McGovern shows why he deserved to lose in 1972
This op-ed by George McGovern is a perfect example of why and how the Republican Party was able to peel away working class support from the Democratic Party.
It never occurs to former Senator McGovern that the lack of tariffs on foreign goods made with exploited labor was a major fact that contributed to the rise of Wal-Mart. McGovern never bothers to wonder why it is that Wal-Mart actively supports the movement of manufacturing jobs to China in order to maintain its not-so-always low prices. There was nothing fundamentally wrong with the US economy, for example, during the 1940s through the early 1970s, where workers made more money per hour than they do today and CEOs pay was far closer to their workers' pay.
McGovern's article shows the continued failure of current and former Democratic Party leaders to understand why the NAFTA and WTO are so horribly structured: Those two treaties codified the very trends undermining labor and environmental protection within the growing international economy.
My Dad often says, "But, son, the NAFTA is only one issue! You sound like a pro-life Republican when you rant about the one issue of NAFTA." My response, which my Dad really still doesn't get, is this: The NAFTA cuts across most economic issues and is vital to understanding how our nation's government can do anything for working class Americans. Nations that follow tariff policies designed to increase the opportunity for their citizens to buy what they make and make what they buy--and to diversify those nations' manufacturing output--are more successful than one crop economies.
This was true, even within the 19th Century US; for it explains how the North prevailed against the South in the US Civil War (1861-1865). The North had a diversified manufacturing economy that allowed for more people to be more gainfully employed than the economy of King Cotton in the South. Despite better generals and military people in the South's military, the South lost because the North was stronger from an economic standpoint in being able to sustain itself during the Civil War and had more people to throw at the Southern military.
Today, one need only compare the economic policies of South Korea to Saudi Arabia to see the point I am making. Or, to take a closer example, South Korea to Honduras or Peru, with those latter two countries having disasterously followed the advice of the IMF, World Bank--and this new George McGovern.
McGovern needs a lesson from Alexander Hamilton, with some help from John Quincy Adams to Eugene Debs to Amartya Sen. What each of these seemingly disparate-minded people had in common was they knew how to grow a just and equitably based nation and how to sustain such a nation. McGovern should crawl back under whatever rock he was under.