Disastrous, Job-Killing “Free Trade”
Tariffs were originally set up by Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, to help protect American industries. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, then leader of the new Republican Party, similarly implemented a 44% tariff to protect American industries and generate funds for the war and the construction of railroads. After World War II and during the Cold War, the U.S. government began lowering trade barriers and instituting what is known as “free trade.”
America is now oppressed by the chains of “free trade” through treaties like the North American “Free Trade” Agreement (NAFTA), undemocratic and secretive trade regimes like the World Trade Organization, and border tax inequities allowed by the WTO, such as the Value-Added Tax, which is utilized by 152 of America’s economic competitors.
Shackled with these disadvantages, America is no longer able to compete economically on the world stage. Our nation is gradually allowing Japan, nations in the European Union and emerging economies in China, India and Brazil to overtake the U.S. as the world’s lone economic superpower. Eventually, if all remains the same, NAFTA, the WTO and the VAT will be responsible for America’s complete and total economic downfall. The nation is already well on its way, and without wholesale changes to our economic policy, we will certainly find ourselves in the economic gutter.
So-Called “Free Trade” is not Fair Trade
It is no wonder then that America is unable to compete in the global marketplace. The nation is consistently hamstrung by these unfair trade practices. If we are to one day reemerge as an economic superpower, NAFTA must be renegotiated, the WTO must be disbanded and the VAT must be eliminated. Otherwise, America will continue to be chained by the detrimental effects of “free trade,” descending deeper into economic turmoil.
The Trade Deficit
It’s no secret the United States has alarming trade deficits with a number of countries, but with no country on Earth is our trade more unbalanced than with China. In 2013, our trade deficit with the Chinese was $318 billion. It’s likely that the 2014 numbers will be even worse. This is even more devastating when you take into account our debt owed to China, which — as of last year — was well over $1 trillion dollars.
As the chart below shows, even thought we do have a trade surplus with some of the countries the U.S. has FTAs with, overall “free trade” has lead to massive deficits.
We must strive towards becoming more self-sufficient in the future, or else our debt and trade deficits will continue to rise and U.S. jobs will continue to be lost.