The mystique of free trade has seduced and hypnotized legions of American educators and politicians for the last several decades. For some murky reason they are sure that competition is good and that free trade benefits us by creating jobs and contributing to general economic prosperity. Their reasoning is similar to one who because a single vitamin tablet is beneficial ingests the whole bottle thinking that is even better.
What has passed for free trade in America has involved the unilateral opening of American markets without regard to parity. The thinking behind this lunacy was aptly described by Cal Thomas, “Secularists falsely believe — that if they do something nice for evil people, then evil people will reciprocate and either stop being evil or stop doing evil things. This, the ultimate in wishful thinking and denial. And it plays into the hands of evil.”
The malignant policy of redistributing wealth that liberals through welfare and social programs have perpetrated on America, they are now trying to perpetrate on the world. If continued the result will be the leveling of the economies of the world. This is a Socialist goal and will bring the United States to Third World status. For several decades our annual trade deficit with Japan has been billions of dollars — fifty billion comes to mind. Our annual trade deficit with China is now in the thirty billion range. We also run deficits with Korea and other countries. Americans need to understand that those multi-billion dollar figures are direct drains on the wealth of our nation.
It appears to make little difference whether we elect Republican or Democratic Presidents: the Free Trade policy continues. This policy which so severely affects all Americans has never been voted on. It is a policy that panders to intellectual Socialists in our universities and contributes heavily to the profits of international corporations and the multi-million dollar salaries paid to their captains. Part of the problem is that the $75.00 pair of shoes that was formerly made in New Hampshire at a cost of $35.00 is now made in Indonesia at a cost of $5.00. Not only is the additional profit of $30.00 not passed on to the consumer, but it may not even be reinvested in the American economy at all. It might go to build a new plant in China! The results of this transaction are that American workers in New Hampshire lose their $10.00 per hour jobs to workers in Indonesia making $.25 per hour and our country loses both wealth and business capital.
Sharing American wealth with poorer nations is a beneficial altruism. However, we can no longer give away milk if we give away the cow and that is precisely what appears to be happening. White-collar middle management workers are putting in 70 or more hours per week on tenuous jobs to the detriment of their health and families. The millions on new jobs the free traders crow about are in the plethora of restaurants that define a society that cooks hamburgers for each other. We have college graduates that are living at home, underemployed at menial jobs. For the first time since the 1930s we have homelessness; men, women, and yes, children, that have no homes. Families with both husband and wife working at $4.50 to $6.00 per hour are unable to afford the rent on housing. Our nation has lost entire industries — shoes, television sets, radios, and clothing — and our standard of living has fallen from first in the world to below tenth.
The mentality behind free trade is not concerned for the American people or the American economy. Our rich heritage of Christianity, freedom, and economic affluence is of little worth in the new multicultural, global village. Theirs is a manmade, state-controlled, economic and social order in which freedom is subservient to peace, and wealth and power are a privilege of only a few. They are steadily sacrificing the sovereignty, freedom, and wealth of our nation to fulfil this Socialist dream.
It is folly to maintain that Free Trade is a panacea because the phenomenal rise in imports since 1950 has not thrown most Americans out of work. Or that those of us that seriously question government trade policies would take a complete isolationist stance. Neither is true.
Competition between individuals, teams, or nations that are equally matched improves performance and under proper control can be beneficial. But only exploitation results from competition between unequals.
America was once by far the world’s most powerful and wealthiest nation. Its economy is resilient and has withstood great hardships. The New Deal of the 1930s instituted a Socialist format in which the government began to redistribute our wealth. The effects of the New Deal as well as the effects of Free Trade have been slow but steady. However, the effects are there and for corporate presidents who have a vested interest, politicians who spend their donations, and academia who love theory, to present theory as fact is highly questionable.
“There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up,” Proverbs 20:20.
- Albert P. Cronkrite