Saturday, October 07, 2006

Politics and Trade

During the late 70s through mid 80s there was a bogeyman who was destroying working class jobs. That bogeyman was automation. One man with a robot could do the work of a number of men working with their hands and workers were going to lose their jobs. Many did but automation is here to stay.

Today we are losing our jobs to trade agreements, and to a point this is true. What is not true is the partisan politics being bandied about the subject. The Democrats are claiming that it is all the fault of the EEEEEEEvil GOP who voted in these treaties.

Really?

Let's look at the voting record shall we.

Here is the official vote tally for the ratification for Mexico and NAFTA in 1993. Now admittedly most, but not all, of the GOP voted for it, but the DEM controlled the Senate that year and could have easily blocked its ratification. However as you look, almost half of the Democratic Caucus voted for it. (26 Yeas 29 Nays). While a small majority of the DEMs did vote against it, the block who voted for it is quite significant and includes such luminaries as John Kerry (who complained about how unfair the treaty was during his presidential campaign even though he voted for it), Harkin of Iowa (who started his own presidential bid some years ago as a friend of the union worker), Ted Kennedy (who is so concerned about the American worker). All told 42% of the yes votes came from the Democratic Party and that is a significiant percentage as 47% of the Democrats supported it. If NAFTA is a failure, I would consider a very bi-partisan failure. If the Democrats were united against it it would not have passed.

Equally telling is the, now unspoken of, debate between Ross Perot (an idiot, who like a broken clock, was right twice a day) and Al Gore (Here is the link to a pdf file of the text). The Democratic Party wants us to forget this as well and think that it is all the GOP's fault. Again if it is at fault, than it is a bi-partisan fault and the Democrats must not be allowed to let themselves off the hook.

I'll talk about China later, but it is more of the same.

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