In re: Ohio vs. NAFTA

The campaign has brought up (for Democrats at least) strong language against NAFTA (although you can’t get Hillary or Barrack to say they’d pull out) they do say that they would use the power to pull out to re-negotiate it with Canada and Mexico to include fairer terms (does Canada have a competitive advantage because of low labor standards?)  Unfortunately Ohio loves this kind of talk, we know we lost a lot of jobs in manufacturing, and its easy to point to something like NAFTA, but it really should be looked into a lot further as maybe more of the blame should fall on Ohio for its’ poor business environment (when they cut sweet heart deals with companies like Honda we see success, but GM and others continue to shed jobs burdened by both unions which have out lived their usefulness I believe as well as the horrible tax rates and business laws.  In reality its probably not NAFTA and it really is all kinds of competition, competition from more business friendly states and robotics are probably more to blame for the loss of auto jobs than anything else.

Unfortunately anytime times change (and oh boy they are changing) people need to retool, this means auto workers gotta stop clinging onto the idea of a fat pension and huge hourly wages when a robot will do it for cheaper and without the health insurance.  Retool means we need training programs and a climate that says it doesn’t mean your worthless, we gotta find something else for you to do (health care?).  Once the business climate improved companies inovate, grow and pretty soon we’d be in need again for those manufacturing jobs (retool back?) and we can start exporting to Mexico.

Let’s start with the fact that Texas’s growth puts the lie to the myth that free trade costs American jobs. Anti-Nafta rhetoric doesn’t play well in El Paso, San Antonio and Houston, which have become gateway cities for commerce with Latin America and have flourished since the North American Free Trade Agreement passed Congress in 1993. Mr. Obama’s claim of one million lost jobs due to trade deals is laughable in Texas, the state most affected by Nafta. Texas has gained 36,000 manufacturing jobs since 2004 and has ranked as the nation’s top exporting state for six years in a row. Its $168 billion of exports in 2007 translate into tens of thousands of jobs.”  ‘Texas v. Ohio‘  WSJ

There is a real good article in the Wall Street Journal ‘Texas v. Ohio’ on the Ohio fear of NAFTA and how Texas is loving it (and doing quite well because of it).   Also the rare article I’ll point to in USA Today “Our view on free trade: Bashing NAFTA misses real reason for factory job losses.  – Clinton, Obama hit wrong target. It’s productivity gains, not Mexico.”  So if USA Today gets it why can’t we get some people around here understanding that while we may have a problem, NAFTA ain’t it.


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