The Sept. 22 editorial "Answering Trade Doubters" contained two erroneous assumptions that make The Post's conclusion that Congress should extend NAFTA "benefits" to the Caribbean misguided. The only fact stated correctly is that NAFTA has cost America 400,000 clothing jobs.
The first erroneous assumption is the claim that trade "liberalization" brings compensating benefits. Among these alleged benefits is cheaper clothing. Apparently, the editorial writer hasn't shopped for clothing lately. Although garments are made offshore in sweatshops, the savings are not passed on to consumers.
The second erroneous assumption is that jobs will be generated elsewhere in the economy. No documentation is presented to back up this claim. Yet the same issue of The Post [Business] reports of a record trade deficit for July of $25 billion, which caused the Dow Jones average to decline 225 points. Trade deficits don't create jobs, they cost the economy $250 billion a year.
The Post also reported on Sept. 22 that Kathie Lee Gifford is once again under attack for using sweatshops in Central America [Style]. The editorial concluded, "America . . . cannot be in the business of promoting sweatshops." But NAFTA and the expansion of NAFTA is undeniably promoting sweatshops. Sixty-hour work weeks at 50 or 60 cents an hour is the definition of a sweatshop, what Ms. Gifford's contractors pay their workers and what is commonplace in Mexico and the Caribbean.
JOEL D. JOSEPH
Made in America Foundation