NAFTA good for America

By David S. Olsen

Recently, Clinton and Obama have been attacking each other to see which candidate is most against NAFTA and the free trade principles it enshrines. But instead the candidates should be focusing on how the United States has and still can benefit from free trade.

NAFTA has created many millions of jobs since the agreement took effect in 1994, both in the United States and in Mexico. The pact also increased our trade with Mexico, and has greatly benefited both countries as each country can specialize in the fields where it is most efficient. I do not deny the fact that the U.S. has lost many manufacturing and low-skilled manufacturing jobs to the cheaper labor markets of Mexico. But the pact has allowed the creation of even more high-skilled and higher-paying jobs here in the United States. Thus, workers learn new skills and take new jobs in order to remain employed and productive in the current economy. This is a characteristic of a dynamic, capitalist economy.

Just remember your basic economics course. When a trade occurs, both parties benefit. NAFTA has removed barriers and allowed the U.S., Mexico, and Canada all to benefit.

Free trade is a vital part of the United States. We constantly reap the benefits of trade when we can buy clothing, food, furniture, and many goods from all over the world. Our citizens are also employed in jobs that involve international transactions and would not be possible without trade.

The candidates need to face the challenges and realities of a global economy. Fear urges us to close our borders and engage in protectionism. But this will only hurt us in the long-run. For the U.S. to continue to lead the world, free trade is our only option.