R. Justin Shepherd | PART-TIME PUNDIT


Free-trade folly: More wisdom from Mr. Buchanan
4.March.2008, 8.37 am
Filed under: politics

Wondering what this NAFTA talk has been about in the last couple Democratic presidential debates? A brief explanation of why it matters, and why Democrats (on this front, at least) are the true conservatives. (Edited for space and readability; most interesting aspects [in my opinion] bolded)

By Patrick J. Buchanan

If Canada and Mexico do not renegotiate NAFTA, said Hillary Clinton in the Cleveland debate, she would “opt out” of the trade treaty that was the legislative altarpiece of Bill Clinton’s presidency. Barack agreed. NAFTA is renegotiated, or NAFTA is gone.

Barack went further. He has denounced “open trucking,” the feature of NAFTA whereby Mexican trucks are to be free to roam the United States and compete with the Teamsters of Jim Hoffa’s union, which just endorsed him.

The trade issue is back, big-time. For to blue-collar workers in industrial states like Ohio, NAFTA is a code word for betrayal — a sellout of them and their families to CEOs panting to move production out of the United States to cheap-labor countries like Mexico and China.

Our workers’ instincts are backed up by stats. In 2007, the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico soared 16 percent to $73 billion, a record. Mexico now ships more cars to us now than we ship to the world. And where did Mexico get an auto industry?

The U.S. trade deficit with China shot up 10 percent to $256 billion, the largest trade deficit ever between any two countries.

Under Bush, the U.S. trade deficit has doubled. Three million manufacturing jobs have vanished. And America has begun to run a trade deficit in advanced technology goods of more than $50 billion.

“Free trade is essential to the creation of high-paying quality jobs,” said Bush on Thursday. But if exports create jobs (and they do), imports displace them. And if we import half a trillion dollars more in manufactures than we export, is not Bush trade policy literally slaughtering industrial jobs?

Is there not a correlation between $4.3 trillion in trade deficits under Bush, the 3 million manufacturing jobs lost under Bush, the fall of the dollar by 50 percent against the euro under Bush and the resurgence of inflation, signaled by a quadrupling of the price of gold, under Bush?

Neither Hillary nor Obama has laid out a new trade-and-tax policy to deal with the de-industrialization of America and our deepening dependency on foreign technology, manufactures and the loans to pay for them. But at least they are listening to the country.

John McCain seems blind and deaf to the crisis. In Michigan, he informed autoworkers their “jobs are not coming back” and explained his philosophy: “I’m a student of history. Every time the United States has become protectionist … we’ve paid a very heavy price.”

This is ahistorical nonsense. From 1860 to 1913, the United States was the most protectionist nation on earth and produced the most awesome growth of any nation in history. In 1860, the U.S. economy was half of Britain’s; in 1913, more than twice Britain’s.

In 1920, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge won a landslide, cut income taxes from Wilson’s 69 percent to 25 percent and doubled tariffs. America went on a tear. When Coolidge went home in 1929, the United States was producing 42 percent of the world’s manufactured goods.

America rose to power behind a Republican tariff wall. What has free trade wrought? Lost sovereignty. A sinking dollar. A hollowing out of U.S. manufacturing. Stagnant wages. Wives forced into the labor market to maintain the family income. Mass indebtedness to foreign nations, and a deepening dependency on foreign goods and borrowings to pay for them. We have sacrificed our country on the altar of this Moloch, the mythical Global Economy.

It took Rip Van Republican 20 years to wake up to the disaster of open borders and five years to realize the folly of igniting wars in which no vital interest was at risk. How long before the GOP wakes up to the reality that globalism is not conservatism, never was, but is a pillar of Wilsonian liberalism, in whose vineyards our faux conservatives now daily labor.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

Mike Harmon

Comment by Mike Harmon

Good stuff, Justin. Thanks for sharing this.
Kevin

Comment by kevinburt




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