How Did America Get Into This Mess? Nixon and Fast-Tracking
How Did America Get Into This Mess?
This is a question that millions of Americans are asking themselves. Most have no clue on how to answer it. Many Americans have had their jobs out-sourced to other countries. Some were laid off from companies that have had to downsize or file for bankruptcy. There are so many people out of work that it’s hard to find a minimum wage job, just to help make ends meet because of the surplus in the labor pool. Those who were lucky enough to qualify for unemployment at least have some money to help pay bills, and buy food. Others have lost everything; their jobs, their homes, their health insurance, and still others have had their 401K’s depleted due to some crooked fund manager. We are living in a country that we don’t even recognize anymore. Most have no clue how things got so bad. It seems like it all happened over night. And guess what? In my opinion, the mess we are in today was not caused by the Housing industry debacle, enen though it was a big part of the total picture.
Well, it didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it has been in the works for years. It started many years ago and most people didn’t know it was happening because it was really under the radar. Momentum didn’t really get underway until 10 to 12 years ago, and it has only been in the last eight years that it has been, in our face, apparent. Now, it seems there is no way to stop the downward spiral of America’s economy. And, what happens in America doesn’t stay in America. Economies around the world are suffering.
It may seem we are suffering most, but it only seems that way because we have always appeared to have the most and were considered the world’s largest economy.
The country that took Americans over 200+ years to build, took about 35 years to bring down. Life as it was in the 20th Century is over. There is no going back. Don’t get me wrong here, I want things to be different, but for that to happen, we must stop talking about it and then do something about it. We have all heard the saying “actions speak louder than words” well now more than ever this is true. Well, I’m getting ahead of myself here so let’s get back to how I think we got into this mess.
Many people see things differently. Because of the job that I had for 15 +years, I had to constantly be on top of what was going on in the world. I watched the news almost every waking hour. So, you see my opinion comes from numerous years of constant news reports almost 24/7 and a lot of reading. Oh, I forgot to tell you I require very little sleep. My TV and the News were always on, even at work. I didn’t realize though, or at least until the last four or five years that the news on TV and in our Newspapers was/is more often than not, not news, but someone’s opinion and that many Networks have agenda’s, which are far from what is news and seems more like their own Political agenda. So, in an attempt to “agree that we can disagree” I shall give my opinion of what I have gotten out of the so-called news reports in America. I’m just an American trying to make sense of it all.
So, as I said in the beginning, “How Did America Get Into This Mess”? Well, that’s what I’m about to tell you. Or tell you what I think. But first I want to loosely go over a timetable, a sort of chain of events that dramatically affected the downturn of America’s economy.
Let’s start back in the year of 1973. President Nixon went to Congress and requested the authority to initiate Trade Agreements with foreign countries. Up until that time Presidents could lower or raise tariffs on goods, but could not actually initiate a trade agreement. That was left up to Congress to formulate.
Congress gave President Nixon the authority to “Fast-Track” trade agreements, and it was called the Trade Act of 1974. Fast-Tracking, also called TPA, Trade Promotion Authority, was an agreement that would allow the President to negotiate a Trade Agreement with a foreign power, writing it up and submitting it to Congress to vote on it with a straight up or down vote. Congress was not allowed to add anything to the agreement nor take anything out. They could only vote “yeah” or “nay”. The bill first went to the House. In the House the committees who received the Bill had 45 days to report the bill or have it discharged. They had 15 days to bring it to a vote or be discharged.
If the bill passed the House then it was sent to the Senate committee, where they had 15 days to pass it, then send it to the Senate floor where they also had 15 days to vote on it. Each House could debate the bill for no more than 20 hours and neither could Filibuster the bill. The Congress had a total of 90 days to pass or not pass the bill. As we have seen Congress normally takes months, even years to pass some bills, so 90 days is warp speed for them, hence, Fast Tracking.
So, let’s fast-forward ourselves 20 years, bringing us up to the Clinton Presidency. President Clinton, in 1993 negotiated the NAFTA Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA was a tri-lateral agreement between Mexico and the US, Mexico and Canada, and Canada and the US. It was considered experimental because it was the first time an agreement was made between (3) countries with economies that were so out of cinque with one another. If you can picture a ladder, then consider the US economy being on the top rung of the ladder. The Canadian economy would be somewhere in the middle and the Mexican economy on the bottom rung. These (3) economies were in no way economically comparable.
America had high health code standards for Farmers growing Crops. Over the years many pesticides were banned from use on crops, in the USA during the growing season. Health regulations were enforced in our processing and packaging plants. The NAFTA Trade Agreement was to level the playing field. All three countries were to abide by the same laws and health code regulations.
NAFTA basically threw out American health codes for food, and processing plants, and required all three countries to abide by the same lowered standards.
Instead of Canada (which was far more advanced than Mexico when it came to health code implementation) and Mexico raising their health codes and regulations to match ours, we lowered ours to meet theirs. As I see it, this was considered leveling out the playing field.
Promoters of NAFTA were the Clinton White House, Big Business, and Congress. They tried to convince the public that it would raise the standard of living for Americans and Mexicans alike.
When met with opposition from the Labor Unions, who claimed that it would take jobs away from Americans, and lower their standard of living, Big Business said that not only would they promise that Americans would not lose any jobs but they said they would add approximately 170,000+ high paying, middle management jobs to the work force.
NAFTA went into effect January 1st, 1994. So, greed once again, won out when NAFTA was Fast-Tracked into law. The Trade Act of 1974, which covered Fast-Track negotiating expired in 1994, but only after NAFTA was voted into law.
Because of NAFTA the US was no longer compelled to follow the strict inspection laws that had been in place in our food and processing plants. These laws kept Americans protected from disease.
Many services in the water, electricity, energy and healthcare fields were also deregulated due to NAFTA. The implementation of NAFTA removed the ability for Americans to only buy American, if they so chose to do so. In fact, many Americans did not like crops, like fruit and vegetables coming into the country from Mexico for fear of buying inferior products that could easily make them ill. They still preferred American grown crops and American made products. I know I did and still do, but try finding some.
American companies, in order to fool Americans into thinking they were buying American, would, as an example, put “Distributed” by so-and-so company, located in California. Americans would believe this to mean exactly what Big Business wanted them to think: that it was grown in America and so they would buy the product. Only after numerous Ecoli, Samonela poisoning and recalls, did the labels on food have to give the origination of the country where a particular crop was grown. So being distributed by a company located in the USA does not mean it is grown in America nor does it mean it is manufactured in America.
A year or two down the road it was evident that NAFTA, the experimental tri-lateral agreement did not do what was promised. Eventually, it resulted in many lost jobs for Americans and so much for the promise Big Business made to the Unions and American workers.
Tomorrow the WTO