Flashback–Joe Biden in 2007: Job-Killing NAFTA ‘Not the Problem’

In 2007, then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) defended the job-killing, pro-outsourcing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) years after voting in support of the free trade deal that ultimately helped lead to the elimination of nearly five million U.S. manufacturing jobs.

During a December 2007 interview with SentinelSource.com, Biden defended his support for NAFTA by claiming that the free trade deal “probably created” more U.S. jobs than those that were lost and said the deal “wasn’t the problem.”

Biden said:

My problem is … I voted for NAFTA. NAFTA in my state created more jobs than it lost jobs coming out of my state. And you can argue that, on balance, it probably created more American jobs than it lost. [Emphasis added]

There was dislocation. Some jobs got lost. Some jobs got created. But, again, NAFTA wasn’t the problem. The problem became when you go beyond what these guys are going, [the Bush administration] and it’s attitude — it’s attitude about … and it’s an intellectually indefensible attitude. [Emphasis added]

In Biden’s home state of Delaware, though, NAFTA helped to eliminate nearly 17,000 American jobs due to soaring trade deficits and China’s entering the World Trade Organization (WTO). NAFTA, alone, eliminated about 1,200 American jobs in Delaware due to the U.S.-Mexico trade deficit.

Biden said, in the same interview, that the U.S. must be engaged in “open trade” while calling himself a “fair trader.”

“This isn’t about saying you can’t … we should not be investing in other parts of the world, this is not saying we should not have open trade,” Biden said. “It just says we should have free and fair trade. I mean, literally, fair trade. And that means you get held to the same standard.”

As Breitbart News has chronicled, decades-long free trade deals, NAFTA, and China’s entering the WTO eliminated nearly five million manufacturing jobs across the country since 1994. Free trade advocates, like Biden, claimed at the time that NAFTA would create a million U.S. manufacturing jobs in the first five years.

Instead, nearly a million American jobs have been certified by the federal government as being lost directly due to NAFTA, according to data gathered by Public Citizen. These are only the U.S. jobs that the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program recognizes as being lost to free trade and does not indicate the actual number of jobs lost.

For example, free trade with Mexico, alone, has eliminated at least 700,000 American jobs, and states in the Rust Belt have been hit the hardest. Those states and the number of American workers impacted include:

  • 14,500 American workers displaced in Wisconsin
  • 43,600 American workers displaced in Michigan
  • 2,600 American workers displaced in West Virginia
  • 26,300 American workers displaced in Pennsylvania
  • 34,900 American workers displaced in Ohio
  • 34,300 American workers displaced in New York
  • 6,500 American workers displaced in Iowa
  • 24,400 American workers displaced in Indiana
  • 34,700 American workers displaced in Illinois

Most famously, the state of West Virginia has been enormously crippled by free trade and multilateral trade deals like NAFTA. One former steel town in West Virginia lost 94 percent of its steel jobs because of NAFTA, with nearly 10,000 workers in the town being displaced from the steel industry.

“They talk about creating all these jobs,” an American worker told The Independent of NAFTA. “But they’re just retail jobs that pay minimum wage, or just above.”

This week, Biden defended his support, once again, of NAFTA, job-killing free trade negotiations, and his opposition to tariffs on cheap foreign imports.

“I’m proud of my record,” Biden told local media in Iowa.

Despite declaring himself a defender of American union workers, Biden’s first fundraiser for his 2020 presidential primary campaign was hosted by a slew of wealthy donors, including attorney Steve Cozen, whose law firm specializes in helping corporations bust up labor unions, as Breitbart News’s Matt Boyle reported.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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