I thought it had been a while since we last heard from Luther Tweeten; however, the High Plains Journal article, "Tweeten proposes a NAFTA dollar for common currency," proved that it had not been long enough!
The Ohio State University ag economist's suggestion that Canada, Mexico and the United States should develop a single currency (NAFTA dollar) to facilitate trade was rather enigmatic. Upon what would the value of such a currency be based? Who would regulate it? How could such a currency ever be adopted without distorting the values of each nation's economic sectors?
Furthermore, why even discuss this idea. Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution clearly charges the U.S. Congress with the duty "To regulate commerce with foreign nations..." and mandates that Congress is to "...coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin... ." There is no mention of surrendering monetary authority to any international entity or of merging our economy with that of any other nation(s). To ever suggest that we should surrender our national sovereignty for the sake of foreign commerce is insanity.
Tweeten decried the fact that U.S. trucking regulations do not allow many Mexican trucks, loaded with Mexican products, to enter our nation. He implies that this is unfair. I ask: "Unfair to whom?"
American truckers must be fully insured and inspected and must abide by those same regulations in the interest of public safety. Should Americans be placed in danger on our roadways just to facilitate trade?
Free trade gurus, like Tweeten, seem willing to do anything and surrender everything for the sake of free trade.
Tweeten would do well to admit that free trade only can hope to be beneficial when the nations involved are complete economic equals. When such is allowed between the economic superpower of the United States and an economic infant like Mexico, it results in the American marketplace being vandalized.
When we allow cheap foreign goods--produced by foreign workers in abominable conditions, using massive quantities of pesticides, which are forbidden or rigorously restricted in the U.S.--into our marketplace, at a cheap price, we not only undercut our domestic producers; we do nothing to improve the lives of those foreign workers, nor the economies of those foreign nations.
Lesser minds say NAFTA is working, but are very careful to avoid factual reporting about who NAFTA is working for. We know the reality of NAFTA and its horrendous impact on America's labor and agricultural sectors. More of the same will not remedy this situation.
Much of the job growth Tweeten credits to NAFTA is, in reality, job migration. Factory, assembly and light manufacturing jobs are leaving the U.S. for Mexico, as U.S. corporations seek the low wage marketplace. Mexico is not building a sovereign economy, but rather scavenging that of the U.S. to the detriment of both nations.
What we should be doing is seeking to establish a program of "fair trade," where the inequities of our trading partners are recognized and balanced to safeguard our domestic industry and marketplace, while encouraging foreign nations to also build their sovereign economies.
Debasing our economy, negating our laws, lowering our standards, surrendering our sovereignty, importing tons of food of dubious quality, to be consumed by unsuspecting , etc., are not trade enhancing options. They are pure folly.
Clearly, we have seen that fools rush in where wise men fear to trade!--Brett Fowler, Hooker, OK, American Agriculture Movement of Oklahoma president.