Trump Is Going Back On His NAFTA Promise

Donald Trump won't be pulling the US out of NAFTA - at least not immediately.

But he's still permanently changed the debate about trade in America.

Donald Trump said yesterday that after speaking with the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Canada, he's decided not to immediately pull the US out of NAFTA.

Instead, he'll trying to renegotiate that massive job-killing so-called free trade deal.

" I've decided rather than terminating NAFTA - which would be a pretty big, you know, shock to the system - we will renegotiate. Now, if I'm unable to make a fair deal, if I'm unable to make a fair deal for the United States, meaning a fair deal for our workers and our companies, I will terminate NAFTA. But we're going to give renegotiation a good, strong shot."

Renegotiating or withdrawing from NAFTA was always a Democratic position. How did it become a Republican one? Can we just credit it to Trump?

Trade arguably played a pivotal role in helping Trump win Rust Belt states like Michigan and Wisconsin. If he makes any sort of progress on this issue, are Democrats in danger of being outflanked on populism?


Lightengine's picture
Lightengine 7 years 8 weeks ago

Since 1998 and renewal of MFN China, the trade deficit has been the main driver for the Federal deficit. The trade deficit sucks half a trillion dollars out of our banks every year. It eliminates more than 50 million jobs and makes our taxable economy too small. We boost bank reserves and pay for the Federal deficit with "quantitative easing" that is in fact an eventually fatal economic addiction. 50% of the trade deficit is from China, 8% from Mexico, 9% from Japan, 10% from Germany, and 24% from other countries. By commodity it is 43% clothing, 23% automotive, 19% energy, 11% electronics, and only 4% steel. We need a three to five year increased indexed tariff system on imports by country that exceed our exports until they are equal. Tariff free trade is only free when it is balanced. This is not protectionism of an industry or a business. This is protectionism of our economy that could collapse. Any idea of trade wars should be forgotten as irrelevant. Right now the accumulated Federal deficit is diving straight down in a fatal trajectory. If we do not turn it around, the result will be a global catastrophe of frozen liquidity for all transactions.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 7 years 8 weeks ago

Somehow, the prospect of a fake billionaire, ant-labor boy king who lies constantly, even about small things, sincerely negotiating corporate trade deals in good faith on behalf of American workers neither rings true nor inspires confidence. It would be totally out of character for this 70 year old scion of the greedy class to suddenly have an epiphany, go against everyone in his circle and everything that defines his world, and strike a deal that would reduce corporate power and strengthen the hand of regular people. Don't hold your breath; improving NAFTA will be just another failed campaign promise.

Outback 7 years 8 weeks ago

Populism? As in "grass-roots democracy; working-class activism; egalitarianism"? (one dictionary definition). Thom Hartmann, get your head out! With you it's consistantly "the Republicans against the Democrats". When are you going to acknowledge that, other than their rhetoric, you can not slide one thin dime between these two parties. They are BOTH neoliberal, which means the prime movers in each party are transnational capitalists that do not give one flying f**k about this country; their only concern is winning that big game of Monopoly. Get off this sideshow about Republicans vs Democrats and start talking about a third alternative. ANY third alternative. Please!

ErinRose's picture
ErinRose 7 years 8 weeks ago

The Democrats don't have to worry about Trump outflanking them on populism, they are already outflanking themselves on populism. It's a speciality of theirs.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 7 years 8 weeks ago

Please! Let's get the "buzz words" out and play with them: that will make us "feel" better and more cleverer

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 8 weeks ago

The crazy thing about Trump and free trade is that Trump is a card carrying member of the party of free trade. So there's no way in hell he's going to end any free trade was just one of his many lies to get elected.

On this and several other issues Crooked Donny ran as a progressive and thus hoodwinked voters who were totally unaware that the Republican Party is by far the party most responsible for jobs getting outsourced to slave labor markets.

Remember McConnell blocking Democratic legislation to end tax breaks for companies outsourcing jobs? Obviously Trump voters didn't remember..... why would they?... our corpse media never mentioned it.

VirgilGB's picture
VirgilGB 7 years 8 weeks ago

We'll never see those "jobs" T.Rump is always talking about, back here in the USA again. What company is going to rebuild the factories, etc., required to make a product, then pay American wages & benefits to the workers? We've priced ourselves out of those jobs forever. "Jobs" is just a carrot on a pole to keep you pulling for him. T.Rump has many words like that to make you think anything but the truth about him & his intentions. The man is a pathological liar. Besides, even if he did benefit the US workers in any way, it would be offset thousands of times over in what he & his plunder monkeys are taking. Didn't you hear about the huge tax break he's giving himself & his cronies while Social Security wasn't increased at all last year & only .3% (that's 3 tenths of 1%) this year because the cost of living hasn't increased. I wonder where they shop. If you believe anything this ..... president says, for GOD's sake, look at what he's doing!!

deepspace's picture
deepspace 7 years 8 weeks ago

Outback. A third party would have to put together a platform convincing enough to siphon huge blocks of voters away from one or both of the big Wall Street parties, since only two parties can share Congressional power. In my opinion, that's one of the most aggregious flaws in our Constitution. I don't think a grassroots third party has ever upset a major party in our entire history.

A parliamentary system improves democracy, because it gives voters more opportunity to vote for competing parties with a real shot at power and that better reflect their own viewpoints -- parties closer to the people that are less corruptible by corporate lobbyists. Add in "instant runoff voting" and the United States really could be a people's nation, as originally intended.

Of course, in the real world of corporate facism, none of that is possible in the foreseeable future. We're stuck with a thoroughly corrupted two-party system that is the plaything of the billionaire class. At this point, infiltration of both major parties at all levels and/or widespread resistance and serious revolution (hopefully peaceful) are probably the only realistic options left that would effect significant and lasting change for the better.

But how do you rally the majority with a dishonest media and an electorate that can't even agree on independent facts and objective reality?

leila's picture
leila 7 years 8 weeks ago

I highly doubt that if Trump renegotiates NAFTA, the American worker will benefit.

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 8 weeks ago

Trump has already started negotiations with NAFTA. He just hit Canada with a 20 % import tax on softwood lumber. as a Canadian I am not to happy about that of course. I wish we had a leader that but our country first like Trump is doing. Little tip. If you are going to build something better buy your lumber now prices are going up.

Outback 7 years 8 weeks ago

Deepspace: What am I missing here? You state "....only two parties can share Congressional power". I'm not aware of anything in the Constitution that limits members of either chamber (House, Senate) to one of two specific parties. A recent and notable fly in the Senate's ointment was Bernie Sanders, an "Independent" and self proclamed "Democratic Socialist". Had the DNC not sabotaged him, we might at this very moment have Bernie, the non Republocrat, sitting in the Oval office. Clone him and we could easily have powerful blocks of Progressives embedded in both the House and the Senate, tamping down the gluttony of traditional Republicans and Democrats. No?

Legend 7 years 8 weeks ago

It is a 2 party system. Bernie ran as a Democrat because a third party cannot win. Look at the pathetic showing of the Libertarian Party and the Green Party. All they did was pull votes away from the Democratic Party. A vote for a third party candidate was a wasted vote or a vote for Trump. The 2 parties are too well established for another Party unless something drastic happens. They have strong infrastructure. I have read that upto 8% of Bernie voters voted for Trump, despite Bernie endorsing Hilary. This is the type of stuff that gave us Trump.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 7 years 8 weeks ago


No, Hillary was the type of stuff that gave us Trump. Had the democrat party and the talking heads on Television and radio actually taken a strong hand and fought for someone other than Hillary Clinton, Trump would not be president today. You have only to look in the mirror when analyzing your staggering defeat.

kirplopus's picture
kirplopus 7 years 8 weeks ago

Hi Thom. I was the one who called in, stating that a VAT was likely in order to achieve the 15% corp tax. You said "not happening.... Grover, etc." I disagree; Grover seems to not mind the VAT or BAT anymore; check this out! (I'm 100% in favor of 20% VAT too) VAT and BAT are really similar; but I think we should do VAT, since Gemany, etc say it's not a tariff.... they can keep their damned mouths shut then if/when we impose VAT. VAT = BAT by subsizing corporate tax, instead of direct method. BTW, CBO prohects $330B US corp taxes collected 2017. With 2.2T of imports taxed at 20% VAT, that yields $440B!!!! Does this not mean that with 20% VAT, the money is there to eliminate the US corp tax? At least lower it to 10% IMO. Then : US produced goods will be cheaper (20VAT + 10 corp instead of current 35 corp). Imports, and imported parts, will cost 20% more (a very excellent reality). Stupid people complain that reatail junk (imported) will cost more. Yes, BUT the massive wave of job creation due to less imports , and way more exports since corp tax now 10 instead of 35.... wages will rise 20%. Whole paycheck goes up 20% for blue collar, non privileged; and only 10% of what we buy goes up. We only spend 10% of our paycheck on retail anyway. Most of check goes to rent/ mortgage, health and car insurance, food. BTW Business Insider, a POS rag, is owned by Germany, and full of anti VAT propaganda; all the while Germany has a 19% VAT. Don't anyone read that rag and expect anything other than propaganda.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 7 years 8 weeks ago


Yes, the short answer is that you are correct that the Constitution does not explicitly restrict the chambers to two parties. I'm sorry if I implied otherwise with the ill-phrased statement, "...since only two parties can share Congressional power." Nevertheless, although the issue is long and involved, suffice it to say that the wording of the Constitution greatly encourages that eventual outcome by codifying the principle of "plurality voting" for most elections.

I share your sentiments about how Bernie was stabbed in the back by the Democratic Party (Before he announced his campaign, he had to register as a Democrat to increase his odds.) and how hopelessly corrupt the two establishment parties are (Republicans more so, in my opinion). If everyone actually played fair (Hah!), Bernie with his unabashed honesty and overwhelming popularity could have, and should have, won both the primary and the general.

Unfortunately, most of our so-called democratic institutions, including the First Amendment-protected press, are controlled by greedy and power-hungry liars and cheaters. That's why people around the world view American democracy as a sick joke ...because it's true! Billionaires are laughing all the way to the bank.

By the time multiple parties are wrung through the overly complex election processes -- in no small part due to coalition building and the fact that most people want their vote to count toward an actual win -- leading platform issues and potential votes for third parties are usually absorbed and diluted into the two main parties, who end up with all of the power in Congress, which in turn sets the rules for its respective bodies to favor the status quo. The math makes it inevitable. Under the present system, it's nearly impossible for smaller third parties to gain enough traction to gain a plurality, which history repeatedly bears out.

Independents, such as Bernie, have to caucus with one of the two biggest parties to have any influence (power), primarily through committee assignments. The Constitution would have to be fundamentally altered to allow a parliamentary system or at least amended to allow some sort of "proportional" (or "instant runoff") voting at both state and federal levels, which would even the playing field for third parties, thereby creating a much cleaner democracy, where so-called "pragmatic" voters aren't pressured into always having to make that stark choice between the lesser of two evils.

Our current, (in effect) "two-party" system of fake democracy, which has delivered the presidency to an unpopular, undeserving, self-dealing, congenital liar with a low IQ and has filled Congress with rabid packs of corporate dogs unresponsive to their less wealthy constituents, is an indisputable failure of monumental proportions.

If We the People don't get down-in-the-mud serious and fight back with all we have, personally and publicly, to radically change this dark-age dynamic, we'll continue to devolve into Big Business/Big Government fascism, which grows increasingly more insidious as oligarchs, who realize no limits to their greed, keep on expanding their economic and militaristic empires, sweeping aside any pesky democratic principles that stand in their way.

We're pretty damn far down that dead-end road already. Revolution is in the air...

Legend 7 years 8 weeks ago

We have among the worse system possible with this 2 year election (really 4 years) process and 2 party system. If I were to pick a model it would be Australia, with multiple parties and compulsory voting.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 8 weeks ago

It hasn't escaped my attention that Trump and the Teapublicans successfully diverted attention away from their aggressive push for free trade by focusing Trump's campaign on illegal immigration. This was a perfect scapegoat strategy ...... blame job loss and low wages on immigrants. It worked! The entire Republican Party was recently pushing for the TPP...give me a fnnn break. This country has gone brain dead. This guy is not bringing jobs back.

Trump has taken advantage of free trade laws and hired low wage immigrants for years....yeah right, he's against these things...LMAO.

It takes a lot of Foxaganda to buy into Trump's brand of obvious bull.

BTW: Not a lick of coverage by the corpse media on the tens of thousands of marchers yesterday. I thought I was watching Fox News this AM.... but it turned out to be Meet the Republicans. Todd's show has become extreme right-wing. Well over half of voters voted Democratic in Nov. The teapublicans all watch Foxaganda, so if the rest of us turn off NBC ...Chuck has zero viewers.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 7 years 8 weeks ago

Yup, those interested in and dedicated to actual, relevant news have learned the hard way that they must actively research issues from a wide variety of credible sources and not just sit passively in front of flickering screens and chattering radios, allowing corporate-sponsored pundits and right-of-Attila-the-Hun zealots to condition their minds with lies and half-truths.

And to Legend's point, "multiple parties and compulsory voting" would definitely change the political landscape for the better.

It's too bad for Republicans, however, that most polling consistently demonstrates by large margins that the majority of potential voters identify with a progressive agenda when quizzed strictly on the issues rather than through a filter of party identity. That means liberal ideas are the center of political gravity by default in most citizens' minds, despite the lunatic ravings of depraved spin doctors like Hannity, Limbaugh, and Mitch McTurtle. (Thank the Overlord of the Universe that O'Reilly finally crashed and burned -- one less pompous ass bloviating on the squawk box.)

A poignant case in point why we need major election reform is the Republican-controlled legislature in Montana. These geniuses recently shot down a bill that could have saved individual counties hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars -- millions statewide -- by conducting an unanticipated special election exclusively through the mail for the House seat that Ryan Zinke abandoned (to chase after wider fame and glory in the fake president's cabinet -- sad).

The Koch Brother teabaggers opposing the bill didn't even try to hide their crass reasoning in floor comments entered into the formal record. Their principle argument goes like this (in cowboy drawl): "Voting by mail makes it much too easy for more registered voters [read Democrats] to cast ballots and therefore hurts our candidate's chances." In other words, Republicans are totally okay with unnecessarily wasting public resources and eventually forcing every Montana taxpayer to dig even deeper into their worn-out wallets for the sole purpose of tilting the scale in favor of yet another greedy billionaire and far-right pissant (Greg Gianforte) trying to steal an election.

How much more clear can it get? Red-state Republicans' extreme efforts to restrict voters and rig elections is right out in the open, front and center! In their dark little minds, abject corruption is just the expected and accepted way to carry on normal, everyday politics. As they rail against the perceived sins of everyone else and give the finger to the American people and to the spirit of democracy, they are oblivious to their own deep-seated immorality.

Even the teabaggers' great white Christian deity said that he really, really hates self-righteous hypocrites, the lowest of scumbags! On their death bed when time collapses into a singularity and a lifetime of lies and cheating finally come due, they undoubtedly will have, or should have, a hard time reconciling to their fate. That's what happened to Lee Atwater, one of the greatest dirty tricksters during the Reagan era, when he repented his evil ways, too little, too late.

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