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The Conservative Case Against Free Trade
Free Trade Doesn't Work ^ | March 1, 2012 | Ian Fletcher

Posted on 03/03/2012 9:07:29 PM PST by ianfletcher

Protectionism, and economic nationalism more generally, are usually held up by the supposed sophisticates today as dumb ideas. Sometimes, of course, they are. Bone-headed protectionism belongs in the junkyard of history with all the other ideologies rusting there. Nothing in this booklet is intended to defend it. But it can also be a smart, productive, pro-growth policy—and very much in the American and conservative traditions—when implemented correctly.

The fundamental message of this booklet is that nations, including the U.S., should seek strategic, not unconditional integration with the rest of the world economy. Economic openness, like most things in life, is valuable up to a point—but not beyond it. The Founding Fathers knew that, and wrote our Constitution to reflect it. Fairly open trade, most of the time, is justified. Absolutely free trade, 100 percent of the time, is an extremist position and is not. It is not a conservative, but a libertarian and globalist, policy.

Don’t misunderstand: it’s not trade per se that’s the problem. But trade, and free trade, are not the same thing. Remember that when somebody tries to tell you how wonderful free trade is: they’re probably just giving arguments in favor of trade. Nobody on the protectionist side is suggesting we become North Korea, but there are very serious reasons why free trade is not sound economics, and the longer America clings to the free-trade delusion, the higher the price we will pay. Indeed, abandoning it is almost certainly a necessary, if not sufficient, condition for revitalizing our economy.

(Excerpt) Read more at freetradedoesntwork.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: economics; freetrade; protectionism

1 posted on 03/03/2012 9:07:32 PM PST by ianfletcher
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To: ianfletcher

Too simplistic.

We should not have “free trade” with unfree countries for one thing.

Not that “free trade” actually exists


2 posted on 03/03/2012 9:12:28 PM PST by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: ianfletcher

“Free trade” is fine. Unfortunately what we have going on right now with many nations ISN’T free trade. It’s a one sided scam designed to destroy the traditional middle class of this country. If we are ever to recover economically, it must be stopped.


3 posted on 03/03/2012 9:17:19 PM PST by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: KoRn
If we are ever to recover economically, it must be stopped.

There's only one way to stop it. When you are shopping, look for the made in USA label.

4 posted on 03/04/2012 5:02:18 AM PST by TwelveOfTwenty (Compassionate Conservatism? Promoting self reliance is compassionate. Promoting dependency is not.)
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To: ianfletcher
Off-shoring our manufacturing base ensures this nations destruction at some point. We will be long gone but out grandchildren will have to fight a losing global war of attrition someday thanks to the Free Trade screw job of the late 20th and early 21st century. Our generation will be cursed, rightfully so.
5 posted on 03/04/2012 5:11:38 AM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: ianfletcher

Free trade, Free trade, Free trade. We haven’t had free trade in this country for a long, long, long time. What we have is welfare system for large corporate. One day it well bankrupt us. As more and more people receive social welfare it free up their money to buy good from wider range of corporation. Unlike a lot of us who help to produce wealth, social welfare people produce no wealth. (Think of sub-prime home loan “banks” selling houses to just warm bodies.)Foreign aid is nothing more than corporate welfare as well. Lets say a small country has a natural resource that corporation wants to buy but that country needs electric plant. Our government gives the “leader” of that country $10 million of our money. He skims $3 million and pays GE $7 million to build the electric plant. Sorry, that’s not free trade. That’s corporate welfare.


6 posted on 03/04/2012 5:28:00 AM PST by steveab (When was the last time someone tried to sell you a CO2 induced climate control system for your home?)
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To: ianfletcher
Governments don't trade with governments. Individuals trade with individuals.

Anyone opposed to free trade is advocating government control over individual economic freedom. Let's just be clear on that.

Now, with that out of the way. Let the anti-free-trade people justify why they want more government control over our economic lives. It will, no doubt, have something to do with the "common good."

Everything the authoritarians want is for the "common good" as they define it.

7 posted on 03/04/2012 5:28:46 AM PST by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
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To: BfloGuy
No you are wrong.

The Peoples Republic of China GOVERNMENT trades with Americans.

Well not trades, because the Peoples Republic of China GOVERNMENT is ... wait for it:

PROTECTIONIST

So "trades" isn't really the right word.

Steals our manufacturing base deliberately, is a better description.

8 posted on 03/04/2012 5:37:04 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network ("The door is open" PALIN 2012)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network
The Peoples Republic of China GOVERNMENT trades with Americans.

If that's true (and I don't think it is,) then I would be in agreement that we not trade with the Chinese. The Cuban embargo is justified in my mind for that reason. Ditto South Korea.

9 posted on 03/04/2012 10:23:49 AM PST by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
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To: BfloGuy

The Chinese government owns a wide swath of businesses but then again what’s the difference between the government owning it or just ruling it by diktat like in this country?

Free trade applies to individuals. Whether that individual trades with another individual or a government or a church or a business it is still a choice best left to a free individual. I would not ban trade with any country unless we are at war with them. At war means the kind were Congress declares it and the President conducts it.

Free trade is a simple concept that means allowing an individual to buy and sell as he see fits. Anything less means government interference or outright command and control.

I will never understand why so many people on a website named Free Republic wish o have the same government that brought you the IRS, Pentagon, EPA, OSHA, FTC, FDA, FAN, FRED, SALLY MAE, FCC, FDIC, also be placed in charge of telling us who we may and may not trade with or setting the terms of trade.


10 posted on 03/04/2012 1:01:30 PM PST by FreedomNotSafety
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To: BfloGuy

Not only is it true.

A significant proportion of those factories we “trade” with, are in fact owned by the Peoples Liberation Army.

Yet many otherwise sensible conservatives, simply are determined not to see. Brainwashed that anything called “free trade” simply cannot be a bad thing.

Except what we have is not free, nor “trade”. Trade implies reciprocity. Do we sell things to China?

Recall the Emperor’s new set of clothes; all those people, agreeing the Emperors new clothes were so very nice.


11 posted on 03/04/2012 1:08:52 PM PST by Cringing Negativism Network ("The door is open" PALIN 2012)
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To: BfloGuy
Anyone opposed to free trade is advocating government control over individual economic freedom. Let's just be clear on that.

I am in favor of free trade between the 50 states. Across international borders, not so much. As for manufacturing being off shored, that is a matter of national security and those companies that do that should have the hell tariffed out of them.

Just look at South America, no manufacturing base equals no middle class and no defense worth a crap. The third world.

12 posted on 03/04/2012 1:17:50 PM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va
no manufacturing base equals no middle class

I generally agree with you on that, but it is the regulatory and taxation policies of our government and the inflationary policies of the Fed that have made American manufacturing less competitive. Those should be changed.

It's no excuse to abridge the liberties of citizens.

13 posted on 03/04/2012 3:40:56 PM PST by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network
Do we sell things to China?

Well, yes, we do -- to the tune of about $100 billion/year.

And, cringing, you have to bear in mind that our dollars are worth as much to the Chinese as reserves than they are to buy our products. That's not the fault of the Chinese.

They use those dollars, for example, to buy oil. And they use those dollars to buy our debt and keep the bonds as reserves to back up their own money supply. Don't blame the Chinese for that, either. If our government didn't issue debt, there wouldn't be any for them to buy.

Our status as the reserve currency issuer is a big factor in our trade deficit.

14 posted on 03/04/2012 3:47:46 PM PST by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
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To: FreedomNotSafety
I will never understand why so many people on a website named Free Republic wish o have the same government that brought you the IRS, Pentagon, EPA, OSHA, FTC, FDA, FAN, FRED, SALLY MAE, FCC, FDIC, also be placed in charge of telling us who we may and may not trade with or setting the terms of trade.

Exactly. It makes zero sense. But mercantilism (which is what Keynesianism is based on) runs deep in our culture.

15 posted on 03/04/2012 3:54:22 PM PST by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
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To: BfloGuy
It's no excuse to abridge the liberties of citizens.

Tariffs are not abridging anyone freedom. Just don't buy the products then you won't pay the tariff.

We have Constitutionally mandated Free Trade between the 50 states. When you start in with the slave produced goods coming in the US then it becomes political. I get to have a say. Especially since we are talking about a Communist Country.

16 posted on 03/04/2012 4:25:43 PM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va
Tariffs are not abridging anyone freedom. Just don't buy the products then you won't pay the tariff.

Right. And when you buy an insurance policy, you won't have to pay the fine, either! Do what we tell you and your freedom is not an issue.

17 posted on 03/04/2012 5:17:21 PM PST by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
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To: BfloGuy

If you think that being against outsourcing manufacturing to the the third world as somehow the same as being for government regulations and over taxation, then that would make you an idiot. You don’t think that do you?


18 posted on 03/05/2012 2:00:28 PM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va
I get to have a say.

Yes, you certainly do. You won't buy from people in countries you find objectionable. I will do the same.

I do not think you should have a say over my choices, though.

Tariffs are not abridging anyone freedom. Just don't buy the products then you won't pay the tariff.

Tariffs are not an elimination of my freedoms, but they are certainly an abridgement. For example, we now have a tariff on inexpensive, imported tires. No one makes inexpensive tires in America and no one plans on it, either. They aren't considered profitable enough.

If inexpensive tires are what I want (or can afford), I will have to pay the 30% tariff.

We have had steep tariffs on sugar for half a century. We pay much, much more in the U.S. than citizens of other countries. I have to pay more for groceries so some sugar beet farmers in the midwest don't have to change to planting corn because sugar beets are an inefficient source of sugar.

I suppose I can just skip buying sugar to avoid the tariff, though.

19 posted on 03/05/2012 2:24:32 PM PST by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
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To: central_va
If you think that being against outsourcing manufacturing to the the third world as somehow the same as being for government regulations and over taxation, then that would make you an idiot. You don’t think that do you?

No. I don't think they're the same at all. But when I hear people railing against outsourcing, I do wonder why they're not railing against the taxes and the regulations that cause it.

How do you outlaw outsourcing without telling people what they can do with their own money? Do you really want the federal government to institute capital controls on American business? That puts us in a league with Venezuela.

And, in most cases, it's that same federal government that has created the conditions that cause companies to outsource in the first place. I think we should focus on the cause of the problem and not the symptom.

Trust me. I want to see more manufacturing in America. But it has to happen because it's more profitable to do business here -- not because we used the tax code to punish outsourcers and subsidised those who don't with tax breaks.

P.S. There will always be some outsourcing. There is a finite amount of capital to fund business and it will sometimes be more profitable to produce something overseas than here. We can put 100% tariffs on Chinese underwear and the textile industry will never return to the U.S. -- sort of like the cheap tire example.

There are just too many other manufacturing opportunities that will provide a better return on capital.

20 posted on 03/05/2012 3:23:19 PM PST by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
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To: BfloGuy
Trust me. I want to see more manufacturing in America.

I can't. Your kind would completely destroy manufacturing because of your radical ideas and leave the good 'ole USA defenseless, unable to fight a war of attrition against a real enemy just to prove a point.

21 posted on 03/05/2012 5:07:02 PM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va
your radical ideas

Yeah, freedom is sort of radical these days I suppose. We need us a good dose of government control -- that fixes all ills.

22 posted on 03/06/2012 2:04:12 PM PST by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
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