America’s Past Should Guide its Future Part Two
We’ve been talking about the successful steps America has taken in its past to preserve its economy. There is an abundance of these positive examples, and we would do well to take a look at them to help guide our current path.
President Eisenhower, in the mid-1950s, applied oil import quotas. John F. Kennedy produced the seven-point Kennedy textile program of restrictions on textile imports in 1961. Ronald Reagan put import quotas on steel, machine tools, semiconductors, and a 50-percent import tariff on motorcycles.
For the first 100 years of American independence, America was financed through protectionism. U.S. net worth after that first century was twenty-five billion dollars more than the next wealthiest country, namely Great Britain. U.S. gross national product was more than twice that of Germany and Russia. The U.S. was so rich in goods and services that it was more self-sustaining than any industrial power in history. The U.S. had no federal income tax provision until 1913. Until that time, the government was supported almost entirely through tariffs and protectionism. Protecting the nascent U.S. chemical industry was a key in helping to defeat Germany.
In those days, more than half of the world’s cotton, corn, copper, and oil flowed from America, and at least one-third of all steel, iron, silver, and gold. Even if the U.S. was not flush with raw materials, excellent manufacturing guaranteed dominance of world markets. Wall Street was awash with foreign capital. It was calculated that America could afford to buy the entire United Kingdom including their national debt. Even the world-leading Bank of England began to borrow money on Wall Street. In short order, New York City seemed destined to replace London as the world’s financial center.
Today we have unquestionably lost our manufacturing capability as evidenced by our massive trade deficits, dependence on imports, and foreign ownership of U.S. domestic industry. The only thing we now export in this country is title to our assets. This cannot be sustained. Protecting this country’s strategic industries is an absolute necessity, one that every other country in the world recognizes.