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Free Trade Means Less Government – Less Government Means Freer Trade
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Less Government There has been a lot of discussion of trade of late - both here and across the Pond in Europe. As with most things subjected to public discourse - there is much mis- and disinformation being thrown around. Over There, Great Britain just voted to leave the European Union (EU). They did so because they wanted less and more localized government. They voted to shed the EU’s unelected governmental superstructure - and restore immigration policy autonomy. Great Britain did not leave the EU as some sort of assault on free trade. Quite the contrary. Brexit leaders repeatedly said - before and after the vote - that they will immediately begin negotiations to restore previously existing trade deals. And cut new ones. Great Britain existed quite nicely for many, many centuries prior to its two-plus decades in the EU. During which time they reinvented and exponentially expanded global free trade. Not sure why it is so difficult for some to envision a return to that long-standing status quo. If you’re looking for Brexit anti-free traders - look to U.S. President Barack Obama. Obama Warns Britain on Trade if It Leaves European Union; “President Obama on Friday bluntly urged Britain to vote to remain inside the European Union in a referendum scheduled for June 23, and warned that a Britain outside the bloc could not count on maintaining its current economic relationship with the United States….The president said that to (vote to leave) would send Britain to the ‘back of the queue’ for a trade deal with the United States” Sounds like a retaliatory anti-trade threat to me. Britain is reaching out the hand of free trade - and Obama threatens to slap it away. It is Obamas my-way-or-the-highway attitude that has in part led to great and growing opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. How big is TPP? “This international treaty includes 12 countries and represents more than 40 percent of the world's GDP.” TPP is HUGE. So it is more than a mite disconcerting that the Obama Administration was long imposing unbelievable amounts of oppressive secrecy on those very few who were allowed to read it: “If you want to hear the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the Obama administration is hoping to pass, you’ve got to be a member of Congress, and you’ve got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door. “If you’re a member who wants to read the text, you’ve got to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center and be handed it one section at a time, watched over as you read, and forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving. “And no matter what, you can’t discuss the details of what you’ve read.” When you behave in such an authoritarian and secretive manner - it raises many questions. Which isn’t good for this trade deal - or the concept of trade deals in general. In November, the full TPP text finally became public - and it became quite obvious why Obama was engaged in such totalitarian secrecy. TPP turns out to be much less free trade - and much more international cronyism of the sort this administration has nigh perfected. And conscripts the U.S. to all sorts of international inanity: “An ambitious 12-nation trade accord pushed by President Obama would allow foreign corporations to sue the United States government for actions that undermine their investment ‘expectations’ and hurt their business, according to a classified document. “The Trans-Pacific Partnership — a cornerstone of Mr. Obama’s remaining economic agenda — would grant broad powers to multinational companies operating in North America, South America and Asia. Under the accord, still under negotiation but nearing completion, companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.” An international trial lawyer bonanza - masquerading as a part of a “free trade” deal. The TPP is in fact ruining the very good name of real free trade deals everywhere. Free trade deals don’t hand out government favors to government friends. They don’t subject their nations to global, globalist assaults. Free trade deals - you don’t have to hide. Free trade deals reduce government - for everyone, equally. Less taxes and tariffs, less subsidies, less government-favoritism. And free trade deals - are almost never thousands of pages long. Additional pages tend to add government - not subtract it. There is a shoot of actual free trade greenery breaking through the pseudo-“free trade” barren ground. “Florida Republican Congressman Ted Yoho has put forward on zero-for-zero a ‘Sense of the House’ resolution, ‘Expressing the sense of Congress that all direct and indirect subsidies that benefit the production or export of sugar by all major sugar producing and consuming countries should be eliminated.’” Less government - more trade. And we can take this free trade approach light years beyond just subsidies - and light years beyond just sugar. We join many nations at the negotiation table - and have conversation after conversation that goes something like this: “Britain – how about if you get rid of this subsidy, we’ll each get rid of one. “India – if you get rid of this tariff, we’ll each get rid of one." Lather, rinse - and repeat. And repeat, and repeat, and…. Zeroing out trade barriers - of all sorts. Rendering much less government - and much freer trade. It’d be a refreshing change of the current pace. This first appeared in Townhall and Red State.