We Need to Finally Delineate Between Fake ‘Free’ Trade – and Really Stupid Trade

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org
Stupid Trade in Our Time – And All the Time

Donald Trump remains largely misunderstood – and dare I say it, underestimated – in many areas that matter on the national and world stages.

For someone allegedly having no real plan and being so allegedly incompetent – he is certainly, rapidly accomplishing a great deal of exactly the plan on which he ran for president.

Trump ran on deregulation.  He has as President signed thirteen Congressional Review Act Resolutions of Disapproval (thank you also to Congress for passing them) – undoing a whole host of major Barack Obama Administration regulatory power grabs.  He has set his appointees to work to swiftly roll back the massive red tape emanating from their respective agencies.  Many are already well under way towards so doing.

Trump ran on actually enforcing – and thus closing – the gaping maw that has for decades been our southern border.  While Congressional Democrats threaten to shut down the government in opposition to Trump’s border wall – Trump has efficiently gone about enforcing existing law with existing resources.  And has already greatly reduced illegal border crossings.

Then there is Trump on trade.  Far too many people dismissed Trump as anti-free trade.  Those people are really quite wrong.  What these people have for half a century been touting as “free trade” isn’t free trade – it is one-sided, anti-U.S. stupid trade:

“The United States has for decades been the Neville Chamberlain of trade agreements.  In what we’ve been engaged isn’t free trade, it’s appeasement trade.  It’s unilateral capitulation to every other nation on the planet.”

We have spent the last half-century gutting our domestic production of…well, everything.  Because just about every other country on the planet treats producers better than we do – our trade, tax and regulatory policy are all ridiculously oppressive.

Trump spent forty years spanning the globe with his business empire – and saw this domestic oppression in compare-and-contrast practice.  So he ran for President calling out – and for and end to – this nonsense.

And all of the usual “free trade” suspects – who have built everywhere-but-here manufacturing empires – decry Trump as a “protectionist.”  To what they’re really opposed – is Trump ending the tax-and-regulatory protectionism they’ve so long been enjoying.

And Trump knows – it’s not just bad deals that cost us.  Even if you cut the best deals in the world, they are – like our borders – worthless unless they are enforced.

To wit: The Open Skies agreements: “The United States has 120 Open Skies agreements with countries from around the world. The agreements are meant to expand international passenger and cargo flights to and from the United States.”

Outstanding – until someone starts cheating and lying: “The Partnership for Open and Fair Skies released a report in January 2015 that alleges that the governments of Qatar and the U.A.E. have granted close to $40 billion in subsidies and “other unfair benefits” to its state-owned carriers. Since then, they say, another $10 billion has been identified as government subsidies.

The Partnership asserts that the subsidies violates the Open Skies agreements and undermines the basic principles of fair and open competition behind the Open Skies policy.”

A fifty-yard dash is not a “fair and open competition” – if the other runners are putting $50 billion worth of rocks in your pockets.

You can call this all sorts of things – but you can not call it “free trade.”

I have myself been challenged as being anti-free trade for this stance.  I have been told that if foreign governments want to subsidize stuff they’re sending to us – we should bleed them as long as we can.

The problem is – we’ve approached foreign subsidies in just this way for decades.  And we’re the only ones bleeding.  Or haven’t you noticed that much our nation has been hollowed out of anything that remotely resembles employers?  “The Rust Belt” – wasn’t rusty at all prior to this ridiculous approach to trade.

Hillary Clinton didn’t notice – Trump did.  And it’s a major reason why he’s in the White House – and she has plenty of free time to take staged-phony-photo-op nature walks.

If you want to Rust Belt our airline industry – not enforcing our trade agreements is a great way to do it: “‘1.2 million American jobs are at risk because foreign subsidies are undermining the US aviation industry,’ Andrea Newman, Senior Vice President at Delta Air Lines….’We are asking President Trump to enforce the Open Skies agreements between the U.S. and the U.A.E. and the U.S. and Qatar in order to protect American jobs and stand up to trade cheating,’ Newman said.”

Enforcing our Open Skies agreements – is right up President Trump’s alley.  It’s what he pledged to do if elected – and it’s a huge part of what got him elected.

Trump’s, mostly, been adhering to those pledges and that plan.  He should continue this very pleasant trend.

This first appeared in Red State.

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