27 January 2005

Protectionist Revisited

While doing some follow up research on one of my past postings, I got an impression that the vast majority of the people posting blogs and other articles on the internet disagree with my view point on the subject of protectionism. Well, I must say, most of you are really snowing yourself if you think that this country is becoming more protectionist. If you doubt me, ask an unemployed iron, steel, auto, textile, or energy worker. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) exported more of our jobs than anything that came before it. The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)will do the same thing on a much larger scale if we allow it to pass.
I agree that protectionism would be the death of us in a trade war. But, that is only so if we were trying to maintain a trade surplus. Well, that isn't what's happening. Let's face it folks, we are not in a trade surplus, it's a deficit. And the longer that we continue to believe that keeping our markets open to foreign imports while our exports face serious regulation and protectionism on the receiving end, we will continue to take the downward spiral that is developing in our standard of living.
We do not import anything that we can't produce here. Some may say oil. Well, that too can be produced here. Why don't we? Environmental regulation makes it so expensive to produce oil here that it is cheaper to buy it from the Middle East and Venezuela. I live in an area that used to have a lot of work in oil production. Lately it's been rebounding, but it doesn't pay anything like it used to.
We import so much steel from Japan and France, that ours is non-competitive even though it is superior in quality. Producers of steel finished goods reserve the amount of US made steel for their best and highest grade products, which are naturally more expensive. These same products have no market overseas due to the high production costs and the protectionist policies of the importing countries. So the products we sell overseas tend to be a lesser quality than those sold here. They just won't buy them. Why should they? They'll just buy an item made in their country at a much lesser cost, or one made here of a lesser quality.
Auto parts are made outside of this country and then shipped here to be assembled so as to keep the costs of producing a foreign car low. Assembling it here makes it "Made in the USA". Well, I think that we all can agree that is a farce. Those who work in Japanese owned assembly plants earn much smaller wages than those of domestic automakers. American made parts are made to a much higher quality standard because our automakers demand it be done. All products made for use in the auto industry must maintain ISO and QS9000 guidlines. Governmental and Insurance industry standards are the main causes for these guidelines, but without them, our cars wouldn't have the high safety standards that we expect. These are features. Features only found on US and European automobiles.
We have already sent most of our manual labor out, next it will be our intellectual skill. The only reason why foreign developers come here to research and develop, is because of the promise of a higher payday for them. The products are developed here, then the designs and production processes are sent to a foreign manufacturing facility. But what happens when that changes? As long as we are in a trade deficit, we will continue to lose. Now it's the losses in manufacturing and other production. Next will be engineering and other intellectual development.
Free trade is a good thing, on paper. But in practice, it's just like the great experiment of Communism, corrupted and almost extinct. Because, as long as we maintain a misconception that free trade will work, we will be dooming our children to a life of poverty. If this continues, the Chinese and Russians will be sending us aid instead of us sending it to them. The only way that we can compete, and keep our jobs here, is to adopt the trade practices of those that we trade with. As long as any of our "trade partners" protect their markets from our products, we should be doing the same to theirs.
And to those who think that our President is protectionist, think again. FTAA is on it's way of passing under this President and the current Congress. This is an issue where I strongly disagree with my party.
Keep in mind, the United States was just recently accused of being cheap by an United Nations official. Where do these countries think that we get the money that we send to them in these aid packages. Cheap huh? The United States' public and private sectors are resposible for over 40% of the worlds total foreign aid packages. It seems to me, that some in this world are takers, and some are givers. We are the richest and most generous country in the world. We recognize our place in it, and responsibility for it. But how long must we continue to give and still be mocked, ridiculed, and hated? What are we getting for our good deeds? Hate and unfair trade practices. This country is vastly becoming like that gullible tourist who buys a cheap flashy imitation watch for $5.00 on the street corner. When will we ever wise up?
There is an ad campaign to raise sentiment against the UN. The effort advocates, "Kick the UN out of America." Well, I agree. Not only to the export of the organization, but maybe we ought to resign our membership in that corrupt and morally bankrupt institution.
I blog for Bush http://www.blogsforbush.com

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