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Friday, November 23, 2007


Now that Sen. Hillary Clinton has moved closer to accepting the U.S. labor movement's claim that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free-trade agreement has been bad for America, let's set the record straight before such isolationist nonsense becomes an uncontested dogma in the Democratic presidential race. Read here why, and let us know what you think.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many economists, who are almost all pro- "free-trade", acknowledge that these agreements have had a significant negative impact on wages and salaries of the majority of the labor force. It's not through jobs, as you correctly pointed out (and unfortunately most of the opposition to these agreements has focused on jobs because that is most visible) but through the lowering of real wages. Remember, the real wage takes into account those cheaper consumer goods. If real wages do not rise, then it means that downward pressure on wages (some of which is caused by trade) outweighs the benefits from the lower prices of imported consumer goods.

It's cheating to say that "compensation" has risen by 22 percent, because most of that is just the rising cost of health care -- increases "compensation" costs to the employer, but no gain to the employee -- just the same (or often reduced) coverage at a higher cost.

Also the median wealth increase you cited is from the housing bubble, that wealth is now disappearing and will be gone. Has nothing to do with trade.

So, the key figures given to you for this column were misleading.

Mark Weisbrot, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington DC

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really think it's time for the North American Union.

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oppenheimer - I agree that free trade is a good idea. But you omit one crucial piece of information: The huge US government subsidies given to the f.i. the agricultural sector. As long as that policy continues, the playing field is not even close to being level.

5:00 PM  

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