The New and Improved NAFTA Is the Best NAFTA Ever!

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Brad DeLong has a question:

The differences between Clinton’s NAFTA—which Trump called the worst trade deal ever—and the Trump-Lighthizer’s USMCA—of which Trump is very, very, very proud indeed: GREATEST TRADE DEAL EVER!! MAKES AMERICA GREAT!!!!—are either (a) trivial, (b) parts of the Trump-nuked Trans-Pacific Partnership, or (c) changes in auto parts rules of origin that are not on the manufacturers’ wish list and are not really on the United Auto Workers’ wish-list either.

How did this happen? Nobody I communicate with has yet managed to figure this out.

Brad, Brad, Brad. This has been Trump’s best strategy from the start: do something trivial and then market the hell out of it. Sure, there’s not much difference between NAFTA and New NAFTA, but there’s not much difference between Tide and New Tide, either. So what? It’s almost an axiom of marketing that success has no correlation with the intrinsic quality of the product being sold.

Even Trump is probably smart enough to know that he can’t actually solve any of the problems he campaigned on. But he doesn’t care. He just needs something, anything, that allows him to claim victory. That’s plenty for his fans, who believe everything he says.

However, this presents us with a different question: if all Trump needs is a little something, why is he actively sabotaging USMCA? He should be doing his best to bulldoze it over the finish line so that he has his little something. But he’s not. Why?

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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