Way back when in 1994, President Bill Clinton signed a trade agreement which would usher in the end of U.S. industry and manufacturing. And despite the fact that two years earlier Ross Perot gave a warning to the American people on just exactly what the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would do to our jobs and economy, corporate America was able to easily push through their master plan to profit off the backs of cheap overseas labor.
The early 90's were a trying time for Americans, as they were stuck in a recession that for all intents and purposes emerged out of the ending of the Cold War (1989-91). And unbeknownst to the tens of millions of factory workers who suddenly found themselves out of a job because the military industrial complex no longer had a cause before them to save the world from the 'Evil Empire', the gears were already churning under the Bush Administration to offshore peacetime production to locations which had dirt poor labor costs.
So the question that needed to be asked to these out of work Americans was just how would NAFTA benefit them, especially at a time when we were mired in recession? The answer would come from a two-pronged attack, using propaganda as the primary weapon.
1. Offshoring jobs would lower costs for goods
It is quite difficult for consumers to truly see the benefits of products made offshore with cheaper labor, as these goods inevitably come to them through middlemen which tack on additional and even unnecessary costs. In fact all one has to do is take a look at an Apple iPhone which costs the company approximately $295 to manufacture and bring to market from China, but which they sell to consumers for $799 (a 267% markup). And this also does not include the fact that the U.S. currency is a walking devaluation machine, so the consumer's purchasing power has becomes less and less over time.
When economists today try to debate the merits of NAFTA, they inevitably fail to take into account that starting in the same year that jobs began moving offshore, the Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan began what would be known as the financialization of the economy. And what grew out of this was not only a replacement of capital with credit on a scale never before seen, but wealth creation transitioned away from productivity and into the concept we now know as 'making money from money'.
ie... the Dot Com bubble, the Housing Bubble, the Stock bubble, etc...
And for many who quickly forgot the losses of their medium and high paying jobs because of NAFTA since their stock portfolios were turning them into overnight millionaires, once each of these financial bubbles burst they were left off even worse than before because of debt, a lack of good paying jobs, and the transfer of their wealth to the 1%.
2. Offshoring jobs to Mexico and Central/South America will stop illegal aliens from wanting to come to the U.S.
The second lie or fallacy the media, politicians, and corporate America used to sell NAFTA to the American people was that by offshoring American jobs to poorer countries, it would grow their own economies to the point where they would no longer want or need to come to the U.S. illegally since they would be satisfied with a growing standard of living in their own place.
Yea, how did that work out?
This quote from the New York Times barely touches on the real reasons why NAFTA was doomed to fail. Corporations don't have empathy for workers, nor do they feel the need to prosper communities they set up operations in. Just ask small town USA what happens when a Walmart comes in, and the number of small businesses that go bankrupt because they can't compete with a multi-national.
And if companies can do this within the U.S. where at least there are unions that sometimes stand up for workers, imagine what these same entities do in countries like Mexico, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc... where there are few protections for workers, and where it is easy to bribe politicians into looking the other way.
So with this in mind, we can easily say that NAFTA has been an utter failure for the United States, and especially in its promise to halt the flow of illegal aliens to our borders. Because as we speak, there is a caravan of illegals defiantly trekking across Mexico from Honduras because 'free trade' and offshoring has done so well to improve their economies, just as it has not done for own in the 24 years since its inception.