To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Why Do Clinton and Obama Hate NAFTA So Much?

The simple answer is that they are campaigning in Ohio, which is depressed and has lost a lot of jobs. So criticizing NAFTA makes them seem sympathetic to Ohio's plight and they hope to win votes with their position. Hillary's decrying of NAFTA is especially ironic as NAFTA was a big policy priority and accomplishment of her husband. Since Hillary counts her experience as First Lady as making her more qualified than Obama, this is relevant. Where was she when NAFTA was passed?

Facts need to be injected into the current debate about NAFTA. What exactly is the effect of NAFTA on Ohio? The WSJ today ran an op-ed full of facts that make the anti-NAFTA position look like a loser for Ohio.
Ohio workers would pay a heavy price for pulling out of Nafta. Canada and Mexico are the top two markets for exports from Ohio, accounting for more than half of the state's exports in 2006. According to the Ohio Department of Development, 283,500 workers in the state earn their living in the export sector, with machinery, car parts, aircraft engines and optical/medical equipment among the leading exports. A trade showdown would put those good-paying jobs at risk.

Since Nafta took effect on Jan. 1, 1994, the U.S. economy has added a net 26 million new jobs. The average real hourly compensation (wages and benefits) of workers has climbed 23%. Real median household net worth has increased by a third. Of course, Nafta was not the primary driver of all that good news. But it is a useful counterpoint to the sense that large numbers of Americans have been "devastated" by Nafta and other trade agreements.

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