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  • The Tea Party: America's Oldest Free Traders

    In 1773, American colonists dumped 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor. Their unwillingness to pay duties on imported tea made them our country’s original free traders.

    As Constitutionalists, Tea Party members are likely to recall that the U.S. Constitution gave Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and between the states. Prior to that point, tariff wars between the states disrupted commerce and threatened the country’s survival. By eliminating interstate trade barriers, the Constitution created a free-trade zone that allowed our country to prosper.

    Trade barriers are literally the textbook example of special interests using their influence to receive special treatment from the government at the expense of average Americans. The Halloween season is a good time to observe that Americans pay twice the world price for sugar. This is not just bad for consumers, it costs jobs. Trade barriers that increase the price of sugar have forced Hershey Foods, Brach’s, and other companies to close plants and lay off workers. U.S. trade barriers reward groups for their political clout and represent the type of influence-peddling that Tea Party members should oppose.

    Like the original patriots in Boston, today’s Tea Party members should be prepared to dump trade restrictions that benefit politically connected insiders while making our country poorer and less free.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to The Tea Party: America's Oldest Free Traders

    1. JL Mealer, Arizona says:

      Why is it then….

      That so few people rail against the modern day "Conglomerate-Corporatism" such as with GM and GMAC?

      For once, I would like to read a story about Mealer v GM-GMAC which is essentially an antitrust, anticompetitive issue where the larger automaker and it's banking system crushed the smaller automaker and now hides behind a new name, bankruptcy and the US DOJ who protects them.

      Need info and details? Mealer v GM

    2. Ed Devine says:

      Unlike our Libertarian Compatriots though, a great many Tea Party members have a nuanced view of free trade. Fair trade as a component of free trade cannot be excluded if our nation is to retain a vibrant and growing manufacturing and agricultural sector. Indeed, with our President of to Asia this week to nail down a Trade agreement with South Korea that will limit American Auto Manufacturers from shipping more than 1 unit for every 52 South Korean automobiles allowed into the United States, it's apparent that fair trade become a key component in all current and future trade agreements. Like balanced trade has got to become something more than the transfer of declining value U.S. dollars as the yardstick by which 'trade balance is determined'. Arguably 'balanced trade' can, and should be determined by America's trading partner's importing American goods into their country, in equal proportion to the goods they export to the United States. It not rocket science to recognize that slave labor wages of other nations will in short order devastate our economy and jobs if we don't take the necessary steps to insure that fair trade is a component of all trade agreements, and that our trade agreements always balance the interests of American industry, employment and and resources against the arguable merits of 'cheaper DVD players'. Indeed, balancing imports and exports based on other nations willingness to trade for American products is the only way forward for our nation if we expect our citizens to have jobs. Trade that favors only imports into our nation represent a very real threat to our economy and our future. America's citizens will not willingly accept slave labor wages as a means of competing against other nations who flood our market with cheap consumer items, and then refuse to balance those imports with purchases that keep America's factories and farms running and our workers employed.

    3. Mel Shapiro, Eastsou says:

      The TEA Party, named after the Boston Tea Party, the forerunner to the American Revolution that began in 1773, is nothing less than a Citizen rebellion against a government felt to be dictatorial and unfair.

      That first revolution began on December 16th 1773, and soon spawned all out war against government that did not end until 1783 when the Treaty of Paris recognized the sovereignty of the United States.

      But make no mistake, the revolution was war against the citizen’s own government – - British citizens, “Colonists,” living in British America, against a British government, a government that had grown ever more hungry for tax revenue and ever less responsive to citizens. Thus the famous phrase: No Taxation Without Representation.

      Today we have a similar struggle: The Government has grown ever more hungry for citizens' wealth and ever less responsive to those paying taxes. Taxes for unpopular wars; for bloated and needless bureaucracies; for overpaid government employees; for unpopular entitlements; for outrageous government employee pensions; etc., etc. When taxes could not be raised to fund these unpopular adventures and entitlements, the money was simply “borrowed.” Borrowed without the approval of the citizenry and expended primarily for constituents’ of powerful lobbies, in return for political support — i.e. the sale and purchase of votes.

      When the Constitution was originally conceived, the House of Representatives was designed to allow for a single Representative to “represent” 30,000 citizens – a population, in today’s terms, of a small American town.

      Over the years the number of citizens represented by each Representative has grown from that reasonable figure of 30,000, to now 750,000+ folks. How does a Representative represent nearly a million people (750,000+/-)? Well they don’t. They represent a few special interests. This huge number of 750,000+ citizens has turned Representatives into a kind of “short-term” Senator, but free of State accountability. Members of the House have grown very powerful, commandeering huge entourages, enjoying foreign junkets, and even providing some with private government-paid-for jetliners, wherein they travel like kings and queens!

      Article. I.

      Section 2.

      Clause 3: Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. (See Note 2) The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, ………”

      Perhaps it’s time to return to the original concept of “representation” as spelled-out in the Constitution. With modern technology there is no need for Representatives to congregate in D.C., a computer at a home town office will do just fine. With electronic conferencing and voting and with direct input to and from constituents a more perfect union could be had.

      Here’s the problem with the current Representative arrangement:

      1) Anonymity. A small town Mayor or a County Sherriff has much greater accountability to the voters. They are widely known as are their views, and they nearly always reflect the character and political position of their electorate. Representatives, having an electorate of 750,000+ souls can take just about any position they chose!

      2) Arrogance. Representatives somehow feel that they are elected to exercise their own views, totally contrary to the actual reason for their existence, which is to represent the political views, within the framework of the Constitution, of their immediate electorate. They are not elected to represent a position that they think is best, the arrogant elitist position – “I know what’s best for …you!” No, this is not their job. And lastly,

      3) Corruption. When Representatives vote for positions paid for by lobbyists they have become corrupt. When they “trade” votes to satisfy a fellow Representative, in return for who knows what, they are corrupt. Their job, their only job, is to vote the will of their immediate electorate — again, within the framework of the Constitution.

      In 2012 there will be another TEA Party “wave.” As a matter of fact there may be a succession “waves” until Representatives “get it.” I fear they will never get it until the system is fixed. The best way to largely fix all of the above is to:

      1) Cap the number of constituents within a congressional district to 30,000. Representatives will then have to answer to a small group and will be out the first time they fail to represent the views of their constituents. In this past cycle, Representatives voted in direct opposition to the wishes of the majority of voters, from deficit spending to entitlement broadening to health care. They ignored the voter’s wishes to effect tort reform which would reduce the cost of virtually everything, change health insurance company operating rules, thus making their product more competitive, and eliminating State Mandates that force insurance companies to cover idiocy like sex change, and a plethora of other issues.

      2) Remain in their home districts. They do not have to be in DC. If there are hearings held, Committees can be assembled to hear testimony. Interested house members and the public can view them via TV or on the Net.

      3) Term limits. Serving is an honor… not a career. Serve, do you job and get out of the way.

      I think we should go back to the original percentage of Representatives spelled-out in the Constitution –one per 30,000. No assembly in Washington; the new Representative, one of 10,000, would vote with computers from Representatives’ home offices. Then a citizen will truly have representation. Representatives should never have become potentates. Today, just as in 1773, there is once again Taxtation Without Representation. One Representative per 750,000+ people is no representation at all, and allows Representatives to act capriciously without care of citizens' wants. Not good. Let them be locals, and answer directly to their hometown constituents.

      Cheers, Mel

    4. Gray Stroke Republic says:

      The GOP is wasting a grand opportunity to educate the American public on how Liberalism got us into this economic and social mess. WHY????? Is the GOP part of managing the decline of America also?

      WHY did the old guard GOP not support Tea Party candidates? Is protecting their own cronies more important then supporting the core values that made our nation great?

      Having revealed their mind set it is with good reason I'm sick of listening to Karl Rove and Hannity. In 2012 these old guards will also be voted out. I hope they do not think we are a passing fad. We are now awake and engaged.

      I am also sick of GOP members not pushing back and challenging the media when they are interviewed and exposing the double standards used and how the Democrats are given a pass and asked softball questions.

      This is not over, GOP folks best pay attention. The dumbed down youth and masses may think compromise is OK, and the GOP failed to educate the public that during the last two years there was no compromise on behalf of the Democratic party and in both houses.

      So until the GOP proves itself my money will go to other more worthwhile charities..

      It's also time the Heritage pushes back on the GOP and challenge them as to why they are not uniting and welcoming the Tea Party victors. I've been voting GOP for years but I see the same old boys in the game and it seem obvious that women and minorities need not apply. The few blacks that were victorious got no media and GOP attention out to the public. They are either very ignorant of how to promote the party or they are part of the scheme to keep us submissive to a larger Progressive agenda. At this point I am very cynical indeed.

      Even more so having lived my life believing in a meritocracy and yet having to fight every day to prove my worth because I'm Hispanic and not Caucasian!

    5. Manuel Menes says:

      The Tea Party are not oldest free traders. The refusal to pay tarrifs imposed by England on imports to the colonies does not mean they are aginst tarrifs on imports which would go to the Colonies and promote manufacturing in the colonies. In fact you must know that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, both of whom would have supported the Boston Tea Party were Protectionists, against "Free Trade". The Tea Party is a patriotic Pro American movement and its members are against exporting America, something that both parties are doing. Last, I checked Obama and Clinton are free traders, even at the expense of loosing support from their Union base. I would contest that the Tea Party is Protectionists and that the Boston Tea party although it did oppose tarrifs, opposed tarrifs from the other side, thus protecting the colonies. I recommend you read Senator Henry Clays (1832) speech to the 22nd Senate, on the "American System" and how it saved our Nation. You will find many parallels to todays economy, including realestate decline , unemployment, bailouts, decreased manufacturing and a huge Federal deficit. They fixed it with the American System and the tarrif of 1824.

    6. Manuel Menes says:

      I disagree with this article. The original patriots were Protectionists and stood together against foreign tarrifs but were not in favor of free Trade. Free trade was not supported by the Constitution. In fact the first constitutional government supported tarrifs on imports.

      The Boston Tea party protested against tarrifs imposed by England on the Colonies and thus was Protectionist. Protectionism promotes tarrifs on trade benefiting our side and is against tarrifs place on us. That is why George Washington and Alexander Hamilton both supported tarrifs on imports, and it was in fact there economic policy, but those tarrifs were implemented by America. Tea Partiers were against tarrifs from England. The Boston Tea Party was completely in line with protectionism, which is opposed to tarrifs from abroad (England) but supports tarrifs on imports from abroad. I believe most modern Tea Partiers that I know are for the American System and against exporting american jobs and money to China.

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