Getting to Actual Free Trade Ain’t Easy - But It’s Necessary
President Donald Trump is rightly, reasonably trying to get the planets’ nations to stop robbing US blind.
It’s been global sport for decades. We are the planet’s Super Suckers.
We get robbed in a wide variety of ways. The net result of any and all of them? Hundreds of billions of dollars per year that should be circulating in and strengthening our country - is instead poured out of it.
Open borders, you say?
We import tens of millions of people - who then rob US blind. We have in this way been subsidizing central and South America - for decades.
“Illegal immigrants are a net consumer of taxpayer benefits worth more than $100 billion a year.”
“Migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean are sending more money to their families back home than ever before.
“These annual ‘remittances’ - as they're called by analysts — topped $69 billion in 2016, according to central bank data.”
Get all that?
We take from our citizen taxpayers - tens of billions of dollars per annum. And give it to people we (illegally) import to receive it.
And they take our citizen taxpayers’ tens of billions of dollars per annum - and send it out of our country.
How stupid are we?
Fake “free” trade bleeds us even more that that.
We have lots of trade deals with lots of different countries and collections of countries.
We have actual free trade deals - with just about none of them.
President Trump is thankfully trying to clean up the massive mess.
It ain’t just central and South America our very stupid policies have been propping up for decades.
In perhaps the dumbest decision in the last half century - we decided in the early 1970s to begin trading with Communist China.
While we were rightly starving out Communist Russia - we bizarrely decided to feed the Communist China beast.
Today, Communist Russia is gone - collapsed in a smoldering heap a generation ago.
Communist China - is today’s far-and-away #1 global strategic problem. Who only could have reached this level of pain-in-the-keister-ness - with trillions of our stupidly-given-to-them dollars.
“The real reason American jobs are going to China.”
Since 2012, the average annual trade deficit with China has been $355 billion.
Which means since 2012, we have dumped $2.49 TRILLION out our country - and into Communist China.
Now, trade deficits are a not-entirely-perfect example of the robbery. We do save some money taking advantage of Communist China’s slave labor - rather than having American companies hire Amercian citizens to do the work.
But on the main - I think it is almost inarguable the US would be much better off if that $2.5-trillion-since-2012 hadn’t left the US. Even if it means paying an additional $20 for your flat screen television.
How do we know we have been (very stupidly) propping up Communist China?
Trump has only applied a relative pittance of tariff pressure upon but some of China’s exports to US, and….
We should vastly up the pressure - and starve Communist China into Communist-Russia-esque oblivion. Because….
Because there are a lot of countries with whom trade isn’t quite so stupid.
Trump has demonstrably improved our deal with Mexico and Canada. We only now await Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi allowing it to come to a vote. Which will then almost certainly pass - with many Democrat votes.
But the world is a very large place. With 196 countries. President Trump has a LOT of one-sided-trade-excavating to undo.
Lots of tariffs on our stuff - with little or no reciprocal tariffs from US.
Lots of import limits on our stuff - with little or no reciprocal limits from US.
Then there are the government subsidies.
Lots of countries mass-subsidize lots of their exports. Which artificially lowers the mass-subsidized exports’ prices when they hit the global market.
We all the time engage in this stupidity here - internally, domestically. Perhaps no company gets more government help - than Amazon.
As but one awful example:
Which means Amazon can charge $1.46 per item less - than everyone else.
The government’s per-package-subsidy cronyism of Amazon - undercuts everyone with whom Amazon competes.
Amazon sells…just about everything. Which means the government’s Amazon favoritism - undercuts just about everyone.
That ain’t domestic free trade.
Internationally, government subsidies are just as damaging.
I love this example - because it is so blatantly obvious:
“Brazil subsidizes its sugar industry to the tune of more than $4 billion per annum. Think that massive subsidization doesn’t help them on the global market?
“There are more than 100 nations that hawk sugar internationally. Brazil - thanks to its huge government help - controls about half of the entire market. Nothing ‘free’ about that trade.”
Nothing - indeed.
Brazil is the Amazon of global sugar trade. (Which is River-ironic.)
Brazil’s massive subsidies - make it awful for producers everywhere else in the world. Including here in the US.
We want to get to no government-actual free trade.
Brazil’s massive subsidies - are not no-government-actual free trade.
And they make it harder to get other countries to get rid of their relatively-paltry subsidies. Because unilateral disarmament of your rifle - when faced with Brazilian nukes - makes zero sense.
“The export subsidies are designed to increase shipments from the world’s second-biggest sugar producer and reduce their brimming inventories.”
Of course they are. And guess who has the audacity to complain?:
"The Brazilian government said on Thursday it had asked the (World Trade Organization) WTO to establish a panel aimed at resolving its dispute over Indian sugar subsidies.”
$4-billion-per-year-in-subsidies Brazil - is complaining about Indian subsidies.
I am all for India getting rid of their subsidies.
Because I’m for everyone getting rid of their subsidies.
But it would seem going first after anyone other than Brazil - is self-defeating.
All subsidies are bad - but some are worse than others.
Let’s get Brazil to begin reductions - and the rest of the world will be far more likely to follow.
This first appeared in Red State.