Sunday, March 23, 2008

John McCain: Wrong On Trade?

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The year 2008 dawned with a startling fact. Right now, there are only 14 million manufacturing jobs left in our country. Industrial strength, which enabled our country to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War Two, is all but dead in America, gone to an assortment of far-flung third-world countries around the globe.

A former advisor to George H.W. Bush said it right; "Across America the story is the same: steel and lumber mills going into bankruptcy; textile plants moving to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and the Far East; auto plants closing and opening overseas; American mines being sealed and farms vanishing. Seven hundred thousand textile workers—many of them minorities and single women—have lost their jobs since NAFTA passed in 1993."

In 1950, a third of our labor force was in manufacturing. Almost sixty years later, it is now less than 12 percent. American manufacturing is in an unnatural death spiral, unnable to compete as free trade opens up vast new opportunities for corporate executives to outsource to countries where workers are just as plenty, but can be paid much less.

Since 2000, Ohio has lost over 250,000 manufacturing jobs and Michigan has lost over 350,000. Yet, John McCain finished 2nd and 1st, respectively, in the Republican primaries in those two states, with voters there seemingly unaware of his anti-American trade position.

Last week, McCain re-affirmed his stance, saying that "On trade, I'm a free trader." A few days before, Hillary Clinton had said that if she became president, the U.S. would "opt out of NAFTA unless we renegotiate it, and we renegotiate on terms that are favorable to all of America."

Amazingly, as the Democrats begin recognize the devastation caused to American industry by NAFTA, McCain continues to stick to its failed approach. McCain said last week that we should continue to stick with NAFTA's industry-destroying polcies because to do otherwise..."can affect Canadian public opinion adversely."

Yes, my friends, John McCain is supporting a failed policy that has destroyed our economy, because, because, among all other reasons, discontinuing would "affect" Canadian public opinion.

John McCain should be in favor of what is best for President the United States, not Canada. He says that "The Canadians are now supplying brave young Canadians to the fight in Afghanistan." and claims that re-negotiating NAFTA would cause Canada to stop "supplying" more "young Canadians" to the fight.

As of now, the entire Canadian contigent in Afghanistan adds up to a grand total of less than 2,500 men. If John McCain is going to jeapordize millions more American jobs just to make sure that 2,500 Canadians will stay in Afghanistan, it clearly shows him to be callous and unconcerned with the current plight of average Americans in Ohio and Michigan. Both of these states were once thriving with jobs and opportunity, but now are consigned to the hell of John McCain's vision for a post-prosperous America.

Nevertheless, even with his carefree attitude for the plight now facing average Americans, McCain does, on occasion, keep the spin out of the "straight talk."

Two weeks ago in St. Louis he said "The moral of the story is, my friends, is we're not going back to the old manufacturing base of the economy." He failed to mention, though, that without its manufacturing base, America could never have achieved our superpower status that is now slipping away from us thanks to men like John McCain.

Our great founding fathers clearly must have anticipated that we would someday reach this sort of conundrum, for in 1774 John Adams wrote in his diary that "We have not Men, fit for the Times. We are deficient in Genius, in Education, in Travel, in Fortune--in every Thing. I feel unutterable Anxiety."

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

While NAFTA is not perfect, as Conservatives, we need to promote trade and good relations where possible. While it is true that Canada does not have many troops in Afghanistan, Mexico is a very valuable friend when it comes to fighting communism in South America so in that sense, both Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain are doing the right thing by keeping on good terms with Mexico.

The troubles in Michigan and Ohio are due to the socialism by their Governors, not NAFTA. The extreme Left likes to talk about how poor we are in Ohio and about all the jobs the we lost due to NAFTA. They never talk about all the Ohio job either gained or maintained because of NAFTA. Ohio may not be as rich as some states, but we are doing well thank you and we are a first world economy.

OHIO JOE

Anonymous said...

NAFTA is hurting Mexico and Canada, just like us. It's very well to say that your economy's doing great when your not one of the people out of a job because an executive thought it would be more profitable if it was done by someone in China for 25 cents an hour. How are we supposed to fight the war on terror if we can't even manufacture the weapons needed to fight it? Do you think we won WWII by outsourcing to Japan???

Peter said...

Joe,

While we do need to trade with other countries, we need to do so in a way that is fair to our workers and to the workers of our trading partners.

The other commenter is right when he says NAFTA is bad for Canada and Mexico as well as us.

We must have a manufacturing base to produce our own goods. By outsourcing, we are building up the economy of China, and helping it to become the next Communist superpower.

While this happens and China sends us dangerous imports we refuse to do anything about it.

Ronald Reagan did not win the cold war by sending all our manufacturing jobs to the USSR, just like we did not win WWII by outsourcing to Japan.

If we're supposed to fight wars against muslims who want to kill us, how are we to do so if we can even manufacture our own weapons?

The governors of Ohio and Michigan can not be blamed for bad trade policy, even though they be lousy at running their states. While Ohio may not have been hit as hard, Michigan has the highest unemployment in the nation and it is only growing worse.

Millions of more jobs in this country will be outsourced if we do not do anything to change our policy on trade.

Trade must be fair, not just "free."

Anonymous said...

Yes, if I was the only with a job, it would be very easy for me to say that the economy was great. However, the fact of the matter is that many other people in my state have jobs just as good as mine, so I do not know where all this doom and gloom is coming from. While our economy is not perfect, I do not think that NAFTA is the problem.
I could be wrong, but it is my understanding that most of our weapons are produced here in America, but you do have a point about outsourcing to Japan.

OHIO JOE

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I did not see you comment before I hit the submit button.

I cannot disagree with you on China and yes trade should be fair as well as free. However, China is a separate issue from NAFTA.

I realize that neither Ohio or Michigan sets national trade policies. However, the reality is that Michigan is losing more jobs to Indiana and other states than other countries. Just as France can no longer live only in the agricultural age, we must realize that manufacturing is not the only game in town anymore. Mr. Reagan also realized that we needed to trade and do business with our neighbors.

OHIO JOE

Anonymous said...

As Village Administrator of a small town in NW OHio, I know a bit about why we are losing manufacturing jobs. In a town of 4,500 three years ago we had 6,000 mfg. jobs. We've lost about 800 recently and will lose about 500 more in the next year.

While foreign competition plays a big part, I contend unions and unnecessarily strict environmental regulations play as large if not larger role. It would take a small book to lay out the facts that lead me to this opinion, but believe me, if we continue to follow this idiotic zero-risk-at-all-cost regulatory model China, SE Asia, and S. America will continue to kick our butts.

On the union issue, I can make my case very easily and quickly. Look up the manufacturing job statistics for those states that have right-to-work laws vs those that do not. Those with the law have gained substantially, those that do not have lost big-time. End of story.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is true that our state of Ohio suffers from unions and environmentalists.

OHIO JOE

M. Simon said...

Once there were enough farm jobs in this country for tens of millions of people. Now they are almost all gone and farm output is still more than sufficient to feed the people.

What a tragedy.

The same tragedy is happening in manufacturing.

Output is constant or up. Jobs are way down.

What can be done?

Smash the machines.

M. Simon said...

Yes, it is true that our state of Ohio suffers from unions and environmentalists.

The unions manage to extract above market rates from mfgs. The mfgs. go elsewhere.

There was a time when Americans wanted to compete.

BTW the more permissions you need to operate the higher the costs of operation. Operations then move to where the friction is less.

It takes a very smart person to avoid seeing this.

Well you can't fool me. I'm too stupid.