server T HE TEXAS 6 Insurance: New Cop on the Beat Interview with J. Robert Hunter 10 Where There’s Smoke There’s Tobacco By James Ridgeway Editorials Bill Clinton’s NAFTA: What Now? School Vouchers 3-6 15 16 18 Journal Gay Bashing in Public Pantex and the Panhandle Progressives Form Caucus 19 Molly Ivins 24 Political Intelligence NOVEMBER 26, 1993 VOLUME 85, No. 23 FEATURES Electoral Fraud in Mexico Enters the World of High Tech By Sallie Hughes 13 DEPARTMENTS Books and the Culture Ornette Coleman: Harmolodic Life Book review by Dave Oliphant 20 Hannah Arendt on Texas: Gone to the Dogs Book review by Jim Lacey 22 The Piano Movie review by Steven G. Kellman 23 Cover photo by Alan Pogue BEEFY Ts 100% COTTON Black on White Design on back Specify L or XL A SIZZLING GIFT FOR YOUR FAVORITE HIGHTOWER FAN Send $13 to: E BURRS P.O. Box 13516 Austin, TX 78711 Hotter Than’lligh School Love 4 11TOWt12 RADIO SADDL AHER THE NEXT Congressional election, Bill Clinton might have occasion to remember the advice progressive economist Jeff Faux offered six months ago about supporting the trade agreement negotiated by the Bush Administration: “This will be a very tough fight with Democrats! It will divide the party and leave scars,” Faux wrote. “If the President pushes this and wins, there will be Democratic districts where he will not be welcome. … Right now, no one is responsible for jobs lost due to investments that move across the border. But the President is making NAFTA his program. And after it passes, Bill Clinton will be blamed for every factory that closes down, whether NAFTA was the cause or not. That is exactly what happened to [former prime minister Brian] Mulroney in Canada.” In April, when Faux wrote his memo, Mulroney’s collapse was current news. By late October, as the Canadian story completed it’s course, the party Mulroney handed over to his successor Kim Campbell was reduced to two seats in the Parliament. “But they achieved gender parity,” another economist, James Galbraith of the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs, joked, observing that the Canadian Conservative Party now has one man and one woman in its parliamentary delegation. The victory President Clinton won has divided his party, while alienating important Democratic constituent groups, such as labor, environmentalists and human rights advocates for whom the Salinas government will never pass the smell test. Clinton has also pitted African Americans, who fear loss of jobs as heavy manufacturing moves to Mexico against Mexican Americans, who were convinced by opinion leaders in their community that the treaty would improve economic and political conditions in Mexico and therefore was worthy of support. And in some ways it might have been worthy of support. Three weeks before the vote, Galbraith spoke at the Texas AFL-CIO building in Austin. The treaty, according to Galbraith, could have been better negotiated. Yet as it stands it will help Mexico, while having a negligible affect on the U.S. economy. Since a stronger Mexican economy is in our interest, the treaty is worthy of ratification, he said. If it were to fail, Galbraith predicted, Mexico’s cyclical debt and currency crises, usually tied to the six-year presidential term, will probably continue. Galbraith also said that because Mexico has become more creditworthy in the international lending community, some money from international loans to Mexico is being diverted to social spending on schools, electricity and water, for example. Claims of job creation and job loss have been exaggerated on both sides of the NAFTA debate, Galbraith said, observing . that projections offered by less partisan economists predict losses and gains within the number of jobs created or destroyed within several months by the U.S. economy. Industrial flight has little to do with trade agreements, Galbraith said, describing the mobility of production capital as something of an inexorable law of economics. “A country doesn’t have much leverage,” in dealing with capital flight, Galbraith said. What working people in this country should be concerned with, Galbraith said, is the redistribution of wealth through wages and taxation. In the ’70s, he said, the real income of working people increased, with the help of progressive wage and tax policies. Such an increase in working-class income could be achieved today, if government were to make it a priority as it did before Ronald Reagan was elected and began to redistribute wealth in another direction. “Energy and anger over jobs has surfaced in a campaign over NAFTA and that is unfortunate,” Galbraith said. “It means that we have come to accept a set of economic policies that are producing slow growth, that are leaving us with high unemployment and high interest rates. … [These problems] are different from the NAFTA and have to do with our budget priorities and our monetary policies and our lack of a good job training policy and good public education policy. These things are vastly more important than the NAFTA and it’s unfortunate that our energies are not focused on them.” Juan Gutierrez considers the NAFTA in political rather than economic terms. Gutierrez is a member of the Democratic tion of left and center-left parties that came together after the electoral fraud of 1988, which produced Mexican President Carlos EDITORIALS Bill Clinton’s NAFTA: New Deal for Transnationals THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.