Month: December 2014

First NAFTA, now amnesty; the American worker is being traded away

Part of the narrative the White House is trying to establish around the president’s executive amnesty is that it will ultimately help the American worker.“One way that the president can generate results for the American people is to take this kind of common sense substantive action that would be good for the economy,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. Reports have also cited estimates by Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, that the amnesty will generate 160,000 new jobs and add $2.5 billion in tax revenue. Others claim even greater numbers.So, in an era of high unemployment, growing welfare rolls and a ballooning federal deficit we’re supposed to believe that adding millions of low skilled workers will help the economy? Sorry, but folks in Alabama have heard something like this before, and we have the shuttered textile mills and their forgotten workers to remind us that it isn’t true.“In 1994…President Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, which promised to be a boon to an already struggling American working class by, somehow, creating a greater demand for American goods,” wrote Alabama author Rick Bragg in his book, “The Most They Ever Had.”The book tells the story of a once thriving textile mill in Calhoun County, Alabama, through the eyes of the community that watched it die a slow, sputtering death partly due to the trade agreement. Then, as now, our leaders promised that our workers would thrive after the deal.“Instead, American jobs poured…