Lawmakers have been blaming the federal deficit for America’s sluggish economy for years. However, that connection has lost much of its credibility with the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office. As of May 2014, it’s at its lowest level since 2008 at $438 billion.
So, where are all the jobs? The short answer is overseas. Although America’s federal deficit is down, the trade deficit is up.
That shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Ever since President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) into law in 1999, the US has been steadily losing ground on the balance of trade with more imports of products and more exports of jobs.
The Huffington Post reports:
For NAFTA's unhappy 20th anniversary, Public Citizen has published a report that details the wreckage. Not only did promises made by NAFTA's proponents not materialize, but many results are exactly the opposite.
Such outcomes include a staggering $181 billion U.S. trade deficit with NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada and the related loss of 1 million net U.S. jobs under NAFTA, growing income inequality, displacement of more than one million Mexican campesino farmers and a doubling of desperate immigration from Mexico, and more than $360 million paid to corporations after "investor-state" tribunal attacks on, and rollbacks of, domestic public interest policies.
The loss of US jobs and trade deficit will probably get worse if President Obama has is way with the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Critics have called the secret trade deal NAFTA on steroids and a covert attempt to surrender US sovereignty to corporations, since it would allow them to overwrite US law without going through congress.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MASS) believes the TTP is nothing short of a disaster for America. Warren said, “I have heard the argument that transparency would undermine the Trade Representative’s policy to complete the trade agreement because public opposition would be significant. In other words, if people knew what was going on, they would stop it.”