With U.S. prisons filling up with aliens, 10 million illegals here and counting, Californians fleeing east, savage Salvadorian gangs battling with machetes inside the Beltway, and Minutemen headed for the Arizona border, Rip Van Republican has awakened to the threat of open borders. Meanwhile, the White House dozes on.

But just as the chickens are coming home to roost on the Bush failure to defend America’s frontier, so they will soon be coming home on Bush’s embrace of free-trade fanaticism.
As I write, the Department of Commerce has just released the trade deficit numbers for February. Again, the monthly trade deficit set a record, $61 billion. In January-February 2005, the annual U.S. trade deficit was running $100 billion above the all-time record of $617 billion in 2004.

In the mail this week came the annual graphs and tables from Charles McMillion of MBG Information Services, who has patiently chronicled the decline and fall of the once-awesome U.S. industrial machine. Since 1992, when some of us urged the president’s father not to grant MFN to China, the returns are these:

Between 1993 and 2004, the U.S. trade deficit with Beijing grew 700 percent to $162 billion.

In the last decade, China’s total trade surplus at U.S. expense was $805 billion.

China’s leading exports to us, which account for almost half her $162 billion trade surplus, came from shipments of computers, electrical machinery, and parts.

Leading U.S. exports to China (Boeing alone excepted) were, in ascending order: meat, meat offal, fibers, ore, slag, ash, organic chemicals, fertilizers, copper, cereals, raw hides, skins, pulp of wood, cotton, and the big seller—oil seeds and oleaginous fruits (soybeans). All very, very high-tech stuff.

China’s surplus, the largest one nation has ever run against another, provides her with the hoard of cash to buy Russian and Western weaponry to menace Taiwan and the 7th Fleet and pile up the T-bills that give Beijing the leverage it enjoys today over the sinking U.S. dollar and shaky U.S. prosperity.

In the 1993 battle of NAFTA, the Clinton-Gore-Dole-Gingrich globalists predicted our trade surplus with Mexico would grow, Mexico would prosper, and illegal immigration would be easier to control. Either they deceived us, or they deceived themselves. For since NAFTA passed:

•The U.S. trade surplus with Mexico has vanished and the annual trade deficit is now running above $50 billion a year.

The cumulative trade deficit with Mexico is now over $300 billion.

1.5 million illegal aliens are caught each year crossing our border and 500,000 make it in to take up residence and enjoy all the social programs a generous but over-taxed America can provide.

With Chrysler now a German company, GM and Ford down to less than half the U.S. auto market, and GM paper looking like Argentine bonds, Americans now import $188 billion worth of autos, trucks, and parts, three times what we export. Motown is no more king of the road.

With three million manufacturing jobs lost under Bush, the U.S. dollar looking like Monopoly money, trade deficits exploding, and our dependence on foreigners for oil, the critical components of our weapons, and the cash to finance our insatiable appetite for consumer goods all growing, one would think even Bush Republicans might pause before taking another great leap forward into a future of global free trade. One would be wrong.

For CAFTA, son of NAFTA, is at hand: the Central American Free Trade Agreement. The White House will bring it up, but only if enough Republicans can be bamboozled into going along. In return for access to our market, we get access to five Central American markets and the Dominican Republic—with a total economy the size of New Haven’s—47 million consumers, half of whom are living in poverty by their standards.

The highest per capita income in Central America is $9,000 a year in Costa Rica, which is less than the U.S. minimum wage. But CAFTA will enable agribusiness and transnational companies to set up shop in Central America to dump into the U.S. and drive our last family farmers out of business and kill our last manufacturing jobs in textile and apparel.

If there are any Reagan Democrats left still loyal to the GOP, CAFTA may see them off. For if the GOP passes CAFTA over Democratic opposition, Hillary’s party may just be able to take back North Carolina, Ohio, and a couple of bright red farm states as well.