The Problem: NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). Bad deal? Yes. Why? Not for the reasons that you and I are being told. It’s a bad deal because most things that were decided in 1994 are bad today. There are 877,000 divorces per year. Since 1994, there have been approximately 19 million “bad deals” in relationships. Does that mean that marriage is bad? No. It means that people change, and also that people change their behavior. Well, that’s a major part of the reason that NAFTA is a bad deal today. People around the world have changed their behavior. But specifically, Americans have changed the way that we work due to technology and automation.
The Truth: The U.S. has lost almost 5 million manufacturing jobs since NAFTA took effect in 1994. Today, the average factory worker earns more than $25 an hour before overtime, while the typical retail worker makes less than $18 an hour. However, here’s the “change in our behavior”. In 1994 there were 3.5 million more Americans working in manufacturing than in retail. Today, those numbers have turned completely, with the gap widening by the day. As a result, more than 80% of all private jobs are now in the service sector.
The Solution: There is nothing wrong with politicians trying to save what remains of U.S. manufacturing. But let’s be completely honest: The U.S. is now a service-based economy. Its time elected officials discuss how to make the service sector more efficient and effective for Americans, rather than selling an idea that manufacturing jobs are coming back. Look no further than the Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending spree, over $616 million will be spent during November and December … alone.