Sunday, March 9, 2008

Dissolving NAFTA Not So Popular in Texas

As I was watching the Clinton/Obama debates in Ohio and Texas, I couldn't help but notice that the North American Fair Trade Agreement was demonized by both candidates in Ohio, but hardly mentioned at all in Texas. There is a very obvious reason for this.

The Texas economy benefits from the trade and relatively cheap labor that comes from Mexico. The Ohio economy needs to get with the times. All the unionization and "closed shop policies" are discouraging investments in factories and plants that would provide the blue collar jobs. It would be much smarter for the workers in Ohio who's jobs are being outsourced to compromise with the corporations moving operations overseas or retrain themselves. Uniting under their hardline union bosses for protectionist policies only makes the investment environment less friendly for their would be employers.

It seems that Texans are a little bit smarter, and embrace trade with open arms. Labor unions aren't near as strong here, and in the past two years, the Texas economy has far outperformed the Ohio economy. Toyota has even opened a manufacturing plant in San Antonio. The workers there are not unionized.

I think the message Hillary and Obama (McCain already knows this) need to have, is that in today's world of globalization, you need to be competitive with workers in other countries. For Ohio, this means the unions making concessions, or retraining workers to perform tasks workers in other countries cannot do. Sadly, I doubt this will happen, as Obama and Clinton will continue to pander to certain parts of the populace, by telling them they have been vicitmized by Big Business, Big Oil, and George W Bush.


Jason Cullen said...

Just a comment on NAFTA. It seems like the folks in Ohio are not the only ones disappointed by NAFTA. According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune the Mexican's are not too happy about the trade agreement either. The article states:

"In a separate 2007 opinion poll, Mexicans, by a 2-1 margin, said they disapproved of NAFTA, according to Mexico City-based polling firm Mund Americas. It's an about-face from 10 years ago, when Mexicans favored the deal by about the same margin.

The shift reflects disappointment that NAFTA hasn't done more to transform Mexico's economy. Although the nation's exports have soared and Mexico has attracted record levels of foreign investment, more than 40 percent of its citizens still live in poverty. The nation isn't creating enough jobs to keep up with population growth."

Seems like you can't keep people happy regardless of which side of the border their on.

JR Ewing said...

This article does a good job of listing statistics that back up my argument.