Industries Still Heading for Mexico
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed into law by President Bill Clinton 21 years ago, has certainly spurred many manufacturers to close plants in the U.S and build new ones in Mexico. This is precisely what opponents of NAFTA, including The John Birch Society, expected and predicted.
In April 2016, the list of closed, or soon to be closed, factories in the U.S. grew larger when the Ford Motor Company announced its plan to build a new assembly plant in Mexico to produce its Focus compact vehicle and its C-Max hybrid. Company officials said Ford would possibly begin production of its trucks and sport utility vehicles at the Wayne, Michigan plant which will soon be vacant. Workers are holding their breaths hoping that Ford actually does what is merely a possibility at this point.
Ford admitted that it will pay Mexican workers less than half the $29 per hour workers in Michigan have been earning. Ford’s Chief Executive Mark Fields stated, “At the end of the day, we are a multinational company, and we will do what’s best for business.” Claiming that his company had added 25,000 jobs during the past eight years, he nevertheless announced that Ford intends to move more manufacturing to China and elsewhere. United Automobile Workers union leader, Dennis Williams condemned the Ford decision while blaming it on NAFTA.
The move by Ford parallels similar planned moves to Mexico by Toyota, Kia, and Audi. General Motors has already built a huge plant in Mexico to produce its automobiles. Eighty percent of the vehicles produced in Mexico are exported from Mexico, most of them into the United States.
While campaigning for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama targeted NAFTA saying, “One million jobs have been lost because of NAFTA.” He also lambasted Hillary Clinton for her claim that “NAFTA has been good for New York” during her campaign for a Senate seat. In 2016, GOP candidate Donald Trump has made NAFTA one of his targets, even promising to have the pact repealed. And President Obama, no longer a foe of NAFTA, is anxiously working to have Congress approve the NAFTA-like Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The TPP will accomplish for 12 Pacific nations what NAFTA has done for Mexico. The TTIP would effectively have the United States join the sovereignty-compromising European Union.
The 20-year-old NAFTA pact filled 2,000 pages and covered far more matters than just trade, even establishing a tribunal whose decisions on trade matters have unfavorably impacted American companies. The pact additionally sets environmental standards for the three nations. It amounts to an economic and political revolution.
Yes, NAFTA is a job destroyer for Americans. But it also waters down U.S. sovereignty, something quietly desired by many of its creators and partisans. NAFTA should be repealed. And Congress should reject immersion into the TPP and TTIP.
If America continues down the road already shown by NAFTA and favored by President Obama, third-world status will soon be America’s fate. Contact Congress today to tell them to vote no on the TPP and TTIP.
Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.
Government Worker Total Grows
by JBS President John F. McManus
By almost two to one, government employees in the United States exceed those in the manufacturing sector. Numbers supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and reported by blogger Terence Jeffrey show that federal, state, and local governments employ 21.9 million versus 12.3 million employed in manufacturing. Is it any wonder that America is slowing down?Wealth is productivity. A nation is wealthy whose people use the raw materials of the earth to produce goods. Government workers, frequently impeders of wealth producers, do not produce goods and do not create wealth.
BLS data shows that 1989 was the year when the number of government workers first exceeded the number making things. That year has been followed by steady growth in number working for government and a steady decline in the manufacturing field where the things Americans expect to use are made. Over the past 25 years, 4 million more have found jobs for government and 5.6 million have been forced out of manufacturing. Their manufacturing jobs went to Mexico, China, Bangladesh, and plenty of other nations whose wealth is increasing while the wealth of the United States is evaporating.
What does the Obama administration offer to address this problem? More entanglements called trade agreements that will, like NAFTA, result in more manufacturing jobs being lost here and gained elsewhere.
Jeffrey notes that, in 1941, there were 12.8 million workers in the manufacturing sector out of a population totaling 133.4 million – a ratio of 1 person in manufacturing for every 10.6 counted by the census. But in mid-2015, that ratio had shifted from 1 person making things for every 26 people in the nation. The goods Americans want and need are coming from elsewhere.
Nothing is being done to reverse the downward trend that gets worse year after year. If the U.S. doesn’t rebuild its manufacturing sector and shrink the number of government employees, the entire nation will suffer because the few who still produce goods will be taxed to keep the burgeoning rolls of government employees happy. And they will eventually cease producing.
We repeat: Wealth is productivity. Government workers, only some of whom are needed, don’t make things and many of them stand in the way of those want to be manufacturers.
Candidates for high office should take note of these simple facts before there are so many government employees, who are unlikely to vote for anyone wanting to reduce government employment numbers, that a continuance – or even a speeding up – of America’s downward spiral will be our fate.
For more on how money, banking, and the Federal Reserve affect our economy, view Dollars & $ense.
Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.