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Giant sucking sound

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The "giant sucking sound" was a phrase used by United States presidential candidate Ross Perot, to describe what he believed would be the negative effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he opposed.

First usage and context


The phrase, which Perot coined during the 1992 US presidential campaign, referred to the sound of US jobs heading south for Mexico should the free-trade agreement go into effect.

In the second 1992 Presidential Debate, Ross Perot argued:

We have got to stop sending jobs overseas. It's pretty simple: If you're paying $12, $13, $14 an hour for factory workers and you can move your factory South of the border, pay a dollar an hour for labor, ... have no health care—that's the most expensive single element in making a car— have no environmental controls, no pollution controls and no retirement, and you don't care about anything but making money, there will be a giant sucking sound going south.
    ... when [Mexico's] jobs come up from a dollar an hour to six dollars an hour, and ours go down to six dollars an hour, and then it's leveled again. But in the meantime, you've wrecked the country with these kinds of deals.[1]

Perot ultimately lost the election, and the winner, Bill Clinton, supported NAFTA, which went into effect on January 1, 1994.



The phrase has since come into general use to describe any situation involving loss of jobs, or fear of a loss of jobs, particularly by one nation to a rival. Examples include:

See also




The Commission on Presidential Debates and PBS Archived 2012-11-23 at the Wayback Machine transcribed "job-sucking sound".



  1. ^ "THE 1992 CAMPAIGN; Transcript of 2d TV Debate Between Bush, Clinton and Perot". The New York Times. 16 October 1992. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  2. ^ Landler, Mark (2004), Hungary Eager and Uneasy Over New Status , The New York Times, March 5, 2004, Business, p. 1
  3. ^ Friedman, Thomas L (2004), What's That Sound?, The New York Times, April 1, 2004, editorial section, p. 23
  4. ^ Sharkey, Joe (June 28, 2005). "That Giant Sucking Sound". The New York Times. p. B8. In a stark reminder of the harsh personal toll of the airline industry's slump, the government released figures showing that employment at the major carriers has fallen 34 percent during the last four years ...
  5. ^ "Steve LaTourette blames D.C. sucking sound on politicians' sphincters | Openers Archive Site - cleveland.com". Blog.cleveland.com. 2009-03-19. Archived from the original on 2018-09-26. Retrieved 2010-05-04.