Unsubstantiated White House memo claims NAFTA led to increased abortions, spousal abuse.

White House Memo Casually Claims, Without Evidence, NAFTA Led to Increased Abortions, Spousal Abuse

White House Memo Casually Claims, Without Evidence, NAFTA Led to Increased Abortions, Spousal Abuse

The Slatest
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Oct. 17 2017 10:19 PM

White House Memo Casually Claims, Without Evidence, NAFTA Led to Increased Abortions, Spousal Abuse

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I woke up like this.

Mark Lyons/Getty Images

The U.S., per the totally coherent campaign promises of Donald Trump, is currently in the middle of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. The fourth round of talks wrapped up Tuesday with the Trump administration taking a negotiating position so extreme it’s threatening to undo the 23-year-old agreement. It’s unclear what Trump thinks of the trade pact, other than it was a deal someone else made, so it must be bad. The deal was struck before everyone had the internet in their pocket, so you could imagine some changes could be appropriate. Even Congressional Republican leaders, along with industry groups, however, have warned that simply trampling the agreement has the potential to do significant harm to the U.S. economy and that of its neighbors, while throwing the global economy into disarray. So you really hope the Trump administration has its facts and figures right, much less its economic models.

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported on a document (pictured above) that gives the world a peek at the hand the White House is holding. The internal two-page White House document laid out the “Socioeconomic Costs of A Weakened Manufacturing Base” in what appear to be talking points or data points bolstering the Trump administration's anti-NAFTA stance. The document, which was drafted and distributed by director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, Peter Navarro, claims that, essentially, everything bad can be attributed to NAFTA and its impact on manufacturing in the U.S. Higher abortion rate? Check. Increases in crime, drugs, divorce, homelessness? Check. Check. Check. Check.

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If these all were true, ditching NAFTA would be no-brainer. But these broad claims sound like a made-up list of boogeyman answers to serious and complex issues that need to be addressed. The points laid out by Navarro, the Post notes, which were circulated at the staff and perhaps cabinet-level in the administration, are “presented without any data or information to back up the assertions” and “White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed” by its distribution. Perfect. Hopefully Wikipedia can save us.