Issues, TPP, Trade

It Isn’t Free Trade – If They’re Uber-Protectionist

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We have repeatedly written about the widespread ignorance/misinterpretation of now-President Donald Trump’s perspective on

Image Credit: geralt CCO Public Domain

trade.

Way too many people – who are alleged to be able to know better – dismiss Trump as anti-free trade. Or even anti-trade. Behold the Washington, D.C.-New York City Bubble boobery on parade:

Donald Trump’s Opposition to Free Trade

Trump’s…Free Trade Retreat

Donald Trump’s Anti-Trade Rhetoric

Trump Trade Moves Chilling, Could Hurt US business: Trade Experts

Donald Trump’s ‘Dumb Market’ Position on Trade Breaks with Decades of Republican Views

With Anti-Trade Message, Trump Targets ‘Reagan Democrats’

Trump’s…Dangerous Revolt Against Free Trade

But that’s the DC-NY Bubble. They have spent the better part of a century – getting just about everything wrong. They get points here only for their continued consistency.

And here another DC-NY Bubble move is on display. The Bubblers redefine words – to mean the exact opposite of what they actually mean.

The “Affordable Care Act” – is ridiculously unaffordable.

Social Security and Medicare are DC-NY “successes.” By “successes,” DC-NY means two programs that combined…are about $150 TRILLION short.

These Merriam Websters – are the same people dismissing Trump as “anti-free trade” and/or “anti-trade.”

And these Merriam Websters have spent the last several decades bizarrely redefining “free trade” to mean the United States – and ONLY the United States – removing and reducing government impediments to the exchange of goods and services.

Our alleged “free trade” partners – are allowed to impose as many government impediments as they wish.

This isn’t “free trade” – it is very, very stupid trade.

Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross gets his boss – and Reality – a little better than does the DC-NY Bubble (there’s your Understatement of the Day).

Not only does Ross understand Trump’s view on trade – he shares it. And has for a very long time. Here he is culled from New York Magazinecirca November 8, 2004:

“I am not anti-trade. I am pro-trade, but I’m pro-sensible trade. [Being anti-trade] is a disadvantage of the American worker and the American manufacturing community.…(Government) should provide access to our markets to those countries who play fair, play by the rules and give everybody a fair chance to compete. Those who do not should not get away with it -they should be punished.”

Why does Ross understand Reality so well? Because he was always out and in it:

“Never mind hedge funds. Wilbur Ross gets rich the unfashionable way—in steel plants, textile mills, and other stuff nobody wants.”

All of what Ross was saying then – is all Trump has been saying now:

“We’re also going to make taxes between countries much more fair….We’re one of the only countries in the world that people can sell their product into us and have no tax, no nothing. And they get rich. And yet, if you want to do business with them, you’ll have taxes, I’ve seen as high as 100 percent. So, they sell into us – no problem. We sell into them because we don’t sell in because the taxes are so high that they don’t want us to sell into them. So, I know that’s always been a point of contention, but to me, it’s just fair. It’s just fair. It’s reciprocal. It’s fair.”

DC-NY – somehow manages to continue to get even dumber. Ross, on the other hand, has – if anything – only grown smarter. Here he just was – speaking to the Wall Street Journal:

“Just about every other country in the world has more protectionist rules than we do. Take China. China has the most beautiful free-trade rhetoric. And those of you who do business either within the country or try to export to it know they are the most highly protectionist of the big countries.”

Ross than tapped into yet another problem with the DC-NY definition of “free trade”:

“I think people ought to think about short term versus long term. If I were an importer, I would beware of what happened already in the rare-earths [metals industry]. China is a very big supplier of rare earths, which are quite essential to many electronic products. They drove everybody in this country out of business by dumping, dumping, dumping, dumping. And guess what happened once they did? Prices suddenly went way up. And when they get angry with a country, they cut off the supplies.

“So long term, it seems to me, the interests of American businesses and of the president’s policy are totally consistent because there are no free lunches.”

Are we really comfortable relying on some fairly anti-freedom foreign governments for our essentials? Like rare earths? Or computers? Or food?

I know I’m not. I don’t think many outside the DC-NY Bubble are.

We will conclude with Ross making yet another rudimentary – yet for DC-NY revolutionary – point:

“So this is nothing new. We’ve been in a trade war for decades. The only difference is now the American troops are coming to the ramparts for maybe the first time.

It is really very nice to finally have a Reality incursion into the DC-NY Bubble. To install an administration that actually understands this.

Here’s hoping for massive, economy-wide implementation of this very sensible worldview.

This is a guest post by Seton Motley Founder and President of Less Government

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