Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Mexico's Accomplishments

Speaking to reporters in Mexico City on the eve of his trip to Crawford, Texas, for a summit meeting with US President George Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin , Mexican President Vincente Fox trumpeted Mexico's economic successes.
Still, Fox defended Mexico's economic progress in a news conference with foreign reporters here, noting that Mexico's unemployment rate was just 4.1 percent at the end of January. He also said that Mexico's per capita income had tripled since the North American Free Trade Agreement between Mexico, Canada and the United States went into effect in 1994.

''We're the first nation in Latin America to reduce by 30 percent the rate of extreme poverty, and the seventh largest economy in the world,'' he said.
What President Fox neglected to mention is that Mexico's unemployment rate has fallen sharply because it has exported huge numbers of its unemployed citizens to the US. This mass exodus of poor and unemployed Mexicans has driven the 30 percent decline in Mexico's poverty rate cited by Mr. Fox. In a sense, Mr. Fox can legitimately claim credit, however. Under his administration, the Mexican government has encouraged so many of its poor citizens to illegally cross into the US and find sub-minimum wage jobs there that Mexico's economic statistics look better by simply writing those people off the books. Mexican immigrants living illegally in the US remain poor, but they can't be counted in Mexico's statistics. Unfortunately, their impact is increasingly reflected in US statistics in terms of falling wages for lower class US workers and increased burdens on US state-funded healthcare and welfare agencies.


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