Mark’s Musings – September 5, 2018

| September 5, 2018

Mark Fortune

Well, it’s time for pro and college football, prognosticators, political maneuvering and pandering all across the country. One thing I really dislike is when politicians – incumbent or not – takes a sentence or two from an opponent and twists it to their favor or point of view, depending on the circumstances.

This is now taking shape all across the land with the NAFTA trade agreement – with politicians firing up their base of constituents that “it was never a good idea”. Really? This is what I recall from a college class that I was taking right at the time NAFTA was going through Congress. At the time, NAFTA was predicted to be a boon for American companies like John Deere, Caterpillar and many others that could sell goods to Canada and Mexico with agriculture being a key component of the agreement. Canadian wheat, American corn, etc.

Canada and Mexico were also expected to gain with increased exports to the United States without tariffs. The removal of tariffs was the linchpin of the agreement and caused much emotional discussion in Congress. Both the House and the Senate were controlled by the Democrats in 1993 yet more Republicans than Democrats supported the bill.

The North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) was signed into law by President Clinton on Dec. 8, 1993, who said, “NAFTA means jobs, American jobs and good-paying American jobs.”

It was President Reagan who made NAFTA a key part of his campaign and started the ball rolling way back in 1979.

Economic experts have always foretold that Mexico would be the nation that would suffer the most if NAFTA is repealed. I want you to think about that before you go all Trump and say, “Well, that’s their problem.” Is it really? Of course not and any logical thinking person understands that we live in a global society and any economic downturn in Mexico would only harm the United States whether through more economic aid to prevent a catastrophe or more illegals coming to the southern U.S.

At the end of the day, though, people have to feed their families. Here in Appalachia the benefits of NAFTA might not be as easy to see as they are in Moline, Illinois, home to John Deere.

Let’s circle back to the beginning of this article. In our instant society of Facebook, Google and Instagram circling back should happen more frequently, not less. It’s really convenient and easy to return to the early 1990’s and take shots at what people said about NAFTA. More importantly, do you have a solution? That is another problem with our instant “always on” society. A lot of people jabber, jabber, jabber but don’t say anything and have even fewer real solutions to the problems facing the world today. I’m glad that your kitten can play the piano – it makes me laugh – but that doesn’t solve the drug problem.

Fractured families, economic disparity, drug abuse and many other social ills top the list of current issues that we face as a nation. Despite the huge amounts of money that we as a society have thrown at these problems, they only grow larger, not smaller. We need leaders across America and the globe that are willing to face the facts and dig a little deeper than into the pockets of the taxpayer for solutions.

The leaders are out there. They just may need a little prodding to get started. If you know someone like that, give them some encouragement and a “You can do it” pep talk. You just might make the difference.

Category: Mark's Musings, Opinion

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