ATHENS, OHIO — Former presidential Bill Clinton wants to blame capitalism, not NAFTA, for the Carrier air conditioning company choosing to close two plants in Indiana and move them to Mexico.
Clinton argued that The North American Free Trade Agreement that he signed was not the reason why so many jobs were going to Mexico.
“It’s not what was going on at all,” he said, saying the companies were making high profits but were forced to move to Mexico by company shareholders.
“This is classic what’s wrong with America today,” he said, calling it “quarterly capitalism” letting “the finance tail wagging the economic dog.”
According to Clinton, Carrier would save about $65 million by moving its manufacturing plants to Mexico.
Clinton suggested that his wife would help corporations by giving them tax credits for staying in America, but did not address the overall tax and regulation nightmare forcing American companies overseas.
“Go back to being part of America!” Clinton said. “It turns out it’s good for business.”
Clinton made his remarks during the beginning of a bus tour of Ohio campaigning for his wife Hillary Clinton at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
The rally, held at a park at Ohio University was only about a third of the way full, as Clinton took the stage.
Lots of space left at this Ohio University rally as Bill Clinton takes the stage -> pic.twitter.com/jMBvOd4dZH
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) October 4, 2016
Speaking to a crowd of mostly college students, Clinton didn’t mention his historic effort in pushing NAFTA across the finish line, making it financially beneficial for American companies to move their factories to Mexico.
But he tried to explain that the United States had learned more about trade deals since he signed NAFTA.
“Now we know that even if you enforce the trade deals, people can impose barriers not covered by them,” he said, referring to currency manipulation. “We’ve learned all that.”
Clinton also admitted that it was harder to enforce “multi-national trade deals,” but didn’t mention NAFTA or President Barack Obama’s proposed trade Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Donald Trump frequently cites NAFTA as a bad trade deal for America, citing the jobs from companies like Carrier and Ford to Mexico.
“I’m going to tell the head of Carrier: ‘I hope you enjoy your stay in Mexico folks, But every single unit that you make and send across our border, which now will be real, you’re going to pay a 35 percent tax,'” Trump said during a rally in Dayton, Ohio in June.