How Free Trade Agreements Crippled Detroit


Upon visiting Detroit today it can be difficult to imagine it was once the wealthiest city in America. Once the fourth largest city in the country, with a population of two million, Detroit is now nothing more than the poster-child for America’s deteriorating economy. Its streets are lined with vacant houses and rows upon rows of dilapidated structures: old apartments and long-abandoned factories and warehouses. In fact, about a third of all Detroit has now been abandoned, and the population of two million has plummeted to a mere 714,000.

Detroit’s alarming decline can be attributed to the crippling effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the flood of foreign-made cars into the United States. Under NAFTA, manufacturing in America has all but been eliminated. In order to compete, Detroit’s automotive companies were forced to lower costs by outsourcing their operations to Mexico. Essentially, NAFTA  made manufacturing cars in the U.S. too expensive. As a result, Detroit factories closed down and jobs were lost. The hard-won wealth of Detroit disappeared to make room for “free trade.”

While NAFTA played its role in devastating Detroit’s economy, Japan had their part to play as well. In the 1960’s and ’70’s, Japan steam-rolled through America’s auto-industry with little to no resistance from the U.S. government. It was at this time that Japan entered the U.S. market with their own cars. In fact, our government actually welcomed the foreign competition with open arms, so much so that they actually pushed U.S. companies like Ford and GM out of the country!

Our economy is in a downward spiral. As America continues its agreements with NAFTA and the WTO, and as our government continues to take on more debt, the U.S. will continue to see more and more of its cities transformed into decaying landscapes like 2013 Detroit.  It is imperative that our leaders in Washington step up and get us out of these dangerous “free trade” agreements, lest the disease of urban decay spread to encompass all of the United States.

Contact your congressperson and ask what they’re doing to prevent more of our cities turning out like Detroit!

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