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Free Trade’s Slow, Painful Death
Posted by: Dale Franks on Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Clay Risen, writing in The New Republic, points out that a good portion of the blame for the collapse of the Doha Round of trade talks can be placed at the feet of the Bush Administration. President Bush always talked a good game on Free trade,
But the administration never seemed to believe its own rhetoric. Despite its success in winning fast-track powers (in which Congress must vote up or down on trade agreements) and signing a series of regional and bilateral trade agreements, the administration never pushed for the sort of sacrifices at home necessary to bring countries on the free-trade fringe into the fold. The steel tariffs and pork-heavy farm bill of 2002 were only the beginning. Seemingly every year, Bush proposes massive cuts in agriculture subsidies in his budget only to retreat quickly from the ire of lobbyists and farm-state congressmen. These things may not get play in the domestic media—Bush selling out to lobbying interests is a dog-bites-man story—but, internationally, they were taken as a startling retreat from his earlier promises.
I have been decrying the Bush Administration's subversion of Free Trade principles since 2002. Outcomes like this are one of the reasons. You can't exercise leadership in Free Trade, while imposing protectionism on Shrimp or Canadian Softwoods. For the US, policy must match rhetoric, if we expect other nations to go along with us.

We simply can't claim to be the leading free trade nation, while imposing protectionism. And other nations take careful note of the chasm between our trade rhetoric, and its reality.
 
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I have no doubt the TNR story and qando post are correct. But I find it more than just a little amusing that TNR is on the side of free trade here. Oh, wait, they’re really not, but you know, it’s a way to attack Bush. So when can we expect TNR to push for Soc. Sec. privatization or repealing of the death tax, etc.?

(Crickets chirping)
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
We simply can’t claim to be the leading free trade nation, while imposing protectionism. And other nations take careful note of the chasm between our trade rhetoric, and its reality.


With an 820 billion trade deficit and growing, our role is not as the leading free trade nation, but the schnook of the globe. Giving away in decades the domestic industry and technological infrastructure it took 200 years to accumulate, so a few middlemen or proprietors can benefit from the New World Order.

We simply cannot compete on a field where the Owner Class seeks to levelize global labor costs, while our politicans, including the free-trader globalists -lie through their teeth and assure the American public that no such levelization is planned -

A. Because Americans are just sooooooooo much more superior as workers that we can somehow charge a wage premium 6-7 times what an equally educated competitor overseas gets.

B. Because "exciting new high tech jobs" are right around the corner. (Ignoring that VC plans on siting any new high tech in Asia as soon as research makes production feasible....as they plan on shipping expensive R&D jobs overseas.)

C. Because Americans really don’t want those high paying but less personally rewarding professional and manufacturing jobs....preferring a "people interaction-rich" future as Barristas at Starbucks or brass polishers on yachts where the Owner Class may give a nice Christmas tip.

 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
It’s NOT the Death of Free Trade, guys we have "Free-ish Trade" now and Doha may or will make FREER Trade. Let’s just get a sense of proportion here, OK?

I realize that this IS a libertarian website and all, but let’s just keep our feet on the gorund, shall we?

Dale Responds: Not only will I not keep my feet on the gorund, I wouldn’t touch a gorund with a ten foot pole. I don’t know what a gorund is, but it sounds nasty.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
C.Ford lets try this, mind you I’m not an economist, nor do I portray one on TV, assume 400 days in a year and 300 million Americans.

Now let every American "Buy ’Mehkikun" or let the US government erect FURTHER trade barriers, so that the choice of consumer or action of government mean that Americans, on the average, pay $5 more per day for goods and services than they would otherwise pay.

That is 1,500 MIllion per day and, using my 400 day year, that is $600,000 MILLION per year! That is $600,000 million that has been burned on your lawn... that’s what it’s the equivalent of. So rather than erect barriers, let’s all just burn $5 per day on our front lawns?

Less than free trade, under my ver, very simplisitic assumptions makes America $600,000 million POORER per year! Think on that C.Ford, that’s enough money to pay DoD AND the War in Iraq probably TWICE OVER. It’s enough money to fund the President’s Medicaide Prescription Program (almost). Instead it’s money GONE.

Free Trade or in rality FREER Trade, makes the world AND the US richer. Walmart and the US consumer have done more to cure Third World Poverty than any UN or US government program.
A. Because Americans are just sooooooooo much more superior as workers that we can somehow charge a wage premium 6-7 times what an equally educated competitor overseas gets.
Actually C.Ford they are... US workers are the MOST PRODUCTIVE in the world. You can pay Mexicans 1/10th of the US wage, but if you get 1/15th the productivity you LOSE money, then there is the problem of currency fluctuation and exhchange rates, things that many corporations that moved to "outsource" discovered that they did not adequately take into account. So yes, we CAN pay folks 6-10 TIMES the world wage and make money. Oh and look at the "foreign threat" of say India... 60% of the workforce there is in agriculture. Your "fear" is groundless, YES Indian PhD’s are as good as US PhD’s, there are simply FAR FEWER OF THEM, than US PhD’s and in fact a number of outsourcing operations ahve ALREADY run into wage inflation problems in India, because the number of qualified employees is rather low and their numbers DECREASING as other corporations move into the market.
B. Because "exciting new high tech jobs" are right around the corner. (Ignoring that VC plans on siting any new high tech in Asia as soon as research makes production feasible....as they plan on shipping expensive R&D jobs overseas.)
Well eyah of course.... And if there isn’t the technical and human infrastructure in Asia to support this?
C. Because Americans really don’t want those high paying but less personally rewarding professional and manufacturing jobs....preferring a "people interaction-rich" future as Barristas at Starbucks or brass polishers on yachts where the Owner Class may give a nice Christmas tip.
Yeah C.Ford that’s why ALL the manufacturing jobs LEFT America right...oh wait they didn’t. And of course China and India LOST MORE manufacturing jobs, doesn’t intrude into your thinking either.

Bottom-Line: Free (-ish) Trade makes EVERYONE better and many complaints about it overblown.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I think a useful question to ask when considering "free trade" is, who benefits?

To answer that question, a good start would be to identify who/what globalism applies to. And the answer to that is, corporations. People don’t have free movement of their own labor, as the statists and governments have blocked the borders.
 
Written By: Nicolai Brown
URL: http://www.nicolaibrown.com
Nicolai,

The primary benifactors are consumers. Of course, corporations and workers also benifit. That’s how capitalism works: you are rewarded for providing value to someone else. That’s why those who don’t want to provide value for others are so attracted to socialism.

I tend to agree with Come on Please and Joe. Is C. Ford really Pat Buchanan?
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
C.Ford,

The thing about American protectionism is that it exists in the strangest way. America has high tariffs to protect the livelihoods of cotton pickers, lumberjacks and farmhands. America does not have tariffs to protect automakers, computor producers or garment manufacturers. America is a knowledge economy that makes money by adding value, yet it taxes the value adders to protect commodity suppliers who just plain don’t make any money.

As I see it you could either go the Euro/Japanese route & protect everything or the Anzac route & open everything to competition. Either one of these have a certain logic to them. But what you do is taxing the smart to protect the unfit and it is just stoopid.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/

 
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