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CAFTA, Bringing Down the American Worker

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Source: CNN

Republicans have sold us out even more. CAFTA is a five letter curse word just as NAFTA is. Big businesses wil now have a new section of the globe which will allow them to shut down factories here in the states and open up factories in this new section. More American jobs going outside the United States. This is highly depressing.

I used to work for Russell Corporation. I am sure you have seen the big R on Collegiate and Pro team jerseys. Before NAFTA, Russell had several sewing plants throughout Alabama. After NAFTA, they started building Sewing Plants in Mexico. After these were built, they shut all but one that were located in Alabama. The one they opened in Alabama was where the jerseys you see on TV were stitched.

Russell is not alone in this endeavor. A lot of companies have used the same scenario. Most people that read this post will never ever be directly affected by NAFTA or CAFTA. The ones it will affect are the blue collar workers that don’t have a computer and/or internet service.

I was once a blue collar worker, so I know how they will feel once they lose their job to exploited labor in Central America.

George Bush says:CAFTA would boost textile exports” I don’t see a rise in textile products being exported, I see a rise in texttile jobs being imported. Bush says: “‘This deal is a good deal for workers” Yea, good for the Central American worker.

And do you know what is down the road? SAFTA!
South American Free Trade Agreement…..

We are on a downward spiral of destroying the backbone of America, THE BLUE COLLAR WORKER.

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About Mojoala

  • Out of curiosity, do you have a job now? How does it pay relative to your job for Russell? How are the working conditions in comparison?


  • Nancy

    The true agenda of these “agreements” is that they will allow already rich US corporations an even greater opportunity to exploit poor foreigners by setting up sweat shops in their countries, and to continue exploiting US workers by deliberately creating such a dearth of jobs that they are forced to agree to take similar slave labor conditions here in the US, or starve. Smirk is the everyday worker’s worst enemy & biggest traitor, indeed. I could almost be glad he’s destroying the jobs & economic welfare of those millions of deluded fools who voted for him; they deserve him.

  • In the big picture, free trade seems to be mostly good. It encourages peace, since nobody wants to go to war against a big source of income.

    On the person-by-person leve, though, it can suck, because someone else somewhere else can always do what you’re doing more cheaply.

    I’ll be really curious to see the answer to Dave’s question above.

  • Wrong, Nancy. These agreements are entirely about two things. Increasing the ability of manufactured and farm goods from Central America to reach the US, and increasing the efficiency of the transport of US manufactured goods to Central and South America. The exporting of jobs was not restricted before these agreements, because we did not have a tarriff on imports. Before these agreements the jobs were already being exported and we were not gaining as much of the benefit as we could have as consumers. Now that balance is eased somewhat.


  • Nancy

    Then why were there such huge uprisings of poor workers against CAFTA in their own countries? (W. post articles) And if it doesn’t involve US labor, then why is Labor & everyone else not an “imperialist capitalist pig” (to use a phrase from long ago) against it? Or more to the point, why is Bush so FOR it? Anything he’s for, I’m against, on general principle that he’s a liar & and a traitorous sellout to US citizens.

  • The racism, faux nationalism and cheap short-sighted selfishness of free trade opponents really turns me off.

    The free-er the trade, the better off the big majority of people are, here and yonder. The artificial limits of economic protectionism clearly end up hurting everyone, starting with domestic consumers who will be expected to pay double market prices for everything so that American workers can be payed way more than the work is worth in the market.

    Yet people insist on trying to get the government to intervene to save them from the inevitability of market forces. Low end manufacturing jobs OF COURSE are going to be headed to cheaper labor markets. That’s what they SHOULD be doing. The locals then have a chance to start increasing their job skills, begin organizing themselves and working their way up- much as Americans were doing in the last century.

    Meanwhile, Mexicans and Columbians have to eat too. They need those jobs worse than we do. We’ve got the biggest, strongest economy in the world. We’re generating new jobs with higher skill levels and pay, and passing down the low skill textile jobs and such. Free trade, eliminating tariffs and import quotas and other such artificial barriers, will do FAR more to help poor people around the globe than than any dumb Live Aid or foreign aid package the Congress can conjure up.

  • Dave Nalle, yes I have a job. I am a Programmer/Analyst. How does it pay?
    I was a forklift driver with Russell.

    You do the Math: Forklift Driver vs Programmer/Analyst.

  • You are very so right Nancy!

  • Nancy I agree with comment #5.
    Good Job1

  • Al Barger sounds like an owner of a corporation….

  • Mojoala, help me out, since I’ve never been a forklift driver. A programmer/analyst makes more money, right?

  • At least down here in Alabama they do.
    I make 4 times now what I use to make as a forklift driver.

    you’re funny P Winn.

  • They have programmers in Alabama?

    I’m sorry – couldn’t help myself:)

  • I’m not trying to be funny. I figured a forklift driver was a low-paying position, but I’ve never worked in a job that had unions before, so I wasn’t sure. I know some pretty low-paid programmers, too — though not many.

    I think that Dave’s point is probably made here, by the way, in that for all of the hurt and anguish you feel at having lost your job at Russell, you’re better off.

    You’ve gotten better working conditions, better pay, and a brighter future.

    I know that isn’t the case for everybody, but the concept of free trade basically says that lower-skilled jobs tend to be replaced by higher-skilled jobs, so as lower-skilled workers in other places take jobs away from the US, the US in theory should be able to develop more higher-skilled (and higher-paying) jobs with the freed-up capital and so on.

    Like I said, that’s not much help to the guy who can’t get a job after his factory shuts down, but I think the idea is that there aren’t as many of those people as most people think there are.

    Congrats on the new job, by the way!

  • >>Then why were there such huge uprisings of poor workers against CAFTA in their own countries?<< There were? I thought workers in these countries liked more jobs with higher pay. Got a link on these 'uprisings'? I'd love to hear more. Dave

  • What Philip said. Saved me some typing.

    I realize that there’s always a transitional period, but when the low paid work leaves new businesses move into the vacuum looking for workers, and in many cases they are willing to train those workers and send them to school, and after a few years they end up earning more money.

    Don’t think of things like CAFTA as taking jobs away, think of them as restructuring our economy and our work force – usually for the better.


  • Uprisings are based on people’s beliefs, which may or may not correspond with the facts of a matter. People protest things based on misinformation all the time.

    That may or may not be the case here. Mexico has seemed to enjoy NAFTA overall, despite hiccups here and there.

  • Well I never lost my job at Russell because of NAFTA, nor do I know anyone personally that had. I was at Russell in plant not affected by NAFTA.

    I am a white collar worker that has never forgotten where he came from.

    Not a knew job, I have been here as a Programmer for 4 years come September 1st.

    Those sewing plant closings occured in 1996. I left Russell in 1998.

  • funny Aaman.

  • Dave, it’s easy to say “for the better” when you’re not one of the unfortunate few who can’t adjust to the new economic reality.

    I agree overall, but let’s not forget that the process is painful for many.

  • Do any of you believe SAFTA will be on the floor next?

  • Side note: Russell, when they opened up some plants in Mexico, they also opened a plant up in Central America and South America. They shipped the finished products to Mexico and up to the States. Now they can ship directly from Central America, and eventually SAFTA will allow them to ship directly to the States.

  • >>Dave, it’s easy to say “for the better” when you’re not one of the unfortunate few who can’t adjust to the new economic reality. << Those unfortunate few still have lateral mobility. So long as unemployment remains low they can find a similar job somewhere, especially if they're willing to relocate. As a nation our priority has to be to encourage economic growth, development and modernization, and that means moving away from old style industry and towards high tech and information technology. Dave

  • Interestingly enough, one of the problems that Mexico has noted in the aftermath of the NAFTA agreement has been its own inability to truly take full advantage of the opportunity.

    Mexico is losing a significant number of the manufacturing positions that they expected to get to even lower wage countries such as China and SE Asia.

    The flattening of trade restrictions, the opening of the Chinese labour markets and a number of other convergent events are fuelling job shifts far more extensive than NAFTA has or then CAFTA potentially will.

  • It took a number of years for NAFTA to lead to CAFTA, so it’ll probably be a number of years more for SAFTA, but yeah, I think it will eventually come.

    I guess the overall question is whether NAFTA (which I opposed at the time, but I am now more mixed on the subject) and CAFTA and so on and so forth are improving conditions overall — with short-term negative effects for some — or just making things worse for everybody.

    I think it’s the former, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant for those caught up in the churn.

    Put another way: in the future, the USA might have no low-end manufacturing jobs whatsoever, but that might not be bad.

  • billy

    its amazing. the places hit hard by nafta and cafta are the places that vote heavily republican. when will they wake up? meanwhile, the benficiaries of nafta, like me living in a deep blue state, will get cheaper shirts, vegetables, etc, and we understand it isnt worth selling out most of the american people so we can have a cheaper latte.

  • amen, brother billy!

  • Billy, it’s funny to me that one can look at a situation in which people have different views than one’s own and come away with “They’re all stupid” as the reason.

    Since the states and counties most affected by NAFTA tend to vote overwhelmingly for the party most associated with NAFTA, isn’t it reasonable to assume that they have an understanding of the effects of NAFTA that you might not?

    I used to hear this all the time from Republicans who protested that the Democratic party is bad for black people, and how foolish it is for black people to vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. My response to them was the same: Maybe you should ask a few black people to find out why, rather than calling them stupid.

    So what about it? Are you willing to solicit opinions from folks living in border states and border counties?

  • billy

    how many farmers have you seen happy about nafta phillip? i have seen none.

    “isn’t it reasonable to assume that they have an understanding of the effects of NAFTA that you might not?”

    no, because these are the same people that voted for bush, despite tax cuts to the top 1% that they saw none of, simply because “gay marriage” was out to get them.

    why would i assume they would resaonably understand anything, specifically something as complex as nafta?

  • Wow. I’m sorry you feel that way about such a large segment of the population, Billy. For what it’s worth, I’ve met some red-staters that feel the same way about you, and I’ve done my best to disabuse them of that notion as well. It’s a shame that anyone gets so invested in partisanship that they’re willing to write off half the population of the country as stupid.

    In any case, some might argue that an analogy might run like this: How many buggy whip manufacturers* have you seen happy about the horseless carriage? I have seen none. Therefore, the horseless carriage is bad, because it hurts American workers.

    The question is whether NAFTA, CAFTA, and the like represent overall progress or not. It is possible that all large-scale farming could someday be done elsewhere, and there could be no farmers left in the USA, and yet we could all — including the former farmers — be better off.

    It’s a complex issue, as you suggest, and not easily dismissed with “they’re stupid.”

    * Yes, I realize that it’s an overused example, but the point it makes is a good one and the image is strong.

  • RJ

    Free Trade directly hurts a small number of people a lot. But it also indirectly benefits a large number of people a little.

    Economists generally agree that the overall impact is positive, in the aggregate, for all countries that open their markets.

  • RJ


    Farmers love free trade. We have surplus agricultural goods here in the US. In order to make a profit, farmers need foreign markets where they can sell their goods.

  • >>how many farmers have you seen happy about nafta phillip? i have seen none.< < We still have farmers? Joking aside, the farmers I know have no problem at all with it. Around here the farmers grow specialty crops or feed grains or raise cattle. CAFTA isn't going to hurt them at all. >>no, because these are the same people that voted for bush, despite tax cuts to the top 1% that they saw none of, simply because “gay marriage” was out to get them.< < And there it is, the Big Lie. Good job. Of course, the truth is that the tax cuts benefited everyone proportionately since they were percentage cuts. Everyone saved money. In fact, the poor got more back because the rebates were a larger percentage of their income. Wow, maybe it wasn't gay marriage that got them to vote for Bush but simply liking the idea of paying less in taxes. >>why would i assume they would resaonably understand anything, specifically something as complex as nafta?<< If they're smart enough to see through Democrat lies they're smart enough to see the benefits of NAFTA. Dave

  • Thanks, Dave, for demonstrating that easy dismissal of huge numbers of people as stupid based on nothing more than political partisanship isn’t limited to one side of the political spectrum.

  • Philip, that comment isn’t merited by my post. I didn’t dismiss anyone as stupid, I just refuted billy’s ridiculous generalizations.


  • The phrase “Democrat lies” does more than that; it does exactly what Billy did.

    If you want to communicate a precise idea (such as “lies spread by some, but not all, hardcore Democrat partisans”), then use precise words. The phrase you used is not much different than Billy’s diatribe. Both are misguided.

  • The lies which he was repeating are issued directly by the talking points sources of the DNC. That makes them democratic party lies, if not lies which are believed by every democrat. The fact that the party on the left chooses to repeatedly and aggressively spread disinformation on the topic of tax cuts becomes extremely tiresome. Why not go after Bush for his real failings rather than one of the few areas in which he’s been successful and right?


  • In other words, it’s okay to lambast half the voters in the country, because you’re right.

    Okay, folks — I tried to give Dave a little more credit than Billy. I probably shouldn’t have.

    Isn’t this a post about NAFTA?

  • Philip, your cheap attempt at moral superiority probably isn’t impressing much of anyone. Dave never said nor implied that all Democrats are liars. You just made that up for your silly gotcha game.

  • Actually, if you look up, Philip, you’ll see it’s a post about CAFTA. Not quite the same thing.

    But yes, that’s one reason why I brought up the issue of this constant disinformation about the tax cuts. We’re talking about free trade, and in comes billy with a completely gratuitous and unrelated slam at Bush on the tax cuts issue. Annoying, and compounded by the fact that the criticism is repeated so often and is completely untrue.

    I didn’t condemn half the voters, just the Democrats who keep trying to spread this tax cuts for only the rich BS.


  • When you’re not part of a group, it’s easy to think that a label for the group isn’t serious and shouldn’t be thought of as universal.

    When you are part of a group that is mentioned, you feel differently.

    Billy could argue that he wasn’t talking about all of the people who voted for Bush, and even make a case, but nobody leapt to his defense. Instead, two Bush voters are spending time arguing that “smart enough to see through Democrat lies” doesn’t actually imply that it means what most Democrats will think it means.

    It’s partisanship, and the fact that it isn’t obvious to everyone simply demonstrates how extensive the partisanship is.

    Which is funny, because this is a post about NAFTA and CAFTA, and NAFTA is only law because of a last-minute back-room deal that delivered a Republican betrayal. In other words, the folks defending it now are of the party that most decried it when it was passed, and vice versa. Again, this demonstrates how much of the energy invested in fighting things before they happen is so often wasted.

    Not always, of course, and some things are worth fighting, but when it’s party vs party, again, it usually has less to do with reality and more to do with politics.

  • Dave, as my comments have probably shown by now, I agree that the attack was unwarranted, unsubstantiated, irrelevant, and more. I thought that the response was less of each of those things, but still probably more than a thread on CAFTA (oops) deserves.

    I’ve really been challenged lately in thinking about how much the things we say affect those around us because we don’t think about what they sound like to people not like us. It’s… interesting.

  • I think things like NAFTA and CAFTA largely cross party lines. Both parties have ‘philosophical’ objections to them and arguments in favor of them that fit their belief structures, but at the same time there are also practical issues which are troubling, and potential for economic growth which are very attractive. They’re a mixed blessing, like so many things.

    On the other topic, I don’t think the issue of the tax cuts is party vs. party. It’s party vs. truth.


  • Whether the facts back up your view or not, of course you would think that about tax cuts! That’s somewhat my point. I assure you that many Democrats feel exactly the same way in the other direction, and continuing to highlight this accomplishes nothing.

    I’m still conflicted personally on NAFTA/CAFTA, so it wouldn’t surprise me to find a wide variety of views in Congress, too.

  • Yes, Philip, but my position can be proven factually, whereas their position on tax cuts is demonstrably incorrect. We’re not talking about the desirability of the cuts here – which is at least debatable – we’re talking about the actual facts of who received what amount of cuts. Despite the plain, hard fact that the cuts were a percentage at all income levels, they keep saying that they went to the top 1% or the ‘rich’, which is directly contrary to a fact which anyone can verify.


  • Sorry, Philip. This particular bit of disinformation just drives me absolutely mad. They keep saying it and it’s never been true, and it pisses me off to no end.


  • well Mr Nalle…

    then yer really gonna hate this linkage

    it’s a real hootenanny


  • Damn that’s a great link, Gonzo. I’ll disect it in detail later, but I love the way they try to make it look like Bush is giving a bigger cut to the rich when it’s actually the result of economic growth which comes from cutting taxes in the first place. With math like that, who needs the truth?


  • LOL, I’m still enjoying it. Having a blast with the small print and how they managed to change the flat 3% into a bigger break for rich people by assuming that lifting the cap on itemization will help them but not people in lower income brackets.

    It is indeed a hoot.


  • RJ

    “Whether the facts back up your view or not, of course you would think that about tax cuts! That’s somewhat my point. I assure you that many Democrats feel exactly the same way in the other direction, and continuing to highlight this accomplishes nothing.”

    Yabut, the thing is, those “many Democrats” are … factually incorrect. So, Dave was merely pointing this out.

  • RJ

    I’m just po’ white trash, and I noticed a change in my paycheck once those “tax cuts for the rich” kicked in. I also received a tax refund check that year.

    So. It’s a LIE that Bush’s tax cuts ONLY benefitted the “rich.”

    And anyway, “rich” people are people with a lot of wealth. Income taxes have NO EFFECT on previously-earned wealth. They only have an effect upon EARNINGS. So, even if the Democrats weren’t lying, and the tax cut really had only been for the “top 1%,” it wouldn’t have been the “rich” who benefitted. It would have been “high-income earners.” That’s an important distinction.