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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Put a fork in it....

From the Wall Street Journal comes very dispiriting news:
Six in 10 Republicans in the poll agreed with a statement that free trade has been bad for the U.S. and said they would agree with a Republican candidate who favored tougher regulations to limit foreign imports. That represents a challenge for Republican candidates who generally echo Mr. Bush's calls for continued trade expansion, and reflects a substantial shift in sentiment from eight years ago.
If both parties are against free trade then it is likely the policy will be abandoned and we will pay higher prices and, perhaps, lose out on certain products altogether.

Much like continually repeating that Soap Brand A is better than Soap Brand B results in more sales for Brand A over Brand B, continually repeating that free trade is bad has evidently lead to a majority actually believing that free trade is bad.

It seems that those who dislike the idea that we are buying from China, South Korea, or Uganda, forget that we love to sell to those very countries. If anyone took the time to investigate the actual levels of trade between the United States and the rest of the world, they would perhaps come to a very different conclusion of whether free trade is good or bad.

For instance, in 2006 the United States exported $1,437B!!! To put this in perspective, we exported the equivalent of Canada to the rest of the world. Granted, we imported more than we exported, but the point remains - we sell a whole bunch of stuff to the rest of the world and abandoning free trade will entail abandoning this part of international trade.

Being pro-government intervention seems to be more of a prerequisite of public office than it has been in the past. It has been a while (granted, I'm 21) since I have seen any candidate win a race on a platform of non-intervention. Perhaps this growing demand for government intervention stems from the shrinking demand for personal responsibility. It seems odd, however, that in a time that an individual will pay money to customize the color of his or her IPod, the same individual will vote for those who minimize the products made available and affordable by free tradeā€¦ namely, the IPod.
We need fair trade not free trade. For example I as an American worker support the military/industrial complex that spends more than the rest of the world combined through taxes. This cost is then built into the products that I make versus the same product made overseas.
Take a Japanese vs an American car, the American taxpayer subsidizes the defense of Japan with troops, ships, and aircraft, how much more is added to the cost of an American car to subsidize Japan's defense cost versus how much does Japan save per car in their defense costs?
Yet, what exactly is "fair trade?" Placing tariffs on a product that is made overseas does nothing but increase the price of the good purchased by an American citizen. It harms the Japanese manufacturer, but is that what is meant by fair trade?

The U.S. military's dominance in the world is not an accident and it isn't done without the "blessing" of the majority of the U.S. citizens. If the military-industrial complex was too much of a burden to maintain, either economically or politically, I submit the politicians would figure that out and we wouldn't have such an expensive military - however, that doesn't mean that we would have a smaller tax bill.
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