• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Guest Blogger: Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on Free Trade Agreements

    Each day in Minnesota and all across the nation, billions of dollars worth of products begin their journey to be sold overseas. American farmers, manufacturers, and businesses rely on exports to strengthen and grow both their bottom line, as well as our economy’s.

    Free and fair trade agreements help spur economic growth; improve efficiency and innovation; create better, higher-paying jobs for hard-working Americans; and increase the availability of lower-priced products here in the United States.

    Furthermore, the role of free trade as an expression of liberty and opportunity for all individuals signifies the very principles our country was founded upon. Yet, the free trade agreements with Panama, South Korea and Colombia negotiated under the Bush Administration remain little more than words on paper. Despite having been carefully negotiated over a period of two and half years, these agreements have become bogged down by partisan divides. In the meantime, with an average tariff of 53% imposed on U.S. agricultural products by South Korea last year, for example, there is little wonder the United States International Trade Commission estimates U.S. sales of agricultural products could increase by as much as $3.8 billion once the U.S.–South Korea agreement is fully implemented.

    And while Congressional leaders seem content to leave these agreements on the back burner, America’s fragile industries are left hanging in the balance. The impact of depressed exports is fully evident to those who make their livelihood from them. In fact, Minnesota’s manufacturing exports experienced a 19% decline during the first quarter of 2009, mirroring a similar decrease nationwide. And our agricultural sector, especially our ailing pork and dairy producers, certainly needs no reminder of the importance of expanded export channels to the survival of their farms.

    Unfortunately, the closest we get to good news on trade these days is that the trade deficit, which reached $840 billion last year, may at least be plateau-ing. However, while the deficit seems to have steadied, at least temporarily, it is more the result of a sharper reduction in imports than of a steep rise in exports. Regardless, as one economist recently summarized, “the trade picture from the United States is cloudy right now.”

    In part this is due to Washington’s complete inability to exercise fiscal responsibility. As reported yesterday in the Christian Science Monitor:

    Since 2002, as China’s exports ramped up, the US trade gap has surged into what some economists see as a danger zone – a size greater than 5 percent of America’s gross domestic product. That’s way beyond where it was in the 1980s and ‘90s

    One cause for the trade gap is US financial habits. High federal budget deficits and consumer debt mean that America is forcing itself to borrow overseas – and in effect that means imports must outrun exports. The danger is that other nations will become wary of lending so much, and a messy collapse of the dollar or a spike in US interest rates could result.

    The Monitor continued:

    Beyond the gigantic trade deficit, some economists worry most that the overseas migration of America’s manufacturing base is reaching a crisis level.

    The US is now running trade deficits in advanced-technology products such as computers – a trend that began in 2002. In a few years, Chinese firms expect to export cars to the US. Even America’s longstanding leadership in aerospace and semiconductors is at risk, says economist Charles McMillion of MGB Information Services, in a new report for the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

    Americans faced worries about economic decline before, a quarter-century ago. One big difference today: US government debt has ballooned, is on pace to keep growing, and is held in large part by foreign governments and investors.

    “The US then was the world’s banker, and now we’re the world’s debtor,” Mr. McMillion says.

    A degree of debt is not a problem, but many economists see current trends as unsustainable.

    Looking to the future, I believe Americans deserve opportunities to sustain their productivity, access new customers, and grow their markets overseas. From the small rural farmer to the urban industrial manufacturer, free and fair trade accommodates expansion of production, while ensuring consumers have access to high-quality, competitively priced goods and services. Congress needs to reset its priorities, spending less money at home and spending more time on approving strong trade agreements with our overseas partners.

    The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of the Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    24 Responses to Guest Blogger: Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on Free Trade Agreements

    1. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      Thank God for Representatives like Michelle Bachmann! Couldn't you contact your friends in the Great Right Wing Conspiracy (which doesn't exist) and get us a roll back of all governmental regulations since 1919? Our problem is the tireless work of Socialist Democrats who destroyed our industries one after another. If we aren't manufacturing anything anymore, how can we ever have a trade surplus?

      I don't want government protecting me from every possible thing. They have 'protected' me right out of a job. I have an idea for a multi billion dollar industry but no capital to promote it. Why? When I had money the government confiscated it. It is called progressive income tax. Now Queen Nancy wants a VAT (Value Added Tax) and that will assure us that we never will have any capital (even if the regressive income tax left us something to work with – it didn't).

      Who is John Galt?

    2. Freedom of Speech, T says:

      Could not agree more.

      Unfortunately, many of the American people helped to vote their own demise by installing the most far-left administration and congress this country has ever seen.

      Indeed, their political philosophy is dangerous to our "Republic" and by extension the Constitution. They are still fooling millions while we are spent into oblivion.

      I cannot use the adjectives on this web site to describe the foriegn policies except they ARE foreign.

      Michelle Bachmann, IF the GOP ever gets control again, you'd better not waste the opportunity. You can tell ALL of them this.

      We are sick of the PORK and misleading, deceptive political statements that border on outright lies. I hope we still recognize this country by Jan. 20, 2013.

      Keep up the good work and God Bless You and America.

    3. Pingback: MUST-READ: Michele Bachmann in defense of free trade agreements « Wintery Knight

    4. Ham Lake MN says:

      I'm proud of my congresswoman. We have too few of people like her. Forget Tim P, she would make a great President!

    5. Lwesson, Tejas says:

      So we can now look forward to being all farmers and ranchers? So what if by "free trade" agreements with THIRD WORLD nations and their cheap labor peoples that we expand a few billion dollars in agriculture exports. Mrs. Bachmann is being MOST disingenuous with her "free trade" plea as the real result is that her Wall Street cohorts will utilize the open door of "free trade" to make a profit by shifting manufacturing jobs here in this country to the Third World nations to make a dollar or will it be in the future, an AMERO?

      The upshot of it is that we will mirror even more these very Third World nations in having an even more marginalized middle class, an ever entrenched wealthy class and of course as we continue the "free trade" of OPEN BORDERS an ever growing poor class of very alien and hostile people.

      Please Rep. Bachmann, see the bigger picture, the Patriotic mindset and not the self absorbed Wall Street daze, as the nation needs something more than your concern about some agricultural exports and more about keeping well paying jobs here in manufacturing.——–L

      PS: I realize that South Korea is not a Third World nation but I could care less that we send manufacturing to their country.

    6. John Rosky Andover, says:

      We have thousands of our troops defending their country,billions being spent over there and they have a 53% tariff against us. Cut off all aid and bring the majority of our troops home. See if they think that is good for their country.

    7. Rick West, MN says:

      Congressperson Bachman,

      You make me proud to be a Minnesotan. Keep up the good fight. In this state, we need some common sense. And you're our only voice for the most part.

    8. Jeanne Stotler, Wood says:

      Unfortunetly there are those who think they are intitled to everything they want, somehow they forget that the only thing you are intitled too is the result of your OWN EFFORT, this be the wages you earn, the degree you went to school to obtain, the business you started with your own sweat. These people bought the idea that Obama was going to provide for them and they could sit back and collect. I heard the recording of one woman who said she would not have to pay anymore for her house or heat?? She thought the goverment would do it, these people need to be re-edugcated to the fact that "We are the Goverment" It starts out "We the People" not we the goverment. still say mail every congressman/woman a copy of constitution and tell them "READ THIS"

    9. Louis L Cesar F Levy says:

      Great analysis. Who can push the Congress to strongly support our fragiles industries? It would means reducing all unnecessary Federal Bills and Huge Government, Eater-and-not-producer.

      Again the same single AIM of Killing the US is WHAT is pursued by the ENEMY. Debt started to loom around 25 years ago? the Enemy started to plan his Multidimentional War more than 1000 years ago with an INCREASED ATTENTION around the beginning of this Last Century of this Millennium. My God, you cannot make a socialist, or atheist UNDERSTAND what come from spirit but our good Friends can.

      The Congresswoman Bachman may have more friends some time soon, around 2010.

    10. Brandon Pettit says:

      Congress is going to thoroughly miss you when we nominate you for President. I think you will be far more successful running the Country with some power behind you than beating your head against the wall surrounded by idiots. We will cover your back.

    11. Evan, Anchorage says:

      Our trade policy should be "do unto others as they do unto us" Let them set the standard. Also quite spending money on free defense for everybody in the world. Bring all the bases back to American soil. We should look at every trade policy with every nation and make it right—they do not need to agree with it–just do it–NOW.

    12. Kris Merschrod, Itha says:

      It is unfortunate that M. Bachmann does not understand economics muchless trade. She is a "faithbased" economist, i.e., believes that unfettered "freetrade" will allow us to balance our trade and restore production state-side. That is a typical leap of faith by freemarketeers.

      Free trade is a fine principle, but needs to have a balanced trade control. We have been reduced to a 3rd World type economy b/c of free trade w/o a balanced trade clause. It is simple, we only buy from you in the amount that you buy from us.

      Since the 1970s we have not had balanced trade. It is not b/c the government has spent too much or too little, it is because the consumers buy more "stuff" than we export. The hope was on service exports, but they and financial products were a very small (10%) amount of thr total imported goodies. The financial products are now in very bad shape – they were "shoddy" products!

      We are in for a devaluation and tough tims, but the decreased purchasing power abroad might lead to opprtunties to buy locally. But it will be painful.

    13. Freedom of Speech TX says:

      Dear Kris Merschrod, Ithaca, NY:

      You have some good points, although they are much more complex over 30 years.

      This is a tough issue. That being said, shouldn't we stop the borrowing, printing, and spending? If we don't stop soon, "free-trade" will mean nothing anyway.

    14. Ham Lake MN says:

      "Faith Based" economist? Is that something like "Progressive Psychosis". The belief that even though Marxist economics have never helped a people it has been fostered on, it might work the next time?

      Congresswoman Bachmann was a tax lawyer before running for office, and her "Faith Based" economics, is what we normal people call free market Capitalism.

      Read your history, when a Nation restricts free trade, you get a trade war, remember 1929?

      Why don't you try reading some of President Reagan's old speeches to help refresh your knowlege.

      • Kris Merschrod says:

        Ham, your comments are off base.
        What I am pointing out is that blind faith in the market, an assumed free market, is not conducive to the scientific analysis of the situation in which we, as a nation, find ourselves. The trade wars of 1929 were the result of the depression – most nations were desperate and, like what have been since 1979, their balance of payments were negative and their unemployment was high.
        One way to balance the payments with say, China, would be to cause the Chinese to raise the value of their currency (the dollar would be devalued relatively). The result of that would be more expensive goods from China and that would be felt as inflation here in the US. Another way to balance payments would be to close off some sectors of the US from imports. That would also raise costs in the US but it would generate employment in the US. Considering the very low labor costs and modest shipping costs from China, it would take substantially reduced wages in the US for the US to compete. That would also cause reduced earnings among the masses in the US. It is not a pretty picture, but only by planning and not blind faith in an economic concept can Americans recover prosperity

    15. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      How about our own Congress starting to follow the Laws as dictated in our own Constitution about Free and Open Commerce, (Unrestricted) between the States?

      In America we now have over 2,400 Private Medical Insurance Companies. However, only a realitively few, one or two dozen, are allowed to sell in each State.

      I propose that if all 2,400+ were to able to compete in each State, there would be no Medical Insurance Coverage Issues at this time! An open and Free Market always seems to provide for the needs and wants of the Market Place.

      Therefore, Madam Congresswoman, do your duty to your Nation First, as you swore to, in to uphold the Constitution of the United States when you took office!

      Please pass this on to all the Obamaites!

    16. Bobbie Jay says:

      Michelle Bachman is an outstanding, sound American woman of strength! An excellent role model for all girls and many men. She isn't afraid to stand for her convictions and builds strength and knowledge to the unknown..positive in everything American. Experienced in the private sector, now fighting for the rights to implement economic growth!

    17. Bobbie Jay says:

      …sends a message, America is dying quickly. Having to FIGHT to IMPLEMENT ECONOMIC GROWTH! How sad for America, the once beautiful…free…civil…respected…

    18. Linda Carlsbad, CA says:

      Michele Bachmann is trying to save our country. She is standing up for America. She knows what we need to do, but the aministration in power doesn't want America to suceed. They are anti-american. Everything they do is to weaken our economy!

      Now if you are Brazil and want to drill for oil. Well, we will just give you a couple of billion dollars. We want your economy to do well. And here in America he won't let us drill more oil or gas. This is where this administration stands!

    19. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      Good point. Free trade implies you have something to trade. You can't make a silk purse out of this sow's ear, trade means somebody wants something you have. It doesn't work if you don't have anything. The Banana Republic of American States? Agriculture isn't going to do it. We need fair and flat taxes just to approach real capitalism. Nancy is going to wreck what is left with her VAT. Nothing short of a 2010 and 2012 Revolution will help us. We will lose more capital as they monotize the Debt.

      I do agree we can't afford to police the world any more. Save our troops for the battle at home. With any luck they won't want to open fire on Americans.

    20. Art Phillips, Pleasa says:

      Representative Bachmann,

      What follows this note is not pointed your direction, though I would like every elected individual to read it. From what I have heard you say and do I consider you to be Loyal to our Constitution and cause of Freedom.


      Art Phillips


      TO: All U.S. Congressmen

      All U.S. Senators

      The U.S. President

      From: Art Phillips and by proxy,

      Millions of American citizens

      The reality that I am moved to write a letter with the following content reveals a truth all Americans are beginning to recognize. We are in the midst of an unraveling of the fabric that has bound us together for the past two hundred thirty three years. A fabric which supports the weight of all, we as a people, hold dear. Our Freedoms, Liberty, and Justice, just to name a few are all supported by and dependent upon the strength of this Red, White, and Blue fabric called the United States Constitution. Creating such a fabric required many different threads, each carefully selected for its ability to withstand time and stress while maintaining its strength, integrity and values. The threads had to be bound together tightly so that they could not be divided thus compromising the integrity of the fabric. Each thread of this fabric has a name, to mention a few, Honor, Duty, Loyalty, Morality, Strength, Honesty, Trust, and many more. All the threads in this fabric represent the greatest attributes of the human race, one race, with different shades of one color.

      Prior to the 2008 election, the majority of citizens of the United States of America were well on their way to creating a new race, the American race. A new race of people with only one color, the American color, and only one name, American, not Asian American, or African American, simply American. A race bound together by their hopes and dreams and care for each other. The struggle for this dream took over two hundred years and millions of lives. It is disgraceful how the actions of those running for the honor of serving in public office have set this noble achievement back many years. I ask you men and women in the congress and the senate, as well as the men who ran for president, was it worth it? Was your ambition, your pride, your need to be famous or whatever self-serving goal you were seeking worth destroying what millions of Americans gave their lives for? Do not tell me you don’t know what I am talking about. Each of you knows very well that the despicable use of race in the 2008 election was obscene and you all share the responsibility for it. The 111th legislature, as well as the 2008 presidency, will be looked upon as the blackest days in American history thus far.

      Though I have served my Country, and my family has sacrificed much for our way of life, I have failed to do my duty. I took an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. I was not diligent in the exercise of my duty to protect our Constitution from malignant growth known as government. Congressmen, Congresswomen, Senators and President, you represent that growth. It is your blind ambition and self interest you serve rather than the American people and the Constitution you swore to protect. The actions taken by this administration and legislature amount to a direct attack on the Constitution and the rights and freedoms it guarantees. You have forgotten that it is not your place or your right to tell the people what you are going to do. It is your duty and obligation to ask the people what they want! When I say, it is your duty to ask the people, I mean the majority, not the few that simply seek to be coddled, ask those who have made and make this nation successful. This government has made too many false assumptions with regard to the reason it was elected.

      For too long I have lived under the misguided assumption that individuals elected to the highest offices in the land, individuals that took the same oath to the Constitution I did, would honor that oath. I believed that they could be trusted and things like Honor, Duty, Loyalty, and Morality were as important to them as they are to me. I made a serious error in judgment with regard to many of them. Many in the Senate and Congress do not have the capacity to possess such ideals. Just think, people who are supposed to be the guardians of our Constitution are trying to limit free speech, restrict the free exercise of religion, remove the right to own arms, just to mention a few of their attacks on the Constitution and the American people.

      What person in their right mind has the audacity, the arrogance or the ignorance to expect people to apologize for the success of their nation? The only change we need now is to remove such ingrates from office. If our country is such a horrible place to live, why do so many around the world want to come here? Why does our government want to reward criminals and provide them free medical, subsistence and free education at the expense of those who can’t afford it for their own families? People who have entered this country illegally and laugh at our laws, many of whom commit crimes in our country, are given property and rights paid for by our citizens even when these same citizens cannot afford it for themselves. If these illegal aliens want to live in a country like the United States of America then they need only to go back to their own country and pay the price Americans here have paid and build another America, the world could certainly use more.

      Americans owe the world nothing, nothing at all. This nation has always provided for the rest of the world freely and willingly. Our nation has fought and sacrificed more than any nation on earth for those in need around the world. Now some of you in Washington have the nerve to think we should apologize for our success. You are very much mistaken if you think this American feels apologetic, and don’t even think of apologizing for me!

      Our nation’s success was purchased with the hard work, sweat, tears, suffering and blood of ordinary people who possessed extraordinary will, courage and values. I am proud of this nation because of citizens who were willing to share that success along with the blood of their sons and daughters with the world. I despise any individual calling for or making an apology for the sacrifice of my brothers and sisters in arms, be they living or dead, or any citizen of our great nation. Get it clearly embedded in your conscience that the United States has nothing to apologize for! Consider this, why don’t those of you in Washington that have degraded, insulted and slandered our country, its military and many of our citizens start correcting the disastrous course you have taken by making a long overdue apology to America and her allies. Speaking of apologies, the media, those in television mainly, have betrayed their profession, their country, and themselves. What is most discouraging about the media is the fact that they know very well they have lost all credibility and trust. Some journalists even admit that they don’t report news anymore, “we make the news” one of them stated. You won’t find any honor in this profession any more. And just think, I am just a simple person, a nobody to the new Washington and the media.

      I have a great deal more to say, however, I am sure most congressmen and senators are far too superior to even acknowledge an average citizen much less read all this. To those in our government still holding to your beliefs and values, those who still honor the Constitution and believe in freedom over tyranny, I salute you, respect you, and I have your back so long as we stand. To the rest, look carefully in a mirror, you are just a person. There is nothing special about you. There are many in this country that can do your job far better than you ever will. You are only insulting the rest of us and making fools of yourselves acting as though you are any better, any smarter, or any more qualified at what you are doing than a million others are. You were born, you will age, and you will die just like every other person on this earth, why not leave behind a good memory and an unselfish legacy. No one is unaware of the mistakes they have made, each of us knows when we are doing something for the wrong reasons. I hope I can get through to at least a few of you in government before the betrayal of the American people turns to outright treason. Where is your Courage, Commitment, Honor, all those things a leader must possess?

      God Bless our great nation!


      Art Phillips and millions of other Americans

      Afterthought: What could be so valuable to a person elected to serve a nation as great as the United States that they would betray such a trust? I can't answer that, however, we are witnessing this very thing in our government. It seems that most of those we trusted to protect our beloved Constitution have betrayed every citizen in the United States. In the past six months we have seen our Constitution, our Military, and many average citizens slandered, threatened and subjected to vicious attacks which were totally unwarranted. Our present administration and legislature is by all means and definition guilty of treason. When will one of our many Law Enforcement, Judges, Dept of Justice or courts find a little courage our soldiers have and make these traitors and criminals answer. It looks as though the only ones who are going to be punished for our governments dishonor and criminal activity is US.

      Art Phillips

      Loyal American citizen.



    21. Pingback: Bachmann Says U.S. Should Not Participate in Global Economy | Blue Wave News

    22. Pingback: » Tea Partiers: America’s Oldest (and Newest) Free Traders

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.