Debates About Consumers and NAFTA Issues Continue Today. A Program That Was Meant to Stimulate the Economy Once Again Leaves Americans Holding the Bag for Globalists.
Consumers and NAFTA are closely linked. Early in his presidency, President Barack Obama said publicly that that NAFTA was oversold to the American people. NAFTA’s economic growth was never seen, yet so many people continue to invest in it.
That was cynical, seeing as Obama knows very well that NAFTA is setting the scene for the next Big Thing from the power elite, namely the creation of the North American Union, a sort of Soviet of American, Canadian and Mexican states.
Why would smart people who can own and operate huge corporations continue to waste money on an investment that won’t turn a profit? More painful than anything is how it is affecting consumers and NAFTA.
At first, under NAFTA, just about every consumer product for sale in the U.S. experienced sales increases in Canada and Mexico, in particular, the textile, automotive and agriculture sectors of industry.
Indeed, the gurus were promising more choices and buying power for consumers and NAFTA. But soon the fallacy of these benefits was exposed. In agriculture, instead of providing benefits for the consumer of eating healthy and locally grown food, NAFTA has allowed international food corporations to gain more power.
Small farming operations cannot get a fair place at markets and stop farming. This allows corporate agri-business to silence their competition and then later raise prices at their choosing.
Our government does little to promote a healthy supply and inventory management mechanisms that ensure farmers a fair price at the market and protect consumers and NAFTA from price surges in the grocery stores. Across Mexico, Canada, and The United States, there is a growing effort to push leaders of those countries to do something serious about NAFTA.
Particularly in Mexico, thousands of corn farmers have lost their means of making a living since NAFTA. Canadian farmers have a lot of pressure put on them to get rid of a program that all three NAFTA countries actually need to protect small farmers.
That program is called a ‘supply management programs’ and it helps to stabilize prices of agricultural products. Also, in the United States, a similar idea is being raised with farmers to re-start the ‘Grain Reserves’ program which would help the farmers’ economic status significantly – but only the large operators.
In the end, we need competition in order to have a truly free market economy. If agri-business pushes out the competition, then we are left at the mercy of a few corporations to decide how much our food is going to cost, what it’s quality will be, and what is going to be available.
The Shaky State of the Textile Industry
In the past 15 years, many well known textile manufacturers have closed their doors in the United States. By using NAFTA’s reduced tariffs, U.S. textile corporations have found cheaper labor in Mexico.
These factories are generally located near the U.S./Mexico border and are called “maquilas.” Not only do the maquilas employ young women for less than minimum wage, but they also have very poor working conditions.
Their excuse is that it extends savings to the consumer. However, what they don’t realize is the negative affect it has on the consumer. First of all, manufacturers used the threat of closing shop in the U.S. and moving to Mexico as an unfair advantage against their workers.
For this reason, it became more difficult for workers to unionize and also ask for wages. Wages in the textile industry were rising at normal rates until NAFTA. The effect of underpaid workers leads to decline in the local community, which has fewer taxable wages and less spending power.
Automotive Industry Running Out of Fuel
NAFTA and consumers initially benefited from the U.S. automotive industry and its tactics. Primarily, they use Mexican labor to produce automotive parts.
Instead of paying $19.00 per hour to a unionized, worker and give them an environment protected by OSHA laws, they pay a worker $2.00 per hour in an “anything goes” manufacturing environment.
However, the average U.S. consumer has not noticed a significant drop in prices for these items. Instead, the U.S. auto industry complains that it is going broke!
Of course, many jobs were in the automotive industry, but still you can’t buy a cheaper car! Whether the car is made in the United States or Mexico, the price has only steadily increased over the past 15 years of NAFTA. The promised benefits to consumers and NAFTA are nowhere to be seen.
Shringking the Worker Base
When we talk about workers making less money and having fewer taxable wages, we don’t immediately think to ourselves what this means to us as consumers.
It works like this: when people in the U.S. are unemployed or under-employed because of NAFTA, it puts a significant strain on the people still working who are paying taxes.
That means if a lot of people are not working or working for sub-standard wages, then we all have to pay for that. Fewer people with spending money does exactly the opposite what NAFTA promised–and that promise was stimulating economic growth.