Obama and NAFTA: Betraying The Left Wing.


In the Washington Post, we read:

President Obama is preparing a major push on a vast free-trade zone that seeks to enlist Republicans as partners and test his premise that Washington can still find common ground on major initiatives.

It also will test his willingness to buck his own party in pursuit of a legacy-burnishing achievement. Already, fellow Democrats are accusing him of abandoning past promises on trade and potentially undermining his domestic priority of reducing income inequality.

The dynamic, as the White House plots strategy for the new year when the GOP has full control of Congress, has scrambled traditional political alliances. In recent weeks, Obama has rallied the business community behind his trade agenda, while leading Capitol Hill progressives, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), have raised objections and labor and environmental groups have mounted a public relations campaign against it.

The administration is moving aggressively in hopes of wrapping up negotiations by the middle of next year on a 12-nation free-trade pact in the Asia-Pacific region before the politics become even more daunting ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is possibly one of the most ironically-named institutions on the face of the earth. Theoretically, the NAFTA zone is a huge free-trade area between Canada, the United States, and Mexico, allowing these nations to trade beyond the whims of politicians. Superficially, you might imagine that a libertarian like myself must love NAFTA and hail it as a great thing.

You’d be wrong.

The Left dislikes NAFTA. So do I, but for completely different reasons. The Left hates NAFTA namely for that buggering two-word phrase – “free trade”. According to the Left, free trade is what fosters income inequality, destroys the rights of workers, and allows corporations to wreck the environment. They oppose NAFTA under the notion that it allows all the onerous and greedy capitalists of North America to plunder society and the environment of all that is good and wonderful. All of the opposition to free trade is complete nonsense; but they’re actually on to something in their opposition to NAFTA, albeit perhaps in a very muddled and murky sense.

The ridiculousness of NAFTA can be first encountered in its very name: “The North American Free Trade Agreement.” The same political and bureaucratic idiots who sing the praises of “free trade agreements” are the same bozos who refer to government spending as “investment”, taxes as “contributions” (especially for Social Security taxes), and who call raising taxes “deficit reduction”. Whenever I hear people talk about government “investment”, I have to fight back the urge to smack them in the face with a banana cream pie.

Here’s the bottom line: Want free trade? First, repeal all the tariffs, quotas, duties, taxes, and other restrictions on trade. And… that’s it. That’s all it takes. Done, and done. There doesn’t need to be any “agreement” or “framework”, or any administering bureaucracy or enforcement watchdog group. All that is necessary to create free trade is to repeal all of the junk currently impeding free trade. It’s just that easy!™

Here’s what you need to understand: politicians and bureaucrats want NAFTA because they DON’T want free trade. Big Business and large corporations love NAFTA because it PROTECTS them from free trade. The whole point of the extremely cleverly-named North American Free Trade Agreement is to impede free trade. NAFTA is a managed-trade agreement; it’s a system of tariffs, quotas, restrictions and boondoggles designed to be administered by a system of bureaucrats. “NAFTA will increase free trade”, they claim, but for some reason it requires a complex system of regulations that butters the bread of multinational firms and clobbers actual free trade for firms not lucky enough to be in the good graces of politicians.

There’s a simple way to tell if a proposed policy will result in genuine free trade or not: if the policy is opposed by most politicians, bureaucrats, academic/media personalities, and large corporations, then you can tell that the policy probably increases true free trade. The people in the previous categories generally detest free trade. They don’t want free competition; they want protections enforced by the government at gunpoint. So they will oppose any policy that removes their government-sponsored protections in favor of freedom to trade. Their opposition means it’s a policy you should support.

One of the best (or worst, as it might be) examples of the “free trade agreement” endgame is the European Union. One of the driving rationales behind establishing the EU was the claim that it would establish a wonderful “free trade bloc”, tearing down the barriers and remnants of the old nationalistic and socialist past, allowing Europeans to trade in harmony. The reality, though, is completely the opposite: Europe has become one gigantic zone of administered bureaucracy, ruled with an iron fist from Brussels by shadowy interventionist bureaucrats who are elected by no one and accountable to no one. The rise of Nigel Farage and UKIP in the United Kingdom is evidence that some Europeans are waking up to reality, and they want out. Rightly so.

Now we have Obama pushing for an extension of NAFTA into the Asia-Pacific region. The funny part about this is that he’s farting in the faces of the very leftists who supported him in 2008. In 2008, Obama said these exact words to a group of Ohio voters: “I voted against CAFTA, never supported NAFTA, and will not support NAFTA-style trade agreements in the future.” Whoops. Smells like rotten eggs.

American Conservatives often paint Obama as some kind of communist. Do I think Obama is a hard-left winger? Yes. But do I think he’s really a true-blue commie? Not at all. When it comes to understanding Obama, the key thing to realize is this: He, like nearly all other presidents, is an Establishment man. He wasn’t just some bolt from the blue that screamed onto the scene in 2008; he had been vetted by the Establishment for the job ever since his speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, and even prior to that. Obama attended Harvard; he rubbed shoulders with all of the same elite professors, pundits, and power brokers that rubbed shoulders with the hundreds of other Harvard-educated politicians. Obama is a bird of a feather, and they flock together.

Obama is not a communist. The Establishment is not looking for communists. The Establishment is looking for men (and women) who will execute their directions on major issues fully and faithfully. The major issues are the Federal Reserve, the Dollar, the Welfare State (which includes Public Education), the Department of Defense, and international trade; NAFTA and other managed trade agreements fall into that category. The other stuff outside of these issues is peripheral to the Establishment. That is where Establishment politicians differ from each other: on the less important peripheral matters. On the truly important major issues of national and global importance, the Establishment is in control no matter whether the administration is Republican or Democrat. I have called this the National Fascist Coalition – the tyranny of the Elephant and Donkey.

Obama has betrayed his roots. This is nothing new. Presidential candidates typically betray their roots in some form or another after they’re elected.

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