HIGHTOWER: The NAFTA Ripoff

The use of statistics has been called the art of drawing a straight line from a wrong assumption to a foregone conclusion.Well, the Picasso of Statistics is the U.S. Commerce Department, which keeps telling us how good NAFTA is for our country. For example, we're told that our exports to Mexico are up! Never mind that our imports from Mexico are waaaay up, creating the third worst trade deficit that we have with any country in the world. But let's peek into that export number that officials are so proud of. It turns out that four out of every ten products that we ship to Mexico are not sold to the people there, but are parts sold to U.S. factories located in Mexico. We're "exporting" to ourselves. Then, General Electric and the rest use these parts in their Mexican factories to make appliances, and whatnot, shipping the finished product back here to sell to us. So the "export" becomes an import.If that's too confusing, don't worry, because corporations like GE are going to simplify the process, by getting the suppliers of parts to move to Mexico, too! The Wall Street Journal reports that forty percent of the electric ranges that GE sells in the U.S. are coming from Mexico, and now a U.S. company that makes glass doors and tops for the stoves has moved there, as has a maker of burners, and regulators. U.S. Steel, which sells 100 tons of sheet metal every day to GE's Mexico factory, also has built a steel plant, just 50 yards from the GE factory.The bottom line is that America's chief export is jobs. Thanks to NAFTA, U.S. corporations can eliminate middle-class jobs here, move the factory to Mexico, pay subsistence wages to people there, then send their stoves and other products back to the U.S. without paying a dime in tariffs, selling the products for the same high price they've always charged. The wage difference is pocketed by the corporation.This is Jim Hightower saying ... What a ripoff! I say it's time to repeal NAFTA.

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