(By Tony Arterburn) On the topic of trade in the last Republican debate, the GOP front runner exclaimed, “It’s not free trade, it’s stupid trade!” In his quest for the Presidency, The Donald has brought to the surface a decades long debate that neither party chose to address, and an issue that no one who opposes Trump can take from him.
Question-Why haven’t any of the Republican candidates modeled Trump? Why allow him to have this single issue and hold it over their heads like a political sword of Damocles (Google it)?
Answer- Their donors would never allow it. Because, behind the “Free Trade” policies of the last four decades lies the greatest transfer of wealth in human history.
In 1992, as a 12-year-old, my eyes glued to the screen, this writer, witnessed Ross Perot (ironically another self-funded billionaire candidate for President) warn that N.A.F.T.A. (The North American Free Trade Agreement) would create “a giant sucking sound,” and suck it did.
Given a green light to avoid environmental, labor and safety regulations by our globalist political elite, U.S. manufacturers shuttered factories here at home and ran into the open arms of countries like Mexico, Japan and China.
Avoiding a living wage and import taxes, corporate profits soared to historic levels and so did the donations to their political puppets in the U.S. Congress. Thus setting the stage for economic treason.
In 1997 commentator Pat Buchanan warned that our political class had begun “Pawning America’s Soul”. The most patriotic and best workers in the world had been thrown under the very busses they once made with pride. And as Pat proclaimed they were, “Sacrificed to the gods of the global economy.”
For “free trade” is anything but free.
Let us examine the ideological invoice:
By ignoring the economic nationalism of all four Presidents on Mt. Rushmore, and embracing the ideology of economists who never produced anything, leaders from both parties are auctioning off the American estate to the highest bidder. Twenty -three years after N.A.F.T.A. our country continues to hemorrhage jobs, technology, wealth, sovereignty and pride.
America has not run a trade surplus since 1974. The once greatest creditor nation on earth and the manufacturing marvel of mankind has become the world’s largest debtor, and has an annual trade deficit with China alone of over $500 billion.
Detroit, not long ago, the “forge and furnace of democracy”, has been reduced to a dystopic wasteland of abandoned hopes. In the last decade over 55,000 factories have been shut down across the U.S. And one in three manufacturing jobs have vanished.
From 1993 to 2002, all fifty states including, the District of Columbia, had net job losses due to N.A.F.T.A.
In 1989, the year Reagan left office, our trade deficit with Mexico was just over $2 Billion annually. In 2015, it soared to over $54 Billion, or approximately the cost of building 4 Trump border walls a year.
Under George W. Bush, for the first time in modern American history, the number of government workers surpassed manufacturing jobs. In an attempt at Economic Alchemy, the Bush administration tried to convert fast food workers, who built burgers, into manufacturing numbers to hide the glaring losses. Because to G.O.P. elites asking if you want fries with that, is the same as dropping an engine into a Ford F-150.
In the Obama era, the gravy train rolled on for our political class and their donor handlers. Republicans who campaigned on “stopping the Obama agenda” were climbing over each other to vote for “Obamatrade” AKA the Trans Pacific Partnership. A bill so good for America, no one was allowed to read it. Irony, being a natural byproduct of Republican elites, the “fast track” authority provision in TPA strips Congress of their constitutional right to amend trade agreements and gives the President unprecedented power never before help by a Chief executive.
Senator Marco Rubio received millions in donations for casting the deciding vote for TPP.
Senator Ted Cruz, in a Kerryesque reversal, was for the bill before he was against it. So much for all the hype and rhetoric about standing up to the “imperial presidency.”
Despite opposition from the American public, and Paul Ryan having to shoo away some members of Congress who wanted to debate the merits of the bill, the coming election season was looking pretty good for the political class with regards to trade. Events seemed to be shaping up into to another business as usual, Goldman Sachs Vs. George Soros scripted charade. The American working man and woman was to be left without an advocate once again. That is, until Donald J. Trump descended that escalator at Trump tower in June of 2015.
“Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t have victories anymore. We used to have victories. When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say, China, in a trade deal? They kill us. I beat China all the time. When was the last time you saw a Chevrolet in Tokyo? When we do beat Mexico at the border? They’re laughing at us.” So proclaimed the self-funding real estate mogul.
In that opening speech a signal was sent to the 10’s of millions of Americans who can’t afford a daily latte, let alone their own lobbyist, you finally have a champion who puts Americans first and is independent of the mega donors.
Thanks to Trump, trade is finally an issue in a National election for the first time in 20 years. To our elites “free trade” is a faith, and to oppose this dogma is to be a heretic. But, to those of us who subscribe to the wisdom of the founding fathers in matters of trade, we have in our corner, not only The Donald, but the great nemesis to all politicians…. Math.
We are losing our jobs and the wages of American workers have been stagnant or falling for forty years. Our trade deficits are totaling in the 100’s of billions annually. This issue has reached critical mass, and if left unsolved America will cease to be a great Nation. We will devolve into what the writer Christopher Hitchens described as a Banana Republic with nuclear weapons.
And perhaps the biggest “Free Traitor” of them all, is resident N.A.F.T.A. cheerleader Hillary Clinton. If the Republican party rallies around Trump, and the message is solid, how does any labor union justify their support of her? On this issue alone Trump crushes Clinton. Blue collar states long ago written off by the GOP will be back in play, as workers bolt from a Democrat party who betrayed their base.
Since 1776, the year Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations, much has been written and said about “free trade”.
Karl Marx said, “The protective system in these days is conservative, in this revolutionary sense alone I am in favor of free trade”
Teddy Roosevelt wrote “Thank God I am not a free trader”
But, perhaps the greatest statement of all will take place in January 2017. As the oval office is packed with politicians, desperately trying to carry out the trade deals as ordered by their donors, and on behalf of the American people, a then President Trump, can let them know-“You’re fired!”
Tony is a former paratrooper and combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. He once ran for congress and hosted a controversial talk-radio show. Currently, Tony operates a small business and writes about American politics and culture. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyArterburn.