Since the passage of NAFTA, the American economy, which was already stagnating, has gone downhill at an increasing clip. When we examine the details of the “free trade” agreement, it is easy to see why it has caused so much devastation.
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“Free trade” would more accurately be called “freedom for other countries to undercut and destroy American domestic production” because in practice that is what is happening. This is an undeniable fact that should be obvious to any consumer or business in this country. Very little of what is consumed here is made by American-owned companies operating in America. This was not formerly the case, and it was not how the wealth of this country was created.
China now has accumulated approximately $3.2 TRILLION in convertible currency reserves, of which nearly $1.2 trillion are held in U.S. treasury bonds. This has happened through their escalating balance of trade surpluses with America – they sell to us much more than we sell to them every year. In the process, China has been instrumental in putting many of our American companies out of business. This is only possible because of our failed “free trade” policies.
As unemployment has taken its toll on the United States, politicians continue to echo that education is the answer to the economic crisis. The question is: how will the well-educated ever provide for themselves when all the means to create wealth are flowing out of the country? Over the past twenty years, the United States has lost a massive number of lower and middle class value-added jobs. These are largely the manufacturing jobs that allowed the United States to support its own needs and export goods, which builds real wealth.
One of the main reasons our Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) do not work is due to the fact that other countries immediately implement a value-added tax system after joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), while the U.S. still has not implemented a VAT. Free Trade Agreements either eliminate all or most of the tariffs between two countries. Once a country joins the World Trade Organization (WTO) that country then almost immediately implements a VAT system or raises their VAT to replace their tariffs. The VAT acts just like a tariff but is entirely in line with WTO standards. The result of this system is that American exports are essentially economically blocked by other nations.