We often hear campaign rhetoric which sounds good and even makes sense, to some degree.
Yet it doesn’t always come out that way once it comes to fruition.
Such is the case with President Trump’s proposal to pull the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Framework for the treaty came into play in the year of President George H.W. Bush’s administration, while President Bill Clinton – successor to the 41st President – signed the agreement.
Millions of American jobs and thousands of factories have drifted across the U.S. borders in the days since NAFTA and subsequent free trade agreements took effect.
Products ranging from the clothes we wear, the food we eat and the vehicles we drive now come from across borders or overseas as part of the free trade agreements. The migration of jobs to other nations was not new by any means in 1993, but it escalated in the years that followed.
President Trump’s campaign included an emphatic promise to withdraw the United States from NAFTA. He has since softened his stance on free trade when he said he would welcome a “renegotiation” of the treaty.
Negotiation or not, one question remains: How much of a difference will it make. It’s hard to undo 25 years of job loss overnight – if ever.
At the same time, we’ve seen another industrial revolution. So many jobs traditionally performed by human labor have shifted to machinery and digital technology.
In a sense, we have advanced ourselves out of jobs. It’s an irreversible trend, unfortunately.
We do not not know how much a benefit we would see from a withdrawl from NAFTA, or if it would make a difference. The price of labor would increase because of the vast disparity in wages in Mexico and the United States. As a result, the cost of our goods and services could possibly spike.
NAFTA severely damaged the United States job sector, but a withdrawl at this stage in the game may not make much difference. It’s another example of something which may sound good and look nice on paper, but may not live up to its promise once it becomes reality.