Since 1974, during the Nixon Administration, the Democratic Congress had given away much of it's U.S. Constitutional power to the White House to plan and manage "Fast Track" trade deals, with Congress merely reducing it's power down to an up and down vote role. But with serious questions about NAFTA as well as new prosposed "Fast Track" trade deals with Columbia and South Korea in question, Congress has finally allowed "Fast Track" to expire without reauthorization, where each trade deal will be more carefully debated in the future by Congress, and the White House will have to make a better case.
And in two more trade deals with Peru and Panama, Congress now insists that the White House put worker's rights on the same level footing as investor's rights.
NAFTA is largely responsible for many in the current wave of illegal immigrants from Mexico and South America ,when American corporate mega-farms dumped huge amounts of corn and wheat on the local Mexican markets creating a huge market price drop in wages, cutting them by a third or more, sending many Mexican workers into poverty and rushing to the U.S. to find work for their families. This wave of human economic refugees as a result of NAFTA is seldom raised during immigration issue debates.
But trade problems may run far deeper than just investors taking advantage of lower wages outside the U.S.. Many in the American business community have found Chinese companies excellent to do business with because the Chinese are so polite, compared to the rude, "I don't care" attitude often exhibited by many American businesses. Part of the reason that Chinese products have done so well in the U.S. is not just the lower wages or lower priced goods, but that very polite nature of the Chinese who really value their customers.
Certainly the U.S. needs to be very concerned about the loss of jobs to labor cheap nations as well as the huge growing trade deficit. But blatant profiteering on the part of American companies to profit from lower wage foreign labor does not explain the entire story. A strong work ethic by those overseas as well as a polite nature that is often missing among many Americans also expains another part of the problem. Many Americans need a serious business attitude change. As one Christian minister likes to put it, "Everyone wants a job.. But not everyone wants to work". And he's right. A stronger work ethic among those from Mexico and China also explains part of their success at challenging American jobs besides the lower wages.
Many in American business need to learn some basic civility if they wish to compete. This issue is seldom raised. Many in business just don't like doing business with rude people, driving many to buy from foreign companies who are far more polite.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!