Brexit, Sschmexit


I am jealous of the British voters because the voters there actually got the chance to vote on a critical decision of the government, whether their nation should stay in the European Union or not. By a slim majority, 52-48, the Brits voted to leave.

Recent public opinion polls conducted by the Gallup organization this year found that US voters want to leave NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Association, by a 58 to 34 landslide majority, with 8% undecided. Now this is a mandate, not the photo finish that happened in Britain.

We should leave NAFTA because it has cost us two million jobs, mostly lost to Mexico, and some to Canada, with nothing gained. In addition, the US companies that moved to Mexico have brought downward pressure on the wages of Americans still working here. The products that our companies make south of the border save the multinational companies money, but they do not pass the savings on to the consumer.

SSchmexit means Support Sovereignty for us: Canada and Hecho en Mexico —Exit. Like the United Kingdom, we want our sovereignty back. NAFTA, section 2205, allows the United States to get out of this treaty with six months notice.

Our case for leaving NAFTA is much stronger that the UK’s objections to the European Union. The UK has to compete with poorer European countries like Portugal and Poland. The UK pays wages three times that of Poland and twice that of Portugal. In contrast, the US pays wages of more than five times that of Mexico, a third-world country.

Mexico is our primary problem within NAFTA. Within the past two years, eight automakers have opened plants and expansions in Mexico, including the Ford Motor Company. In 2014, Mexico exported 1.7 million vehicles to the US, surpassing the 1.5 million vehicles exported here by Japan. Last year Mexico exported 1.9 million vehicles to the US, surpassing Canada as the largest exporter of cars and trucks to the US.

It is not just General Motors and Ford moving production to Mexico. (They don’t charge less for their cars made in Mexico; GM makes Cadillacs there and Ford makes Lincolns south of the border.) Nabisco, maker of Ritz crackers and Oreo cookies, is moving production from Chicago to Mexico, joining such American icons as Levi’s, Black & Decker, Hershey’s chocolate, Carrier air conditions and hundreds of other companies who formerly made their products in the United States.

Mexico and Canada have fought our Country of Origin for food labeling laws. Canadian and Mexican meat producers challenged our Country of Origin Labeling Act (COOL) claiming that it violates the rules of free trade. Hogwash. Consumers have the right to know where their products are coming from.

In response to a flawed World Trade Organization decision, Congress caved in and took meat labeling out of the law last year. Congress did this even though ninety percent of American consumers want to know where their food comes from. And President Obama falsely proclaimed that we will never change our consumer laws because of foreign pressure. He signed the Congressional gutting of COOL.

We want our sovereignty back. We want to be able to buy American beef and not have it commingled with Canadian and Mexican meat. On the Fourth of July, Independence Day, do you want to eat a NAFTA burger or an All American Burger?

Let’s Have a Referendum on NAFTA

The British referendum was not binding on the UK government. We can put a referendum on the ballot across the United States on whether the people, the voters, those who really count and matter (not the corporations who wield all the power) want to stay in NAFTA. The United States will vote against NAFTA quicker that you can say: “Sschmexit.”

Joel Joseph is chairman of the Made in the USA Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting American-made products. Email Phone 310 MADE-USA

From The Progressive Populist, September 1, 2016

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