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CAFTA: Ideology vs. National Interests

by Patrick J. Buchanan
July 27, 2005

Using the Clinton playbook for enacting NAFTA in '93, the White House is twisting arms and buying votes to win passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

And the seductive song the White House is singing sounds familiar. It is the NAFTA theme song. CAFTA will ease the social pressures that have produced waves of illegal aliens. CAFTA will increase U.S. exports. CAFTA will not cost U.S. jobs. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

If Tom DeLay's caucus delivers 200 votes for CAFTA, economic patriots will begin to look outside the GOP for leadership.

In 1993, Republicans, by four to one, signed on to NAFTA. They believed the promises that our $5 billion trade surplus with Mexico would grow and illegal immigration would diminish. They were deceived. The NAFTA skeptics were proven right. The U.S. trade surplus with Mexico vanished overnight. Last year, we ran a $50 billion trade deficit. Since 1993, 15 million illegal aliens have been caught breaking into the United States. Five million made it, and their soaring demands for social services have driven California to bankruptcy. As for Mexico's major exports to us, they appear to be two: narcotics and Mexicans.

With Middle Easterners turning up on the Rio Grande, patriotic Minutemen are patrolling the border because President Bush will not enforce our immigration laws. Who can believe this White House is serious, then, about halting the invasion from the Caribbean and Central America?

It is time for Republicans who represent a Middle America that never wanted NAFTA to tell the White House the old talking points will no longer do. The open-borders, free-trade ideology of Clinton and Bush has run its course and begun to endanger our national existence.

Today, "free trade" is about something other than the simple exchange of goods. Henry Kissinger tipped the Trilateralists' hand in 1993 when he wrote that NAFTA was the "architecture of a new international system," a great "step forward toward the new world order."

Today's trade agreements are about reshaping the world to conform to the demands of transnational corporations that have shed their national identities and loyalties and want to shed their U.S. workers. Tired of contributing to Medicare and Social Security and having to deal with Americans who need health-care and pension benefits, they want to dump them all and hire Asians who will work for $2 an hour.

Trade treaties have become enabling acts by which global companies desert their home countries. CAFTA will enable U.S. firms to shut down factories here, lay off their labor force, and hire Dominicans and Costa Ricans, but retain free access to the U.S. market. They get to fire their American workers and keep their American consumers. What a deal.

NAFTA and CAFTA are the shield laws of corporate absconders.

What these companies want ultimately is a world government that will protect their absolute freedom to go where they wish and do what they want the country be damned.

Before Republicans go down to the well of the House and vote for CAFTA, they need to look at what has already happened to America.

Under Bush, 3 million manufacturing jobs have disappeared, one in every six. States like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Illinois which went for Reagan twice are gone. A shift of 60,000 votes in the GOP bastion of Ohio, and Kerry would be president.

The U.S. trade deficit in 2005 will exceed $700 billion 6 percent of our entire economy. We are awash in foreign debt.

With China, our trade deficit last year was $162 billion. Beijing is using its trade surplus to buy U.S. bonds, giving her a giant claim on U.S. interest payments and to build and buy the ships, planes and missiles needed to fight a naval war off her coast. Wal-Mart is subsidizing China's strategic buildup.

The industries we are losing now are not only textiles, shoes, TVs and toys, but autos, airplanes and computers. We are no longer the self-sufficient nation of 1940 or 1960. Even American sovereignty is being eroded, as the World Trade Organization orders Congress to change U.S. tax and trade laws, and Congress meekly complies.

America can yet turn this around, but we are reaching a tipping point where a sovereign, independent and self-sufficient American republic will cease to be.

Thirty House Republicans can stop this process cold by just saying no to CAFTA. The Business Roundtable will get over it. After all, they have no place else to go.

2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

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