Custom Search

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Audacity Of DoubleTalk



The area of North Carolina I live in is used to be an area with large numbers of textile and furniture jobs. Several years ago I had to visit a local machinist to have some work done. While in his shop I noticed this huge machine sitting on the floor. He told me he was contracted to getting the machine in shape before its shipment to Mexico. With no pride in his voice he said that was the last textile machine in the county.

Several weeks ago I was in the local Walmart. I'm not making this up; it actually happened and the multiple ironies compressed in such a short time made me wonder iif some force was trying to tell me something. First, while browsing in stationary I hear on the official Walmart P.A. system a Bruce Springsteen song. "My Hometown" of all things. As I threw the graph paper in the cart I heard the lines that could be the anthem for this area:

Now Main Street's whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more
They're closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back to your

Then at the checkout I'm delayed because the couple in front of me is tossing some kind of form on the counter. They are not speaking English and presumably were from Mexico. They had a small infant in the cart. Finally, the cashier did whatever she was doing (they had multiple transactions). Upon asking the cashier what that was all about, I was informed that the transactions involved W.I.C.

So, someone who is presumably in this country illegally (and don't even TRY to convince me of the odds that they are not), working illegally, and yet is receiving government assistance. By the way, one of the REASONS there are immigration laws is to prevent people from coming into the U.S. and receiving government benefits. Try sponsoring or marrying a foreign national and doing things legally. Been there, done a bunch of T-shirts.

To top the whole shopping experience off, I passed this same couple coming out of the Walmart Money Store, where I presume (again, and correctly I believe) that these folks used the savings from their W.I.C. benefits to send some money back home. Yep, that's what welfare benefits are all about....propping up the sagging economy of Mexico.

As a human being I cannot condemn people for trying to take advantage of circumstances to better their lot in life. My problem lies in the fact that NAFTA is the keystone that supports a bridge of false promises, both to Americans AND Mexicans. Let us not forget that while successful in engendering corporate profits, NAFTA has succeeded in eliminating Mexican livelihoods far more efficiently than American jobs.

Yesterday I read an article by Jake Tapper of ABC News, Obama Knocks Clinton, But Wouldn't Ax NAFTA:
Appealing to union voters in a dry wall manufacturing plant in this crucial primary state, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Sunday afternoon said that even though he has repeatedly said the passage of NAFTA was bad for the country, he would not try to repeal it.

"I don't think its realistic for us to repeal NAFTA," he said during a town hall meeting on the economy.

He argued arguing that because the trade deal had been passed more than a decade ago, it was entrenched in the economy, and any attempt to repeal it "would actually result in more job loss ... than job gains."

In the fierce fight for votes here in Ohio, where NAFTA is not popular among many blue collar Democrats, Obama has repeatedly attacked Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., for the trade deal pushed by President Bill Clinton and passed in Congress in November 1993.

If one assumes that NAFTA has caused, shall we say, an allergic reaction in the U.S. economy, then it seems rather disingenuous to condemn it while at the same time emphasiing that doing anything about it would be too painful.

Senator Obama can make a talking point out of Hillary's husband and NAFTA. He can make a valid point about Sen. Clinton praising NAFTA in the past while condemning it now......

But what is the point if Sen. Obama is going to throw up his hands and say there's nothing he'll do about it since it's so "entrenched" into our economy? Tapeworms are entrenched too, but any expert will agree that getting rid of it is much healthier than living with it.

Bill Clinton got my vote 1992 based upon the notion that he would also bring "change." It meant a swing away from the worshiping at the feet of Wall St. and concentrating on the greater mass of people who actually live with the consequences of their own actions, let alone those of others in higher places.

Is Obama like Bill Clinton?....great at getting elected but suffering political amnesia as soon as he takes the oath of office? If that's the way it is, then so be it. The nation cannot afford it, but SOME level of honesty and promise-keeping must return or the whole thing is a joke.

And very few are laughing.
Cross-posted at

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Blogger B.J. said...

There is an abundance of Web sites where one can read all about the evils of NAFTA (and an equal number of persons vehemently opposed to it). I have learned over the 65 years of my life that there are two sides to every story and have found it advantageous to get both sides before forming opinions.

In so doing, I’ve found that NAFTA has its faults and its merits.

I’m not certain it’s fair to blame the economic woes of certain areas on NAFTA.

For example, I live in South Carolina, your neighboring state. Here in the upstate the economy long was based on textile mills. In the 80s, before NAFTA, many of the mills had closed and were sitting empty like ruined monoliths.

I always try to KISS – keep it simple, stupid – and in the 80s, the problem seemed pretty apparent to me. I am a woman. I buy clothes. Needing a simple, basic-black party dress I went to Gallant-Belk. I tried on dress after dress of the shoddiest construction (I used to sew) with price tags ranging from $120 to $200. I then went to Walmart and found a snazzy little made-in-Portugal number for $29.99.

Is it possible that with higher and higher American wage demands passed along on consumer price tags – before the advent of NAFTA – the textile industry just priced itself right out of the market? You bet.

The key for the recuperation of stagnant state areas is new development and training, which both Democratic candidates espouse. I understand North Carolina, long dependent on tobacco, textiles and furniture manufacturing, is fast becoming an important technology hub.

Frankly, I think Obama and Clinton are right in saying NAFTA needs revision. It is unrealistic to think we cannot do business with the world.

I suppose the alternative would be: stop shopping at WalMart and pony up those big bucks for American-made goods.

If you’re looking for something to blame, try greed.

10:28 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home