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  • Free Trade Fact of the Day

    A common refrain from politicians who want to claim they support free trade while still satisfying their core protectionist constituencies is to say they “I’m for free trade but…” Michael Kinsley did a great job exposing this lie four years ago:

    The “but” of Howard Dean’s “free trade but” is more traditional. He professes concern about lost blue-collar jobs here in America; about scandalously low pay and miserable working conditions in Third World factories that export to American consumers; about the ravaging of the environment by these same factories. Dean endorses the principles of the International Labor Organization, which include freedom to organize and bargain collectively, abolition of slave and child labor, and non-discrimination. He says he’s all for trade—he just wants a “level playing field.”

    The reasonable free-trade position (i.e., mine) is that buying a product does implicate you to some extent in the process by which it was made. And there are working conditions so wretched and wages so low and practices, like child labor, so heartless that you do want your own government to ban imports of the product at issue, to avoid the taint of association and, with luck, to pressure the exporting nation to change.

    But this is very different from demanding a “level playing field” on environmental regulations, worker health and safety, and so on. American standards on these things are a luxury of affluence. If we had insisted on these standards for our own economy while we were becoming affluent, we never would have gotten there. And indeed, the effect of a “level playing field” rule—blocking imports that weren’t produced in accord with American-level regulatory standards—will not be to make jobs in poor countries as well-paying, safe, and good for the environment as jobs in America. The effect will be to wipe out those jobs.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Free Trade Fact of the Day

    1. Darvin Dowdy, Houst says:

      I was once trying to sell a customer one of our "Made in the U.S.A." products explaining that our competitors product was made in some 3rd world prison camp where the workers pay was a cot and 3 bowls of rice per day. She looked me squarely in the eye and posed the question, "and you'd take that away from them?" She shut me down instantly. And that's not an easy task.

      Unfortunately there's more to it than pro or anti free trade. Its not a black and white issue anymore. It may've been 20 years ago, but not now. It is a many faceted issue in this present time. There are areas where free trade should be somewhat wide open. And there are other areas that must be restricted. All based on one thing – what is good/best for "our" U.S. economy.

      Yet we continue on with this false dichotomy. Why? Basically its laziness on the part of us conservatives. We'd rather continue to argue amongst ourselves. We're too comfy in our little box with our little charts and graphs.

      Meanwhile the dem's continue to trample us into the ground. Our closed minded, stubbornness is costing us severely in the political arena. DD

    2. John Galvin, 1651 Cl says:

      It is time for the United States Government to kick out all of the evil and corrupt lobbyist in Washington D.C. and to also kick out all of the illegal aliens and their terrorist friends that are screwing up America also. Between the illegal aliens, the terrorist and the rotten corrupt leeching special interest group lobbyist in Washington D.C. it is a toss up on which one of these three scum bags are screwing up America the quickest.

    3. John Galvin, 1651 Cl says:

      Why does not Senator John McCain promote FAIR TRADE with our trading partners. where both sides end up with a win/win situation. Instead Senator John McCain is promoting FREE TRADE where our trading partners get the GOLD MINE while America gets the SHAFT. That is essentially Senator John McCain's matra, where America gets the SHORT END on every front.

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