In Tuesday’s indictment of free trade as virtual economic treason, The Donald has really set the cat down among the pigeons.
For, in denouncing NAFTA, the WTO, MFN for China and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, all backed by Bush I and II, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, Trump is all but calling his own party leaders dunderheads and losers.
And he seems to be winning the argument.
As he calls for the repudiation of “globalism” and a return to “Americanism,” a Republican Congress renders itself mute on whether it will even vote on the TPP this year.
On trade, Bernie Sanders is closer to Trump. Even Hillary Clinton has begun to renounce a TPP she once called the “gold standard” of trade deals.
Where have all the troubadours of free trade gone? Why do economic patriots seem ascendant? Is this like the Cold War, where the other side gets up and goes home?
Answer. As Trump pointed out in Monessen in the Mon Valley of Pennsylvania, the returns from free trade are in, and the results are rotten.
Since Bush I, we have run $12 trillion in trade deficits, $4 trillion with China. Once a Maoist dump, China has become the greatest manufacturing power on earth. Meanwhile, the U.S. has lost 50,000 factories and a third of its manufacturing jobs.
Trump is going to start a “trade war,” wail the critics.
But the damage wreaked upon U.S. industry by free traders already rivals what Arthur “Bomber” Harris did for German industry in the Ruhr.
In recent decades, every major U.S. trade partner — China, Japan, Canada, Mexico, EU — has run annual trade surpluses at our expense. How do 40 years of trade deficits in goods, run by a nation that rarely ran one for a century before, make us stronger or wealthier?
Or is what is best for the world now more important than what is best for America?
And here we come to the heart of the argument.
Washington, Hamilton, and Henry Clay, father of the “American System,” and Lincoln and every Republican president up to Eisenhower, crafted trade policies to promote manufacturing to grow the wealth of the USA.
They were patriots not globalists.
They knew that America’s political independence required economic independence of all other nations. They wanted to build an economy where Americans would cut their bonds to foreign lands and come to rely upon one another for the needs and necessities of their national life. They sought to make us independent, so that we could not be dragged by economic ties into the inevitable wars of the Old World.
And they succeeded magnificently.
Britain, which embraced free trade in the 1840s, became so reliant on imports that a few dozen German submarines almost knocked her out of World War I. Protectionist America had to come pull her chestnuts out of the fire.
Free trade ideology is not America-made. It is an alien faith, a cargo cult, smuggled in from the old continent, the work of men Edmund Burke called “sophisters, economists, and calculators.”
David Ricardo, James and John Stuart Mill, Richard Cobden, all chatterers …read more
Via:: American Conservative
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