February 26, 2008


NAFTA Nonsense (Rich Lowry, 2/26/08, Real Clear Politics)

For Barack Obama, hope can triumph over anything, except for open trade with a neighboring country with an economy 1/20th the size of ours. Then, all is despair.

Obama’s culprit is Mexico, our third-largest trading partner. It is trade deals like NAFTA — the 1993 accord eliminating tariffs among the U.S., Mexico, and Canada — that “ship jobs overseas and force parents to compete with teenagers for minimum wage at Wal-Mart,” Obama intones. Feel inspired yet?

The big picture doesn’t justify this Dickensian evocation of gloom. Since 1993, the U.S. economy has grown by 54 percent. The jobless rate has dropped from 6.9 percent in 1993 to 4.9 percent today. Manufacturing output has increased by 63 percent. Canada and Mexico are our first- and second-largest export markets, and U.S. merchandise exports to them have increased at a slightly faster clip than exports to the rest of the world.

Democrats have the isolationism and protectionism of the far Right down, but the full-blooded nativism probably won't come until Latinos, Indians, etc. give most of their votes to the GOP. Of course, that could come as soon as 2008.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 26, 2008 8:58 AM
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