The Instigator
Travis0485
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
clsmooth
Con (against)
Winning
52 Points

NAFTA was Bill Clinton's greatest accomplishment and it needs to be further expanded.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/15/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,984 times Debate No: 486
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (22)

 

Travis0485

Pro

NAFTA opened up many markets to our economy and has created far more jobs that it has taken. In addition to NAFTA, we need to expand free trade with many other countries, including China, in order to remain competitive in a globalized world. Those in favor of protectionism fail to grasp the concept of comparative advantage and all of the benefits that it provides. "Creative Destruction" is a great thing and should be embraced.
clsmooth

Con

You say: "NAFTA was Bill Clinton's greatest accomplishment and it needs to be further expanded."

I say: NAFTA has been a disaster and should be abolished. Furthermore, Bill Clinton's greatest accomplishment as president was working with the Republican Congress to balance the federal budget and actually generate surpluses for many years.

First, let's begin with NAFTA: The North American "Free Trade" Agreement is not about free trade. You say you're against protectionism, but that's what NAFTA is about. It isn't capitalist; it's mercantilist. The NAFTA treaty is several thousand pages long. REAL free trade could be accomplished unilaterally, by cutting tariffs to zero, abolishing all import quotas and restrictions, and eliminating all domestic subsidies.

What NAFTA is really about is surrendering U.S. sovereignty. The agreement is filled with rules and regulations (not free trade!) which are enforced by North American Trade Commissioners. The purpose of NAFTA is to "level the playing field" of the three countries. But Adam Smith's doctrine tells us there's no need for this. We benefit from comparative advantage and division of labor. Tariffs and quotas, even if retaliatory, hurt the country imposing them as much as the target country. Furthermore, retaliatory trade restrictions inevitably ignite trade wars. Point being, there's no need for this "level playing field" agreement -- the free market and free trade work just fine.

Who enforces these efforts to "level the playing field" -- the unelected NAFTA commissioners. What NAFTA really does is take away the constitutional authority of Congress to regulate trade and puts it in the hands of supranational bureaucrats.

And what authority do these commissioners have? Well, they can levy fines on businesses, search the premises of business, and use American courts to enforce multinational labor or environmental regulations put into "law" not by the U.S. Congress, but by NAFTA commissioners. See Article 756 of NAFTA. It requires the three countries to "harmonize" their labor and environmental laws. True free trade, in the Smithian tradition, does not require this, and the fact that a supranational body can impose laws on American businesses and workers is deeply disturbing to anyone who cares about limited government.

Elements of NAFTA also compel the U.S. to give foreign aid, and allow it to subsidize certain exports. Free trade? I think not. This is mercantilism at its worst.

NAFTA is not free trade. All the arguments you make for it assume that it is. And NAFTA's effects have not been beneficial, either. Our trade deficit has soared even as the dollar has weakened against virtually every other major currency (including the Canadian dollar). This is largely the fault of fiat-money central banking more than NAFTA, but combining the two is bringing the destruction (and NOT of the "creative" variety) of this once prosperous nation.

Worst of all, NAFTA directly led to the World Trade Organization (WTO), another World Government body that, again, is NOT about free trade. We go to the WTO to get sanctions placed on other countries and to get permission for higher subsidies, tariffs, and quotas. Refer back to Adam Smith's "absolute advantage" and David Ricardo's "comparative advantage" theories -- the basis for capitalist free trade -- to learn why this is the antithesis of capitalist free trade!

Finally, I will close by saying that Bill Clinton's achievement of a balanced budget (with the help of a Republican Congress), and the subsequent surpluses that it caused, is by far his greatest achievement as president. Unfortunately, all the good that did was undone, in no small part, thanks to NAFTA.
Debate Round No. 1
Travis0485

Pro

Okay so maybe that balance budget was definitely a great acomplishment. Now that Clinton's term has ended, however, the balanced budget is gone and and NAFTA remains. In fact, NAFTA is still expanding and will result in even great benefits in the years to come. So, long after Clinton's term has ended, his once balanced budget is gone but NAFTA still remains -- thus NAFTA is better not just for the trade expansion it provides but also for the length of time it will last.
clsmooth

Con

You just completely undermined your own argument, and you didn't answer any of my points.

One of the REASONS the balanced budget is gone is the disastrous, anti-free trade, pro-mercantilist, world government treaty known as NAFTA. Of course it outlived the balanced budget -- it helped kill it! As the manufacturing base has been eroded, tax reciepts today are much lower than they would have been in the absence of NAFTA. Furthermore, more is spent on the welfare state to subsidize workers who have been displaced or relegated to low-paying service-industry jobs, thanks to NAFTA.

I say: NAFTA is NOT free trade. You say nothing in response.

Your arguments are for free trade, not for NAFTA. NAFTA is NOT free trade. It is government-managed trade. I have demonstrated this to be true in my Round 1 argument, but I will briefly reiterate the case here.

Free trade = trade without interference from government. NAFTA is the exact opposite; it creates a whole new level of government to administer trade. How preposterous to call it "free trade."

NAFTA has led to the erosion of our manufacturing base. This is largely due to the fiat-money system and widespread (for now) acceptance of the dollar, for it is easier to print money than to produce goods for legitimate trade. But the day of reckoning is coming. The dollar is plummeting in value, and soon the Man Behind the Curtain will be revealed -- the Emperor wears no clothes.

If NAFTA can in any way be considered a positive thing, it is only in the argument that it is hastening to demise of the U.S. dollar, which will (hopefully) lead to the rebirth of constitutional gold/silver-backed money and the truly free trade honest money makes possible.
Debate Round No. 2
Travis0485

Pro

Travis0485 forfeited this round.
clsmooth

Con

Okay, I'll make it simple.

1. NAFTA is not free trade. My opponents arguments are in favor of free trade, not NAFTA, which he apparently doesn't understand.

2. The Balanced Budget -- achieved by Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress -- was a much greater achievement than NAFTA, which was and is a disaster.

The thesis of this debate was "NAFTA was Bill Clinton's greatest accomplishment and it needs to be further expanded."

I'm confident that regardless your position on free trade, NAFTA, or Clinton, you will agree that the logic of my arguments is superior to that of my opponent's.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
The consumer can enforce standards. It is not the government's job; neither the government of the U.S. nor the government of China. The consumer can say, "Hey, I don't trust crap from China" and not buy it. In doing so, demand would arise for a service that verified the safety of Chinese products. Where there is demand, supply will materialize if the government gets the hell out of the way and lets the market work.
Posted by Karoz 9 years ago
Karoz
Trade with China would be fine if they actually checked their damned products before exporting them. Every single week there's ten new stories on the news about some kids dying because of some lead based crap from China, or toys/toothpaste laced with date rape drug.

Enough is enough. China needs to have standards too.
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
mmoran0226 - Did you read my arguments? What is incorrect? How does the existence of supranational trade commissioners not erode national sovereignty?

Karoz - I want to trade with China all day and all night, largely because of my child. I want her to live in a purely capitalist world, in which free trade, the division of labor, and comparative advantage eradicate world poverty and raise global living standards. Capitalism is about free trade; not government-managed trade like NAFTA. I see you're a Canadian -- do whatever you want in your own country, but make mine a purely capitalist anti-state, and I'll be happy and rich, while the subjects of socialist dictatorships will be poor. In time, they will see the folly of their ways.
Posted by Karoz 9 years ago
Karoz
"we need to expand free trade with many other countries, including CHINA"

Erk... Anyone that wants to trade with China is insane or doesn't have any children.
Posted by IamMe90 9 years ago
IamMe90
Doesn't matter, clsmooth obviously did the better debating. My vote goes to con.
Posted by mmoran0226 9 years ago
mmoran0226
clsmooth - you sound like a Ron Paul supporter.

NAFTA does not threaten American sovereignty, and every U.S. household has benefited an estimated $4,000 because of NAFTA.
22 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Wallstreetatheist 5 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
Travis0485clsmoothTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con didn't forfeit a round, and used sound argumentation. That's is much more than can be said for Pro.
Vote Placed by schoolglutton 9 years ago
schoolglutton
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Vote Placed by Vlast 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by sqharawa 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by RepublicanView333 9 years ago
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