Roger L. Simon

Obama: Getting Nasty over NAFTA

Those who think politicians are phonies (not a small number, I would imagine) will be getting plenty of reinforcement from Barack Obama who is as phony as it gets. The nonsense he’s been shoveling about NAFTA is right up there on the demagoguery scale. Rich Lowry puts his hammer on the head:

Obama’s culprit is Mexico, our third-largest trading partner. It is trade deals like NAFTA — the 1993 accord eliminating tariffs among the U.S., Mexico, and Canada — that “ship jobs overseas and force parents to compete with teenagers for minimum wage at Wal-Mart,” Obama intones. Feel inspired yet?

The big picture doesn’t justify this Dickensian evocation of gloom. Since 1993, the U.S. economy has grown by 54 percent. The jobless rate has dropped from 6.9 percent in 1993 to 4.9 percent today. Manufacturing output has increased by 63 percent. Canada and Mexico are our first- and second-largest export markets, and U.S. merchandise exports to them have increased at a slightly faster clip than exports to the rest of the world.

So what exactly is bad about NAFTA? Well, there’s probably some fine print that needs to be refined (always is), but it’s a largely successful agreement that has created jobs on all sides. Obama reminds me of Romney when the former governor, during the recent primary, told Michigan voters he would bring back industrial jobs to their outdated economy. Of course, Romney knew he was lying just as Obama knows he’s lying now. That’s the politics of hope? I predict right now McCain will do to Obama what he did to Romney – blow him out of the box.