Remember, Mexico is still plaguedrnby those big debts from the 1970’s, andrnthe international bankers at State andrnTreasury are nervous. They know thatrnall the salsa in all the Taco Bells in thernworld won’t produee the kind of hardrncurrency needed to service the debt.rnBut Mexico’s reformist president has anrnidea that might attract the needed capital.rnCarlos Salinas is the current darlingrnof Washington, because he’s seen as arndemocratic capitalist. But he isn’t lookingrnnorth to the American economicrnmodel as he changes Mexico. He’s lookingrnto the turbocharged economies ofrnAsia. The economies of South Korea,rnTaiwan and company used foreign investmentrnto spur rapid growth based onrnexports (versus growth based on consumption).rnThis is what Mexico wantsrnto do, too, and President Salinas hasrnbeen straightforward about it. That’srnwhy the promise of an American boomrnaccomplished through the sale of consumerrnproducts to 100 million Mexicansrnis so laughable. It’s much more likelyrnto be the other way around.rnAnother question raised by the deal isrnwhether American big business won outrnover smaller firms—the ones that creaternall the jobs in this country. Onlyrnthe Fortune 500-size companies have therneconomies of scale to move factoriesrnacross the Rio Grande. In effect, therngovernment burdens the job-creatingrnsmall companies with regulations andrntaxes, refuses to look out for their interestsrnin the face of predatory foreignrntrade practices, and then, with a winkrnand a nod, allows the multinationals tornescape to Mexico where wages are onetenthrnwhat they are here.rnNAFTA also reveals just how thernWhite House breaks down Americanrnjobs into good ones and bad ones.rnGood jobs are created when we increasernexports, and bad jobs are those lost tornimports. By placing nearly all its emphasisrnon “opening markets” abroad,rnCarla Hills is essentially telling Americanrnbusiness that it must give up on thernlargest market in the world right here,rngo in search of markets overseas, andrnchance the whims of foreign recessions,rnfuture South Africa-like sanctions, andrnprotectionist reactions.rnPresident Bush brags that seven millionrnjobs have been created through exportsrnduring his term. But only one millionrnnet new jobs have been created inrnthat time—just 29 million jobs short ofrnthe 30 million he promised to establishrnduring his hoped-for eight years in office.rnExports are nice, but what aboutrnthe 90 million jobs not dependent onrnthem? The White House admitted thatrnof the 400,000 new jobs it claims willrnbe created because of NAFTA, justrn130,000 will be net new jobs.rnWe lose or gain that many jobs in arnsingle month. It’s a modest return forrnwhat could be a huge risk. The risk isrnthat NAFTA will cause a job implosionrnin America in the long-term. Just lookrnat Canada’s experience in the wake ofrnits free trade agreement with America.rnOver a half-million manufacturing jobsrnlost, with 91 Canadian factories movingrnto Buffalo in the summer of 1991rnalone. Those factories left Canada becausernwages there are almost two percentrnhigher than thev are in America.rnWith Mexicans willing to work for 80rncents to a buck an hour, it doesn’t take arnKennedy School economist to projectrnthe possibility of more job losses in thisrncountry post-NAFTA.rnSo, aside from spouting alliterativernlyrics about how NAFTA establishes arnsingle market from the “Yukon to thernYucatan,” is the White House gamblingrnmillions of American jobs in an effortrnto substitute this treaty for lack of bothrntrade and immigration policies? Is itrnlooking for a short-term fix—cheaprnMexican labor—to conceal its failure tornmake Americans more competitive andrnproductive through tax and economicrnpolicies?rnOf course, the Canadian example citedrnabove does provide a ray of hope forrnNOVEMBER 1992/5rnrnrn