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Jeff Faux on Brad DeLong’s Defense of NAFTA

By Jeff Faux
Brad DeLong recently criticized an op-ed I wrote about the negative impact of the twenty-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement on American workers. The stakes here are higher and more immediate than the rehash of an old ideological dispute. This is not so much about the past as about the future. Corporate lobbyists are pushing President Obama and congressional Republicans to pass the NAFTA-like eleven-country Trans-Pacific Partnership” (TPP)—right after the November election. Since it took effect in 1994, NAFTA has been the template for the subsequent series of trade agreements that have accelerated the globalization of the U.S. economy. But its failure to deliver as promised has soured the public and many in Congress on so-called “free trade.” Getting lawmakers to swallow the TPP will be easier if its promoters can somehow make lemonade out of the NAFTA lemon. To start with, DeLong fails to tell the reader that he is evaluating a law he helped to produce. He worked on NAFTA when he was a deputy assistant secretary in Bill Clinton’s Treasury Department...
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