New Op-ed: Trump says America first, Dems say Mexico first
Trump says America first, Dems say Mexico first
President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, pushed NAFTA through Congress 25 years ago.
He promised it would create millions of jobs and help Mexico become a prosperous customer for what we make in America. He was wrong.
NAFTA was a disaster. Good-paying American jobs moved south of the border where Mexicans are paid a dollar an hour. They got our jobs, and earn too little to buy much of anything.
President Trump promised to repeal NAFTA and replace it with a new agreement that puts America first. That's exactly what the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, USMCA, does.
But Democrats in Congress now refuse to approve it. They cling bitterly to Bill Clinton's disastrous NAFTA.
Democrats give several reasons for opposing the new USMCA. All of them are bad.
Their major complaint is that it doesn't do enough for Mexico. Consider:
President Trump believes it's his responsibility to put America first and lift our people up.
Democrats believe their obligation is to lift up the rest of the world first.
Those who say USMCA doesn't do enough for Mexico are the same extremists who say abolish ICE and give every illegal alien free health care. They believe the American government is responsible for taking care of everyone, everywhere on earth, all the time.
Their failed trade agreements gave our jobs, farms and industries to the Third World. Their failed foreign policy gave us endless wars and military adventurism, destabilized entire regions and created millions of refugees they then invited into our country with no plan to screen them.
Now they want U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill for an army of enforcement agents that will inspect factories across Mexico and root out corruption and malfeasance in that corrupt and benighted land.
These globalist Democrats are more concerned about building Mexico rather than rebuilding America.
Which brings us to their other, even worse excuse for refusing to replace NAFTA. They were honest about their intent in the first instance. In the second, they are incredibly dishonest.
Critics are demanding changes to the new agreement that would result in yet another industry being pushed out of our country to Mexico.
They dare not say this openly, so they say they are fighting for "lower prices for consumers." If that sounds familiar it's because it's the same excuse global corporations always use to justify outsourcing production to cheap foreign labor.
This time on the chopping block is one the few American industries where America is still a global leader.
The new trade agreement protects American sovereignty and the property of American innovators, including their intellectual property. It ensures Mexico and Canada treat American patent holders fairly and provides uniform standards to protect their inventions and copyrights.
The provision in the USMCA provides 10 years of patent protection for a class of new cutting-edge drugs developed by the biotech industry.
These new life-saving cures, known as "biologics," are particularly expensive to research, develop and manufacture. They are derived from living organisms, and a living system is used to manufacture the medications.
Biotech companies recoup their R&D (and other) costs by having the exclusive right for a limited period of time to sell the product they invent.
Some Democrats say they oppose the USMCA because of the 10-year patent protection it affords these life-saving biologic drugs.
We know that's a phony argument because Obamacare guarantees 12 years of protection. Democrats, you may remember, voted for it 70 times. Congress could vote to shorten it from 12 years, but it hasn't. In fact, Nancy Pelosi's signature legislation to control prescription drug prices doesn't do that either.
USMCA simply ensures Canada and Mexico abide by the same rules as the U.S. – rules that are in fact more lenient than what Democrats have supported in the past.
If we were to do what the Democrats are asking, drug labs in Tijuana would start churning out knock-offs of the medicine American companies spent so much and worked so hard to develop.
And another American industry would be sucked south of the border.
It's time to stop with the phony excuses and political games.
The American people want America First trade agreements.
Congress finally has the chance to repeal NAFTA and replace it with the USMCA.
Democrats will pay at the polls next year if they block it.
-Curtis Ellis is Senior Policy Director for America First Policies.