico to take advantage of its low wages and weak environmental standards and to attack NAFTA countries’ environmental and health laws in foreign tribunals. Over $340 million in compensation to investors has been extracted from NAFTA governments via these “investor-state” challenges.

The small U.S. trade surplus with Mexico pre-NAFTA turned into a massive new trade deficit. The pre-NAFTA U.S. trade deficit with Canada expanded greatly. Overall, the inflation-adjusted U.S. trade deficit with Canada of $29.1 billion and the $2.5 billion surplus with Mexico in 1993 (the year before NAFTA took effect) turned into a combined NAFTA trade deficit of $181 billion by 2012.The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimated that the NAFTA deficit had eliminated about one million net American jobs by 2004.Meanwhile, U.S. food processors moved to Mexico to take advantage of low wages and food imports soared. U.S beef imports from Mexico and Canada, for example, have risen 130 percent since NAFTA took effect, and today U.S. consumption of “NAFTA” beef tops $1.3 billion annually.The export of subsidized U.S. corn did increase, displacing over one million Mexican campesino farmers. Their desperate migration pushed down wages in Mexico’s border maquiladora factory zone and contributed to a doubling of Mexican immigration to the United States.

The U.S. public’s view of NAFTA has intensified from broad opposition to overwhelming opposition to NAFTA-style trade deals. According to a 2012 Angus Reid Public Opinion poll, 53 percent of Americans believe the United States should “do whatever is necessary” to “renegotiate” or “leave” NAFTA, while only 15 percent believe the United States should “continue to be a member of NAFTA.” Rejection of the trade deal is the predominant stance of Democrats, Republicans and independents alike.NAFTA has drawn the ire of Americans across stunningly diverse demographics. A 2011 National Journal poll showed strong rejection of the status quo trade model from both lower-educated and higher-educated respondents,and a 2010 NBC News – Wall Street Journal survey revealed that a majority of upper-income respondents have now joined lower-income respondents in opposing NAFTA-style pacts.In addition, a 2008 Zogby poll found majority NAFTA opposition across nearly every surveyed demographic group, including independents, Hispanics, women, Catholics and Southerners.7

U.S. Job Loss, Not Gain

Projections on trade balance, jobs prove wrong. In 1993, Gary Hufbauer and Jeffrey Schott of the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) projected that NAFTA would lead to a rising U.S. trade surplus with Mexico, which would create 170,000 net new jobs in the United States.This figure was trumpeted by the Clinton administration and other NAFTA proponents. Hufbauer and Schott based their projection on the observation that when export growth outpaces the growth of imports, more jobs are created by trade than are destroyed by trade.Instead of an improved trade balance with Canada and Mexico, however, NAFTA resulted in an explosion of imports from Mexico and Canada that led to huge U.S. trade deficits. According to Hufbauer and Schott’s own methodology, these deficits meant major job loss. Less than two years after NAFTA’s implementation, even before the depth of the NAFTA deficit became evident, Hufbauer recognized that his jobs prediction was incongruent with the facts, telling the Wall Street Journal, “The best figure for the jobs effect of NAFTA is approximately zero…the lesson for me is to stay away from job forecasting.”10

Huge new NAFTA trade deficit emerges. The U.S. trade deficit with Canada of $29.1 billion and the $2.5 billion surplus with Mexico in 1993 (the year before NAFTA took effect) turned into a combined NAFTA trade deficit of $181 billion by 2012.11 This represents an increase in the “NAFTA deficit” of 580 percent. These are inflation-adjusted numbers, meaning the difference is not due to inflation, but an increase in the deficit in real terms. The U.S. deficit with NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada has worsened considerably more than the U.S. deficit with countries with which we have not signed NAFTA-style deals. Since NAFTA, the average annual growth of the U.S. trade deficit has been 45 percent higher with Mexico and Canada than with countries that are not party to a NAFTA-style trade pact.12 Defenders of NAFTA argue that the NAFTA deficit is really only oil imports. Although oil accounts for a substantial portion of the trade deficit with Canada and Mexico, the oil share of the trade deficit with Canada and Mexico actually declined from 77 percent in 1993 to 55 percent in 2012.13

Services and manufacturing export growth slows under NAFTA. A key claim of supporters of NAFTA-style trade pacts is that they create jobs by promoting faster U.S. export growth. By contrast, growth of U.S. exports to countries that are not Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners has exceeded U.S. export growth to countries that are FTA partners by 38 percent over the last decade.14 Manufacturing and services exports in particular grew slower after NAFTA took effect. Since NAFTA’s enactment, U.S. manufacturing exports to Canada and Mexico have grown at less than half the rate seen in the years before NAFTA.15 Even growth in services exports, which were supposed to do especially well under the trade pact given a presumed U.S. comparative advantage in services, dropped precipitously after NAFTA’s implementation. During NAFTA’s first decade, the average growth rate in U.S. services exports fell by 58 percent compared to the decade before NAFTA, and has remained well below the pre-NAFTA rate through the present.16

One million American jobs lost to NAFTA. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the rising trade deficit with Mexico and Canada since NAFTA went into effect eliminated about one million net jobs in the United States by 2004.17 EPI further calculates that the ballooning trade deficit with Mexico alone destroyed about seven hundred thousand net U.S. jobs between NAFTA’s implementation and 2010.18 Moreover, official government data reveals that nearly five million U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost overall since NAFTA took effect.19 Obviously, not all of these lost U.S. manufacturing jobs – one out of every four of our manufacturing jobs – is due to NAFTA. The United States entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, China joined WTO in 2000 and the U.S. trade deficit with China soared thereafter. However, at the same time, given the methodology employed, it is also likely that the EPI estimates do not capture the full U.S. job loss associated with NAFTA. Service sector jobs have also been negatively impacted by NAFTA, as closed factories no longer demand services. EPI estimates that one third of the jobs lost due to the rising trade deficit under NAFTA were in non-manufacturing sectors of the economy.20

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