Ex-Mexican President Urges Narrowing Wage Gap
September 22, 2009The United States, Mexico and Canada should spend 2 percent of their gross domestic products to narrow the economic differences between the neighbors, former Mexican President Vicente Fox said Monday.
Fox, who spoke to students and faculty at the University of New Mexico, said later in an interview that the money should be used to build infrastructure, strengthen poorer regions and improve education.
By working together, the three participants in the North American Free Trade Agreement would improve their ability to compete in a global economy in which Asian countries are rising.
"What would be better for this nation than having a wealthy Mexico as a neighbor?" Fox asked.
Fox praised spending by the European Union to level wages between Eastern and Western Europe.
Asked why U.S. taxpayers should support spending on improvements in Mexico and Canada, Fox said taxpayers already are paying to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and for security forces.
"It should be explained to U.S. taxpayers that what they are investing in that wall is not going to work," Fox said. "You're using it in bringing in police forces and national guards and fences and strategies."
Fox said the wall will not limit migration, and increased spending to level the economies of the three countries would eliminate the need for such expensive projects.
Fox cited an economic forecast that by 2040 China will have the world's largest economy. The economies of China and India are growing by double digits, while NAFTA's is growing around 2 percent a year and needs to be revitalized, he said.
Fox said the administration of President Barack Obama has not been very clear about his ideas on immigration reform.
"He's been talking about moving the issue ahead, but I don't have enough information to see what he's proposing," Fox said.
Fox praised Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for acknowledging on a recent trip to Mexico that the weapons being used in Mexican drug wars come from the U.S., a huge consumer market for narcotics.
"So I think we're on the right path," Fox said.
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