Recorded U.S. payroll employment as of May 2008 was 25.28 million than it was as of January 1994. NAFTA was signed in January 1994. Did NAFTA cause this employment increase? Of course not as Dean Baker notes:
Barring wars or environmental disasters, or incredibly bad economic policies, economies always create jobs. The serious question is the rate of job creation. In the case of NAFTA, a deal which was designed in a way that would put downward pressure on the wages of non-college educated workers, a key question is the rate of growth of wages of these workers over the last 15 years.
Only an idiot would claim NAFTA created 25 million new jobs in the U.S. or 4 million in Canada. So why did John McCain this claim and why did the Wall Street Journal publish this claim without any challenge?
Update: Paul Krugman has another piece of McCain silliness – this time on oil prices:
Aren’t conservatives supposed to believe in efficient markets, where competition is good for everyone? But McCain is following the likes of Steve Forbes and many articles in places like the National Review, all claiming that oil prices are a bubble, soon to disappear — a claim they’ve been making for at least three years. What’s going on? I think that conservative belief that the market is always right is colliding with another, even more deeply held belief — that there are no limits, except for those imposed by tree-huggers.The idea that oil might really be getting hard to find, in spite of the magic of capitalism, is just unacceptable; so they insist that it’s all craziness in the futures markets. It’s not just conservatives who are into blame-the-speculators mode, of course; but they’re the loudest voices. It’s really weird.
Weird indeed. But I would really hate to see another President who had the mistaken impression that Steve Forbes is an economist.