Does free trade protect or take jobs away from Illinois ? That was one of the key questions argued last night by the candidates for congress in Illinois' 17th district. In Peoria, it was the third and final debate for one of the most closely watched races in the country - democrat Cheri Bustos is challenging one-term republican incumbent Bobby Schilling.
Bustos says free trade agreements like NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, are responsible for Illinois losing 91,000 jobs. An example is Maytag in Galesburg:
"Ah, not long after NAFTA passed, 1,700 jobs went over the Mexico. And that company recieved tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds, and moved the jobs over to Mexico."
Bobby Schilling, however, says he's a firm believer in free trade.
"Five percent of the world's customers reside in America. 95 percent of our customers are outside of the USA. Given a level compete and beat anybody out there." Schilling says over-regulation and over-taxation are the reason US jobs move overseas. Bustos maintains companies don't want to pay a fair wage to American workers.
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