Mexican business leaders are in Washington for the trade talks. Mexican business leaders are in Washington for the trade talks.

NAFTA talks, day one: US tone no surprise

'We expected heavy-handedness,' says one business leader of US opening statement

The United States adopted a hardline stance in Washington yesterday to kick off the talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer made it clear in his opening statement that President Donald Trump was not interested in “a mere tweaking of a few provisions” of the 23-year-old agreement.

“We feel that NAFTA has fundamentally failed many, many Americans and needs major improvements,” he said.

Lighthizer said 700,000 Americans have lost their jobs as a direct result of NAFTA, and stressed the need to address multibillion-dollar trade deficits with both Mexico and Canada. He also said that rules of origin, especially in the automotive industry, “must require higher NAFTA content and substantial U.S. content.”

Digital and energy trade as well as environment, labor and currency standards are also expected to be on the renegotiation agenda.

The tone set by Lighthizer did not surprise representatives of a 150-strong delegation from the Mexican private sector, who felt it was simply a reflection of the tough line President Trump has long adopted in his rhetoric on trade.

“We expected heavy-handedness because that’s how the language they’ve used has been,” said Enrique Guillén, president of the business chamber Canacintra.

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President of the industry group Concamin, Manuel Herrera, was not surprised either: “. . . we had already heard those declarations and expressions from the U.S.,” while Business Coordinating Council (CCE) president Juan Pablo Castañón said that the worst-case scenario for Mexico would be withdrawal from the agreement but even that would not be catastrophic or provoke a recession as some analysts have warned.

Canada and Mexico both defended the agreement yesterday. Mexico’s chief negotiator, Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo, said that NAFTA should be modernized to increase rather than decrease trade and it had to benefit all three countries.

“For a deal to be successful, it has to work for all parties involved. Otherwise, it is not a deal.”

Guajardo said the first round of talks will begin to shape a new agreement so that the formal negotiation process can begin in the second round, scheduled to be held in Mexico in early September.

He echoed the words of the business sector by saying that there were no surprises in the positions adopted.

He rejected a suggestion that Mexico was to blame for perceived problems with NAFTA, claiming instead that Mexico “has been part of the solution because by integrating us into value chains we have managed to maintain North America’s competitiveness with other regions of the world.”

Guajardo also said that without the value Mexico adds to regional integration, the impact of competition with Asia would have been much more disastrous on job creation.

Trade has quadrupled between the U.S., Mexico and Canada since NAFTA was introduced in 1994 with its value surpassing US $1 trillion in 2015.

The first round of talks will conclude on Sunday.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp), Reuters (en)

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  • DeplorableVI

    We exported millions of jobs while millions of illegal aliens sneaked, something has to give. I voted for Bill Clinton because he promised border security, I voted for Obama because he promised boader security. Only Trump has followed through. American slums and ghettos have grown bigger, are more crowded and more meaner now than before Obama. Obama did nothing to alieve poverty in the United States Obama made poverty worse. I have been voting since 1976 and truly regret voting for Obama. Twice.

    • You get a pass for voting for Obama once. Twice? Tsk, tsk.

  • alance

    In the 1992 Presidential Debate, Ross Perot argued:

    We have got to stop sending jobs overseas. It’s pretty simple: If you’re paying $12, $13, $14 an hour for factory workers and you can move your factory South of the border, pay a dollar an hour for labor,…have no health care—that’s the most expensive single element in making a car— have no environmental controls, no pollution controls and no retirement, and you don’t care about anything but making money, there will be a giant sucking sound going south.
    …when [Mexico’s] jobs come up from a dollar an hour to six dollars an hour, and ours go down to six dollars an hour, and then it’s leveled again. But in the meantime, you’ve wrecked the country with these kinds of deals.

    • drg68

      It gave the US manufacturers a nearby source of cheap labor for producing low margin products and not have to deal with tariffs. It is something that the Europeans and Asian companies have access to. Without it, US firms would become less competitive. While labor is cheap, it doesn’t completely compensate for other inefficiencies in place due to México’s infrastructure isn’t as developed as the US’. However, it has free trade agreements with more countries than the US does, so parts that are made in México can be shipped to half the global auto market tariff free. So parts made in México can be utilized in finished products made in the EU without the 10% tariff that would be levied on US products.
      https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-trump-mexico-auto-jobs/

      The sad thing is that most of the NAFTA “reforms” were already negotiated as a part of TPP. An aspect of trade pacts that is being overlooked is that they are also meant to cement alliances, to bring other nations into our sphere of influence and make the US their primary import/export partners. The entire point of the TPP was to increase our influence in Asia and to marginalize China. In dumping the TPP, Trump gave away the best shot that US exporters ever had at a level playing field with Japan. The EU has that instead and China will be leveraging Trump’s ignorance as well.

  • Commander Barkfeather

    U.S. creditors, by size, are (1) China, (2) Japan, and (3) Germany (thebalance.com). President Obama deported far more Mexican undocumenteds than his predecessor, George W. President Obama was duty bound to honor the terms in NAFTA, which was negotiated long before he came to office. Attorney General Janet Reno was vilified by right wing punditry for sending Elian Gonzalez back to his father in Cuba. Let’s not let facts stand in the way of a good argument.

  • The US and Canada lost 5 million manufacturing jobs since NAFTA took effect and Mexico gained 300,000 manufacturing jobs. Most of Canada’s and the US’s jobs went to China or disappeared due to automation. In the same period Mexico lost 2 million agricultural jobs because of the import of corn, soy, wheat and sorghum to Mexico. Mexico is competitive with labor intensive crops but cannot compete with the big industrialized farms producing grains. Since Trump took office Mexico in preparation for the renegotiation or withdrawal from NAFTA has signed agreements with Argentina and Brazil to buy grain. By next year, Mexico should be receiving about 5 billion dollars worth of grain from South America instead of the US. Any punitive tariffs on Mexican imports will be met with the same on US agricultural products. The withdrawal from TPP which would have eliminated the Japanese 39% tariffs on beef from the US saw Texas cattle ranchers increasing production to take advantage of the elimination of tariffs on their beef exported to Japan. Texas ranchers are shipping cattle to raise and export from Mexico to Japan since Mexico has signed an Agreement with Japan to eliminate those tariffs. The 2 principal candidates for President in Mexico, Lopez Obrador and Zavala both have stated that it would be better to withdraw from Nafta than worsen the treaty and they are determined to correct the effect of the treaty on agriculture.

    • DeplorableVI

      Just blame Trump and keep the line moving.

    • djr4nger

      Back in the 90’s I worked for a US company manufacturing outdoor apparel. Within three months of NAFTA being signed, our markets were flooded with cheap, subsidized Chinese-made goods, since NAFTA eliminated import tariffs on sporting goods from China. I witnessed numerous jobs lost and our manufacturing had to move to central america to compete. This had a very real effect on a relatively small community, but reflected what happened in the apparel industry all across America. These are very complex agreements that sometimes have unintended consequences – and it’s a good idea to renegotiate them from time to time as economic factors change.

      • China is not a party to NAFTA – only the US, Canada and Mexico. NAFTA had no effect on tariffs from China and you may be surprised to know that you won’t find Chinese goods in Mexico. Mexico has very high tariffs on Chinese products being imported into Mexico, over 100% in most cases. The US all by itself eliminated most tariffs on Chinese goods and it had nothing to do with NAFTA.

        • djr4nger

          You are correct. Though not directly related, the lifting of Chinese tariffs happened in conjunction with the NAFTA agreement during the Clinton years. Thanks for pointing that out –

          • In order for manufacturers in Mexico to use Chinese raw materials or components in the manufacture of products, they must enroll in a special import program called PROSEC and they must prove that they have no other source from Mexico, the US or Canada to import a similar raw material at a similar price. After they provide a study that shows they tried to purchase these materials in a NAFTA country they may receive approval to import raw materials from China and pay up to 5% duty. The Mexican government is hostile to the import of cheap Chinese products into Mexico.

          • djr4nger

            Thank you for sharing that info – The US would benefit greatly from an import policy like that.

  • Anyone who has worked in the Maquiladora industry since before NAFTA took effect will tell you that manufacturers had a much better deal with Mexico before NAFTA and because of NAFTA many manufacturers left Mexico and went to China. Before Nafta, manufacturers with a maquila program could “temporarily” import raw materials and machinery from any country duty and IVA free conditioned on their export. After NAFTA only materials from the 3 NAFTA countries could be imported temporarily and many manufacturers are now paying duty on materials from China and other Asian countries that do not have trade agreements with Mexico.

  • Mike S

    Donald Trump may know how to run beauty pageants and sue his way to wealth, but he his very ignorant about economics and international trade. Unlike China and Japan, Mexico likes and buys LOTS of US products. Six million well paid US jobs depend on that trade & products made in Mx and exported to the US contain 40% US made parts ($530 billion a year total trade). Junking NAFTA will throw both countries into a recession. Neither Mx or undocumented workers cause the GREAT BUSH RECESSION of 2008.To understand the complex trade between US and Mx I suggest reading following article:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-02-08/trade-deficit-with-mexico-is-good-for-america

    • DeplorableVI

      Oddly enough we have over six million Mexicans in our country illegally.

      • Mike S

        Yea they pick our crops, work our slaughter houses, wash our dishes in restaurants, maintain our golf courses, wash our cars, care for our elderly, nanny our kids, dig our ditches, and work in sweat shops so your life can be cheaper and more comfortable. Studies have shown they are not a drag on our economy. They are Christians and not terrorists and their violent crime rate is half the national average. But you & Dump want them all deported. I’m all for secure borders and orderly immigration but simply enforcing labor hiring laws and good ID checks would solve that. Besides, undocumented residents from Mx have been declining for 8 straight years and most are now “over stays” who will return eventually. Insulting people and terrorizing long-term law-abiding Mexicans with US born children is WRONG. Impeach the bigot.

        • DeplorableVI

          They work our fields treated with poison that kills rodents and insects. All our slaughterhouses now hire almost exclusively illegal immigrants because they won’t film the cruelty of manufacturing table food and give the tapes to PETA. In Europe, where few Mexicans are lured to for farm work they have greatly automated. The newer farm implements are expensive though, illegal immigrants cost less. Plus generous state and local government willing provides ample social services to any illegal immigrant. Until the cost of automation comes down tight fisted farmers will continue to hire trespassers. There’s over 300 government funded aid agencies to help illegal immigrants but none to help victims of violence from illegals until Trump.

          • Mike S

            Actually studies have shown that undocumented Mexicans use very little government services and receive virtually no welfare. Their children are allowed public schooling and should be. They occasionally use hospital emergency rooms as should be. They don’t like to draw attention to themselves. I don’t think our agribusiness is any less automated than Europe and Europe certainly does have a huge low paid migrant labor force from many places. I agree our crops are treated with way too many chemicals thanks to Monsanto. Probably why cancer rates and other diseases are rising. I did a cost analysis on a head of iceberg lettuce including costs for land, labor, fertilizer, transportation, packaging, profits, and waste; I found that if one doubled the pay for pickers it would add only about 5 cents to the cost of a head. The problem seems to be that most American citizens simply don’t like that kind of hard work.

          • DeplorableVI

            I live in a small Florida city and am well aware of the social welfare benefits Mexicans and others enjoy. We have a Housing Autority that pays grossly high price rents to slumlords, most of whom are black. No white men own the run down buildings. Mexicans are now demanding pay raises because their benefits are under threat. Since Trump over one million people stopped requesting food assistance. The truth is we exported jobs that created wealth and paid taxes while importing poverty struck people who require a great deal of public assistance. It’s a losing economic model. It’s Third World Mob Rule Economics. You make up a false narrative for a false reason. You couldn’t care less about these people, they’re chattel to people like you.

          • Mike S

            I think your fearful bigoted imagination has run amok. Almost all “welfare” in the US goes to citizens and documented residents- single moms, vets, elderly, children, mentally ill, and disabled, Many Big Box store employees need food stamps because their low wages can not feed their families. Food stamp use has been on a steady decline the last 4 years as unemployment fell and we pulled out of the GREAT BUSH RECESSION. Are you saying your Housing Authority is over-paying blacks with run down buildings to house illegal Mexicans? It is almost impossible for any undocumented resident to receive any kind of housing allowance in California. Of course sometimes one person can qualify and 3 families will share a small apartment. Why do you care?

          • DeplorableVI

            I was wondering how long it would take to be called a bigot or racist or white surpremist. Poor Mexicans needs should be met by Mexico not me. I know 7 or 8 people who “retired” to Mexico and I love to hear them boast how cheap it is. Whatever they need is much cheaper in Mexico they tell me. Plumbers practically work for free they squeal. It’s people like you who enjoy keeping a class of people down. A peasant class that does the dirty work. The Democrats preferred war to protect cheap labor and they seem to be preparing for war again. Again for cheap labor.

          • Mike S

            Who brought us the minimum wage (and want to raise it), health care by employers, work safety standards, paid vacations, FDIC, 40 hr work week, SS, Medicare, EPA that removed carcinogens from work place, women’s rights, pd time off for birth of a child, and removed hiring decriminalization based on sex/race/age ????? It was liberals the last 100 years. You’ve been watching too much Faux News and Limbaugh.

          • DeplorableVI

            Private industry. No one else. Privately owned companies created that wealth not losers like Bernie Sanders. I worked many years for a family owned company and saw them struggle and enjoy good times. Government gives nothing, they only take. Just recently socialist Sanders was demanding to know “why does ONE family (Walton) get a 52 million dollar tax cut.” Tax cut! Bernie Sanders should have been demanding why the government was overtaxing that ONE family by 52 million. I read every week Venezuela rasises the minimum wage there. The “Good Life Card” doesn’t look so good now.

            Hey boy bring me another cup of coffeee.

          • Mike S

            You apparently don’t know our history. Private industry and capitalism created plenty of wealth but “trickle down” doesn’t work for the American middle class. That’s why today 1% of the population has more wealth than the lower 90%. I’m not talking about mom & pop small family businesses here. It took liberals to reign in the greed of the robber barons. FDR was our greatest president. Liberals through their elected representatives brought us all the reforms mentioned in above post including over-time pay and public education. If you think the robber barons were nice guys and workers wren’t exploited before labor reforms- you are wrong. Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist in the FDR mold. He is not against capitalism and but is against massive wealth concentration and corporate welfare and wants a more progressive tax code like we had during the Eisenhower years. He believes inheritances over $10 million should be taxed progressively and health care is a right not a privilege. He points to Denmark, Scandinavia, Australia, Canada, Japan and Western Europe in general as better economic models for our middle class. And it was liberals who brought us the Civil Rights movement and women’s rights. We are not going back to the Hoover/Coolidge years as much as Trump would like to take us there.

          • DeplorableVI

            It’s not up to a socialist to decide how much of my money I keep. Bernie used to condem millionaires 25 years ago. Now that he’s a multimillionaire himself he condemns billionaires. Bernie got rich on a government salary.??? He own a lodge on a melted glacier lake and not trying to refreeze it. You can’t compare the young economies of all white European countries to our multiracial nation. The European social programs are only 70 years old and are just now running out of other (American) people’s money. Tell me a country of color that has such good economies. Not Asian please.

          • Mike S

            Do you drive on public roads and bridges? Do you use our airports and air traffic system? Did you or your children attend public schools? Do you collect SS or use Medicare? Do like drugs thoroughly tested before sale to the public? Do you use GPS? Do you like safe drinking water and clean air to breath? Do you need weather reports? Do you like the safety features of your car? Do you like the border patrol? Do you like the FBI reigning in organized crime? Do you like all the products that evolve from government funded basic scientific research? Do you like the CDC? Do you use the interstate highways system? Were you proud when America put a man on the moon? Do you think defeating Nazi Germany was a good thing? Did you think defensively containing the undemocratic/authoritarian Soviet empire for 45 years was worthwhile? Do you think government funding and research for green/clean/renewable energy is worthwhile? Do we need our fisheries and forests managed for the common good? Are you happy our food is inspected? Do you think Wall Street & Big Banks need supervision? Do you approve of the research the National Institute of Health does? Do you enjoy our national parks? These and many many more things cost money and without them we are not an advanced society. Nobody likes government waste, but you and your ilk need to rationally check your Ayn Rand irrational hatred of government.

          • DeplorableVI

            I do and I’m getting cheated with inferior infrastructure. I have paid taxes every week for over 50 years. Not one week in my life did I not pay taxes. And now I watch illegal aliens sneak in and steal, steal, steal. Disease, head lice, violence. Thanks Obama.

          • djr4nger

            Mike – Have you ever created a job for anyone? Offered a health insurance plan? Paid quarterly payroll taxes? I have. I guess that makes me a ‘robber baron’. All you have to do is scale up what I did and you have Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, or any other successful entrepreneur. If you do it well and capitalize on your ideas, the sky is the limit. That’s what makes America a great country. Free market capitalism. And the motivator is the possibility of making large amounts of money in exchange for incredibly hard work that no one else has the vision or the stamina to do. Parasites like Bernie Sanders, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters only know how to spend other people’s money. And if you’re at all successful, they want to take it from you and give it to LA County. Sorry. That doesn’t work for me – and that’s also why the democrats have been voted out in record numbers across the country. The progressive liberal socialist experiment has failed miserably the past 8 years and will continue to do so.

          • Mike S

            I met a payroll every 2 weeks for 40 years for between 4 and 25 employees. The golden years of the US were the 50s when the top income bracket was over 80% and union membership was 30%. The GI Bill was cranking out engineers and college grads. It was a prosperous time for everybody but blacks (because of rampant discrimination). Bedtime for Bonzo was elected in 1980 and introduced “trickle down” “voodoo” economics with massive tax cuts for the wealthy. That was the beginning of the obscene wealth disparity we are seeing today. Bush Senior and Clinton had to reverse a lot of that to save the country. Bush the moron revived the tax cuts for the wealthy and “trickle down” on steroids. Refresh your memory on what happened in 2008-9. We got got a short reprieve from Obama but he was handicapped by a racist tea bag congress. Now Trump wants a full blown plutocracy. Give that a few years and see where the American middle class ends up.

            Oh, Bill Gates couldn’t program a garage door opener. He was in the right place at the right time to exploit the rapidly growing PC phenomenon created by microprocessors. He was expert at undermining competition and creating a monopolistic software platform. If Gates never existed, IT, smartphones, PC, and the whole computerization of business would still be exactly where it is today. At least he is a responsible philanthropist.

          • djr4nger

            You met a payroll – but did you own the business? We gave Obama eight years – and the middle class ended up being the financial guinea pig for his social(ist) experiments. Which is why so many electoral votes from the working-class upper midwest went to Trump – and why we’ve seen so many democrats lose in recent local, state and federal elections. Democrats have lost the trust of those who work and pay taxes. The 50’s in North America were a time of great economic expansion largely because of a post-war industrial boom, lack of government interference in business, a booming population of consumers and an abundance of manufacturing capacity. Since then, we’ve traded that manufacturing capacity for a $347 billion trade deficit with China. Not a very visionary plan for the future of America’s middle class. If the democrats can make a convincing pitch that their party will improve the lives of the majority of Americans instead of caving in to special interests and capitalizing on victimization of minorities, they might have a chance in the next election.

          • Mike S

            Yes I owned 3 different small businesses over the years. Your amnesia and denial is glaring. Bush inherited surpluses from Clinton are far as the eye could see. He applied totally discredited “trickle down” policies and massive tax cuts for the rich. He and Clinton got rid of Glass-Steagall in 2000 and then Bush failed to supervise and monitor the “experiment”. He totally violated Keynesian economics and ran up hugh deficits during “good times” instead of balancing the budget. Obama inherited the biggest meltdown of the US economy since 1929 with a foreclosure crisis, 11% unemployment, a “crashed” stock market (7000), a car industry on the ropes, and a health care crisis. He applied classic Keynesian economics and borrowed heavily during “bad times” when government spending must make up for the stalled private sector. Obama put supervision on Wall Street & Big Banks (Dodd-Frank). He launch a green/clean/renewable energy revolution that took us to energy independence; he reformed health care to work for middle America. He saved the car industry. The DJIA was almost 20,000 on 2017 inauguration day. It worked as it was supposed to. Obama handed off to the tweeting-narcissist-conman a sold economy totally rebounded from 2008. Trump wants to repeat Bush the morons economic policies to benefit the wealthy and reverse all Obama era policies. You’ve been had.

          • djr4nger

            Your hatred of conservative leadership is glaring. You also have a very selective memory. The lending crisis that tanked our economy in 2008 had its’ origins in the 1977 ‘Community Reinvestment Act’ signed into law by the Carter administration to ‘encourage’ banks to loosen lending restrictions on Federally secured loans to low-income neighborhoods (ie: people who otherwise could not afford a mortgage). Democrats pushed heavily for this legislation which ended up being abused with many different factors, including: The lifting of the Glass-Steagall Act, Timothy Geitner (then head of the NY Federal Reserve) lifting quarterly risk assessment requirements for banks lending money for FDIC insured loans, taxpayer-funded organizations like ACORN (remember them?) extorting banks to loan money to minority communities with little regard for risk – basically, the whole meltdown stemmed from an expansion of mortgage credit to people who should never have been given loans – largely supported by Democrats with good intent, but completely misguided. In short, the climate which encouraged banks to repackage subprime mortgages and sell homes to ‘minority’ communities, ended up giving those lenders just enough rope to hang themselves and tanked the economy, while the taxpayers got left with the tab. The fault lies squarely on the shoulders of every administration since Jimmy Carter. In my opinion, Democrats are at the top of that heap by actively pushing for loaning our tax dollars to people who can’t pay it back. Bush didn’t help the situation, but he did not create it. Do you really think if the meltdown hadn’t occurred in 2008, that Obama would have pulled back on subprime mortgages? I don’t. Obama’s not the hero you think he is. He did what any president in that situation would have done: let the taxpayers bail out the corporations who were ‘too big to fail’ and not hold anyone accountable. Obama’s ‘green energy revolution’ largely consisted of greasing the palms of his ‘progressive’ green energy buddies like Solyndra and SunEdison, so they, in turn, would donate to his re-election campaign. America’s energy independence is largely due to the development of fracking technology which unlocked previously inaccessible oil reserves. Obama had nothing to do with that, as that technology was developed solely in the private sector in spite of the Obama administration’s efforts to hamstring the oil & gas industry – nor did Obama have anything to do with the record-breaking stock market highs since Trump was elected. Based upon state and national election outcomes this year, you are the one who has been had – by your own DNC. Good luck in 2020.

          • Mike S

            Trying to go back to 1977 and blame the 2007 housing bubble on Carter and the Dems is total nonsense. ACORN….give me a break. Sub-prime minority loans were only 12% of the problem. The real problems started when Glass-Steagall was removed and normal mortgage banks suddenly were allowed to become “investment” banks. Lending standards went down the toilet and gangsters like Angelo Mozila (Countrywide) showed up without any supervision. Wall street started making “mortgage backed securities” sausage and peddling it to retirement funds around the world as AAA investment. Moodys and other rating firms got on the bandwagon and the party was on for 4 years. Bush could not walk and chew gum at the same time and was totally preoccupied with his $3 trillion “oil war for profits” that he lied the country into and was going awry. This house of cards fell hard by 2007. Go see the movie “The Big Short” to enlighten yourself. Also you might want to see “Too Big to Fail”, “Inside Job”, “Capitalism a Love Story”, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”, and “Margin Call”. Not one person ever went to jail for the biggest con job in American history.

          • djr4nger

            I agree – in part. The whole market collapse in 2008 was the result of loosening restrictions on banks (Glass-Steagall repeal) and the Federal government looking the other way while the banks played hard and fast with OUR money. Every administration for the past 30 years is complicit in allowing that situation to fester. You seem obsessed with tagging it squarely on Bush when he was just the president of another complicit administration. They’re all crooks. I’m sure we can agree on that. Unless, of course you actually believe Bernie Sanders and Hillary are above reproach.

          • Mike S

            Trump is working overtime to repeal Dodd-Frank for his billionaire cronies on Wall Street. Look at his Goldman Sachs cabinet. . Billary was corrupt but not as bad as the horrors of the pathological liar we elected. Whether you agree with Bernie Sander’s FDR liberal ideas or not, the man has very high integrity and his beliefs have been consistent the last 40 years. He definitely speaks truth to power unlike conman Trump.

          • djr4nger

            A millionaire socialist. Now there’s an interesting concept. There’s nothing honorable about selling power and influence to the highest bidder. At least the republicans are a bit more honest about their appreciation for wealth.

          • drg68

            And who did all of that? Clinton. Who also failed to regulate credit default swaps and other new financial instruments that lead to the 2007/2008 crisis even when it was known there was rampant fraud? Clinton. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/ Bush certainly could have done more to stop it, but attempts to tighten credit standards were rejected by Congress (ex: http://archive.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/09/28/franks_fingerprints_are_all_over_the_financial_fiasco/)

          • DeplorableVI

            There’s absolutely nothing more important to a lefty liberal than a cheap salad. If a head of lettuce or tomato cost a penny or two more it just ruins their day. Feed a liberal a cheap salad and they shut up for an hour or two.

          • ddpeace

            I have a very good friend who is a Trumpian, and she is that which is described above…..we must treat each person as an individual.

          • djr4nger

            You must’ve really been offended when Obama signed the Monsanto Protection Act. I was. http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/sign/obama_signs_monsanto_protection_act_time_to_label_gmos/

          • djr4nger

            Last year, LA County doled out $1.3 BILLION to provide services to illegal immigrants. This includes taxpayer funded housing, utilities, free legal counsel, meals, education, medical care. Not bad.

          • Mike S

            That’s a dubious Fox News story. And that was over 2 years not one. LA is the epicenter in the US of Mx undocumented residents with 1 million out of a population of 11 million. How much did those illegals pay in taxes and fica (that they will never collect). Over 2 years a lot more than $1.3 billion I’m sure. Most of that money was spent for children directly and indirectly through their mothers…many US citizens born there. I am an advocate of a secure border and orderly immigration. If labor hiring laws were enforced, there would be no magnet for illegal immigration. But hey, arresting a wealthy US citizen for hiring undocumented workers is so much harder than scape goating the defenseless enticed here by better paying jobs.

          • drg68

            Why should they do that work when they’ve been on some form of govt assistance for generations and can’t be bothered to move out of the county they’ve living in?

          • drg68

            Do you have an actual list? People who are here illegally are ineligible for most forms of government entitlements. If their children are US citizens, they may qualify, but for the most part people who are here illegally try to stay “under the radar” and signing up for benefits with a stolen identity puts yet another target on their back. The number of victims of violence from illegals is a small fraction of the number of victims from other citizens. Even the recent publicity about cracking down on MS-13 is a bit overboard. They are just 10,000 out of the 1.4 million gang members that are in the US. Even if they all of those could be deported (they can’t because lots are US citizens), you would still have 99% of the gangs left.

          • DeplorableVI

            If you think illegal immigrants aren’t sucking up welfare you are sick in the head. Ben and Jerry are being forced to pay more for Vermont milk because illegal alien farm workers are now afraid to take food stamps. Unspoken nafta agreement allowed for unchecked farm workers because we get to ship ag products south. 80% of non union construction workers are now illegals in Miami. Miami is filled with unemployed black Americans. Thanks to Obama our slums are bigger more crowded and meaner than 2008. Obamas number one import was poverty. Brown people who sneak in, steal from us then call us racist. They need to go home now.

        • djr4nger

          Your preconception about Mexican laborers is a bit narrow. I live in a mountain resort community in the US and I see plenty of skilled Hispanic workers building very high-end lodges, homes and hotels – side-by-side with white workers, making very good wages and providing for their families like everyone else. Most of these skilled Hispanic laborers are craftsman and are excellent at plastering, stone work, metal and steel and command top wages for their work. I fail to see the injustice in that.

          • Mike S

            Are we talking about Mexican-Americans or illegal immigrants? 40 million US citizens trace their some of their heritage back to Mx and other Latino cultures. Green card holders are not undocumented residents.

          • djr4nger

            I don’t know. I don’t go up and ask them if they’re here legally or not. That might be offensive and very awkward. I do know that in order to successfully live here and integrate into US society, it’s probably a good idea to 1) be here legally 2) arrive with some kind of marketable skill since it’s fairly expensive to live here 3) learn the language 4) respect our culture and laws. Comparatively, I cannot stay in Mexico legally more than 6 months without proof of sustainable minimum income, a residente temporal registration and it’s probably a good idea to learn conversational Spanish so I can function on a day-to-day basis. I do not think I would want to live in the shadows in any country due to illegal immigration status. Why would that ever be OK?

          • Bishadi

            It’s the stereo typing that the conservative (dump) folk, impose that causes such rebuttal but thank for pointing out the equal skill capabilities, even at the resorts

          • djr4nger

            It’s your stereotyping. I love the people and culture of Mexico and have traveled there many times. That’s why I visit this site.

          • Bishadi

            Your last 2 posts opened up with your ASS-umptions on your tongue. My comment was pointing out why.

          • djr4nger

            Get here legally, work hard, be successful and enjoy the fruits of your labor. It’s not rocket science.

        • Bishadi

          You can see the people that truly know the hard working culture that comes out of mexico. The fools live on the media renditions to condemn immigrants but thank you Mike S for sharing an educated point of view.

    • djr4nger

      Trump does not want to ‘junk’ NAFTA, he wants to renegotiate it. Big difference.

      • Mike S

        So it turns out everything he said about it during his campaign was a lie? He just wants to tweak it now that reality has set in?

        • djr4nger

          Renegotiation has always been his goal – and I support that. The crushing reality that your candidate lost is still settling in, isn’t it?

      • drg68

        That was already done as a part of TPP. 🙁

    • drg68

      In a recent interview with The Economist, Trump was asked point blank what would be a “better deal” and he could not answer the question. His response was a typical incoherent remark with false statements about trade deficits and an even worse understanding of a VAT. One would think that after two years of talking about it that he would have at least a handful of conditions that would constitute a “good deal”, but he can’t. He keeps repeating his misunderstanding of trade, deficits, and economics in general.

  • J. M. Davis

    If NAFTA were really Free Trade it could written on one sheet of paper. The current 1700+ pages is simply wrong. It protects powerful crony capitalist and pet organizations in all three countries. Just make it free trade and one sheet of paper.

    • Bishadi

      if anything, mexico show blow off, the patent laws and build their own solar technology and say la vie.

  • DeplorableVI

    Only the Cuban community villified Reno for Elian. That the child belongs with the parent is widely accepted in the USA. I remember padro pan and couldn’t believe parents would abandon children. Now we see again with Central American children being used as bait to gain entry. And Mexico helps them.

  • djr4nger

    Sweeping trade agreements like NAFTA should be reviewed and renegotiated from time to time. Why should US timber companies have to compete with heavily subsidized Canadian timber? Agreements like this have to work for everyone. Kudos to Trump for wanting to renegotiate aspects of the agreement that do not benefit the US. Mexico, Canada, US – all have everything to gain by working together. The combined wealth and resources of our continent are too great not to.

  • Bishadi

    Since, America and the north has been buying Mexican (pot) for so long will nafta include a return trade of humbolt or Canadian to mexico?
    trade?

  • Mike S

    I detest Monsanto.

    • djr4nger

      Yeah, but you supported Obama, right? Obama certainly didn’t mind the smell of Monsanto’s ‘dark money’. They both seemed pretty snug together.

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