NAFTA and trump

The last piece I heard on NPR’s Morning Edition today was Carrie Kahn’s on Mexico and US being set to renegotiate NAFTA.

I remember when NAFTA was passed in the nineties, that much was made of the size of the bill. It was over 1,000 pages long.

The complaint then was not only was that bill too long and cumbersome but that all bills were becoming too long, too involved.

My own image is of the cartoon hay wagon or of the Joads’ car, piled high with the goods to take to California.

Trump — whose book The Art of the Deal was ghosted — thinks he can renegotiate NAFTA. His first few days in office have shown that for a “businessman,” he is ignorant of trade.

He has no idea what is in it because objections then to NAFTA were that no one could read it.

Trump evidences being able to read only on the fifth grade level. I am not alone is that estimate and I thought that before satirist Samantha Bee raised the matter.

I should not be the only person raising these points. I imagine professors at the Kennedy School of Government and at Harvard’s B School are close to apoplexy.

I did a little quick research on NAFTA this morning.

The idea originated “with ronald reagan.” NAFTA was a pet project of the Heritage Foundation. More republicans supported it than democrats.

So, while trump bullied Bill Clinton for signing the bill, and Clinton did say NAFTA was a beginning, He wished to reach out to nations in South America.

Our juggernaut in the WH then has no idea what it means to negotiate or renegotiate. He does not understand that NAFTA was not a unilateral agreement and that all the signatories might have to agree with what he imagines he will re-negotiate. He has not, will not and, more importantly, CAN NOT read the original agreement.

His knowledge of trade is slight. His knowledge of government is more slender still. His knowledge of bullying is vast. The one thing he understands is that millions of people are as much in the dark as he is. He used them.


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